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ups: Character building, Tezuka's famous characters, art, colorful, well animated.
downs: Some US gamers won't be familiar with the source material.

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Astro Boy: Two Legends Converge
game: Astro Boy
four star
posted by: RJ Brooks
publisher: Sega
developer: Treasure
ESRB rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older)
date posted: 11:44 AM Sat Feb 25th, 2006
last revision: 05:36 PM Sat Feb 25th, 2006

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Click to read.This is the last in a six-part series featuring the work of legendary game developer, Treasure. Click here to read the full series.

Astro Boy has been praised by reviewers since its release in 2003. Another gem from Treasure, Astro Boy shows us why the Game Boy Advance has become the developer\'s system of choice. It is a shooter/platformer in the vein of Gunstar Heroes, but Astro Boy incorporates some character building aspects to compliment the fast action.

While I am not a fan of the Astro Boy anime series, the game makes a lot of references back to the show and its characters. If I was a fan of it as much as I am with say X-Men, then I would have a greater appreciation for how the story is constructed, but it would be a mistake to not recognize the history behind this franchise. Astro Boy was the first major hit manga and anime series from Japan\'s grandfather of manga and animation, Osamu Tezuka. While Tezuka is must less known in the US, he is a major cultural icon in Asia, and Astro Boy has become a cherished character in many other places in the world. On the one hand, the fact that Astro Boy is enjoyable in the absence of any real nostalgia for the tv series or comics is a testament to the quality of game Treasure has created. On the other hand, praise be to Mr. Tezuka for creating such fertile material for Treasure to utilize.

As with most Treasure games, the controls are simple. Four buttons compose the basic actions: jump, attack, and special attacks on the shoulder buttons. From those four buttons come multiple combinations for various combos and special moves, adding an extra level of fun to controlling the main character.

The gameplay is what makes Astro Boy stand out. The way you get to build your character is by meeting new characters in the game, which, in turn, encourages exploration of the game\'s huge levels. And speaking of levels reminds me of one thing players will not complain about: the length of the game. Treasure is slick. Every time you think you understand how they do things, they add something to switch things up a little, and not only that, they justify it within the context of the game\'s story (you will know what I am talking about when you play this game).

Graphically, Astro Boy looks great: It is very well polished with colorful character sprites and excellent animation. The music and sound effects are top notch, something that is a standard from Treasure. Like the character art, design, and story, the music and sound effects are anime inspired, but that is expected given the source material.

Astro Boy is very refreshing and it is a shame it is not a blockbuster seller on the level of the Mario games and other Nintendo franchises. The fast action, high production values, great franchise, and character development all build a remarkable game experience. If you own a GBA (or Nintendo DS), you need to own this game.

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