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School of Game Development

 PLATFORM: PLAYSTATION 2
A TALE OF TWO ASTROS

hat the hell went wrong here? Astro Boy on GBA is one of my favorite games of recent months, and will deservedly turn up on a lot of critics’ year-end "best of" lists. On the other hand, this ugly PlayStation 2 title will be a massive disappointment to fans of Sonic Team and Astro Boy alike.

Sonic Team’s been on a terrible cold streak in recent years, and this title demonstrates the same dearth of ideas and lack of technical accomplishments that is fast becoming the developer’s new trademark. Seriously, people, it’s time to invest some money in technology and get a decent graphics engine and camera system. The amount of time you have to spend tweaking your viewpoint with the shoulder buttons is ridiculous, an unwanted flashback to early 3D platformers like Gex and Spyro the Dragon – simply inexcusable. Graphically, aside from some neat bosses and a few cool effects, this is drab with a capital "D."

Yes, it is cool to unlock Astro’s various powers. He’s a great little character for a video game. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a "game" built around him here. It’s just a long series of boss battles interspersed with dull cutscenes and pointless flying around. It’s like they didn’t want to bother to build levels, so they just came up with some battles and left it at that. Sorry, but that’s not good enough, and it’s pretty pathetic that this console version gets completely overshadowed by its GBA counterpart.  



MATT MILLER   6.75

Clocking in at barely a full day’s gaming to complete, Astro Boy still manages to have some incredible special effects and a smorgasbord of boss battles. In fact, most of the game is little more than a string of loosely connected story events used as an excuse to fight another giant rampaging robot. These battles, oddly enough, are most reminiscent of the memorable Zone of the Enders series in both style and execution. In the end, I found the game to be mildly charming, but unlikely to entrance me for more than a weekend.

5.5
CONCEPT:
Take an anime icon back to the top in a 3D action game
GRAPHICS:
Aside from some cool bosses and explosive effects, this is pretty damn lackluster
SOUND:
The music is great and sounds amazingly like Slayer, or at least it did after I got wise and put on a CD
PLAYABILITY:
It’s functional, but this is as bad a camera as I’ve experienced lately
ENTERTAINMENT:
Pick the vastly superior GBA Astro Boy for your anime pleasure
REPLAY:
Low
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