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Video Game / Astro Boy: Omega Factor

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Astro Boy: Omega Factor (Known in Japan as Astro Boy • Tetsuwan Atom: Atom Heart no Himitsu) was based on Astro Boy, released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance after the anime's 2003 reboot. It was developed by Treasure and Hitmaker and published by Sega. Many consider this game a massive aversion of The Problem with Licensed Games, and a fitting tribute to Osamu Tezuka.

The storyline starts off by following the 2003 anime, but soon diverges from it by adding elements from several other Tezuka stories. Dr. Tenma, brilliant robotics expert, rebuilds his son as a robot after he is killed in a horrible car accident. When he realizes Astro is not a true replacement, he abandons Astro and disappears. After being adopted by Dr. O'Shay, Astro develops a sense of justice and sets out to resolve problems plaguing the relations between humans and robots.

In terms of gameplay, this is a Beat 'em Up where Astro can jump and air dash (he's invincible while dashing). Astro has a basic punch combo, although he may freely kick enemies away or fire a finger laser. He also has access to three special attacks that he can build energy for.

  • The Arm Cannon, easily the strongest weapon, but leaves Astro wide open to attacks from behind.
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  • The Machine Guns mounted on his lower backside will clear the screen of all projectiles and temporarily stun all enemies, but is the weakest.
  • EX Dash has the smallest area of effect and the hardest to aim. But Astro will attack while dashing, juggling enemies everywhere as he hits them.

There are also a few Shoot 'em Up levels where Astro exclusively flies. He relies on his finger laser for offense, but can dash and use his specials normally.

Despite excellent reviews, this game was mostly passed over for the Playstation 2 game developed by Sonic Team and this fell into obscurity. However, those who did play the game loved it. The Astro Boy game for the Nintendo DS based on the American CGI film is inspired by this one, but unfortunately, it is widely considered to be inferior in every aspect.


Tropes used:

  • Absentee Actor: The game includes as many characters as it can, even if only for minor cameos, but Gourdski and Spider, the two doodles Tezuka loved to use for cheap gags, have no cameos in the game. Tezuka's avatar doesn't show up, either.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: There's no mention of Tenma being neglectful towards Tobio and he didn't sell Astro to a circus. His ambition to create a God-like robot is also ultimately portrayed in a positive light.
  • Air Jousting: The battle with Blue Knight consists of a series of QTEs where he and Astro fly towards each other, try to land a hit, then turn around and repeat the process until one of them falls.
  • Back from the Dead: Astro and Nuka are revived by Phoenix after they die in the final chapter.
  • Bad Future: After a time travel adventure, Astro Boy returns five years later to a world where the Robot War has left earth scorched and uninhabitable. His attempts to fight for justice in this environment are too little too late. On later cycles, he narrows the error level down to a more manageable 3 months.
  • Beating A Dead Player: In the moonbase stage, if you get killed, gravity will take a while to let Astro's body stay still on the ground. In the meantime, enemies will keep attacking Astro as if he were still moving.
  • Berserk Button: Drake completely loses it when Astro inquires about his long-lost daughter Prime Rose, whom he believes to have been murdered by a robot. After this exchange, it becomes even more critical for Astro to uncover the truth of her supposed death before Drake can enact his campaign of revenge.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In the 2003 Astro Boy anime, the character Epsilon was gender-swapped to a female. That's the version featured here, but all the English text in this game refers to her as a male like the manga's original.
  • Boomerang Bigot: True to most of his incarnations, Dr. Tenma openly views humans as weak and helpless, and feels that only a robot like Astro could truly guide them beyond the darkness. Cruel demeanor aside, it's pretty apparent that the loss of his only child really took a serious toll on him.
  • Boring, but Practical: The spin kick that ends a combo and blows most enemies away can be used anytime by pressing Down+B and is usually the best offensive option when Astro is being swarmed. It's not flashy or powerful like the Machine Gun special move, but it costs no meter to perform.
  • Boss Rush:
    • "World's Strongest Robots" pits Astro against the five strongest robots in the world. A change from the Manga, where Pluto fights the world's strongest.
