ASTERIX / Konami / Arcade


he Adventures of Asterix is a comic series that has been huge in Europe for decades, particularly in France, but has gained almost no following whatsoever in North America despite English language translations and attempts to popularize it here. The comic stars a couple of Gauls, who were up to no good, when the Romans made some trouble in the neighborhood. They got in one little fight and their mom got scared and said "You're moving to the region of Western Europe approximating modern day Belgium and France."


This licensed game by Konami was surprisingly released (in very limited numbers) in North America in spite of the total lack of following or awareness of it here, and likely even hardcore arcade goers in the 1990s never saw this or had a chance to play it until MAME rolled around. Konami seems to have done their usual quality job in capturing the art style and zeitgeist of the original property in a beat-em-up form, similar to what they did with TMNT and The Simpsons.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it's just the unfamiliar characters or maybe the fact that it's limited to two players only, but this game just doesn't seem as fun as either TMNT or The Simpsons. To be fair, this could also be personal bias as I didn't play this one until long after I'd gotten tired of similar beat-em-up games.

The one thing I can say is that the production values are very good and the gameplay is solid, and I'd imagine that both fans of Konami's arcade games and fans of the Asterix comic will be at least fairly pleased with it. The release falls in between that of TMNT and The Simpsons, and appropriately it's more visually impressive than TMNT but not as "wow"-worthy as the Simpsons was in its day. It also has more of the extreme simplicity of the TMNT engine -- just a basic attack, jump attack, and mashing both buttons together for the special life-draining attack, as well as throws when you are close up (though Asterix and Obelix having different jump attacks, with Obelix just flattening the foes with his huge belly, is a nice touch.) Nothing quite as complex as the Simpsons unique tandem moves, unfortunately, and the enemy roster is not nearly as varied.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video