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Shrek the Third

Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Licensed games, especially ones geared towards a younger audience, are always tricky when it comes to reviewing them. While the first inclination is to compare them to other games, this isn't always the best course of action since licensed games are usually developed under different circumstances. Usually a good rule of thumb is to make sure the game is true to its source material and doesn't completely insult its audience. Although Shrek the Third doesn't push game design in any new directions, it is still a competent game and something that should please a younger audience.

Shrek the Third is yet another game that doesn't push the Wii's capabilities as much as it could. It looks nice and things are recognizable, though in the end it looks like a PS2 game with better lighting. All of the characters from the movie appear in the game and, while they aren't as detailed, they still look exactly as they should. Animation is a little stiff and will randomly drop frames for no discernable reason, but overall the game runs smoothly.

I was never able to figure out if the voice actors are the real cast or stand-ins, but either way the performances are good. Humor is usually hard to pull off in games, but Shrek manages to capture the movie's humor and sense of timing. I really enjoyed the soundtrack. It has a jazzy, upbeat feel that matches the mood of the movie and each level.

The Wii-mote's internal speaker is used at various points in the game, which is something I haven't seen many third-party games use effectively.


Shrek the Third follows the plot of the movie while taking a few liberties to support gameplay. After the death of the Frog King, Shrek is presented with a choice: Become the new king or find a replacement. Realizing he isn't made for royal life, Shrek goes on a quest to find Fiona's long-lost cousin, Arthur, so he can take the throne. While Shrek is away, Prince Charming rallies the villains and leads a coup to take over Far, Far Away and claim the throne for himself.

The plot is told through a series of puppet shows that lead into play areas where you follow Shrek, Puss and other characters through areas that supplement the story. Gameplay is action-based and extremely linear. Most of your time is spent beating up groups of enemies, though you may have to solve one or two simple puzzles. There are other times where you may need to open a door by rapidly tapping a button.

Each level has one main goal, as well as a series of smaller side-goals. These usually involve collecting items like Souvenir Mugs or other random items. You can also collect tokens that you can spend on new outfits or mini-games in the Gift Shop. Unlocking different outfits is actually worthwhile since each has its own bonuses. Some outfits offer attack bonuses while others increase the amount of fairy dust you collect.

The unlockable mini-games are fun for a short time. These include a shooting gallery, shuffleboard, a frog-herding game and shooting game where you defend against incoming ships. The most entertaining of the bunch is a castle siege game where you use siege weapons to take down castles.


For the game's younger target audience, Shrek the Third isn't too challenging. The first big hurdle to cross are the controls, which anyone should be able to pick up after the short tutorial level. Enemies usually attack in groups, though combat is so easy to use that you never feel overwhelmed. Anyone should be able to make it to the end of a level, though the bonus objectives do up the challenge level a bit.

Any difficulties encountered with the game are usually a result of small flaws. Not all of the game's mechanics are explained well, so you may spend a few moments trying to figure out how to do simple things. A bigger problem is that it is hard to tell how much health you have left, so you can easily find yourself in a bad situation.

Game Mechanics:

The Wii version's use of the motion controls feels comfortable, but seasoned players probably won't find anything particularly compelling about the setup. Younger players, on the other hand, will find it really easy to get into and should have more fun with it.

Waving the Wii-mote in different directions produces different attack types. A quick waggle to the left or right is a quick attack while moving up will knock enemies into the air. The controls are responsive and don't take much movement to get a response - so while you do a fair about of flailing around during gameplay, you will not wear yourself out.

The Nunchuck attachment is used to move as well as unleash a special wind-up attack. Shaking the Nunchuck begins a wind-up; the longer you shake it, the more powerful your punch gets. At least, that's the theory. Winding up for a powerful punch leaves you a little too wide open for attack, so the set-up usually ends in a cheap hit from an enemy rather than a big hit. The times it does work, it isn't any more effective than a quick combo or finisher.

Enemies drop fairy dust when defeated that will let you pull off special moves. Hitting (C) when prompted pulls off finishing moves that are specific to each character. Shrek will pick up enemies and pound on them, while Puss uses his trademark "sad eyes" to stun enemies and get in a cheap hit. After accumulating enough fairy dust, hitting (C) and (Z) together activates a powerful attack like Shrek's Ogre Rage, which slows down time and stuns everyone on the screen for a short period of time.

As a game, is nothing special. There's a noticeable lack of polish and sometimes the game is a little too simple. At the same time, younger players who just want to play as Shrek should enjoy the ease of play and simple design. So to that end, Shrek the Third is a fun diversion for younger players but nothing seasoned players will want to check out.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Sony PlayStation 3 Spider-Man 3: Collector's Edition Sony PlayStation 2 Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm

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