There is a general consensus that video games that are based on movies are typically little more than a cynical commercial cash in and so the emphasis is squarely upon the profit margin rather than providing a gaming experience of worth or value to the player. This may sound a rather unduly harsh and draconian perspective to adopt but the truth of the matter is that when it comes to Astro Boy: The Video Game, this is one description that is well on the money.
The premise of Astro Boy: The Video Game is simple: the player will assume the role of the titular Astro Boy and control him as he flies around the perimeter of Metro City as he tries to thwart the nefarious plans of the various villains and bad guys that pop up within the city. At the centre of all this is the corrupt and brutal president Stone who has an entire army of powerful and ruthless robots who he wishes to make use of for total world domination.
Unfortunately, the gameplay is as jaded and mediocre as the plot itself and indeed, the player will truly struggle to encounter a game which actually failed to engage their interests on any level. After all, the ability to tackle giant robots making use of finger lasers and rather humorously named abilities such as Butt Machine guns should have been a winning combination. In reality? Astro Boy: The Video Game cannot even be described as a guilty pleasure; indeed, one would be forgiven for describing the production of this title as nothing more than a crime.
In an attempt to ensure that the game did not suffer from excessively skewered and unbalanced gameplay, the producers ensured that the player would not be able to rely on the abilities of Astro Boy all the time. Therefore, the player will find that the bulk of their time is spent engaging with the enemy that is present by means of hand to hand combat.
In reality, what this translates as in real terms is as follows:
“Ok, if I defeat another of these generically and blandly designed robot enemies which are all carbon copies of one another with the clumsily designed and sloppily executed combat system, then I may just waste enough time to mean I can reuse my other abilities.”
One of the most curious aspects about Astro Boy: The Video Game is that despite the fact that hand to hand combat is the primary means by which the player will dispatch the enemies on the map, it is very badly implemented. The animations are disjointed and uncreative, not to mention riddled with a number of different bugs that severely skewer and limit their usefulness. The fact that just about any enemy that the player should encounter can be quickly defeated by button mashing is another bugbear for many.
Another major bug bear that many players of Astro Boy: The Video Game have cited is that they object to the fact that the vast majority of the game takes place in platform based levels. Despite the fact that Astro B happens to have the ability to fly at a moment’s notice, it seems that his abilities have taken a vacation in Astro Boy: The Video Game.
The voice acting for all the characters are painfully bad and tedious, and the end result is an extremely amateurish, highly bland and utterly forgettable gaming experience that will be sure to leave a sour taste in the player’s mouth.
As far as commercial film tie-ins go, Astro Boy: The Video Game is the worst.