Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review #136: Asterix and Obelix Kick Buttix

 Yet another game I loved when I was younger, reviewed today!
 Remember Asterix? Yeah, you probably don't. It began its life as a comic book, but managed to get a few animated adaptations. While they reached my eyes when I was younger, Asterix never took on, still, whenever I caught it on TV or came across the comic book in libraries, I'd spend my time on it. Asterix and Obelix Kick Buttix is an action/adventure game based on said comic, released for the PS2 and Gamecube, did it manage to make the license justice?

 Caesar, the main antagonist of the franchise, has raided the village of the Gauls while Asterix and Obelix were out, taking everyone captive to different parts of the world. As luck would have it, a Roman spy defects to Asterix aid and informs him of what happened, and ends up helping him save the rest of the Gauls. The story is very plain and simple, but it doesn't aim to be much more, and they got the personalities of the characters right, at least as far as I could remember, even though the supporting cast only gets little screen time. Bonus points for basing the enemies on the enemies from the comics.
 Controls are very simple, square attacks or performs context sensitive actions(Like pulling, pushing or grabbing items), X jumps and triangle performs a grab on dizzy enemies. Successfully hitting enemies raises the combo bar, once filled you can unleash special combos, provided you bought them from the vendor. Combat is very basic, and at times dull, but it seems the developers thought it was better than what it is, so many a times certain objects pertinent to your objective will become inaccessible until you defeat a certain number of enemies. Twenty enemies is alright. Forty is pushing it. By the end of the game, it will be locked behind over hundreds and hundreds of enemies, had the combat been more engaging, I wouldn't have minded, but in this game it's just obnoxious. Later in the game you can purchase the Twister combo that will thin out the enemies in a matter of seconds, I'd complain that it makes the game too easy, but in this case it's a godsend. Also, some enemies will decide to be extra annoying and will run away from you for reasons unknown, them being faster than Asterix makes finishing off 40 of these cowards quite a chore.

 Most of the time you'll play as Asterix, with Obelix on tow, Obelix's AI is alright but he takes no damage which is a plus. When you are not fighting, you'll be exploring and puzzling, and at certain times the game will switch control over to Obelix. Obelix plays basically the same as Asterix but with less Combos. Regardless, a ton of the puzzles requires switching between characters, having the game make the switch for you makes them a bit easier than they could be. As for the levels themselves, they are five in all, very colorful and lengthy, plus, they house a wide variety of collectibles and secrets, exploring levels is very fun. Among the collectibles, there are 51 Golden Laurels, getting every Golden Laurel in a level will unlock a costume for Asterix or Obelix. Controls are alright, but movement feels a bit wonky since Asterix and Obelix move with very exaggerated, floaty motions. The camera is a bit unwieldy, being a bit to sensitive, and when it moves by itself it tends to pick the worst camera angles it can. Finally, each level has a boss fight at the end... except that it's the same boss, but with additional obstacles. That's right, the same boss has to be defeated using almost the same strategy. The last boss is just two of them, very original of them, huh!
 Graphics are fairly good, all characters look just how they should, and levels are very pretty and varied. However, animation is terrible, it seems they were aiming for a cartoonish feel to the movements, but they didn't get it quite right, the end result looks off. The game has a few very good tunes, but the rest are kinda bad, plus, the game sometimes decides that it'd rather not play any background music. Voice acting was passable at best, Obelix being one of the worst.

 It seems as if I've mostly bad things to say about it, but the game is more than the sum of its parts, it actually manages to be fun when you are running and jumping around levels, it's when the game decides to push combat onto the player, locking them in those four hundred man fights when it's at its worst.
 5.0 out of 10.

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