    • "World's Greatest Adventure" pits you against Magnamite, the Artificial Sun, and Carabs in one single stage. After that, you face off against Sharaku and Garon.
  • Butt Cannon: Astro Boy has machine guns installed on his butt, which stun and damage every enemy on screen at the cost of a bar from the special meter.
  • Character Customization: The game gives no guidelines as to where to put your upgrades, but you'll max out by halfway through Rebirth if you find everyone. The only required customization is having Level 3 Sensors when you get to Black Jack's house.
  • Charged Attack: Astro's beam cannon can be seen charging whenever the special is activated. It conveniently freezes time during the animation.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: You can tell the properties of each enemy by their color. Blue enemies fire projectiles and Red enemies have all attacks of their kind on top of not flinching to any attack but the machine gun.
  • Combos: The game counts combos up to 10 and this acts as a score multiplier. However, racking that many hits is difficult because you're required to chain air dashes between each 4 melee attacks with great precision.
  • Composite Character:
    • Rag and Blue Knight are merged into a single character and both he and Deadcross are now "played" by Rock, though originally they were just one-shot characters. Furthermore, Rock later finds redemption and love and decides to stay in Mu, becoming the version of the character from the movie Marine Express.
    • Pook, the shape shifting robot from the Crucifix Island story is merged with Pick from Majin Garon, while his working unwillingly for Skunk parallels Denkou (who also appears in the game but only as a minor boss with little role in the plot).
    • Nuka combines elements from her original 80s anime incarnation as well as Prime Rose's Death Mask, Bem from the original series' Earth's Last Day storyline (humanoid control system for a weapon of mass destruction) and Mitchy &/or Tima from Metropolis (created on Duke Red's orders using the power of Omotanium, plugged into a machine that can affect the sun).
    • Rainbow Parakeet is merged with Sherlock Homespun, the cyborg detective from the original Artificial Sun story.
    • In terms of his fighting style, Montblanc is actually mostly Brando, a different character from the World's Strongest Robot saga, retaining only his namesake's chicken-like appearance. Something of a necessity, as the original Montblanc was a pacifist who didn't even try to fight Pluto before being killed by him, whereas Brando was a robot wrestler but one wonders why they didn't just use him to begin with.
    • Sharaku as the game's Big Bad is mainly based on the Evil Overlord of Marine Express but in a post-ending scene, he becomes the original version of The Three-Eyed One.
    • Shadow, a villain from the 2003 anime, appears in the Bad Future as the leader of the robots. He turns out to be Sharaku in disguise.
  • Continuing is Painful: Downplayed. Your score is reset upon continuing... but you're also given full life and special attacks (no doubt a relief considering this game's difficulty), in contrast to Treasure's Gunstar Super Heroes and Advance Guardian Heroes.
  • Cowardly Boss: Denkou spends the entirety of his fight running from Astro while dropping timed bombs. He's also invisible and untouchable until Astro slaps a certain amount of devices set around the looping room.
  • Crossover: Starring Astro, with other characters from Osamu Tezuka's star system showing up as support characters and villains.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Blue Knight and the world's strongest robots become allies on the timeline where they do not explode by Astro's fist.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Pluto is the final boss of Birth. He even has the same music as the True Final Boss.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Non-sexual variant. The robot/human conflict in the Antarctic appears very similar to the segregation debates and Civil Rights Movement in the 50's and 60's. As well it should, considering the original manga story it's based on was written during this period.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Drake broadcasts his message to Nuka, ordering her to initiate the Death Mask and obliterate all robot-kind so her father won't die, on all world channels.
  • Downer Ending: The first playthrough ends with Death Mask killing Astro and all other robots on Earth. Fortunately, after this, the player is given the ability to shoot for a far less depressing ending.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Astro has to use the Time Skip liberally in order to set right all that is wrong. He eventually achieves an ending far brighter than most versions of his story, with good outcomes for practically everyone.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Drake's love towards his daughter Prime Rose and his grief over losing her is what drives him to be racist against robotkind and commit crimes against them. He peacefully surrenders once he learns Rose is cured of her disease and explains to him what happened.
