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Astro Boy: Omega Factor

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Released: 2003

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Game Boy Advance

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Treasure

Submitted by: Ryan Davies

Oy, "adventure" is such a vague genre, right? I mean, this game certainly follows an adventure, but it's more of a beat-mupp, or a shoot-mupp, and yet it looks like a platformer. Adventure it is then? Yes, it's a GRAND adventure!

Probably the first instance of amazing-ness experienced with this one is when the Game Boy Advance is first turned on, with the list of companies that flash across the screen: Nintendo, SEGA, Sony, Treasure, Hitmaker, it's like everyone has come together to create this grand realization of gaming in its most vitriolic sense. Well, that's how I like to think of it anyway.

So yes, there's your boy, your astronomical boy, your astro boy. He's a Pinocchio for the robotic age, or something. Likes running round in his underwear. He's very strong, has a finger-laser, an arse-mounted machine gun, and rocket boots. Whenever he makes a friend, he gets to upgrade any part of his body that he wants to, which is just lovely.

A lot of stuff in this game is lovely, like the graphics and the sound and the time-travelling and the story, which incidentally manages to include characters and locales from just about every title in Osamu Tezuka's canon of work. Fans will (figuratively speaking) wet themselves meeting characters from Phoenix, Metropolis, Jungle Emperor Leo, Black Jack, The Amazing Three, Buddha, and probably loads more that I don't know about.

There's a lovely little difficulty curve, obviously with greater rewards depending on the higher the difficulty setting is, and it's around fifty times better than that Gunstar Heroes "sequel" that was also out around the same time as this.