Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Adam Riley 06.04.2005 12

Treasure is famed for its highly impressive work on a number of games over the past two decades, especially in the space shooter and side-scrolling platform genres. Be it games like Guardian Heroes, Ikaruga or even Wario World, the expertise found within the team is immense. Therefore, when Sega announced that it was teaming up with Treasure to create a new title based on the Astro Boy franchise, mixing both shooting AND platforming, people were obviously excited. But does the mix work?

There is a reason for Astro Boy’s being – his father could not cope with the loss of his dear son and therefore pledged to bring him back from death and make him into a robotic child with super-human powers. But as this is all being explained to him, and the intricacies of his abilities laid out in front of him, a kidnapping takes place and Astro Boy must leap into action and go on a rescue mission.

The Game Boy Advance is often criticised for being nothing more than a portable version of the Super Nintendo. However, that is most definitely a generalised viewpoint as some magnificent results have been achieved on the little 32-bit platform. This is very useful for this particular type of game as Treasure has a track-record of not exactly being graphics-shy and with Astro Boy the team has gone overboard to push Nintendo’s portable to its extreme limits. This game certainly will not be losing anything in the way of presentation that is for sure! First of all there are the characters themselves, with their 2D nature, but 3D ‘round’ feel, then there are the hectic backgrounds that you travels across throughout the adventure and the wonderful enemies and bosses that bombard you. Multiple enemies come flying at you in one go, with bosses that can fill the screen, scaling between smaller and larger sizes. However, there is a little trouble with slowdown when too much is going on at once, but it is still a mighty achievement compared to what has been done before on the system.

The same level of negative comments are aimed at the sound capabilities of the GBA, but again there have been certain games that have just blown the competition out of the water, even managing to compete with home consoles in terms of sheer quality at times. Again Treasure has some extremely talented musicians within its close quarters and they have come out in full force to provide a stonking soundtrack that belies the poor quality of the audio output usually expected. Everything pumps out with a pleasing futuristic feel that suits the on-goings ideally. There is nothing particularly outstanding, purely because it is all of such a high standard. With a few voice snippets and sound effects in-keeping with the whole ambience you will not be turning this one down!

Treasure’s background really does proceed it when it comes to both the space shooting genre, as well as the side-scrolling platform style of title. Therefore, the idea of placing the two together is quite an interesting and intriguing one, which could go either way. However, thanks to the wonderful and skilful members of the team the final result is one of that works extremely splendidly. No troubles, no hassles, easy to get into and enjoyable right until the end.

But I suppose that is not quite enough explanation, though, is it? Okay, if you insist…The whole adventure starts with a little training section that walks you through the various abilities and manoeuvres that are available to you whilst controlling the cute little hero in small pants with dodgy hair. Astro Boy is quite a talented little robotic child, being able to blast away at enemies in a variety of ways; he can shoot a large blue beam out in a straight line, fire out bullets around the screen, or simply punch and kick his way through the hordes of on-coming enemies. The blue beam can be devastating to large groups of foes, whilst the bullets prove most effective when there are multiple enemies all over the screen. Also, string together punches and kicks and you end up with some lovely combination moves. Quite pleasing indeed.

You start off by wandering left-to-right across the colourful locations, waiting for enemies to come charging at you in a rather Final Fight fashion. Once dispatched you can proceed to the next part of the stage, ready for the next onslaught. This works very well, as it is very reminiscent of hi-octane arcade action that keeps you on your toes throughout. Lose your concentration on this game and you can kiss your life goodbye. The beauty of this as well is that it is perfect for gamers looking for a pick-up-and-play experience without too much commitment, as in RPGs for instance.

The action does change on certain levels, though, with Astro taking to the skies for some side-scrolling shooter fun. This works exceedingly well, moving around blasting at flying creatures attempting to sap your lifeblood. And once you have come across new characters in the game you can increase specific attributes to protect yourself on later levels, with you choosing between whether you life goes up, defences improve, weapons’ fire becomes more deadly, and so on. This amount of freedom of choice is a welcome addition and helps you feel like you are tailoring you own game. No worries to be found here, apart from the slowdown issue, which is not too much of a distraction anyway.

Difficulty could have been an issue in such a style of game, after all Treasure’s Ikaruga was rather short-lived with just five levels. Yet in that case the extremely hard settings and excellent amount of replayability helped to extend the game immensely. That is definitely the case here, as you can fly through the seven stages on Easy setting, but there is an incentive to go through again on Normal and Hard as there are so many characters to meet, which help boost your abilities and give you various extras, as well as extra scenes that were not available the first time round. But you have so much trouble on the higher level, just like with Ikaruga that only the toughest will survive. Dare you step up to take the challenge?

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Treasure really has hit the jackpot with this little gem. Astro Boy successfully melds shooting, platforming and a little bit of arcade action together in one tasty little package. At only

Developer

Treasure

Publisher

THQ

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Very nice review Raz, sounds like a great little game!

Shame I was going to get a review copy of this but THQ decided otherwise, ah well maybe another time.


Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

Sounds like a great game. I've been seeing pretty cheap around various stores so I'm sure gonna pick it up! :Smilie

I downloaded this a while back and absolutely adored it. Big explosions, side scrolling fighter, suit me up...in very little...

'Tis indeed a smashing game that has unfairly been overlooked, just like It's Mr Pants and Banjo Pilot...

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

It's

I want this game so badly, been getting great reviews everywhere.

Wow. That's suprising!

What, that I've given yet another game a high score, blizz? Smilie Just a run of luck... Smilie

Masterhunter - bloody excellent find, thanks for letting people know! And Dark_Link, time to either pop out and buy it cheap or be underhand and 'do a Sharpshot' (which C3 doesn't condone, of course...ahem)

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

wow, astro boy=good game :-o i would never have guessed :P

Considering how abysmal the PS2 version is, I think many people wouldn't have guessed! Shame that the PS2 version was the one that got the most backing, then when it was found out how terrible it was, the GBA version was shunned immediately! :roll:

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Yeah, sucks when things like that happen to the poor ol' GBA. :-(

It is a shame, like Banjo-Kazooie getting completely ignored! :sarcy:

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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