  • Fantastic Racism: Anyone in the game who's actively seeking to destroy robotkind, most notably Drake and Rock. And this is not limited to the evil characters either, as not all of Astro's allies see robots as true equals.
  • Final Boss: Garon, a giant composed of "living metal" that is being controlled by Pook under Sharaku's orders.
  • Foreshadowing: Kin Sankaku and Skunk found Pook while digging for the secret treasure of Mu. At the end of the game, it's revealed that he IS a part of the secret treasure of Mu — Garon.
  • Giant Mook: You'll often find both tiny and double-sized enemies through the game, which gets rather odd when it comes to the human ones. Naturally, their attack power matches their size.
  • Grotesque Cute: Nuka while in Death Mask form. A disturbing face-shaped ship with her usual sweet personality.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Astro eventually gets the ability to warp to any point of time in the loop he wants to go.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Some of the hidden Omega Factor characters are frustratingly hard to find. While Level 4 Sensors help (Astro will point out when a character is in a given segment), you'll still be spending a lot of time looking around. It doesn't help that at least one (Magma) is required by the plot.
    • An entire subplot is initiated in a rather unintuitive manner: by repeating the tutorial level, since that's the only place barring cutscenes where Astro interacts directly with Dr. O'Shay (Astro will confront him about Dr. Tenma). Made worse by the fact that the game discourages you to do so to begin with by having O'Shay ask if you've forgotten the basic controls when you start.
    • The Blue Knight duel. You can't just press the button, you need to keep holding it down until the joust ends.
    • Kennedy will only tell you the whereabouts of Dr. Black Jack after you beat Blue Knight in the Antarctic duel, drive Sharaku off Fire Vase Island, and fight Atlas once more after hearing Drake's motive.
    • Figuring out how to damage North at all in his first phase. Hitting him only results in his arms blocking you, and using your laser causes him to unleash a powerful and nigh-unavoidable counterattack. You actually have to hit him first, and then use the laser on his eyes while one of his hands is still out.
  • Hard Mode Filler: The second half of the game is the same levels as the first half again, but with tougher enemies, and you have to find a hidden character in each one.
  • Have We Met Yet?: How Pook is introduced. Later on, when Astro is transported back in time to Mu, it's Pook who doesn't recognize him. And in the New Game+, when you go back to the moment of their first meeting, they recognize each other.
  • The Hero Dies: Astro dies in the first ending as a victim of Death Mask. Fortunately, for him, he's resurrected.
  • Hit Points: By the three-quarters point of Rebirth, they stop mattering, as enemies are often able to kill Astro in two or three hits anyway.
  • Hollywood Atheist: One important quest has Astro proving wrong an archaeologist, Boon, who doesn't believe in anything that cannot be proved by science. By calling up Magma who is very advanced and is somehow neither animal nor machine, according to Boon himself.
  • I Am a Monster: Atlas describes himself as one in Birth.
    Atlas: Just look at me! I'm neither fully human nor fully robot! I'm a monster.
  • Immune to Flinching: Red enemies are never stunned by attacks (except for the machine gun). Purple enemies also have this property, but they are much rarer.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • After having his true self reawakened, Atlas takes full responsibility for Prime Rose's disappearance, even offering his life to Drake. Instead, Drake abandons his hatred for robots and asks Atlas to watch over his daughter.
    • Played with with Duke Red; he was the one to commission the Death Mask as a last resort if robotkind ever took up arms against humanity. After his near-fatal encounter with the vengeful Blue Knight, he realizes that he bears much of the blame for why a fallen hero such as he would come to resent humanity.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Astro fights several heroes/investigators who think Astro is a criminal, or they're the type who fight first and ask questions later.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Adding someone to the Omega Factor restores your health. However, each health recovery only works once and this seriously unbalances the difficulty of subsequent playthroughs.
  • Lighter and Softer: The game reads like a Fix Fic from people who felt bad for all the suffering Astro endured in the original manga and its animated adaptations, but his road to triumph is a hard one nevertheless.
