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Astro Boy: Omega Factor Review





Developer: Treasure Publisher: Sega
Release Date: August 17, 2004 Also On: None

Tezuka Osamu’s Astro Boy has to be one of the greatest anime magnum opuses ever created. I have long loved the entire series, but with the news that two Astro Boy games were announced, I felt unsettled with the possibility that the games might bring shame to my beloved classic. Just look at the Dragonball series. Over 30 games, yet only few deserve the title of being a Dragonball game.

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Astro Boy is the story of a robot boy who is named Astro. Created to keep the peace in the futuristic planet, Astro has a heart of gold. Equipped with super power jets, and remarkably strong weapons, Astro is a peacekeeper not to be fought against. Whenever disaster strikes, robots are blamed for it. Astro still won’t let go of his dream that humans and robots can live peacefully together. Surprisingly, Treasure decided to show most of the story shown in the series. That means any newcomer to the show will easily understand everything because it explains a good deal of events and information. What’s even more amazing is that Treasure didn’t decide to butcher up the story! I almost felt as if I was watching the real show. Bravo, Treasure. Bravo.

AB: OF is a beat ’em up game, with the Astro Boy feel to it. Pressing A allows him to jump. Pressing B allows him to punch. Pressing R allows him to use his arm cannon. Pressing L allows him to use his machine gun (which surprisingly comes from his butt). The most unique feature about the machine gun is that it has the special ability to stun your opponent. Double tapping left or right on the D-pad allows Astro to use his jets. Using his jets not only allows him to move faster, but gives him a couple of seconds of invincibility. Pressing A while in midair will allow Astro to use his jets to go even higher. Pressing Up+B allows Astro to use his Finger Beam, which is a long beam that comes from Astro’s finger. Pressing Down+B allows Astro to kick, which can be very useful sometimes. Let’s say there is a long line of enemies, you kick the leader of the line, and it knocks him back and starts a domino effect on the line. Pressing A+B allows him to perform EX Dash, where Astro uses his jets to ram into any opponent in his way. You can only use the arm cannon, the machine gun, and the EX Dash a limited number of times. Though they can be extremely useful sometimes, but you shouldn’t waste them all. However, you can increase the number of Supers (one of the three weapons that you have a limited supply of) you can use. Every time you hit an opponent, whether it would be a kick or a finger beam, a bar fills up. When that bar fills all the way, then you get another Super. The fighting system has to be one of the deepest as well as enjoyable systems I have seen in a long time.

What is just as amazing is the way Astro levels up. Unlike games where you level up if you beat a certain number of opponents or if you beat a level, Astro levels up when he fully understands new people. In each level has a certain amount of people that you can meet in the game. The amount of exploration in each level is up to you. Sometimes when you meet a person, you won’t fully understand them. You have to find a way to fully understand them for you to level up. Once you can level up, you have the choice of leveling one of six categories. The first category is your life, which when leveling it up increases your life points. The second category is your punching, which increases the amount of damage when you punch, kick, and perform your EX Dash. The third category is your laser, which increase the amount of damage and size of your finger beam and arm cannon. The fourth category is your shot, which increases the amount of damage and length of time that your enemy is stunned when you use machine gun. The fifth category is your jets, which increases the amount of distance traveled when you use your jets to dash or when you use the EX dash. The sixth and final category is your sense. When you level that up, your ability to see and sense things are increased. There are some stages that are dark or foggy, but if you leveled up your sense, you won’t have that problem! While you may not notice it until you actually play the game, I can tell you this is one heck of a unique way of leveling up.

The level design of this game is amazing. Tons of action, unique ways to getting to the end of each level, and tons of little secrets are in this game. There are a great variety of levels. You’ve got your normal levels, you’ve got your flying levels, and you’ve got your boss battles. The bosses are just as fun as the other levels. The bosses are challenging and unique, and a lot of them remain true to the series.

Graphic-wise, the game is OK. The cutscenes are well done, and Astro is well animated. The real flaws in this game are the enemies’ models. They attack very differently, but they look very similar. A lot of the enemies have the same model, just with different colors. Some of the more powerful enemies are just enemies that are enlarged.

The sound is also pretty good, just not anything worth mentioning. The gameplay really took me away from the sound (just not the graphics). However, the sound did add to the whole Astro Boy feel to the game. Overall, the sound was good, just not amazing.

Replay is the key to the game. It took me 8 hours to complete the game the first time. You then have the option to replay the entire game, except now the cutscenes will be a little different. Playing it through the second time will allow you to learn more information about what is going on (i.e. you learn more stuff about the ‘bad guy’. You also get to see a better ending. There are also different difficulties, which also add to the replay value. And trust me, hard mode is very hard. It is very easy to get over 25 hours of fun gameplay in this game.

Putting up with the average graphics and better than average sound, you will have an extremely fun game on your hands. Astro Boy: Omega Factor is one of those rare games that actually might make you an Astro Boy fan. Of course, Astro Boy fans will like this game just as much, if not more than your average Joe will. Huge Tezuka Osamu fans will also notice some characters from his other works. Astro Boy: Omega Factor has all the markings of being the ‘GBA Game of the Year.’? Don’t miss this, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun game to play.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9.1
Written by Simon Review Guide

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