Asterix to the Rescue was one of Stephen Thraves' "Super Adventure Gamebooks" which boasted unique kits to aid gameplay. Most of these books were entertaining but nothing special, and Asterix to the Rescue is no exception.
Based on the comic books of Rene Goscinny and Alberto Uderzo about a Gaulish village resisting the invasion of Julius Caesar with the help of a magic potion, Asterix to the Rescue sees the druid Getafix, brewer of said potion, captured and brought to Rome (where he is incarcerated at the Colloseum despite the fact it was not built until over a hundred years after Caesar's death!). So Asterix, Obelix and Obelix's trusty hound Dogmatix set out to rescue him. A slight premise maybe, but Asterix plots were never particularly complicated. What made them stand out was their delightful word play, which is sadly missing here. Thraves tries hard to make it amusing and sometimes it is somewhat, but it really is not a patch on the comic books. The illustrations are copied from the Asterix books, and while this makes them high quality, sometimes they do not exactly fit with the text and if you are a fan of the Asterix comics it is sometimes annoying that characters you recognize from the comics represent completely different people.
As far as the game element goes, it is simplistic but fun. At the start you choose one of four items to take with you (a map, translator, money pouch or password scroll). This is basically the only decision you will make in the book, the rest of the time decisions will be made by rolling the die to see whether the next event will affect Asterix, Obelix or Dogmatix. Rolling the die will also change what route you will take to get to Rome thus adding a nice random element to make each adventure different from the last. Each of the items you choose from at the start will be called for at various stages and having the right item will allow you to either gain another of the items or to avoid having to waste a gourd of magic potion (using all of your gourds means game over). The four items are not equal in usefulness however. Not having the password scroll or map when they are required still gives you an opportunity to guess the corrrect answer while not having the translator or coin bag means you have to face the consequences. The author recommends that after you have played the book a few times, you can choose which options to pick rather than rolling the die to decide, but the book is a lot less fun without the random element and generally there is little indication of what the options involve anyway, meaning you are going to have to rely on memory of past attempts.
In short, Asterix to the Rescue is an undemanding and entertaining way to spend a spare half hour, but there are better Asterix gamebooks out there (the excellent Alea Jacta Est series) and if you like these Super Adventure Gamebooks, I would recommend Thraves' similar, but much more amusingly written Ghost Adventure Games over his Asterix ones.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Nicholas Campbell for the cover and gamekit scans.|
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Asterix Adventure Games edition
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