Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle is a simple platform-based cartoon adventure for kids that is based on the TV series, The Smurfs, and was developed and published by Coleco and released for the ColecoVision and Atari 2600 in 1982.
The gameplay in Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle is pretty basic. You simply walk, from left to right, through randomly-generated landscapes, jumping over obstacles and avoiding hostile creatures, as you make your way to rescue Smurfette who is being held by Gargamel in his castle (although unfortunately you never actually get to see Gargamel himself).
The skill element of the game is in timing your jumps correctly, ducking to avoid swooping bats, and knowing how to double-jump correctly. Some obstacles are too high to clear in a single jump, so you must jump upwards first, then time your second jump so that you jump higher the next time.
For the time, Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle was well-recieved, and the bright, cartoon graphics were heralded by some as “an interactive cartoon”, but looking at it now it seems that that was mere hyperbole.
The music in the game is a pretty good rendition of the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven‘s 6th Symphony, the “Pastoral“, which is surprising. There’s also a version of the 1848 Shaker song, “Simple Gifts“.
Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle is a fun game for kids (although it might be too complicated for very young children), but adults playing it now will no doubt scoff at it. There’s very little to the game, and it really could do with a bit more variety, but in 1982 this would’ve been seen as being somewhat revolutionary in the home. Which might seem crazy looking at it now, but things were different back then.
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