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Astro Boy: Omega Factor Game Boy Advance

Published by SEGA
Distributed by THQ
Developed by Hitmaker (assisted by Treasure)
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Astro Boy: Omega Factor, an introduction.

The Astro Boy games have long been a favourite of many gamers the world over. Astro Boy began life as a comic book hero (created by Osamu Tezuka) in the 1950's. He later appeared in animated TV shows in both the 1960's and 1980's. Astro Boy will be known to many for the games he's appeared in though on formats such as the SNES and PlayStation 2. Here we have Astro Boy appearing on the GBA and without a doubt it's his finest appearance in a game ever.

What's the game about?

Grief stricken, after losing his son, Tobio, in a car accident, Dr. Tenma, a scientist, decided to create a robot in memory of his son. The robot was no ordinary robot though and had special abilities. The special abilities included 100,000 horsepower strength, rocket-powered feet and a special ability to enable him to feel emotions known as the Omega factor. As you might expect there isn't much of a story for Omega Factor (although the story throughout the game is minimal, it's never tedious) except to say that a war had broken out between the many robots and the humans and our Astro Boy is the only hope for a peaceful resolution.

What's good about the game?

Where on earth do you start with a game of this extraordinarily high quality? The game simply has everything you could possibly wish for in a game. In this day and age side-scrolling action games are a rare sight indeed but Omega Factor is of such a high quality that it deserves to be classified as one of the finest side-scrollers ever created. If had to pick a couple of aspects of the game that for me made it so enjoyable it would have be the range of weapons available and the boss fights which are magnificent. Astro Boy has everything ranging from X-Ray vision to finger lasers, arm canons and rocket-powered feet. Great use has been made of the control system to utilise all of these abilities and even when you have to use a combination of the directional pad and the button it is still easy to do. On to the boss fights then and they really are something special and unless you play on the easy difficulty level they are quite a challenge (at least when you get past the first few they are). What impressed me most with the boss fights is that you seem to need different strategies for each of them. The size of them is amazing too and some of them fill the entire screen. There are other aspects of the game that impress such as the power up system, three slots to save in, the supporting cast of interesting characters and the sheer quality of the levels. It's just a diamond of a game.

What's not so good about the game?

Some may regard the fact that this game ends all too quickly as its only fault. Even then you'll more than likely have to play through again to unlock everything. A first play though will only take around 4-5 hours at the most though which is quite short although playing through on the top difficulty setting will probably take a fair bit longer unless you're an expert gamer. Some battles have a small amount of slowdown (it rarely happens to be honest) but apart from that it's difficult to find fault with the game.

How does it look?

In these days of the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, the GBA is looking more and more dated. However when a developer works to a system's strength it's still possible to have a game that looks great and the developers have done a great job with Omega Factor. The levels have all been designed very nicely and the characters (and enemies) all look great for a GBA game. As we mentioned above the size of the bosses is impressive and some of the animation in these battles is superb. The game looks as good as it plays which is one heck of an achievement.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Omega Factor is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. The games story is told out through text so you'll be able to follow it perfectly. You'll either get a close up of the characters or a picture of the character next to their dialogue so you'll always know who is saying what. As the game begins you're given a small tutorial explaining the controls and it's very nicely laid out and again completely in text. The game manual is well laid out and explains the various game concepts in a clear and concise manner which is always welcome.

Final thoughts.

Astro Boy: Omega Factor is without a doubt a classic and deserves to be owned by every GBA owner. Some may point to the game's quite short length as a problem but in truth you're going to want to play through the game at least a couple of times and I'd sooner take a short game that keeps me playing, over a long game that's simply average. It is non-stop quality action from start to finish and the three nicely gauged difficulty levels mean gamers of all abilities will be able to fully enjoy the game. Whether you're an Astro Boy aficionado or just a fan of quality side-scrolling action games you simply have to play Astro Boy: Omega Factor. It's definitely an early contender for the GBA game of the year.

Overall Game Rating: 9.3/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Astro Boy: Omega Factor is simply outstanding. If you're a fan of Astro Boy or side-scrolling action games then you simply have to own what is one of the best games on the GBA console.