No, this isn't a sequel to Mario and Sonic's athletic love-in but a completely different Olympic based adventure. You wait for one bus and a load all come at once!
Asterix fans should be familiar with the 1986 comic book of the same name. Given its iffy steroid-centric plot it's no surprise to see the story rejigged here, but it's still well-scripted and amusing. It's just a shame that all the talk staggers the gameplay. The cut scenes are so frequent that 30 minutes in, we'd only managed to punch five pigs. That's a pretty low rate of pork abuse.
When you get there, the game is a combination of exploration adventure and mini-game sports events. How they're combined is pretty tenuous, exemplified in the classic phrase: "that door is opened by lighting three torches - the only solution is to enter the qualifying rounds!"
The early mini-games are shallow and similar - not quite fun enough to want to challenge a real friend and only just enjoyable enough to keep you playing through the single-player. The most satisfying stuff is simply to explore, bashing Romans when they appear and buying new combos with the helmets you collect.
When In Rome
A flock of petty niggles distract you from your progress; from restrictive camera angles to the lack of an effective auto-save. The game makes a great show of saving Olympic high scores and you might mistakenly believe your progress is safe. Believe me, it isn't. Also, the game doesn't remember your initials, guaranteeing
that only the most patient or vainglorious player's high score tables will be filled with anything other than AAA. It's not game-breaking, just stuff that thoughtful developers sorted out ten years ago.
Asterix At The Olympic Games could have been much better with a larger selection of deeper mini-games. However, when you advance to the later games, there's some scope to play your mates.
What's cleverest, though, is how the two ever-so-slightly unsatisfying sides of the game, along with the interesting storyline, serve to draw the spotlight away from the flaws of the other. The net result is that Asterix, despite all of its faults, is a reasonably enjoyable game if you're not looking for a stiff challenge.