Review: Asterix & Obelix: XXL

Having just come back from my second visit to Parc Asterix in France with a fluffy Dogmatix under one arm and a French stick under the other it shouldn't take much to deduce that I'm a fan of the super powered Gaul and his many adventures. Being an Asterix fan in the UK is not that easy though as although all the books are available we regularly get overlooked with gaming. The last GBA outing failed to reach our shores so imagine my excitement then when not one but two such games landed on my doormat, the one I'm reviewing now and the rather wonderful GBA version, which I really can't recommend enough. There are often problems with book adaptations as readers tend to have pre-conceived ideas as to just how the characters talk, move and interact with each other and the various movies have often disappointed. That said, this is a game and the only thing it really has to do is entertain and anyone who's been playing games for even a few years will be well aware that a plot or game structure of any type is meaningless if it just ain't fun to play. The question is... is it?


While the graphics aren't the worst we've encountered, they're really just high-end Playstation One visuals which don't even come close to demonstrating the power of the Cube and in case this is your first console that puts them at around four years old at best. This might have been forgivable had this been a first generation title from some years ago with developers still cutting their teeth on Nintendo's new system. Unfortunately it's not and the outcome is a mixture of rather uninspired and poorly designed locations and awkward animation and if ever there was a case for cel-shaded characters then this is it. It's difficult to say more without doing the game an injustice really but given that this is a French developer you would have expected a little more care with this Gallic icon.



Now call me fussy but I've been reading Asterix books for years and well, he's French see. Always has been, always will be so you can imagine my confusion when I first heard him utter a few words in this game in a Welsh accent! I know we've had Craig Charles in one of the animated outings and a whole host of English accents stepping up to fulfill voice duties in the past, but Welsh? Unfortunately it all goes a bit downhill from here. While the sound effects are functional, the voice acting is less than pleasing and occasionally sounds more like an amateur theatre group's first stab at a radio production.


While this game does feature some adventure elements at its heart it's a full on beat'em up based in a cartoon universe. There are three playable characters: Asterix, Obelix and occasionally, Dogmatix. Obviously Asterix is the faster and more agile whilst Obelix is more suitable for anything that requires brute strength. It's generally pretty obvious when to change between these characters thanks to the spoken dialogue. For instance, early on in the game Asterix will ask Obelix to meet him in a certain location as he needs to open a door, the problem is that the gap he's found will only allow him and Dogmatix to fit through. Obelix on the other hand is essential for moving huge boulders and blocks around but he's also useful when you encounter one of the many springboards with his obvious weight advantage propelling you through the air. Sadly that really is about the standard of the puzzles here so anyone used to the Myst or Lucasart titles of this world will hardly notice them at any point during XXL.


More interesting are the various uses for fire. It's clearly been around for sometime and some bright spark (pardon the pun) has come up with ingenious uses for it such as lighting the fuse on dynamite although this isn't always as simple as it first seems because your torch will only stay burning for so long and other hazards such as water and wind constantly make the most challenging aspect of this games occasionally a little frustrating. Beat'em up wise there are Romans and lots of them… You can't just ignore them, as the game usually requires you to clear an allotted number to progress mainly because things like drawbridges and platforms are locked until you dispose of enough enemies. I say enemies because it's not just Romans you have to contend with; further on in the game you encounter some pesky lions (we think) which are infinitely more intelligent than the other foes as they'll eventually charge towards you sapping valuable energy. Clearly what you need here is a super potion, which is always worth rooting out or you could always try one of your many combos although this is where some real problems start to emerge.


Combos, you see, must be purchased from the Peddler who seems to pop up out of nowhere when you most need him. Have enough credits (which you'll earn from beating up Romans) and you can select from a number of useful items from extra shields to combos. The problem is that the combos are so difficult to pull off that while you're attempting to put one of your more deadly moves into action you'll often be getting roughed up by the very people you wish to thump. It does get slightly easier but you'll suffer a great deal before you eventually master it.

Final Say:

While this game undoubtedly has its high points, and running around super punching people generally never becomes tiresome, it does lack the variety required to make you spend hours playing as opposed to a mere fifteen minutes. This is, of course, without even delving into the rather poor graphics, sound and animation that really shouldn't be appearance on a console such as the GameCube at this point in time. As a fan of Asterix I really wanted to be able to recommend this game urging you to grab a few of the books too just to round off your gaming experience. The reality is something quite different and in all my years reviewing GameCube titles I don't think I've ever marked a game so low accompanied with a straight warning about the product in question. Even so this will no doubt appeal to some readers but our advice is wait until the developers decide to take a little more care over their output but if you really want it make sure you 'try before you buy'. You have been warned.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Save your money and buy the GBA version. That's if you have a GBA of course.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals3
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Play as both Asterix & Obelix.
Loads of Levels


Terrible Voice Acting.
A Little Repetitive

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