At the building where I work, we run a daycare facility.One of the things they like to make the kids do is draw pictures, which are then displayed in the hallways for everyone to “enjoy”. Now, we’re talking about 4-year-olds here, so most of this stuff doesn’t really look like anything.In order to compensate for this, one of the teachers will write a brief description of what it’s supposed to be a picture of.What makes this odd is that these captions are written in a big, black permanent marker, and in such a formal-looking handwriting, that you wouldn’t even dare question them.You’ll see a picture that’s just a mess of pink scribbles and a big blue splotch, and the caption will say “THIS IS SLEEPING BEAUTY AND HER FRIEND”, and you automatically believe it, and then wonder why the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty wasn’t also a bunch of pink squiggles.You think, “Man, why does everyone think Disney is so great?Their Sleeping Beauty doesn’t look anything like it’s supposed to!”
A few months ago, the kids all drew their favorite dinosaurs, and afterward I wondered why the museums even bother building those dinosaur skeletons, because according to a more credible authority on the subject – the wielder of that big black marker – throwing all the bones randomly into a big pile and then spray-painting it bright green would look a lot closer to the real thing.I mean, except for the pterodactyl, which apparently looked like a big orange triangle with a very long, whip-like tail trailing off of it.I’m sure of this, because it was labeled “THIS IS A PTERODACTYL. A FLYING DINOSAUR”.It must have had some kind of propulsion system similar to the Stealth Bomber.
Those of you who are still reading this are probably wondering what the hell any of this has to do with either of the Asterix games released for the Genesis.Here’s the thing – at some point in my life, and I’m not sure when this happened, someone took the equivalent of that big, black marker directly to my brain and wrote on it “ASTERIX GAMES ARE REALLY GOOD.”I have no idea when this happened, all I know is that I went into this project thinking that both Asterix games must be really awesome, and when I started playing them and began to realize that they weren’t, I sort of assumed that I must be the one who was wrong, and that my concept of what makes a good game must be off.
This is unfortunate, because the Asterix games really, really suck.I know that’s not a very creative way of putting it, but I mean… man, these games both really suck.Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an action/platformer where your character’s attacks have less range than this – basically, you can only hit stuff that if it’s about one pixel in front of you.The result of this is a lot of stop-and-go style gameplay: Walk right up next to something, hope it doesn’t move, punch it a few times, then proceed.
Additionally, cheap death abounds – enemies will hit you from off-screen, there are blind jumps and, my all time favorite, the ground will fall right out from under you without warning.Now to be fair, there is usually (though not always), something for you to land on – as long as you stop moving the second the ground disappears.You know, because after years and years of playing countless games with various sneak attacks and other tests of our reflexes, “do nothing” is exactly the reaction we’ve to trained to have when something unexpected suddenly happens.
As I began to doubt my preconceived notions about the quality of Asterix games, I turned to the internet for support.A search of GameFAQs reviews (and there’s a reliable source if there ever was one), was inconclusive – Great Rescue had three bad reviews (out of three), while the only two reviews for Power of the Gods both gave it perfect scores.This was confusing since, while I will admit that Power of the Gods is the better of the two, it didn’t seem much better – maybe like the difference between getting punched in the face by a pretty girl as opposed to by a bus driver.I then turned to Gamerankings, and while both of these gameswere too old to be ranked, the search did turn up some interesting results for later Asterix titles.The average score for most of them was in the mid 60% range, and the highest rated game scored a mediocre 78%.
It’s time to wash that permanent marker off of my brain.Asterix and the Great Rescue & Asterix and the Power of the Gods are not good games.And today, both are off our list.