In this game, based on the anime series, Captain Blue is working on his latest film, and in order to determine who will get the lead role, he holds a battle tournament between those who are auditioning. However, as the player progresses through the films, it seems that some strange things are afoot, as unauthorized equipment keep showing up and things seem a bit too dangerous. Suddenly, Rachel is possessed by the equipment, transforming into Tsukumo. He silently arranges to sabotage the picture by stealing and replacing props and putting the crew in increasingly dangerous situations. He is enraged that all the mechanical cameras, microphones, and other movie-making devices are never given an actual role in the very movies they help to make. After Tsukumo is defeated, Joe explains that the equipment plays an integral part in the process, so he leaves happily. Blue, meanwhile, decides to make Tsukumo the star of his picture, much to everyone's surprise.
The game was originally announced under the title Viewtiful Joe: VFX Battle, and early reports stated that it was to be released for the PlayStation 2. Producer Atsushi Inaba noted that the game was inspired heavily by Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Melee. Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble was originally developed as a two-player game rather than a four-player game.
In North America, the GameCube version of the game was included as part of promotion by the Johnny Rockets restaurant chain.
Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble has received mostly average reviews from critics. The GameCube version of the game currently has a Metacritic score of 62 out of 100 and a Game Rankings score of 63%. The PSP version of the game boasts slightly higher scores of 63 out of 100 and 66% on the two websites respectively.