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Title:
  Astro Boy - The Videogame

Platform:  Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 2, Sony Playstation Portable

Developed by:  High Voltage Games

UK Distributor:  D3 Publisher

ELSPA rating: 12+

Original Retail Price (SRP): £29.99 (Wii), £19.99 (PS2/PSP)

Reviewer:  Matt Dark 
 

Set to tie in with the recent Astro Boy movie, High Voltage attempt to bring the movie to the consoles in this latest in a long line of games based on movies.  With their promise of classic platform action and exhilarating flight-combat, is this game worthy of your attention?

To be blunt, not really, no.  After starting up the game, and watching a cut-scene taken straight from the movie, you are thrust straight into the game.  The game itself generally falls into a simple system, run through a stage until you come to a large opening, fight large near-eternal waves of enemies and then move to the next area, repeating until you either reach a boss, or a flying section.

The basic combat is fairly plain.  One button focuses on melee attacks, another for ranged attacks, such as Astroís arm-cannons.  What starts off as a few enemies at a time, quickly turns into spam-fest as enemies swarm in from both sides of the screen, with each different type having its own way of firing.  With horizontal bursts, arcing shots and even a number of homing attacks, the game forces to try and wrestle with its controls as you go between dodging a hoard of bullets and attacking enemies.  To make matters worse, the enemies themselves seem to be able to take a huge amount of damage before they go down.
 

The platforming sections between the fights are not up to much either, due to controls that donít feel very precise, its more then easy enough to find your self going too far after a jump.  Fortunately, the game gives you an endless supply of lives, so you just have to try again from the last checkpoint, which are thankfully placed at regular intervals.

The flying sections are probably the best part of the game, even it feels rather repetitive.  The game feels like titles such as R-Type, as you automatically advance through the level, shooting down enemies as you avoid their own attacks.  The only problem here, is that all the

 enemies basically drift from one side of the screen to the other, only posing a threat if you keep yourself directly in their path.

Along with his standard attacks, Astro has access to a number of special moves, from a high-powered laser-beam, to a flurry of bullets.  But while these seem like a useful feature at first, they generally have little effect, most enemies will easily survive a single special attack, and are more then likely to stand-up to a second.  The only special of any use is the ability to heal yourself, which you will rely on constantly if you want to survive this game.

This is just a very poor game, which barely follows the plot of the movie, as it creates its own scenarios in a poor attempt to explain why everyone if fighting you.  The graphics themselves arenít up to much.  While Astro himself is at least recognisable, the game looks like something from the early days of the PS2, the characters look blocky and pixelated and most of the enemy attacks are just multiple palette swaps of an energy ball.

This game is one to be avoided, and one that the developers should have looked at before they decided this was good enough to release.


Extras

There are a number of unlockable extras in the game, including alternate costumes for Astro.  These are unlocked by finding hidden items in the game.

Ratings

Game: Extras:

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