Genre: Platformer Developer: Core Design Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1 Released: 1994
Asterix – who doesn’t t know this fellow with his buddy Obelix? Created and drawn by Albert Uderzo with stories by Rene Goscinny, the Asterix comic books are things that I still hold high and still love to this day. Big eat outs, big fights, and good humour are things you don’t see in comics every day.
When I was little and saw the advertisement of the Master System Asterix game, I bought it immediately. I still own it as of today, and for good reason. The humour is great, the story is simple (like in the comic books), the graphics are colourful and the sound is astounding. That may sound like too much praise for a Master System game for some, but I think not. Go and check it out for yourself.
Years later came the day that I bought a Mega Drive. When it received the game Asterix and the Great Rescue, I just bought it without even thinking. If the 8-bit Asterix game was great, then the 16-bit one must be incredible.
Well, not really. In fact, this review is going to detail just how the opposite is true. From here on, it goes down hill.
As the story goes, this time around Asterix and Obelix are set out to find the druid and Dogmatix, who have been captured by the Romans while wandering in the woods nearby the village. It’s up to the two brave comrades to save them and trash as many Romans along the way as possible. Not the deepest plot, to be sure, but I guess you can’t ask for much in a platformer.
Unfortunately, the problems begin as soon as you start playing. The controls are good and responsive, but the hit detection is horrible. For example, when you swing to attack, you hit straight up, and your reach is almost non-existent. You have to come real close to a enemy to hit him, and more than once you get hit. And don’t even try to walk while hitting an enemy in the back; it’s impossible. You always get hit yourself.
In the Master System game, you could jump on enemies, but that’s entirely gone in Mega Drive version. Roman enemies range from thin soldiers to fat ones and strong officers. There are smaller foes as well, like squirrels, but Asterix can’t hit them, so he has to jump over them. Only Obelix can hit them by using his belly attack, but who cares about Obelix? He’s too big and gets caught by falling bricks, hot oil, and other stuff that you just have to avoid, as impossible as it sometimes is. There is a time limit in each level too, to make it even more awful. You just have to do everything perfect, or it’s a lost life, and you’re sent back to the start. In the game Alien 3 there was also a time limit, but there was enough time to do some exploring. That isn’t the case here, and it just sucks.
The game is divided into six worlds with seven rounds, with the seventh one usually containing a boss. They’re easy and have the same attack patterns all the time, so there’s really nothing to find there. Heck, level four (Germany) doesn’t even have a boss, only some lava that slowly rises, and you have to jump your way all to the top to escape it. In each level there are magic potions that you need to proceed, and you’ll have to scour each one entirely to find the correct potion needed to pass the obstacle and move on. Considering that you only have three lives and three continues in all, this is a pretty mean feat.
The music and graphics come together to form one big mixed bag. The Music is mediocre, and though there are some nice tunes, it gets repetitive very quickly. The graphics are colourful and the character sprites are big. That’s a good point, but it cannot save a game that’s been destroyed by horrendously repetitive levels and bad hit detection.
The final word about Asterix and the Great Rescue is that you should just play the last world by using the password. Those levels have some humour in them, like a food fight at a Roman table. The rounds are also really short, but that’s it. You’ll have more fun reading the comic books than playing this turd. Rene Goscinny has probably been turning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken since Sega released this abomination on us all.