Videogames-To-Flix #36

VIDEOGAMES-TO-FLIX is a JoBlo.com column showcasing reviews of videogame translations of Hollywood films (or games soon-to-become Hollywood movies). With both industries getting closer and closer, and videogames, in general, getting so much more popular, you knew it was just a matter of time before we hit that stuff!



Developer: 7 Studios
Publisher: Activision
Systems: XBOX 360, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, GBA, DS, & PC


If you've never heard of SHREK then consider yourself having been in a coma for the past decade. If you've never played a SHREK video game, you're less outside of the mainstream. While there are at least 30 game variations of the SHREK license, a majority of the games are on portable consoles. The latest to the license is the adaptation of the third SHREK feature, SHREK THE THIRD. The game is available on seven different consoles, spanning from the GBA to the XBOX 360. No word yet on a version for the PlayStation 3. Sorry BluRay fans. This review is of the XBOX 360 version only. The other versions are very likely the same, except for maybe the portable consoles. And maybe the cell phone version. And perhaps even the Tiger Electronics version.


There is not a whole lot to say about the gameplay in SHREK THE THIRD. You take one of several characters through a rigid level, beat up some dude, snag some collectibles, and maybe solve a puzzle. There are a limited amount of attack combinations that you can use and the only variety comes from the character you are using. Thankfully, you don't just use Shrek from start to finish. The inclusion of Puss in Boots, Donkey, Fiona, Arthur, and Sleeping Beauty provide some semblance of variety.

The most unique aspect of this game is that you collect coins to buy stuff. Oh wait, that's about as original as exploding barrels. Nothing about the collectibles in this game is original, useful, fun, or worth caring about. While they'll help you earn Achievements in the XBOX 360 version, the effort isn't worth it. The puzzles are simple for the most part. They only pose a challenge late in the game, when the lackluster control hinders your progression. Like many licensed games, SHREK THE THIRD makes your journey difficult only through faulty control implementation. While you might know exactly which platform to jump on when, the combination of bad camera, button response time, and limited jump distance will bounce you back down to the bottom. After you've done this five or six times, you'll wonder why even bother. Gameplay: 4.6/10


In a previous review of OPEN SEASON, I liked how that game looked like the movie, even if the game didn't look next gen. Well, now that next gen is current gen, I expected that SHREK THE THIRD would look like the movie and better than OPEN SEASON. With that lofty goal in my brain, I won't hesitate to say that SHREK THE THIRD is visually inept. Not only is this game not current gen, it looks crappy compared to the movie. The character Shrek looks especially under-rendered. His face is without detail and looks based on a Play-Doh stand-in. Was this designed for a Nintendo64?

The only graphical positive is the collection of CGI puppet shows. In lieu of full-motion inserts or clips from the movie, the developers crafted some silly vignettes with Popsicle stick actors on paper sets. Imagine SUPER PAPER MARIO + a kindergarten level puppet show. These scenes are few and far between, and do little more than show us what a dedicated effort might have delivered. SHREK THE THIRD is the stereotypical license rip-off that gamers hate. This is not lost on the graphics and wait until I get to the sound. If you're looking for a pretty (or at least current gen) licensed game, go rent CARS or OPEN SEASON. Graphics: 3.9/10


Right out of the gate, only one of the real voice actors was suckered into working on SHREK THE THIRD. John Cleese was duped into providing narration for the aforementioned puppet shows. He does an amazing job as narrator and would have been a great compliment for any other game (FABLE 2 perhaps?). Too bad every other voice in this game is awful. We're talking unlistenably awful. I'd rather listen to the pitiful voicework of ERAGON or OPEN SEASON. The music is also quite a let down. The tunes are repetitive and unlicensed. While I bet hearing Smash Mouth and Counting Crows on loop would have made my ears, nose, and mouth bleed, I would have preferred something interesting. But at this point, what else would you expect. My final gripe with the sound is two noteworthy glitches. Whenever Shrek uses his "Ogre Powers" the characters opens his mouth wide to scream... and nothing comes out. Excepting the first time this happens in the Tutorial level, I found this error consistently in my copy. The other glitch is in the final battle between Charming and Arthur. An line of dialogue was apparently dropped or forgotten as Charming opens his mouth and nothing is said. These glitches, in a nutshell, represent the overall quality of sound in SHREK THE THIRD - nonexistent. Sound: 5.2/10


No rational adult should be playing this game. There are plenty of great games available - like GEARS OF WAR, NEW SUPER MARIO BROS., and GUITAR HERO II. Buy them, not this mess. And if your kids are begging for a game, get them CARS, LEGO STAR WARS II, VIVA PINATA, or KATAMARI DAMACY first. SHREK THE THIRD is not even worth a rental. In fact, the only thing on this disc that you should let your kids play is the BEE MOVIE demo. That's it. Final Verdict: 4.5/10


Huge hit, blah blah. Future sequel and spin-offs, blah blah. Mega box office, blah blah. Mixed reviews, blah blah.





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