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Asterix at the Olympic Games for the DS combines live footage from the film with animation to offer a game where players take the role of either Asterix or Obelix playing through 120 mini sporting challenges to become the ultimate victor. The game itself is broken down into two basic modes, training and competing at the Olympic games. All activities require quickly moving the stylus across the screen from side to side, up and down, around in circles or flicking and jabbing depending on the event. In the higher levels the speed at which you have to do this in order to win is ridiculous and actually makes your hand and wrist ache - a serious bad point in my opinion because the game is initially quite addictive. Further to this, I would advise you put screen protectors on your console because this constant scribbling back and forth and round and round results in loads of scratches. You also find yourself digging really hard on the screen because not all stylus strokes seem to register in certain events - I don't know whether this is down to my technique or whether it is a flaw in the game. There are also a few games which require you to blow into the mic on the DS - make sure before you start that you have altered the mic sensitivity to high in the settings menu or it doesn't give the best results. In the training mode you get to practise the events in which you will be competing at the Olympic Games. I recommend you spend some time training because if you are successfully part way through a suite of events at the Olympics and you lose one you have to go back to the beginning again which is really annoying. At the Olympic Games there are 10 different levels - Gaulish, Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, Gothic, Corsican, Norman, Iberian, Celtic and Pirate each containing between four and six events which must be successfully completed before you can unlock the next level. There are also three difficulty settings for each level. Events in the game include the usual suspects from Olympic sport based games such as 100m, 400m, High-bar, hammer, discus, pole vaulting, 110m hurdles, javelin, long jump and curling. In addition to these there are Asterix themed events such as yo-yo, Menhir tossing, boar tossing, trap shot, pillar tossing, prepare potion, log chopping, toad goal, gladiator bash, sack race and many more. However most of the events are a variation on the same theme but with different graphics. To win an event you have to achieve the target distances and times to be awarded a medal and credits to spend on upgrades. Unfortunately you have to successfully complete all the events in a level a total of four times to unlock the next level with new events. This is because you have to pass the qualification target then achieve, bronze, silver and gold medals in the level and as there is no way of skipping it, the game becomes a little tedious and repetitive. In the virtual shop you can use the credits to buy specialist equipment and power ups to add to your inventory. In the more advanced levels before you play each event you can choose a piece of kit which you think will enhance your performance and achieve gold medals. A tip is to amass as much money as you can because to have any chance in the more advanced levels you will definitely need this gear - even with the power ups it is hard work which often borders on frustrating. The game graphics are quite colourful but crude and almost a little pixelated and between levels you are treated to nauseating clips from the film. The background music is absolutely terrible and will drive you bonkers - my advice is the go into the settings menu and mute everything for your own sanity. In conclusion it is a strangely addictive kind of game which is fun up to the point where it becomes quite repetitive. It does offer quite a lot of game for the money and will pass several hours but in my opinion it's not really worth more than about a tenner. If you are expecting anything like Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games forget it as this will seem like a poor imitation.
