Astro Boy Review

Slower than a speeding bullet but more powerful than 1,000,000 horses, Astro Boy is a little-known superhero from the land of the rising sun. His big eyes, round nose and emphasized hairline are hardly the ingredients for a robot super child. Encounter this guy in the air and you’ll wish he looked meaner. Then you wouldn’t have to feel silly when he blasts you out of the sky.

Developed by Sonic Team, the PlayStation 2 version of Astro Boy is entirely different from its GBA sibling. His attacks are mostly the same, but the game world is in full 3D. Wanna dash to evade your opponents’ attacks? You can do that – but who needs a dash move when you could fly out of the way instead? Once Astro Boy gains his special flight boots (which he acquires thirty seconds into the game), the left and right analog sticks become your flight control system.

The thing that really killed the experience was the enemies. I wanted to have to work really hard to beat the game. I wanted to have to strive for success, dodging enemy attacks as if my life really depended on it. That’s the kind of action Astro Boy: Omega Factor gave us on the Game Boy Advance. The PS2 version had a bigger budget and a larger, more prestigious studio at the helm. Yet for some reason or other it didn’t come together.

Gameplay: 5.5

Astro Boy is a flight action/adventure game that doesn’t have much action. That leaves flying and adventuring. While Astro Boy does the flight part pretty well, he doesn’t fly as fast or smoothly as he could (and should) have. His aerial battles aren’t as fun as they look.

Graphics: 5

Washed out, dated effects that can’t compare to Sega’s other PS2 offerings.

Sound: 7

Much better than the GBA version. Astro Boy’s sounds are less annoying, and the music is fairly decent. Not Sega’s best, but it sounds better and more original than most of what’s out there.

Difficulty: Easy

Beat a boss, go to the bathroom, and come back. “What was that? Go to the bathroom?” Yes. Movie sequences come frequently and some can last a really long time. Why waste all that time sitting there when you could be going to the bathroom, getting a snack, or mowing the lawn?

Concept: 8

Great flight aspect, great idea, great promise. How could it not have worked?

Overall: 5.5

Astro Boy is slow enough for players to mistake it for a first-generation PSone game. The dated graphics are unappealing; the enemies act like shooting range targets (you can shoot them but they don’t shoot back); and the control scheme, the one thing that really set Astro Boy apart from the crowd, is messed up by numerous inconsistencies. I think they could have fixed some of the control problems just by using the shoulder buttons more. I guess we’ll never know.

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