Atomic Betty
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2005-12-01 GBA Platform E (Everyone) Namco / Big Blue Bubble

If you're familiar with the cartoon, Atomic Betty needs no introduction. But if you're not, Betty could be your everyday girl, but she has a big secret: when the need arises, she becomes Atomic Betty, Galactic Guardian and Defender of the Cosmos.

Atomic Betty for the GBA is a very cute and simple 2D platform game, where you will gain control of three characters per level, each possessing a different skill.

The game starts as Betty's cat runs off with her homework. Betty and her friends Noah and Paloma will go through the school trying to find the different pages of her homework. Each team member has different abilities. Noah can pull or push boxes onto key spots, Paloma can slide through narrow openings and Betty is the only one who can play the basketball game to retrieve the pages.

The basketball mini-game is actually really cool. It's drawn like a sketchbook and you have to adjust the angle and strength of the shot according to Betty's position. It's a bit of trial and error until you get the hang of it. Early levels only require a shot of two out of six tries, but in later levels you have the same number of tries but four shots to make.

After recovering all the pieces of her homework in a certain school level, Betty receives an inter-galactic call for help. Here you will be transported into the Hyper-Galactic Star Cruiser, dodging or shooting asteroids and collecting weapon power-ups.

Once at her destination, she teams up with Sparky and X-5 the robot. X-5 has the computer hacking ability, and his mini-games include dodging firewalls, a frogger-style game picking up keys to unlock doors and a Pong type of game where you pick up certain spheres (files). Sparky can roll through narrow passages and use his jetpack to reach higher grounds.

Going through the school or space levels is a teamwork process. You will only accomplish it by using all three characters in a certain way. For example, place someone on a switch so another character can go through and find another way for the rest to pass. Some of it requires a bit of thinking first, so watch the map first and take in consideration what each character can do for you to progress.

At the end of each level with Sparky and X-5 there will be a boss. The way to beat the bosses isn't that obvious at first, so don't worry about losing all your health in the first try to see how things work. You will have to use one of Betty's special skills to defeat them, and they vary from level to level. She can kung-fu fight, extend punch, grapple, place someone in a bubble and use an ice hockey stick After defeating all the henchmen, Betty will battle the evil Maximus himself.

My little quirk with the game was the lack of a saving option. Instead, each time you complete a level, you are given a password in the shape of four character images. Write them down if you're planning on playing again later, or it's back to the beginning for you!

Atomic Betty is clearly aimed at younger gamers, but especially to those who enjoy the cartoon. The controls are fairly easy and the game offers quite a few different mini-games. It could have used more music variety though, as the existing music gets a little repetitive too fast.

Overall, Atomic Betty is not a bad game. I enjoyed it a lot, and I had low expectations for it. Unfortunately, it's a short duration experience.

Special thanks to Kit Ellis and Namco for providing a copy of this title.