Asterix at the Olympics is yet another sports game released as a result of the 2008 Olympic games available for the Nintendo DS and as such has a lot to compete against. In this game Asterix (the blonde haired Gaul with the bushy moustache, winged shoes and winged helmet) and his side kick, Obelix (the red headed Gaul with long plaits, big appetite and even bigger stomach) participate in a series of different events in a bid to win the Gaul Olympics, earning cash along the way. ****Game modes**** This game has a single player mode only, which is a real shame since it doesn't allow you to go head to head against your friends. This game has limited modes in that there are only 2. You have the choice of training or going to the Olympics only. As its name suggests training allows the user to practice each event, in isolation, to make sure that they have a chance of actually winning the event at the Olympics. Going to the Olympics is where the player goes head to head with the computer generated player in order to achieve the objective of becoming the overall winner. ****Graphics**** The graphics are actually quite poor. Whilst the characters do bear some resemblance to Asterix and Obelix they are very blocky and not that crisp. They are not up to the standard I would expect of the DS. The colours are OK but when compared to other games in this genre, such as Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, they are dull and unimaginative. ****Playability**** This game fully exploits the use of the touch screen and the stylus. Every single event is played using the stylus, unlike other games in this genre. Before each event there is a demonstration showing the movements required to complete the event. Although these can be a bit difficult to master, once learned they are very fluid movements. I have heard about issues with the touch screen not registering movements although I have not experienced this whilst playing this game. One thing I have noticed that some of the repetitive action can cause a bit of discomfort in the endurance events. For example the hula-hoop event requires you to trace circles as fast as you can on the touch screen for around 30 seconds, which may not be much, but after a few times of doing this, my wrist was killing me. ****Characters**** The characters in this game are very limited and consist of Asterix and Obelix only. In addition to this you do not get to choose between the two, since some events are competed by Asterix and the other games are competed by Obelix and this is pre determined. As you progress through some games additional features are unlocked, such as additional costumes or the ability to personalise the characters. These features are not available in this game, and whilst it does not affect the game play in any way it is an additional feature that would have improved this game. I would have thought that progressing through the game would unlock additional characters but this does not seem to be the case, which is a big negative since, in my opinion, the ability to play as different characters extends the life of the game, makes it more interesting and adds an additional dimension. ****Difficulty and events**** This game is not particularly difficult it just takes time to work your way through, as described in the "playing the game" section of this review. The events are classified in to Gaulish, Egyptian, Gretian, Roman and Gothic amongst others and within these classifications are individual events centred round strength, endurance, speed and throwing. There are rumoured to be over 120 events in the whole game and these include things such as 400m dash, 100m dash, sack racing, hammer throw and boar tossing amongst many others. Events are unlocked as you progress through the game. ****Playing the game**** This game is very long winded which in turn I found got really boring. In most sports games the characters will have their strengths and weaknesses. For example a character may be strong and able to throw the hammer a long way but it may not be fast. This is not the case with this game as all characters start on a level playing field. As you progress through the game and win events you get cash to buy power ups such as advanced winged shoes, a more streamlined javelin or boar and a greasy pole amongst others. All of the events will require these power ups to progress. For each event you are given a target time or distance. If you beat the target then you win a specific medal level and nothing more. So let's take the Gothic event. You have to complete all mini events in this one event at least four times to get the gold medal overall. Once to qualify, a second time to win the bronze medal, a third time to win the silver medal and a fourth time to win the gold. There is no way of jumping from bronze to gold. This applies to every single event. This is not too bad until you get to the point whereby a power up is required to achieve the target and you don't know about it. You get to the last mini event and have won all of them. You enter the last event and miss the target by some margin and told that "improved equipment" is needed. That's fine, just go and buy a power up. The issue is that all the previous mini events you have previously won have to be completed again. It is not possible just to jump straight to the event you failed on. Arrgggghhhhhhh! This is so annoying and this repetition, for me at least, led to boredom. ****Sound**** The sound is really poor and consists of awful repetitive music and very few sound effects, much like many other DS games (other than Mario and Sonic at the Olympics). This game is definitely more bearable with the music switched off, which is a shame because since playing Mario and Sonic at the Olympics I have learned to appreciate how good the DS can be when using the audio and the visuals together. ****Conclusion**** This game is way behind the competition when it comes to games in this genre. The idea that everybody starts on the same level is a novel idea and one that I have not seen before, however, it does not work for me. Completing the events a minimum 4 times is just too much. If it could be worked so that you could move from, say, bronze to gold then it may work. The annoyance of winning some of the mini events, failing the last one, going and buying the power up and then having to win all of the events again is just ridiculous. The graphics are poor and the sound is dreadful. All the above point to a sub standard game for the DS which could have been really good, especially since it fully exploits the touch screen and the stylus relationship, which is THE whole concept of the DS. I appreciate that this game has some very stiff competition, especially since Mario and Sonic at the Olympics is just such a great game, but even if this was released during a time when there were no new games of this genre it would struggle. It just does not cut it for me. Would I recommend it? At present I would definitely say no way. GO for Mario and Sonic it is miles ahead of this game. If you can find it in a cheapie bargain bucket for a couple of pounds then it may be worth a punt.