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|Reference added: 33|
"Treasure used the Buster's Bad Dream engine for the later Astro Boy on GBA."
Using the insane sprite-scaling side-scroller engine that they developed for the little-known Buster's Bad Dream (see entry 33), Treasure tackles another licensed property in violent, sprite-filled style.
Astro's a little dude but you can say this about him: he knows how to kick ass. With his powerful punch, finger laser, arm cannon, and butt-guns (don't ask me), he isn't exactly hard up for ways to drive his point home. He doesn't lack for targets, either: like Buster's Bad Dream, Treasure packs in the badguys here, but there seems to be a lot less slowdown this time around. Yay!
The graphics are superbluous all the way around, in fact, from the colorful, multi-parallax backgrounds to the large and well-animated sprites. Sound is good too, the music is even quite listenable on its own.
And the bosses--oh, the bosses, children. They come thick and fast, packing multiple forms and unique moves that require little Astro to learn some new tricks to beat each new boss. They require a lot of concentration and coodination, but none prove impossibly hard or frustrating--you can always see what you have to do to get through, even if it takes a bunch of trying to pull it off. Top-notch platformer design all the way.
Geez, that about covers it, really. There's quite a convoluted story, and well-written with a lot of humor, too. As you go through the levels you meet people, some forced, some hidden, and each time you "learn" someone's personality, you get to power up one of Astro's abilities. Simple and rewarding, and when Astro is laying down five super-blasts in a row on some screen-spanning boss, you get to say to yourself: see? I taught him that.
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"This boss gets bigger and bigger until you can barely fit in one corner of the screen."
Ah I forgot: Astro really gets around with his boot jets. You can triple or quadruple or more jump as you level up your jet boost, and it lets you go right through enemies. Very nice.