To free the citizens of their village from Roman capture and prevent the formula of the magic potion from falling into Roman hands, Asterix and Obelix must make their way through six Roman provinces, each consisting of five or more levels. The goal in each level is simply to reach the exit. The player controls only one of the two friends at a time, but can switch between them at will. Each of the two has different abilities: Asterix can double jump and carry torches, while Obelix has a more powerful punch and can move giant stone cubes. Hindering the duo on their way are legions of Roman soldiers as well as other enemies like barbarians, who come in different shapes and sizes, most of which can be punched out rather easily. They leave behind their helmets, which should be collected as they function as a sort of currency. The helmets can also be found lying about in the levels, along with other power-ups like hams (which restore health) or magic potions (which make the heroes temporarily invincible and stronger). Some light puzzle elements come into play when switches have to be pressed to active certain mechanisms like rising platforms or open doors that will allow the player to advance.
The collected helmets come into play when the peddler appears in a level. At his store, helmets can be spent for health power-ups as well as unlocking bonus combo moves.
Some of the levels deviate from the norm: in the so-called "Ob-Sleigh" stages, Obelix will slide down a river or mountainside, with Asterix riding on his back. In these, any bonus items are to be found in the middle of the track. Slowing down helps in trying to collect all of them, but high speed is required for some jumps that have to be made.
Picking up golden laurels and Roman helmets in the levels will unlock an Ob-Sleigh bonus mini-game, featuring both the stages from the main mode as well as some new ones.