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jfe2
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Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by jfe2 Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:44 pm

I took my son to see Astro Boy over the weekend. He's only two, but ever since he saw the commercial for it on TV, "Astro Boy" are the only words that I've heard coming out of his mouth. He loved the movie, and my wife and I actually thought it turned out to be pretty decent. There was enough action to keep the kid happy, and enough humor to keep us amused. I've never watched the Astro Boy anime before, or read the manga, but I have played the Astro Boy: Omega Factor game for the Gameboy Advance. After watching the movie with my family this weekend, it totally gave me the itch to go back and play it again.

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Astro Boy was developed by treasure, which right off the bat should tell you its going to be fun. The game is mainly a side-scrolling, platforming, beat-em-up game, with some of the levels wandering off into the horizontal 'shmup category.

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In the beat-em-up parts of the game, Astro Boy can punch and kick his way through enemies, as well as having the abilities to shoot a laser from his finger for ranged attacks, and being able to fire a machine gun that pops out of his butt to hit everything on screen. Yes, that's right, he has a machine gun stored in his butt. He IS a robot, so its not as disturbing as it sounds, but still... In the 'shmup parts of the game, Astro flies horizontally across the screen uses his laser finger as his primary attack. It's not the most in depth 'shmup gameplay ever, but it IS enjoyable. These segments keep the gameplay from becoming stale by offering up something different every once in a while.

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Yeah, it all sounds a little weird, but it actually fits in with the rest of the bizarre world this game takes places in. Astro Boy takes place in a world full of robots and talking animals, so machine gun butts sort of fit in. Astro Boy is a robot who was created in the image of his creator's dead son, and is treated more as a weapon than a sentient being. During the course of the game you fight terrorists, travel through time, fight aliens, and run the gauntlet against some fellow robo-sapiens. The story is a bit complicated, but I assume fans of the source material would probably love it. I wasn't totally sucked in by the story, but it was entertaining enough to keep me wondering what was going to happen next.

The tone of the game reminds me a lot of Megaman, which is one of my favorite game franchises ever. The side scrolling aspects are similar, and the characters share a lot of similarities, which was one of the things that drew me to the game in the first place.

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The graphics are bright and colorful, and the sprites are really fun to look at. Some of the enemies are just giant versions of the smaller guys, and they look a bit blocky, but they don't look horrible, just kind of out of place. The game does also suffer a bit of slowdown when there are tons of enemies on the screen. It is a bit annoying, but isn't necessarily game-breaking. It actually makes the game feel more retro to me, as most of my favorite games from the past also suffered from a little bit of slowdown. Remember Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts for the SNES? That was some hardcore slowdown!

Astro Boy: Omega factor is an enjoyable game, and was a real pleasure to play through again. It gets rather difficult near the end of the game, and presents a solid challenge for anyone who may be looking for an old school style beat-em-up. If you've been looking for something that plays like Mega Man meets Gunstar Heroes... meets a little bit of R-Type, then this game deserves your time.
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Breetai
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by Breetai Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:08 pm

I've got to concur with you that this game is of very high quality. It's probably my favourite GBA game, and definitely one of my favourite platformers as well. I've played through it a few times and have enjoyed it each time.
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by Hatta Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:48 pm

I actually happened to check this out today. Only played for a little bit but it does seem pretty good. I think it suffered a bit for cramming so many functions onto the two GBA buttons. B to punch, down + B to kick, up + B to fire, etc. It's a real shame the GBA didn't get more buttons. I'd probably get used to it if I played longer though.
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by sevin0seven Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:59 pm

I actually love this game. It's like Mega Man who can fly. Plus it also helped that I used to watch the classic cartoon. Great review!
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jfe2
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by jfe2 Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:32 pm

sevin0seven wrote:I actually love this game. It's like Mega Man who can fly. Plus it also helped that I used to watch the classic cartoon. Great review!


Thanks man! Yeah the whole Mega Man similarity is what initially compelled me to buy it. I think I picked it up for like $3 at a Gamestop, along with Ninja Five-0 for around the same price. I knew they were rare, but I had no clue how fun they would be!
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Hobie-wan
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by Hobie-wan Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:55 pm

jfe2 wrote:I think I picked it up for like $3 at a Gamestop, along with Ninja Five-0 for around the same price.


Lucky bastard. I thought I got a steal when I got a bare cart for about $25. :mrgreen:
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PresidentLeever
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by PresidentLeever Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:15 am

Good review. I bought this around the time it was released and was pretty impressed with it. It looks stunning for a GBA game, and the boss battles are extremely challenging and varied. It did get a bit tedious at times though, as you only have a few ways to attack and the enemies take lots of hits later on. When the game opens up completely I was pretty fed up with it, but maybe I just built a bad character.
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by Ivo Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:33 pm

I'm bumping this as I played this game recently and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It is also mentioned in some of Racketboy's articles, such as this:
http://www.racketboy.com/retro/nintendo ... -gba-games

The game is really good, both in the platformer/brawler levels and in the flying levels. The flying levels also split into some of which are almost traditional hori shmup, and others (which include some of the main boss fights) where Astro Boy can turn left and right.

It has an overarching plot which borrows from different stories (and characters) by Astro Boy creator, but appears to be overall original and ends up being kind of consistent.
It really looks like a work of love and homage to Tezuka's work, although I only have a superficial knowledge of Tezuka's work - and it is becoming quite clear that Mega Man's own plot is heavily inspired in Astro Boy lore.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by Gunstar Green Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:24 pm

Akira Kitamura took from a lot of his favorite anime and manga like Astro Boy (the most obvious inspiration) and Casshern (one of the last things Kitamura requested before he left Capcom was to give Mega Man a robot dog).

One of the reasons why Omega Factor is an over-arching Tezuka celebration is because of the way Tezuka's manga and anime often worked. He had what was called, "the Tezuka star system," and treated his characters like they were real life actors so oftentimes his characters would appear in different roles throughout all of his works. It's really fitting that Treasure decided to do something that paid homage to this.

Anyway yeah, I wouldn't hesitate to say Astro Boy: Omega Factor is the best beat 'em up on the GBA, at least in my opinion.
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Re: Astro Boy: Omega Factor review

by TSTR Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:20 am

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