  • Lucky Seven: Astro's Seven Super Powers are fittingly called his "Seven Forces" here. Pook plays the role of Seven Force in this game, but he only displays 4 forms in his boss battle regardless of difficulty mode and a fifth one later as the final boss.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: On Stage 6 there is no way to pierce the guard of enemies who are raising their shields.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Has all of Tezuka's characters as cameos.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Rag used to be Rock's substitute in his presidential meetings until he became tired of being used as his puppet and got ordered to shut up when he began to questions his anti-robotic policies.
  • Musical Gameplay: A minor example. While hitting enemies into each other does produce increasingly high-pitched xylophone sounds, they're not particularly synched to the music or anything else.
  • Murder by Inaction: Sharaku abandons Astro to his demise the first time the Death Mask is activated.
  • New Game+: The entire second half of the game is reached after beating it once.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Rock's murder of Rag in the original timeline ends up triggering a world war between humanity and robots. By the time Astro returns to the present, or rather five years after the fact, the majority of the planet has been destroyed and even with the activation of Death Mask, human civilization is effectively shattered.
  • Nintendo Hard: As in other Treasure games, you get a nice overpowered moveset, but the enemies are relentless. On Hard, enemies will tear about half of your HP with the lightest of attacks, you can have only 3 Supers, and there are MANY things that can kill you in a single hit. What's worse is that there are very few recovery items in each chapter and some of them are supposed to be the level ups that only work once.
  • No Final Boss for You: The first time through the game you cannot access the final stage. Finishing the game again lets you access The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Obviously Evil: Subverted. Drake has an Evil Mustache, but he wasn't always as bad as all that, as we later find out...
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: Kennedy, Unico, and Mars are just off-screen when you start certain areas.
  • One-Hit Kill: Many enemies and most bosses in Hard Mode can defeat Astro in one hit. Even in Normal mode, the giant roboid in stage 0-3 will kill you with one strike.
  • Palette Swap: The games does this with every single mook and even some mid/mini-bosses, to differentiate their attack patterns and properties.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Dr. Tenma delivers one in the good end, rousing Astro to lead humans and robots to a bright future. Before that, Black Jack delivered one to him, talking about how important emotions are for humans.
  • Peggy Sue: After the first run through the game, Phoenix saves Astro and grants him Time Travel so he can Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Phlebotinum Bomb: The Death Mask is capable of firing Omotanium-powered beams that destroy electronic components. It uses this to exterminate all robots on Earth during the first ending. This beam is an instant kill during the second fight against Sharaku.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Time travel (the Stage Select) is how Astro saves the world.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The original "Black Looks" crooks in the Astro Boy manga wore masks that looked like odd blackface-looking creatures. This version where they work for Deadcross simply shows them with regular human faces hidden by their hats casting some shadow. Their character sheet even specifies that their mask was redesigned for this game.
  • President Evil: Rock starts off as this when he actually does become President of the Antarctic in the alternate timeline; he gets better though.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Duke Red as the International Councilor. It becomes darkly ironic that he, a champion for the rights of robotkind is also the man responsible for the creation of the Death Mask in the event of a robotic uprising against humanity.
    • Dr. O'Shay is a far more rational and understanding man than his disillusioned predecessor, Dr. Tenma.
  • Robot War: During the five years Astro was absent due to traveling to the past, the robots declared wars on humans, principally due to avenge Rag's assassination, which resulted in 80% of the earth being destroyed.
  • RPG Elements: Understanding a character's personality lets Astro unlock some of his true potential — health, attack power, number of times he can dash, and how good his super senses are.
  • Sanity Slippage: Drake suffered this big-time after he was led to believe that his daughter had been killed by a robot while awaiting treatment for a highly fatal disease. He only gets worse after Astro confronts him with this fact, and is willing to murder Duke Red along with himself in order to enact revenge on all robotkind for his loss.
  • Scoring Points: The game has various high score and best time tables for each level on the three difficulties. It also records if you were able to beat an chapter or the entire game without dying. Your combo meter acts as a Score Multiplier which goes up to 10 (4 B hits, finger laser, special attack), so you should use your specials every now and then to their best effect.
