Pros: Fun gameplay, easy to learn, two game play modes, excellent
graphics, tight controls
Cons: Easy to beat, simplistic gameplay
Astro Boy has quite a legacy behind him. Osamu Tazuka created Astro
Boy in comic book form back in 1960. Even though the series had its
debut just shy over 40 years ago Astro Boy still remains a classic icon
today. The story of Astro Boy is the story of an android created by Dr.
Boynton in 2030 to replace his deceased son. However, he soon sells
Astro Boy to a circus where he is picked up by a Robot Rights scientist
named Dr. Elfun. Dr. Elfun imbues Astro Boy with special powers like
super strength, rocket boots and a caring heart. Astro Boy's adventures
are about him fighting the never ending forces of evil.
Tetsuwan Atom captures the spirit of Astro Boy within the game. All of
Astro Boy's famous powers can be used throughout the game. The game is
actually two games in one. The first mode is a side scrolling beat-em up
game and the second mode is a old school shooter styled game. In the
side scrolling mode Astro Boy's standard attack is pounding his enemies
silly and shooting a tiny laser by pressing up and B at the same time.
The more damage you inflict, the more the green meter above your head
charges. When it's full you gain one use of any of your special attacks.
The special attacks are a "shoot all" attack where Astro Boy shoots a
mass of shots from guns in his leg, a super laser beam attack which
gives heavy damage and a flying charge attack. The super meter charges
really fast and can even charge when a super is being used, which means
you'll be able to use Astro Boy's special powers constantly. In the
second gameplay mode Astro Boy is constantly in flight due to his rocket
powered boots. In this mode you're primary attack is shooting a laser
beam at enemies and you can also use your special attacks too. For both
modes the controls are both simplistic and respond well. L and R are
special attacks B is attack and A is jump, how much simpler can you get?
The enemies in the game come in all different shapes and sizes. Most
enemies are about the same size as Astro Boy, but through clever use of
the scaling effect in the GBA enemies can come bigger and smaller too.
Bigger enemies are easier to hit, but cause more damage. While smaller
enemies are tough to hit since they can duck under the standard laser
attack, but in return cause less damage. There is a seemingly never
ending stream of enemies to beat up. The best part is that the enemies
come with a lot of variation in both the type of enemy and the size of
the enemy. This means you'll have to switch tactics and do some thinking
instead of just mashing the B button to survive. After beating all of
the enemies and the occasional boss you'll complete the stage. The
reward is a cut scene and a status increasing point. This point allows
you to upgrade one of Astro Boy's many features, which include: life,
power, beam, jet and search capabilites.
Don't expect too much difficulty though. It's clear that this game
was designed with kids in mind, so it isn't the hardest game out there.
One benefit of this is that you can jump right into the game without any
tutorials or explanations and know how to play the game. The down side
is that the game is easy to beat and since it has unlimited continues as
well as a save feature. The game could be beaten in a mere number of
hours. Once you get done with the game you can go back and save other
characters from the Astro Boy series to fill up Astro Boy's atomic
heart. Although, this is also pretty easy to do.
Graphically, Astro Boy looks very pleasing. The Astro Boy sprite
looks clean and looks like how he looked in the 1960s cartoons. Granted,
Astro Boy was never as detailed as some cartoon characters are now a
days, its nice to see that he does look like Astro Boy. Astro Boy also
has a lot of animations, all of which are clean and well done. When
Astro Boy is flying around screen, flames spew from his feet signifying
the rocket jets behind him. The clever use of scaling allows the player
to see the detail in the enemy sprites, which are all look well done.
However, the scaling effect also produces blocky on screen enemies,
which is in contrast to clear sprites and backgrounds. The effect is
somewhat muddling, but doesn't look sloppy as one would expect. The
graphics during the cut scenes at the end of a level are all well done.
The cut scenes look a lot like Sonic Battle or any other SEGA GBA game.
The only problem with Astro Boy is that you won't be getting a lot of
replay value out of it. Sure, it's fun to play through once, maybe
twice, but after that the game doesn't get harder and there isn't
anything new to do. This problem is compounded with the fact that Astro
Boy is a short game, those wanting an epic Astro Boy game will have to
wait for the Playstation 2 version to come out.
Gameplay this simple this can be learned by anyone, but the story is
all in Japanese.
Update: This game has a slated release date of Quarter 3 of 2004
for North America. Looks like this excellent game from Treasure won't be
Astro Boy is a game that will entertain almost everyone looking
for a simplistic fun platformer. If you're looking for a game that
is epic and will last forever Astro Boy isn't it.