The Smurfs Review

By: John Doe

You've gotta love the Smurfs. Know why? The Smurfs actually starred in the very first side-scrolling videogame ever, way back when, on the Colecovision console. If it weren't for them, who knows what kind of games we'd be playing now? This title from Infogrames is first and foremost a kids title, but you probably already knew that.


My daughter loves this game because it has a game mode that just won't let you die. You can stand on spikes, get hit by rocks - it doesn't matter. Which makes it perfect for her (she's only 3) because she doesn't have the eye/hand coordination to play most games. Even Elmo's Letter Adventure was tough. The Smurf's "Piece of Cake" mode allows young players to learn to move the Smurf character through very short stages without the frustration of constantly restarting. For this reason alone, I highly recommend The Smurfs for very young kids. The regular game (It's No Picnic) is more of a standard side scroller that is low on innovation but high on graphics, control and well, it features those little blue things.

The Piece of Cake mode features 7 levels in which you have to find baby bottles and whatnot for the virtual Baby Smurf (you can care for him/her/it by pressing the select button during the level select for Piece of Cake). These 7 levels consist of standard side scrolling fare: jumping, collecting, swinging and even skiing and flying. Each stage would take a seasoned gamer about 2 minutes or less to get through, but it may be a completely different story for young players. As mentioned there is no life bar to speak of, so use these levels as a training mode for your future John or Jane Doe's. Won't you be so proud.

It's No Picnic, is still a picnic for advanced players, but is the perfect challenge for those who have mastered the easy level and are now looking for some humiliation and frustration. 10 levels round out this mode and once again you'll be forced to rely on all of the side-scrolling techniques you've spent a good part of your life training for.

Graphically the game is bright and colorful, although I did find the framerate and animation a little choppy when the Smurf was riding an animal. The control could have been tighter as there is a feeling of lag in the jumping ability. This is especially noticeable during the riding stages as well. The cartoons that appear before some levels are very well done and right in tune with the show.

Oddly enough, The Smurfs voices are now British, which might be a little disconcerting for those who watched the show in North America. The music is whimsical and bright, although they bust out some minor chords during the Haunted Mansion level. Scary! My daughter didn't like the spooky music, so I made her watch The Shining, The Exorcist, Sixth Sense and Blair Witch and then it didn't seem to bother her anymore. Kidding.

As long as this game is reasonably priced I would recommend it for budding videogame players. It's a game that resembles what the older kids are playing, but they can train on this one. For that reason alone The Smurfs is worth it. If you are already an established gamer, I doubt you will get much out of this at all. You'll breeze through it in a few hours. It's for young kids only or those without eye/hand coordination. Infogrames is on the right track introducing easy gameplay modes for raw beginners. It's a great idea that is long overdue on the consoles!






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