With Beijing hosting this years summer Olympic games it was no surprise that a number of Olympic themed games have appeared on this years calendar. Atari must of been kicking themselves when SEGA released Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, pretty much claiming all the Olympic medals in one fellow swoop. Does Asterix at the Olympic games stand any chance against SEGA's smash hit?
At first glance you'd expect the two titles to be quite similar, but thankfully for Atari their game is actually quite different and doesn't directly compete with the already released Mario & Sonic.
Asterix at the Olympic Games has been developed along side the upcoming live action feature film of the same name, the developers have tried to incorporate elements of the film, including video footage into the game experience.
The game follows Asterix, Obelix and the faithful Dogmatix as they travel to Greece in aid of their lovesick friend Lovestorix, whom has fallen in love with Princess Irina. For our heroes there is only one way to help young Lovestorix win the hand of the beautiful Princess Irina - win the Antique Games! But at every turn vile Brutus stands in their way, plotting to overthrow his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, and scheming to win the hand of Irina for himself!
But as events are warming up, Sam Schieffer reveals to his Gaulish friends the existence of an “inter-dimensional key” that can be used to travel between parallel worlds! The news spreads panic among the druids: the fragile equilibrium between worlds is compromised! Asterix, Obelix, and of course Dogmatix, set out for Olympia with their friends Getafix, Lovestorix, and Sam Schieffer, in order to eliminate two birds with one stone: win the games, and recover the inter-dimensional key.
As you should be able to tell by now this game is quite different from Mario & Sonic, the Asterix game has a story and should be treated more as an adventure game with sporting mini games. The single player adventure starts out in a little village where you master the basic controls by chasing around some filthy pigs. After some more story telling your whisked off to the Olympic village where your true adventure begins.
Once inside, its up to your team to figure out a way through the Olympic village by completing puzzles and tasks whilst also competing in preliminary Olympic events, training you up for the final show down. The adventure play sees you controlling Asterix and Obelix as a team, alternating between them to pass through the different areas in order to compete in new events. During adventure mode you also have a number of special moves, for example you can pick up defeated guards and throw them at targets.
The actual Olympic events vary from traditional events like sprinting to some rather bizarre ones such as "Toad ball". Generally these events are rather simple and lack any depth, of course Atari have used the Wiimote to inject some excitement, running is performed like other similar games where you move the Wiimote and Nunchuck up and down again and again.
Not being in line with its modern-day rivals, the mix of events found are somewhat amusing. Just imagine - two player tug-of-war with people flapping their arms around - brilliant.
If you decide against the story mode or simply want to compete against a friend you can enter the "Antique" mode. This gives you the choice of selecting any Olympic event and playing straight away. Whilst everything has been solidly put together, its hard to escape the lack of variety as even multiplayer mode gets tiresome quickly.
Somewhat to my surprise the game has been put together very well, its a nice compact package that doesn't have too many rough edges, the use of Wiimote controls are good, graphics are solid, sound is entertaining and menus are adequate.
But who will it actually appeal to? I've got a strong suspicion that Asterix at the Olympic Games won't really appeal outside of its existing franchise fan base, not because its a bad game, but more because of it's rather tired and old fashioned lead characters not being able to compete with the likes of Mario & Sonic.
Asterix at the Olympic Games is a pretty decent game, fans of the series will probably be satisfied with what it has to offer, which is a mixed blend of both 3rd person adventure gaming and a couple handfuls of sports mini game action. If your purely looking to purchase something with an Olympic theme we'd probably redirect you to Mario & Sonic, a far superior title when it comes down to thenitty-gritty of the controls and mini game action. Sorry Atari, this one only gets the silver medal.