#13 Asterix and Obelix: Slap them all!

#13 Asterix and Obelix: Slap them all!

December 4, 2021 0 By Owly

Asterix is a French comic book series dating back to the fifties. It was written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo. Each comic starts with the same introduction…

The year is 50 BC. 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…

Asterix the Gaul was the first volume, released in 1961

These loveable heroes survive the Romans thanks to a magic potion, brewed by Getafix, their druid. Even the smallest of sips grants the user temporary superhuman strength. Every Asterix adventure is full of action and humour, making it one of the most popular comics in the world, being translated into no less than 111 languages. The first volume released in 1961 sold 6,000 copies. The sequel sold 20,000. The third entry sold 40,000. The fourth release sold 150,000. The fifth book sold 300,000. Skipping ahead, the ninth outing sold 1.2 million copies…in the first two days.

The success of the books has spawned 18 films, 15 board games, and 40 video games.

Asterix The Board Game, released in 1990, and Asterix and Obelix, released on the SNES in 1995
Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002)

There is even an Asterix theme park – the 2nd largest in France, just 20 miles north of Paris.

Asterix is huge, and I’m here today to promote the latest Gaul-based game. From 1983, debuting on the Atari, there has been a consistent release of Asterix titles, on every console imaginable – Amstrad, Spectrum, Commodore 64, Gameboy, NES, SNES, Mega Drive, Playstation, Gameboy Colour, PC, Gameboy Advance, Playstation 2, Gamecube, Nintendo DS, PSP, Nintendo 3DS, Mobile, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PS4. There is a rich history of Asterix within this medium.

Here are some of the Asterix games. Video by Louay Khemiri

Asterix and Obelix: Slap them All! has been developed by independent studio Mr. Nutz, founded by Pierre Adane and Philippe Dessoly. I have been told by Microids, the games publisher, that both men worked at the legendary Ocean Software.

If you gamed in the late 80s and early 90s, then you have surely played an Ocean Software game. They were the go-to leaders of licensed titles, releasing mega hits like Robocop, Batman, Rambo, The Addams Family and many many more. In 1996, Ocean Software merged with French Publisher Infogrames, who have been making Asterix games since the early 90s.

The website for Mr Nutz Studio is still under construction but their Facebook page reads “Mr Nutz Studio video game creation company, our team has been creating games since 1988, including the famous Mr Nutz to name a few and Toki on Switch.

As Mr Nutz and Toki are given specific mentions, lets take a look at both.

Toki is a run and gun platform game that hit Japanese arcades in 1989. In 2009, a remake was announced but the project had a rough ride, subsequently missing its 2011 release window. It wasn’t officially cancelled, but it wouldn’t see a release on the Nintendo Switch until December 2018. In 2019, it would reach PC players, as well as Xbox One and PS4 consoles. Thanks to AL82 Retrogaming Longplays on YouTube, here is a longplay of the 1989 Toki arcade game.

According to Wikipedia, Mr Nutz was a 2D side-scrolling platform game that released in November 1993. It later released on the Mega Drive/Genesis, Gameboy, Gameboy Colour, and Gameboy Advance.

What excites me most for Asterix and Obelix: Slap them All! is how Mr Nutz Studio have taken particular care to honour the original comics. The developers have made sure that every character, background, and animation, has been hand-drawn, paying close attention to Albert Uderzo’s beloved designs.

I’ve had this wishlisted for some time and all of the above only adds to my excitement. So, let’s play!

Asterix & Obelix, return in a new adventure full of slaps! Play as Asterix and Obelix and cross the most iconic landscapes of the saga while facing a host of enemies, in a Beat Them Up filled with action … and slaps!

I have an uncle who collected all the Asterix volumes. I can’t recall why, but at some point in my childhood, they temporarily stayed at my mums. This led to me reading them all and becoming a big fan. The indomitable Gauls were my introduction to comics. Ever since then, I have been waiting for a game to release that really captures the feel and warmth of the original outings. I’m happy to report that Asterix and Obelix: Slap them All honours these characters wonderfully. As a game, and a new entry into the beat-em-up genre, I think opportunities have been missed or even ignored, but for fans of these characters, this is one hell of a love letter. It is a homage that ultimately allowed me to forgive its overall gameplay limitations.

Main Menu

A smile shot across my face the moment the main menu appeared. I seem to be playing a lot of games lately that are very nostalgic to me, and I can’t get enough of it. Visually, the game is absolutely stunning. A huge effort has been made to present this world as it was intended. Everything here has been hand-drawn, with Albert Uderzo’s designs basking in their original glory.

This is a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up with two modes to play – adventure and freeplay. In order to unlock freeplay, which has online leaderboards, you have to first complete the adventure. There are six acts to the campaign, that combine for a whopping 50 levels. Each act plays out as its own contained episode, taking storylines directly from the comics, with one act written specifically for the game.

Like a child, I sat making noises at the TV when a character was introduced that I remembered. You’ll meet Justforkix, a nephew of Chief Vitalstatistix, as you show the Normans a good time. You’ll come to the aid of Anticlimax, a cousin of Asterix, who lives in a British village and is in need of some of your famous magic potion. You’ll also encounter Pepe, the spoilt and rude child of a chief, that you need to escort back home to Spain, and you’ll be trapped in a pyramid when you drop in on Cleopatra. Rightly so, adventure mode will take you all over the world.

You can play the game on easy, medium, hard, or hardest and you can either play on your own, switching from Asterix to Obelix at the push of a button, or take on the Romans in local co-op. Levels are completed by reaching the end of each arena and by defeating all enemies. You have a light attack, a heavy attack, one or two special attacks, and a grab move. Your grab action can pick up enemies but also health, which is found in destructible barrels located throughout levels. Characters can also jump and dash at enemies. This seemed plenty of choice initially but as there are 50 levels, button bashing gradually settled in. Sadly, there are no moves to unlock or upgrade in any capacity. There are also no in-game collectibles or extras, aside form the aforementioned freeplay mode. You do earn high scores on each level though, which adds replay value.

You’ll batter Romans, Pirates, Bandits, Gladiators, and weirdly one or two malnourished lions – not sure I enjoyed that. Certain characters from the comics have been flatout not included, and for good reason in this day and age. That was the right thing to do, but it also made the inclusion of fighting starving lions that bit weirder for me.

Boss fights are present and accounted for, but these boil down to one enemy essentially having the health of five. They won’t pose much of a threat but once again, some of them will be familiar, which I enjoyed. To break up the repetitive nature of this genre, every so often a level will present itself as a mini-game. You’ll hunt boar or participate in races. I enjoyed these interludes and I think the game could have benefited from just a few more.

I really had fun with this game, clearly because I’ve been a fan of Asterix since I was a child. To see the adventures so lovingly and faithfully presented in this medium meant I could afford to overlook its one or two shortcomings as a game. The characters, settings, world building, humour, action, feel and charm have been perfectly recreated. It’s service to the name is something you just can’t fault. This is the best Asterix game I’ve played and with a few tweaks, it could have been a beat-em-up classic. If you’re a fan of Asterix then this is a great way to spend an afternoon. By Toutatis, it has raised the bar for the franchise.

Asterix and Obelix: Slap them All! is out now on PS4, Xbox One Consoles, Nintendo Switch
Coming to Steam December 7th
Developer – Mr Nutz Studio
Publisher – Microids