No Shirt * Rocket Shoes* Fan Service.
Well, actually, the famed manga/animé cybernetic boy hero (sometimes called the ‘Mickey Mouse of Japan‘) has managed to get himself something of a wardrobe upgrade—a shirt at the very least to cover that pedo-tastic bare chest of his, for the benefit of uneasy Western audiences. This is just in time for the simultaneous October release of his forthcoming movie and the D3 Publisher videogame.
[image1](READER NOTE: On the off chance you’re not at all familiar with all the fuss about this ‘Astro Boy’ character, or why you should care, here’s a decent and reasonably-concise catch-up for you.)
Based on the film—rather a ‘reboot’ of the original manga/animé franchise—Astro Boy is touted as a ‘2.5D’ action-platform game, puttting players in the shoes (well, rocket-boots) of the pointy-haired, big-eyed robotic boy wonder created by Ministry of Science Doctor Tenma. Created in a grief-fueled attempt to replace his deceased, actual, flesh-and-blood son, the ‘failed experiment’ is quickly, callously passed off to Professor Ochanomizu. Astro Boy’s considerable abilities and personal arsenal become evident… and we’ve got ourselves a game!
The game focuses on Astro Boy’s one-boy struggle to combat the waves of robotic baddies of the Peacekeeper, who wants to take over Metro City or stomp it flat, or both. Our cybernetic hero packs several varieties of heat and other technology, including Finger Lasers, Drill Attacks, and the classic Arm Cannon, and can also hover in or boost his way through the Metro City skies with his trusty boot-mounted thrusters. Astro Boy’s, um, ‘arse’nal even includes the ever-so-subtly-named ‘butt-guns’… which are machine guns mounted precisely where you think they are. Um, what’s the rating on this game, again?
[image2]If you’re familiar with the gameplay style of titles like Mega Man or Ikaruga, and you’re hip to pick-ups that auto-magnetize to your character (in the vein of Ratchet and Clank), you’ll have a decent idea of what to expect with Astro Boy. In addition to the run and gun and jump and hover ‘on foot’ segments, there are some purely aerial challenges in the game that allow for the use of all weapons and abilities except no-frills punching.
Astro Boy also features the voice talent of Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell, who reprise their roles from the motion picture. In a nice fan-service workaround (of the deliberate decision of Astro Boy‘s non-canonical new duds) the classic, iconic, and shirtless Astro Boy is still available as a special unlockable in the Wii, PS2, and PSP versions; along with the other costume options of a ‘movie’ costume and another outfit unique to arena gameplay. For the PSP and DS versions, the three costumes can be unlocked in single-player mode.
All platform versions of Astro Boy and his major motion picture will be available in October. Extreme Irony Alert: Japanese gamers will be limited to a single platform of the Astro Boy game—specifically, the PSP version (we’ve confirmed this through D3 Publisher). Try not to think too much about this regional-release oddity; you’ll only hurt yourself.