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Melbourne House
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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141
Chris Bourne

Back in 50 BC much of Gaul is under Roman rule except one village where Asterix and Obelix live. Asterix, made famous in cartoon strips and books, is the cunning tighter always confronting impossible situations, helped by his eternally hungry and rotund friend, Obelix.

The people of Asterix's village are not fighters but they do have magic on their side. Getafix, the wise village Druid, developed a mystical herbal recipe which, when drunk, gives the drinker powerful super-human strengths.

When Obelix was a baby he fell into Getafix 's cauldron and virtually overdosed on the elixir. The effects never worked off and sometimes he forgets his mighty strength. Naughty Obelix tries to get a top up during a brewing session, but Getafix sternly turns him away. Obelix is not amused and aims a gentle kick at the cauldron it shatters into seven pieces that scatter throughout Gaul. Vitalstatistix, the chief of the tribe, is not amused. Asterix and Obelix offer to hunt for the pieces so the elixir can be brewed again to save the village from the marauding Romans.

There are fifty screens in the game depicting scenes from the village, the surrounding countryside, and the Roman encampments. Obelix will follow Asterix anywhere but there are limits and he has to be bribed with his favourite food: wild boar hams. Asterix starts his journey with five of these hams and one disappears each time Asterix and Obelix feel a little peckish. If the stock gets too low then Asterix has to fight a boar the fight sequences in the game take place in windows that zoom out of the main playscreen. Stamina bars for each combatant appear on the side of the window and the winner is the one who bill the other into submission first. Defeating the boar turns it into a baked ham that is added to the scoff chart. If Asterix loses a fight, the boar kicks him out of the window and he loses a life. The window system is also used when fighting with the Roman soldiers and when Asterix picks up useful objects along the way.

Asterix starts with five lives and a phial of the elixir which was salvaged from the broken cauldron. This can only be used once in the game in time of extreme trouble. The pieces of the cauldron are shown at the top of the screen when they have been pocketed. Keys can also be picked up to get Asterix and Obelix into previously unexplored areas of the game.

CRITICISM

'When I was small I used to read the books, and they still raise a few laughs. So does the game, but in an entirely different sense: probably in that I looked forward to reading the books, but I certainly would avoid playing the game if I possibly could. The graphics and the loading screen are very pretty, but the game, as far as playability is concerned, is just amazingly bug ridden in the course of playing Asterix had to reload it no less than six times. If I had been unfortunate enough to buy this, I would be well cheesed off by now, but thank heaven I'll probably never have to play it again. Very pretty, but not much fun!'

'Asterix is a strange sort of game that contains its good bits and its fair share of bad bits. The game consists of some excellent graphics that are very big and extremely well drawn. Colour is well used and the game avoids clashes with the use of big black outlines on all of the buildings - basic but effective. The sound in the game is practically non-existent, but the game doesn't suffer too much without it. All the characters are very recognisable and fun to walk around with - which adds to the whole image of the game. I like the way the windows open when Asterix gets into trouble. Even though all these good bits may attract you to the game, I must warn you that the game contains little for the game player to do bar wander round and have the odd scrap.'

'Come on guys I've been waiting for this game for ages and when it finally arrives it's awful. I expected better of MELBOURNE HOUSE. I was very surprised at the unprofessional way this game had been presented and at the general 'unfinishedness' of it - it seems that Asterix has just been thrown together to meet a deadline. The graphics are about the only thing that Asterix can boast about - the characters are well detailed and nicely animated and the playing area is colourful and full of detail. The sound is a little on the poor side: there are no tunes and the effects are minimal. The most annoying bit is the way you can get stuck in a tree, or wedged between Obelix and a building, fortunately there is a game abort option but it does get very frustrating if you have to abort a game when you have five pieces.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q up, Z down, I left, P right, SPACE fire
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: very bold and pretty, without clashes
Graphics: nice and large, attractive scenery
Sound: none
Skill levels: one
Screens: fifty
General Rating: A great disappointment: a good looker but the gameplay could do with a bit of Getafix's potion!

61%
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61%

Screenshot Text

In the Roman arena with a bit of cauldron in the inventory but no potion. Asterix is down to his last life....

Asterix and Obelix admire the scenery in the Gaulish village. The status area reveals four hams in stock. They haven't used the potion yet...