The Joy of Gaming with jfe2

Posted on Nov 8th 2009 at 04:25:01 PM by (jfe2)
Posted under Astro Boy, Omega Factor, GBA, Gameboy

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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I'm a 23 year old husband, father, and gamer. This blog is an outlet for all of the random gaming thoughts that I have, and will also allow me to express how gaming impacts my life. And yes, the blog's title is a Bob Ross reference... That'll be our little secret.
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