It seems like no time since I was reviewing the original Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All!, and while it didn’t exactly set the world on fire, that hasn’t stopped a sequel from being created.
Yes, Mr Nutz Studio and Microids have decided that what the world needs is yet more Roman slapping action featuring everyone’s favourite ancient Gauls in Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! 2. So let’s go back in time to see if there is anything more to the action this time around…
You’d expect the story of Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! 2 to be a bit of a highlight. After all, I wasted a lot of time when I was a kid borrowing books from the library, always enjoying the narrative told. Does the game compare?
Well, the Lutetia Eagle, the precious golden emblem of the Roman legions, has been stolen; an innocent man has been accused of its theft. Of course, his son comes straight to Asterix and Obelix’s village and while he remains there, safe, our two heroes have to leave, heading to Lutetia in order to find out who is actually guilty of this crime. Expect the journey to find the answers to be full of enemies and slaps. After all, the name of the game is nothing if not indicative of what is going to occur in it…
In terms of presentation and the levels and the characters that we meet, along with the enemies, look like they have stepped straight out of the pages of those books I mentioned. The animation is very nice indeed, and the story is told via the medium of animated scenes that help to bring the narrative to life. The game moves at a fair old pace, quite often full of enemies. Even so, the framerate stays rock solid, so everything is pretty good here.
The sound is also bang on, literally, with the sounds of various slaps and impacts all present and correct. The dialogue is also nice, even if Asterix et al do have annoying American accents (in my head they should sound like the French guard in Monty Python and the Holy Grail).
Things are a bit more mixed in terms of the gameplay though. There are a lot of levels to go at, with each one having an achievement attached to completing it. And it’s nice that Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! 2 comes with two-player couch co-op as well, where a second player can join in as either Asterix or Obelix. This works very well and having a friend come along to help on the journey can certainly come in handy in some of the more difficult sections.
Single player is fine too, with you having – in effect – two lives, as if your main character is defeated you can continue as the other character in an attempt to finish the level. You can actually switch between the two Gauls on the fly should you find a section that you feel Obelix would be better for, for example. There is no real difference between the two, however.
It’s the combat that is the long and short of the gameplay. The main attack is a slap, believe it or not; mapped to the X button. It may be worth noting at this point that it is entirely possible to beat the game using only this button; expect it to be hammered. In fact, not since Final Fantasy XVI has one button done so much work.
There are other attacks to utilise too and mixing things up will inevitably stave off the feeling of deja vu that starts to hit somewhere around the second stage. Credit must go to the attempt to introduce new features to the gameplay, including a fury meter that builds as you give and take damage, and also Ultimate attacks that can be triggered to really pile the damage on. Given the bosses that we have to fight, this is a good thing!
Now, the downsides. The first is that Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! 2 really needs a dodge move. There are many enemies who use projectiles, such as knives and javelins, that are really hard to dodge by ambling around the screen. Another downside is the sheer repetitiveness of the fighting action, which soon becomes nothing more than “Tap X, walk right, tap X some more”. Although that is a little unfair, as sometimes you need to walk up and down too!
It does mean that Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All! 2 is very much a continuation of the first game; much more evolution than revolution. Yet while it isn’t a bad game, it does seem to run out of ideas quite quickly. If you enjoyed the first, then you’ll likely find fun here, but if you are looking for a good side-scrolling beat ‘em up, there are better games out there.