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Asterix (Sega Master System) artwork

Asterix (Sega Master System) review

"While it doesn't seem to be well known, I think that Asterix is one of the best 8-bit platforming experiences out there."

Enter Asterix, Hero from French Comics
Asterix is a 1-2 player platforming game for the Sega Master System (SMS) based upon the French comic of the same name. It follows Asterix and his sidekick, Obelix, on a rescue mission through the Roman Empire. The game features a great variety of platforming challenges and the ability to choose between the two heroes each stage!

Asterix (Sega Master System) image

No Gimmicks, Just Gameplay
Let me start with the bad things about Asterix...there are none. Everything it does, it does excellently. If you could complain about anything it might be the fact that it doesn't offer any sort of new innovations, or ground-breaking moments...but how many games do? Not many. Does that mean that Asterix feels stale? Nope. The "freshest" thing about this game is the fact that the two playable characters, Asterix and Obelix, actually play differently! Asterix has a smaller frame, access to an explosive potion, and features better jumping and tighter controls. Obelix, on the other hand, has a much larger frame (which prevents him from getting some places), doesn't have the jumping power of Asterix, and smashes blocks to bits with his fists and noggin'! They are both selectable at the beginning of each stage (outside the introductory stages), which lets the player go through the game choosing the playstyle they want to experience. As an added bonus, each stage is tailored to the chosen character. So, if you go through a stage once with Asterix, you can go through it again as Obelix and have a whole new experience! Each stage keeps the same general idea, so an auto-scroll stage is going to auto-scroll for both Asterix and Obelix, but there will be minor differences that take advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of both characters.

Speaking of the stages, they are all wonderfully designed, with a lot of variety and even some puzzle elements. You'll find yourself doing everything from hopping across bubbles, to swimming into the mouth of a giant sea creature, to escaping a castle on a moving platform while dodging large spikes. Most early levels are pretty straight forward, but later levels will have you searching for the key to open the exit to the stage. Every stage offers something new, not only from a design standpoint, but even graphically. You adventure through the obligatory ice and forest stages, as well as exotic lands like Egypt and the Roman Colosseum. These lands are fully fleshed out from the backdrops to the baddies. Another thing worth mentioning is the difficulty progression through the game...which is tuned to perfection. The early levels do a great job of introducing the player to the general controls without being mind-numbing, but, once the player gets the hang of the basic game mechanics, things can get real tough. The Egyptian levels, especially, will be challenging for any gamer. The last thing to be mentioned is that the game is 2-player. The first player plays Asterix, and the second gets Obelix. They get to attempt each stage in-turn. Not that anybody needs to be reminded, but playing a great game with your friends is one of the most enjoyable things ever.

Asterix (Sega Master System) image

One of the Best 8-Bit Platformers...Bar None
While it doesn't seem to be well known, I think that Asterix is one of the best 8-bit platforming experiences out there. It doesn't redefine any genres or present any wildly new ideas, but what it does do is take everything that made an 8-bit platformer great...and do it without flaw. It is fun, it offers a great blend of platforming obstacles, it even has some replayability. It looks great, has some humor tucked in there, and is both accessible and challenging. To top it off, you can have a buddy play along with you! Asterix has a lot of great things going for it, and, if you have any interest in 8-bit games, this one is a must play!

Overall, Asterix is a 9 / 10, falling just short of a 10 for not offering anything new to the genre.

Rating: 9/10

Never3ndr's avatar
Community review by Never3ndr (April 18, 2014)

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Germ posted April 18, 2014:

The Asterix comics were always something I wanted to get into but never did. I would never have suspected the Master System tie-in to be of such high quality. Thanks for the review!

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