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Shrek the Third

Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: 7 Studios
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Family/ Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:

So, it should be no surprise to anyone that seconds before the latest release of the hit movie franchise Shrek, we see a game version of Shrek the Third for every make and model of video gaming console. Notoriously, movie adaptations tend to fall short of many gamers' expectations, but here at least we have a kid's game that is appropriately difficult enough for the slotted age demographic and a well put together package for a marketing game.

The graphics are not going to send your system into overdrive and kick up the cooling fan, by any stretch of the imagination. This was a little disappointing, given that it was on the 360. There is more than enough muscle to pull off movie quality animations, especially when it is a CG movie. There was a lot of graphical evidence that this was a rush for the finish line, with Z-fighting from layered textures and a camera movement that should have been reserved for a special ring in Dante's Inferno. This is all lost of course by the younger demographic as they are happy enough to see Shrek, Donkey, and Puss-in-Boots run around.

Admittedly not having seen the movie yet, I can only imagine that the soundtrack has to come directly from the movie. Static and repetitive voiceovers plague the gameplay experience, as stand-in voice actors stand out in a bad way. But, again this is totaly lost on the age bracket.


With Shrek the Third, you will have the opportunity to take on many of the characters from the movie. They did a good job of making each character unique in how they play and feel. This is a pretty cool thing, but your most reprised role will be that of Shrek, of course.

You follow in the footsteps of the movie with little deviation. The missions are very straightforward as you hack, slash, and button-mash your way through the levels. Collect Fairy Dust, Coins, Beer Steins, and assorted mission-based items to gain power ups and bonuses. There is a special attack meter for each character that is charged when you collect fairy dust. Each character has their unique special attack that actually stays very true to character. As you can imagine, with Shrek as the main character, he has several degrees of these attacks, whereas lesser characters only have one type of attack. I am particularly fond of Shrek's use of flatulence as a weapon. What else would you come to expect? Puss-in-Boots uses his cuteness as a weapon, and you can pretty much guess the rest of the characters based on the movies.

The multiplayer option is a unique competition where you use Crossbows and Catapults to either knock down the walls and capture the castle or be the first to hit all of the available targets. There is no cooperative play, which was kind of a shame; I would have liked to help my daughter through the game.

Besides the straightforward single player and multiplayer games, there are a few mini-games that you can play that are extremely fun. The only problem is that the experience of each of the mini-games is over before you know it. These needed to last a little longer for each game.


Shrek the Third is actually very well suited for play by kids. The Shrek franchise has always been geared to a two-sided audience. There was always plenty of slapstick comedy to keep the kids laughing at the computer-generated characters, but there was high-brow humor that skipped over the top of the kids for the adults. Someone picking up this game may be expecting that to translate to the game and the level of complexity to the game and would be sadly mistaken. The whole aim is for kid's entertainment, nothing else. The control is easy. The puzzles are simple and it is everything you would expect a kids' game to be. If you want a difficulty change, you can spend your hard-earned coins to unlock a new difficulty setting from the in-game store.

Game Mechanics:

The camera controls in Shrek the Third are enough to make you break a controller. More times than not, the camera turns a simple 3D platform area into a living nightmare of controller and camera controls interfering with the on-screen action. A classic scenario is attempting to run and jump onto a platform right as the camera switches mid-air. The characters have the ability to change direction mid-air, so whereas you were moving towards the platform in one angle, as soon as the switch happens, you are pulling away from it. The ability to collect coins and trade them for player costumes is novel, but I believe it would have been more captivating to actually include some exerpts from the movie. I mean, if you're going to make a marketing game, then you might as well exploit it to the fullest and plug the heck out of the movie. The linear game style means that the subquests associated with each level are too easy to obtain. As long as you smash everything, for the most part, you're going to complete all of the missions.

Though designed well enough for a young game player, this game falls short on follow through. Mediocre voice acting, bad camera action and many graphical bugs turn out a rough and unpolished game. The youngest edge of the game's intended audience will not see this, but there are many areas where the camera glitch is what creates the difficulty and will frustrate them. Kids old enough and experienced enough in games to not let the camera bother them are going to notice all of the smaller glitches, making for a mediocre game experience.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

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