Asterix And The Magic Cauldron (Melbourne House) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

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Asterix And The Magic Cauldron
By Melbourne House
Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Zzap #19

Asterix And The Magic Cauldron

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your lug holes. There is a story to be told, one of heroics, bravery, and extreme clumsiness. The Roman conquest of the known world has begun and will soon be reaching its peak. Gaul has already been invaded and captured, save one small village which has remained impenetrable...

A protective shield was created by Getafix, the resdent Druid cum hippy. He scampers around the woods gathering mistletoe, nuts and herbs, and mixes them all up to brew a magical potion which gives superhuman strength to those who drink it. It is this potion which has enabled our Gaulish friends to resist the gathered might of Caesar's Roman Empire for so long.

Local hero, Asterix, is a shrewd and cunning warrior, y'know, the sort you can immediately entrust any perilous mission. His life-long suffering companion is Obelix, a fat, menhir delivery man who is totally addicted to Wild Boar. Obelix is willing to down tools at any point in time and follow his old mate Asterix into any danger that may exist - so long as there is lots of fighting and plenty of wild boar to eat.

The duo's latest adventure begins when the villagers are waiting in line for their daily dose of potion. Among those assembled is Obelix, hoping that he too will be allowed some brew. Getafix isn't too happy about Obelix trying to con him out of potion, since the rotund chappy is already blessed with superhuman strength after falling into a cauldron of potion when he was a baby. Obelix is slightly miffed by not being allowed to have any potion, so he kicks the cauldron, smashing it into eight pieces.

Gathering up the few remaining pieces of the cauldron, Getafix carefully pours a small amount of the potion into a gourd and instructs Asterix and Obelix to leave the village to find the other seven pieces of the cauldron.

So, controlling Asterix, you begin the adventure proper in the Gaulish village. From here, you can wander around several locations in search of the elusive bits of cauldron. Your quest takes you through forests, Roman encampments, and finally on to Roma.

On entering a location, the scene is created, the trees grow and buildings spring up here and there. Once drawn, the action continues and you can walk around the full screen. However, this game doesn't just involve simple exploration, oh no, on some occasions you have to do battle with the Roman forces.

Having encountered a centurion, a window opens up on the screen and plunges you into a fully fledged battle. If you successfully beat up the soldier, he flies out of the window and disappears right out of the screen.

Not only does Asterix have to do battle with the Romans, but also with the wild boars inhabiting the countryside. The boars are essential, as they not only provide food but also ensure that Obelix stays with you.

At the top of the screen, there are icons to indicate how many parts of the cauldron you have in your possession, if you have any magic potion or keys, the number of lives remaining, your score, and the title of your present location.

Right ho then, Asterix! Off you go, and don't come back until you've found all the pieces of cauldron.

JR

Asterix is a case of "this would have been a really nice game if..." It has quite a few large stumbling blocks.

For a start, the screen takes ages to re-draw and the graphics are really poorly defined - they look more like more like Legobrix and Sticklebrix, the Gauls than their cartoon counterparts.

It's a shame really because the game isn't that bad at all. If you're after an original arcade adventure then I suppose you could try this, but you will more than likely be disappointed.

RE

This could have been an excellent game if it wasn't for several nasty element. One: the screen drawing routine is far too slow to make the chase scenes fun. I mean, when you have to wait about fifteen seconds for the screen to switch it really is a bit much.

Two: the fighting scenes are spoilt by the poorly defined characters which look as if they have been put through a mangle and stretched beyond recognition.

Apart from that, the mass majority of graphics are quite pleasing as is the accompanying soundtracks. The game is some fun, but not much.

GP

What a disappointment. Admittedly, the programmers have captured some of the feel of the original comic strip, but on the whole Asterix falls flat on its face. The game occasionally looks like the cartoon, but the screen takes far too long to set up, thus making the game slow and frustrating to play, and the sprites are far too blocky.

At times Asterix looks like a chunky string of phlegm. Ugh. Not nice. The Asterix books are fun, which is more than can be said for this game. I'm extremely disappointed by the whole thing, and I can't recommend it to anyone who likes the books.

Verdict

Presentation 76%
Slick, although the screens take an infuriatingly long time to draw.

Graphics 78%
The backdrops are good, but the sprites are too chunky and rarely look like the original characters - especially in the fight scenes.

Sound 72%
Several suitable ditties play throughout the game, although the 'drums' are annoyingly anarchic and usually do "their own thing".

Hookability 62%
Easy to get into, but the slow screen set up proves annoying and off-putting.

Lastability 62%
If you don't mind the very slow pace of the game, then there's enough to keep you busy for a while.

Value For Money 56%
Not an essential piece of Asterix paraphernalia.

Overall 60%
A disappointing adaption of the cult comic strip hero.