It just looks funky. You're right, its not really "awesome" in the traditional sense. Testing seemed to show the shape was fine for conventional supersonic flight, but all that ducting wasn't exactly useful in obtaining enough thrust to take off vertically.That would of been an awesome plane if it managed to do something beyond one test hover before it was scrapped.
In a similar vein, the Curtiss-Wright XP-55NSX23 posted some modern "pushing propeller" planes .
Here are some of their ancestors:
The Saab J21 1943:
and even more advanced the Kyushu J7W Shinden in 1945 with canards wings:
The Navy did a manned launch with their electromagnetic accelerator for carriers: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/12/navy-launches-pilot-with-an-electromagnetic-shove/