Astro Boy: The Video Game: A Touch Of Omega Factor

By Spencer . October 26, 2009 . 3:02pm


High Voltage Software tried to follow Treasure’s Astro Boy: Omega Factor formula. Astro Boy: The Video Game has a mix of beat ‘em up and shoot ‘em up stages. Astro even has the same core moves – a finger laser attack, a super arm cannon blast, and even butt machine guns (called “butt cannons” in the game).


But, something felt lacking right away.


Astro Boy: The Video Game doesn’t have the same charm in 2.5D. Part of this may lie in the hands of Imagi Studios, the company behind the Astro Boy flick and the look of Astro Boy: The Video Game. Even if Imagi is at fault, High Voltage created an Astro Boy game with bland backgrounds and boring enemies. You run into the same security guard and mobster robots in different colors. When Astro takes to the sky he fights generic spaceships and dangerous orbs. Thrilling.




Dull enemy design aside, the side scrolling shooting levels are the highlight of Astro Boy: The Video Game. High Voltage designed stages with light bullet hell patterns and a Suguri style dash move which allows Astro to fly right through enemies. Both of these were good ideas that weren’t executed to the fullest. Dashing is really in the game because Astro can’t turn around to attack. When ships appear from the back of the screen, Astro has to dash through them and blast them from behind. The brief moments of bullet hell should be the game’s toughest parts, but in a strange design twist they’re a piece of cake thanks to Astro’s absorb ability. This recovery move clears all of the projectiles on screen and converts them into life. So, whenever Astro gets overwhelmed with bullets he’s actually swimming in life tanks.




Absorbing works the same way during the beat ‘em up stages without being as game breaking. On foot, robots punch Astro more often than shooting at him. Astro can dodge hits by using his invulnerable air dash to get behind an enemy, the perfect place for a counterattack. High Voltage added some platforming elements with bottomless pits, but Astro has nothing to fear. If Astro looses his footing he automatically flies up and out of danger. Logically, Astro should fly, but as a gameplay mechanic it doesn’t work. Partially, because Astro doesn’t fly to a platform, he just goes straight up leaving the player to air dash onto a platform. However, if Astro misses a step he falls down and flies up again, sort of like an android yo-yo.


It feels like High Voltage wanted to make their version of Omega Factor, but then they remembered they were developing Astro Boy: The Video Game for movie viewers and distilled it into a kids game.

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  • I tried this in a store. I share your opinion 100%! RIGHT FROM THE MOMENT YOU START, you _know_ there’s something weird. The floaty jumps, the long ass animation for a punch which can’t be canceled by a jump… and then the platforming levels just sucking hard overall. Try again, HVS.

  • Not to sound fanboyish but…no sh*t it’s not the same. Treasure didn’t do this. It takes a lot to beat out or come to par with something Treasure started a vast majority of the time.

    Then again, there are underlying facts that have to be analyzed for all games but I have a feeling if Treasure were the people behind this, it would be a game that would not end in a negative critique unless it was about difficulty.

  • Aoshi00

    I’m not a huge Astro Boy fan, but I hope the movie turns out to be good (heard box office is Asia is only so-so, imagine in the US…), since I liked Imagi’s TMNT CG film. Still haven’t finished the GBA game yet…

    • cowcow

      I hope so too because I think it’s success is what will determine if Gatchaman will be completed or not so I heard.

      Shame about this game though. I think it fell victim to the usual ‘rush the game out to coincide with the movie’ curse.
      Recently, only X-Men Origin’s Wolverine PS3 game seemed to beat that curse (maybe because the movie was so god awful).

      • Aoshi00

        Yeah, these CGI films take a fortune to make and it’s a huge gamble for Imagi since they’re relatively new, unlike Pixar which has a guaranteed Disney following. TMNT did well if I remember right, I would’ve thought people in Jpn would flock to see the classic ”Tetsuwan Atom” even if Astro Boy might be a harder sell in the US. I do hope they’d be successful and make the Gatchaman movie too, anime are better adapted into CGI films than live action, you saw how Dragonball turned out to be a disaster, not once but twice, don’t they ever learn.

        I haven’t seen the Wolverine movie yet, been on my Netflix queue forever. After playing the game (not done yet, just got to the Sentinel), I wanted to see the movie so bad, guess Hugh Jackson wasn’t ripping people to pieces in that one.. The Wolverine game is total awesomeness, I thought I was impressed w/ Batman Arkham Asylum, now we have two excellent games based on superheroes.

        • cowcow

          Well I also liked Ultimate Spider-Man & Spider-Man 2. Don’t know how I feel about Web of Shadows; only played it for a bit.
          Other than that, I’ve played Watchmen (was ok)
          Then there’s Tatsunoko vs Capcom if you wanna count that :P

          • Aoshi00

            I really liked the Watchmen movie, but the game demo felt boring to me so I didn’t get the game, I know it was just a regular brawler w/ good old Rorschach and Nite owl, still it felt really repetitive.. Spidey has enjoyed some good movie games, I haven’t played the newer ones recently. But a good Batman game was way overdue, I don’t remember when we last had a good Batman game, it must’ve been since the NES side scroller or SNES beat’em up.

          • cowcow

            I never got to play the Batman Begins PS2 game or some of the animated series ones but some say they were decent

  • eliel

    seems like Astro Boy on GBA is still a better game(i really liked it!!)….

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