Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Astro Boy - Omega Factor review (GBA)

Since I've started to play Gameboy Advance games again, thanks to Mr. Gnome, there's one particular title that caught my attention and later revealed itself to be nothing less than one of the best, if not TEH best game on the machine. I'm talking about Astro Boy.

Hey, where are you going? No, I shit you not, beyond the cute aspect of the game, which is due to it being based on the Japanese animated series of the same name, lies a fucktastic game! This is no surprise, really, since it's developed both by Treasure (Gunstar Heroes, Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga, just to name a few) and Hitmaker (Virtual On, Crazy Taxi).

This game really has a lot to it. For instance, what other action games do good, this game does great. The control system is almost perfect. With just 4 buttons, combined with the d-pad, you jump, use your jets, dash, punch, kick, use your laser and use 3 different special attacks.

In addition to the side-scrolling action levels there are also stages where you control Astro like in an horizontal shmup, which is always good for variety's sake.

The graphics are another of the highlights of this game, being almost too good for the gameboy. You'll see what I mean when the frame rate drops due to the number of enemies on the screen at the same time. Both the enemies and the backgrounds are varied and detailed, making this one of the most good looking games running on the GBA.

But there are two things that really stand out in this game, due to the fact that they're not so common in the action genre, and those are the longevity and the story. The first one is kind of a surprise, because when you think you've just beat the game, you suddenly realize that you're not even half through it. This is done in a great way, since this twist really keeps you motivated until the very end.

The story, on the other end, is a surprise in many ways. Not only it's way more present that in most games, where it's just an excuse to justify the action, but it's also a pretty elaborate one, and if at first it seems really straight-forward, it then builds up upon itself, with a load of plot twists that keep you hooked up and just near the end you start to see the full picture, realizing that some events that seemed insignificant at first after all made all the difference.

Another interesting thing is the fact that it talks about some serious things, like human nature, coexistence between humans and robots, and other topics that one doesn't expect to see in a game based on a cartoon. Definitely not a kid's story.

So, I hope I convinced you all to try this game. If you have a GBA you need to play this game, simple as that, and even if you don't have the machine you can always download an emulator and the game in 10 minutes, so there's just no excuse not to play Astro Boy Omega Factor.

Do yourself a favour and play one of the most amazing portable games ever created.

Related posts: Orcs & Elves review, Simpsons Road Rage GBA review, Sega Smash Pack GBA


  1. You are absolutely right and eloquently so, which makes you ..uh.. well-written correct I guess! :)

    Another brilliant post. Thank you so absolutely much.

  2. Well yeah! I'm convinced! I'll be looking out for this title...

    Gnome, I think Nebachar is "The One" like Neo in the Matrix... Every blog he touches turns to gold...

    I am happy just to stand in his shadow and gaze in awe...

  3. Good to see Tezuka's creation holding up well. Astro Boy is, of course, a Pinocchio story, which I think is just an inherently good story. (The original Pinocchio was very allegorical and more serious.)

    I have considered this game before, but this review has convinced me to pick it up. And since we're about to head out on a road trip, I think the kids will like it, too.

  4. guttertalk, this is actually the 3rd time someone says they're going to buy (or not to buy) a game influenced by my reviews. Good to see I'm making a difference ;)

    Father K, what? In my shadow? You and gnome are my blogging heroes! Everything I do is based upon your acts, I'm your humble disciple in the fine art of blogging!

  5. You're very obviously mocking us poor ol' athritic souls dear Nebachadnezzar...

  6. I shit you not! Let's put it this way:

    First, there is Segata Sanshiro, our deity.

    Then, there's Racketboy, the blogging hero of them all.

    Then, there's Father K. and gnome, my greatest companions of the whole internets, who taught me everything I know about blogging through their acts and gave me the opportunity to write for such fantastic blogs.

    And then there's me, the novice blogger who doesn't even have a blog of his own, and tries to make a difference with his reviews.

    Now seriously (not that the text above is a not true), you may not have yourselves in great account, and see others as your "blogging heroes", but your blogs were two of the first I've ever read, and it were you two who laid me a hand, inviting me to participate in your own projects, so, at least for me, you two are some of the damn finest bloggers I've ever had the pleasure to know!

  7. *FK wipes a tear way from his eye...*

    What a fantastic tribute! Thanks N! :)

  8. (wipes FK's tears)

    (wipes one tears)

    (takes a bath)

    (bakes a cake)



  9. I want a slice of that cake...