Astro Boy: The Video Game
For those who just want to experience the unbridled power of shooting hundreds of bullets out the ol' poop shoot, you should know that it's not as fun as it sounds
- Effectively pairs a 2D brawler with a flying shooter, had the gall to combine armaments with bodily processes
- Combat is simple and cheap, graphics and textures put the ass in Asstro Boy, it could leave younger gamers a bit frustrated
One of Osamu Tezuka's most beloved creations was granted a silver-screen adaptation rather recently, complete with a complimentary videogame tie-in. Does this side-scrolling anime-influenced action title keep with the spirit of the fun-filled original anime, or does it fall sorely into quick cash-in territory?
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
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For those of you unfamiliar with the character whose name graces this video game tie-in, Astro Boy is a robot who has been imbued with the soul of a child, and who then longs to be a flesh-and-blood youth. If you're thinking that sounds awfully similar to a soul-imbued puppet who talked to crickets and lied through his teeth, then I have two words for you: butt cannon. That's right, this 21st century Pinocchio is no pushover, and as the game explains, when man casts this boy-wonder aside, he doesn't mope, sing a song, and then get swallowed by a whale. No, he starts throwing haymakers and shooting bullets out his pooper.
As fun as this game sounds with the knowledge that you have a buttocks bomber at your command, ironically the one aspect that prevents this game from getting a recommendation is the one aspect where that anal weapon is used: in combat. While a small portion of Astro Boy is spent in a flying shooter format, about three-fourths of this game will be spent battling robots in a 2D brawler-esque setting. To the game's credit, this mishmash of genres works fairly well, and the translation between the two varieties never feels awkward or weird. Unfortunately, the combat in the brawler segments is very simple and very tedious, and players will most likely grow tired of the repetition at about the same time they become angry at the amount of cheap shots they receive (Astro Boy has the reach of a toddler, and so he often finds himself on the wrong end of a long-armed enemy's fist). Ultimately, the combat really could have benefited from a larger assortment of combos and fewer of the various special moves, because as it stands, the superfluous specials create a noticeable pause which really breaks up the pace of a level.
The shooter segments are also pretty simple, but either due to the fact that they aren't used as frequently or because they feel a little bit more well-balanced, they end up being more fun. The graphics during the shooter portions are also more impressive (which isn't a big feat considering the low quality of most of the game's aesthetics), and the pre-rendered backgrounds will give you a good sense of flight.
While the game isn't overly difficult, you can still expect to see your Astro Boy frequently go boom. However, since you're given unlimited lives, what ultimately determines how far you progress will be the strength of your patience. Still, it seems odd for a game that is clearly marketed toward young kids to be as trying as this title is. Nevertheless, the game has its pluses, and for old and new Astro Boy fans, you could do a lot worse. And for those who just want to experience the unbridled power of shooting hundreds of bullets out the ol' poop shoot, you should know that it's not as fun as it sounds.
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