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Shrek the Third

Score: 84%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

The big green guy is back, and no I'm not talking about the Hulk. Shrek is back for his third movie and umpteenth videogame. I haven't personally seen the movie yet, but I have spent a fair amount of time playing the games.

The graphics in Shrek the Third are pretty good for a GBA game. Of course, you're not going to get movie quality animation, but I found the characters to be a fair representation of the animated characters. For each different land that you go to, you get new enemies and landscapes that are quite different from the previous location, so you don't feel like you're just playing the same board over and over again.

The music and sounds in Shrek the Third are quite enjoyable. The music is pleasant to listen to, but doesn't distract you from the game. The characters each have unique cries of pain when you let them get hurt, and the bad guys also have different exclamations when you injure or kill them.


Gameplay:

Shrek the Third is a linear progression game where you're on a quest to find Arthur so that he can become the next king of Far, