Asterix and Obelix XXL (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 28.07.2004

"The year is 50BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely... One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrison the fortified camps of Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium..."

It is likely that if you bought this game you will have recognised the previous paragraph as the introduction to every single Asterix and Obelix comic ever. Developers can only have been aiming at these hardcore fans, as they certainly weren't trying to impress any gaming fans, or if they were, they have most certainly failed on every level possible. Maybe that sounds a bit harsh to you, but trust us when we say, you want to stick well clear of this title. Anyway we are getting a little ahead of ourselves now, you the valued reader; surely deserves at least some reasoning behind our opinions, and so you will have them.

Let us begin, switch on your GBA and you will be confronted by an Atari logo, some credits and then the language selection menu, on which we must credit the developers, as there is certainly a wide variety for all you linguists out there. From here you will want to start a new game, (although after reading this review, you may not). You have two modes accessible to you, the main 'XXL Adventure', as well as 'OB-SLEIGH', which simply allows you play through previously completed levels. Kick starting the main adventure will activate a series of cut scenes, with visuals that might confuse you into thinking someone has put effort into the game, this thought soon dissipates though, so don't worry. Each time the text you are forced to read reaches the end of the screen, you must press A for the next scene, which also triggers the background music to restart, meaning you only ever hear the first 10 seconds, over and over. If you manage to bring yourself to actually read what is being said, you will pick up on some 'interesting' plot elements that will 'help' you later on in the game, we recommend against reading this.

Screenshot for Asterix and Obelix XXL on Game Boy Advance

Looking around your first level, nothing seems awful, a relatively pretty sky background image that hides behind the completely flat trees. You control Asterix to begin with, but a simple press of the select button, magically swaps the two over, through some sort of pulley system by the looks of things. The differences between the two are subtle, Asterix being the smaller one can run faster, and Obelix the fat one, can punch harder, now we never saw that one coming, oh no. Moving swiftly on, we have the 'fighting system', this could be summed up in two words - 'button bashing', in fact never before has the statement been any more relevant. Many games use this method to help beginners get used to the controls, before developing more advanced techniques, that however, is not the case here. If only because, there is nothing else you can do with one attack button. Having said that, there are combos that can be unlocked as you progress through the game, by gaining money, (in the form of Roman helmets) you can buy these upgrades and use them when the combo bar fills, (simply when you have defeated enough enemies, using your immense punch ability). Although when you find the merchants who sell you these abilities, you are stuck with a dilemma, to buy the combo upgrades, or to buy health upgrades? The latter is often a preferred choice for reasons that we will discuss shortly.

Screenshot for Asterix and Obelix XXL on Game Boy Advance

The health system in the game is measured in shields, rather than hearts or what have you. Most enemies will take away one quarter or one half of a shield with every successful attack. You start the game with three shields, and this can be dramatically increased by the end of the game, (should you ever mange to witness it). Both Asterix and Obelix share the same 'Shields', so there is no killing off one character then using the other, a method that games such as Donkey Kong have used to great effect in the past. This brings us to an element of the game that despite presumably being placed there on purpose; acts as one of its biggest downfalls. When all your hearts are depleted, you must restart the level, now that doesn't sound particularly bad, this is often the case with many games, but in this particular instance, it could mean the difference between wanting to play the game, and wanting to strangle someone. Picture this if you will, you have been steadily working your way through a level for some time, making sure to collect every item and kill every enemy, going for that elusive 100% grade, awarded at the end of each level; only to be stabbed by a small Roman guard, and have to repeat the entire thing AGAIN. Trust us when we say, there will be little inkling to do so, in fact your more likely to become rather aggressive and do something you might regret, such as throwing your GBA across the room. (NOTE: This is merely speculation, we can not vouch that this would happen, or ever has of course...)

Screenshot for Asterix and Obelix XXL on Game Boy Advance

Hold on though, it gets 'better', not only must you restart the level after being killed, you must also do so should you accidentally walk off the edge of the world, or even a small cliff; into water, which you can swim in normally. It's these moments that quite happily claim high places in the 'Most annoying gaming moments ever' awards. This wouldn't be such a problem either if it weren't for the fact that Atari decided to include numerous platforming sections in the game, just simple jumping from platform to platform causes major hassle, something it should never do in any game. Due to the extremely lacklustre visuals, accurately judging these jumps comes more down to luck then any form of skill. Thus you will often find yourself taking that leap of doom into some crevasse or other, which also means, you guessed it; starting the level over again. Of course none of this would be a problem if the game was even remotely fun to play. Think of your favourite game for example, and whether or not you would mind restarting a level once or twice, as long as you were getting that enjoyment from playing. We doubt anyone would mind this within reason, unfortunately Asterix and Obelix XXL sucks any possible pleasure out of the game with the awful graphics, gameplay and to be honest anything except the sound, which just about reaches the average mark, depressingly making it the games best feature. Trust us again, when we say that is nothing to be proud of for the people involved.

Screenshot for Asterix and Obelix XXL on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 3 out of 10


This game couldn't be much worse, without Asterix and co, the game would have nothing to appeal to anyone at all. Avoid this like death itself, in fact no, it's worse than that. After playing this death will seem like heaven on earth in comparison....









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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