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Shrek 2 Package Art
 GENRE
  Action-Platformer
 DEVELOPER
  Vicarious Visions
 PUBLISHER
  Activision
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1
 CONNECTIVITY
  Yes
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Shrek 2

TDK, as much as I love the now dissolved publishing house, had a very unsuccessful (critically, at least) stab at the Shrek franchise, with a rather deplorable crop of action titles and a kart-racing disaster. Likewise, it is perfectly understandable that most gamers would approach Shrek 2 -- for both Game Boy and console -- with great trepidation, if at all. Being that I am responsible for critiquing a multitude of different titles, I am likewise charged with the greater responsibility of taking on each with an open mind, an equal eye, and a poignant dose of heart. With Activision now at the helm of one of cinema’s biggest properties, my post-immersion reaction(s) were that of both great surprise and delight.

visuals

I hereby provide ocular testimony that, despite the pastel nature of a flat dimension, Shrek and cohorts are defined in liquid crystal to-the-tee! Eddie “Donkey” Murphy’s bulbous snout, gaping jaw, and beautiful buck teeth are etched out with great craftsmanship. The most prominent taxation of sprites is that of the apple-bomb and certain boss maneuverings. I’d further gloat on Shrek’s jolly beer belly, or the whisping flame of torches and such, but why bother? Vicarious Visions has gotten the job done one way or another, neither pushing the graphical boundaries of the hardware or falling below a set standard.

audio

Like Super Mario Advance, Shrek 2 features short sound clips for each playable character. Each attack, switching between one another (the playable characters), damage, death, and the like are all given their own unique audio effect for all five personas. Fairly gifted actors were responsible for these ditties and the more ambitious voice-over of the GameCube version; not, as some wrongfully assumed, the same folk who voiced the characters in the film.

Some of the music from Shrek 2, including the enchanted “fairy tale theme” that reverberates through the title screen, exists in the game pak. However, much of the score is ho-hum, progress to the beat filler blips. This would mark the first time in a while that I got relatively irritated by what was merely intended to be background implementation to an otherwise entertaining video game.

gameplay

What to expect when you’re expecting nothing, Activision proves their great worth in delivering a polished platformer that flows intuitively with simple, classic gameplay power. Not one new mechanic is divined from Shrek 2, and you know something (?): the game is all the better for it. The development team, Vicarious Visions, has stuck to their guns by creating the game with a few easy to learn and well defined mechanics that are particularly well suited to the comical nature of this license.

Each character has a single frontal attack that can also be performed in midair. As well, they each play a crucial role in the progression of the game, as each retains their own unique ability that must be used to overcome numerous obstacles and obstructions. These abilities can, as well, be used as a form of offense against enemies. Though certain levels are played with but a single character, in lieu with the outlined narrative, you must use up to 5 characters at once to reach the right-most end of the level. For example: Donkey can demolish walls with his hard hooves, Shrek can busts certain floor-types with his fat ass, and Puss-N-Boots (a new character to the Shrek franchise) has the useful ability of latching onto walls. As well, the physical properties of each character make their jumping and carrying abilities uniquely different from one another.

A certain level of switch-hitting, platform hopping, lever-stomping, spring-jumping, and what have you exists throughout the course of the adventure. As is aforementioned, none of these inclusions are digitally innovative (see Blizzard’s Lost Vikings), but perfectly implemented to make for an easy-going and enjoyable romp through the medieval multiverse of a fairy tale land far, far away.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

Vicarious Visions poured the pixilated animations from the film straight into this souped up platformer to create a pretty, colorful title of classic strengths that does well to warm the palette. Remaining faithful to the franchise by displaying it in the manner intended by Dreamworks and PDI, I am delighted to recommend this game to any of you out there who are particularly enamored by the guy in green we know of as Shrek. Even if you aren’t big on the license, this is the game to sustain the occasional platforming cravings we as gamers tend to get from time to time. Give it a go, won’t ‘ya?

final score 7.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar William Jacques
Staff Profile | Email
"Oh oblivious, naïve Humanity... How ignorant we really are - safe only in our blind "superior" view of the world."


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