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Death Balloons: The Flash Game

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BEHOLD! Based on one of the stories of Astro Boy/Tetsuwan Atom comes a 2005 flash game!
You're probably looking at the title screen right now, enjoying that funky vaguely-80's techno music...clicking INDEX takes you to the Osamu Tezuka homepage, so don't do that until later. ?BI? (I can't read kanji) takes you to the instructions, which I have below. STORY gives you a STORY, which is basically this:
  • Skunk Kusai is sending out Astro Boy balloons.
  • Destroy the balloons.
  • Good boy.
Now for the title screen buttons...PLAY does exactly what it does. The entire game is in Japanese, much of it with hard kanji, so I can't help you much with the translating. Skunk and Astro exchange words before the start of the game, and I can't read that either.
I must warn you, readers...this game is horrifically frustrating (much like the manga counterpart), and may instill you with more rage than you've had since you saw "Kangaroo Jack". In order to blow up the balloons, you need the lightning skills of Bruce Lee and Jesus combined. Here's a list of the commands you'll need to know...
  1. You can move Astro further and back into the distance with the arrows.
  2. The "SHOT" button makes Astro throw a blue orb towards the target in the middle of the screen, which you need to aim at a balloon. Be prepared for a miss.
  3. "CARRY" makes the target move back and forth, the lock the target in place by pressing it again. If you can make the target lock onto a balloon, fire, then lock-on another balloon, then you are obviously a wizard. Also, ever since I started playing this afternoon, "Voices Carry" has been playing in my head because of that damn button.
  4. Prepare to be grinding your teeth when a balloon encroaches on your green safety line. Maybe attacking them would be better than throwing balls at the supposedly-explosive balloons.
If you lose (and you will), the screen fades to black. Astro's siblings, Uran and Cobalt, will pop out of nowhere and tie up Skunk into an awkward position right out of the Kama Sutra. In the foreground, Ochanomizu will be glaring disgustedly at Astro, you impudent slacker you.

Oh, and there's a bit of voice acting...Skunk and Astro's exchange is shown in kanji-packed speech bubbles, and Ochanomizu says something to the effect of "what the hell is wrong with you". I don't know who's playing any of them, as there are no credits, but Astro sounds like he's being played by the same woman who played him in the 2003 anime.
Having just finished the game, I can tell you that it has four patterns for sending out the balloons, either that it starts by sending out one, two or five. You need to destroy 15 balloons. When you do, Skunk turns into the Hyotantsugi, then you meet two STAGE CLEAR screens, even though there are no more "stages". Come to think of it, CARRY is not a synonym for MOVE.

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