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    jp's Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA)

    [February 28, 2006 09:09:01 PM]
    This will be a first and last entry for this game since I started and finished it while the site was down.

    My expectations for this game were rather mixed. It had REALLY good reviews, in particular from publications I respect. On the other hand, it's a Treasure game. This implies that it should be really hard and catered to really hardcore gamers. (the kind that laugh at my wimpy scores in 2D schmups).

    Yes. The game is really hard, normal is nigh impossible. I must have cleared about 10 levels on this dificulty before realizing that there was no way I would ever finish it. I was effectively stuck and forced to start over. No big deal really since playing on easy is, well...easy!

    This game is nothing really special. The main focus is on all the boss fights. Each of them has a particular attack pattern you have to learn and then you move on to the next. All the stuff in between is pretty much filler (on easy!). So, is this game special? Yup. It has something REALLY cool that had me smiling, nodding my head and thinking, now, that's a neat idea! This game plays nicely with notions of time, temporality and continuity in a game.

    In a "typical" game (say, a Mario platformer) there is some kind of "storyline" in which you play a bunch of levels that follow from each other. Your "story" is basically the tale of your journey from the first level all the way until the end of the last. Your journey defines the temporality of the game. (it took you so long to get from A to B and X amount of time passed in the world of the game).

    However, that prety simple idea gets really messy when you add the fact that you can effectively replay all the levels whenever you like. Sometimes you can discover new secret areas and what not. In the grand scheme of things though, the temporality of the game is supposed to be the same. The timeline shouldn't be affected by the fact that you decided to "go back" and replay a level...including boss fights..again.

    Astro Boy plays with that entire idea. <>. Basically, you play the game once and die in the end. Irrevocably. However, a phoenix appears and tells you that you deserve another chance, and blablabla and then sends you back in time (so you can change events and prevent the story from when you first played the game). So, now you have the power to travel in time. So, you start playing the game again, from the beginning. But, hey! Some things are different! The story begins to change! Your knowledge of the future (which you're trying to change) changes the way some characters talk to you...and trigger different events and changes along the way.

    So, you get to the end...and fail. Well, not really. You realize that you actually have to go back again, to certain specific levels to try to tease out where the real enemy is hiding (he can also travel in time and has thus been able to manipulate somethings...). You need to track him down by visiting certain levels and talking to certain characters in order to "discover" where the enemy is hiding. (this also unlocks some special stages).

    So basically, this game has 1 storyline...but you have to play the whole game three times in order to unravel it...and re-playing levels is handled as travelling in time. (which is why the NPCs always react to you the same...unless you've changed something earlier so they react differently).

    Cool idea...and food for though on some of the work we are currently doing with the Game Ontology.
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    jp's Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 10 February, 2006

    GameLog closed on: Monday 20 February, 2006

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Average game with some nice game design ideas. I'd check it out and play it on "easy". Trust me.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See jp's page

    See info on Astro Boy: Omega Factor

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA) by GlitteWing (rating: 3)


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