  • Shadow Archetype: At one point Astro claims that Atlas is this to himself, saying he's gone mad from his grief and sorrow as opposed to controlling his emotions as Tenma intends them to.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The second half of the game as Phoenix revives Astro and sends him back in time to make sure Death Mask doesn't activate and kill all the robots. With knowledge of the previous timeline, Astro does things a little different this time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In addition to Tezuka works, the game is jam-packed with references to previous Treasure game Alien Soldier. For examble, the Artificial Sun has been redesigned to resemble one of AS's minibosses and Majin Garon fights almost exactly like Z-Leo.
    • References to Gunstar Heroes are present: the background in one level features buildings that have signs reading "Gunstar", Pook refers to his different forms as "Forces" (similar to the Gunstar Heroes boss Seven Force), Astro's six main stats plus the Omega Factor are called "The Seven Forces", and the ending theme is a slightly slower version of Gunstar Heroes's ending theme.
    • The Mu level has a secret alcove containing an enemy with a face exactly the same as the Clancers from Mischief Makers.
  • Shown Their Work: The unlockable Character List gives descriptions of all the characters and explains how they were adapted into the game.
  • Solar CPR: After the battle with the game's True Final Boss, remains of it end up corrupting the sun. Astro has to send over a remnant of Death Mask/Nuka in order to restore it.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Nuka, who willingly sacrificed herself to stop herself from detonating by asking his creator to dismantle her in Astro’s First Love and dies for good, gets resurrected by the Phoenix after sacrificing herself alongside Astro to save the earth in this game, getting a happy ending as Astro carries her back home.
  • Stealth Mentor: Dr. Tenma's ultimate goal is to get Astro to become stronger by overcoming adversity.
  • Sword of Damocles: Death Mask was created to be this, in order to prevent robots from destroying humanity. This is why it is the biggest obstacle to Sharaku's plan to conquer the world by instigating a robotic uprising.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Garon would be invincible if its pilot didn't occasionally open his cockpit to check on the outside for no reason.
  • Taking You with Me: Drake attempts this with Duke Red after taking him hostage, after his bid to blackmail Nuka into activating the Death Mask to annihilate all robots on Earth fails. He is only stopped when his daughter Prime Rose reveals herself to be alive and well, having been resuscitated at the last possible moment by Dr. Black Jack.
  • Talk to Everyone: In the second half of the game, the player needs to find and talk to certain NPCs in a specific order to reach the following levels. You're bound to need a guide.
  • The Stinger: After "The End" appears, wait several minutes without pushing any buttons; and a short scene will give Sharaku's Factor.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After Daichi's reawakening after Prime Rose's successful revival, Dr. Tenma returns his original body to him, frozen in stasis and thus granting Daichi, aka Atlas, the chance to return to his former life.
  • Time Travel:
    • The main element of the second half of the game. Astro needs to travel through time to figure out how to save the world and who the mastermind behind the war is.
    • In the first ending, Sharaku confesses to Astro that he's one who has already destroyed many timelines due to his vile actions forcing Death Mask to kill all remaining robot live, before abandoning him by travelling to another timeline where he couldn't be affected.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Atlas, or rather his true self Daichi had taken Prime Rose from the hospital while disguised as a robot to fulfill her wish to see the moon. During their voyage, he had suffered fatal exposure to Omotanium and was thus recreated into his current self, without any memory of his former life. It is this fateful encounter that directly leads to Drake's quest to destroy robotkind in order to avenge his daughter, who he believed to have been murdered.
  • Video Game Dashing: Astro can cancel most of his moves into an invincible air dash, but it still has a small delay you must account for.
  • Video Game Tutorial: It's skippable, but if you do, then you actually miss out on an Omega Factor upgrade at the end.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first proper boss, Magnamite, is a huge target that kills in three to four hits and must be dealt with very carefully. When it is low on health, it starts jumping all over the place to crush Astro against either edge of the screen. This kills in one to two hits and is done so fast that is practically enforces the use of super moves to finish it off.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The stoplight and giant spider minibosses in the beginning are quite predictable and don't do a lot of damage.
  • Wham Line: Duke Red reveals the true nature of Death Mask: "Nuka is Death Mask."
  • Wham Shot: The appearance of Death Mask, who then proceeds to destroy Astro and all robots on Earth. Just when it seems that all is lost, you are given a second chance by the Phoenix.