Astro Avenger (PC)

By Casey Bach

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Graphics: 7.00
Sound: 5.00
Gameplay: 7.00
Replays: 6.00

I have mixed feelings about Astro Avenger. AA is a space-shooter game, almost like a mix between Starfox and Galaga. That sounds like a good package, but it comes off feeling incomplete.

One of the reasons that AA gives off such a feeling is the graphical look. It is played from on overhead view, similarly to Galaga or Space Invaders. Not that the graphics are sub-par; they are crisp and sweet. Though the game is technically 2D, the objects are rendered in the 3rd Dimension.

The sound also reminds me of the classic games, and this time it is not a good thing. Of course, all of the basic laser sounds are included. ZAP! TTSSS! BLAM BLAM BLAM! Oh, sorry. Just remembering the sounds I would make when I was 4, playing Star Wars. My sounds are about equal to those of Astro Avenger. As for the soundtrack, it is nothing memorable. A Middle School orchestra would probably play better.

The thing about AA that makes it more than just a graphically-upgraded Galaga is the actual gameplay. Your ship can move left or right, and also up and down. Like Starfox, you will find asteroids and other obstacles in space that you must blast or swerve around. The enemies are also more powerful than old space-shooters, since they also can move in all directions. The size of a ship also determines the amount of blows you must deliver to it.

Astro Avenger has one element that is completely unique: customization. After every kill, you earn money. At the end of each level, you can use your dough to earn new guns. You are faced with multiple choices: do you want a gun with devastating power, but limited ammo? Perhaps you need something with plenty of shots, but that is significantly less damaging? Of course, money is a persistent factor. Even if you want the damaging gun, you probably can’t afford it. You poor, poor, boy.

In all of this, there is simply nothing to keep you coming back. The levels are basic space obstacle courses. Also, I found the customization to be more of a gimmick. It just doesn’t fit in the game; they are trying to bring deeper modes to games that are fun because you blow things up. I mean, did you really care about the dual ships in Galaga? Sure, but you wouldn’t have if the rest of the game sucked. What I’m saying is, Astro Avenger tries to make a genre that was fun because of its mindless blasting and an open-ended, revolutionary game, and it didn’t really work. AA is fun, but it is trying to be something that it isn’t. If you want to check out Astro Avenger for yourself, it is available at http://www.divogames.com/games/astroavenger/index.html for $19.95.

Overall Rating: 6.50

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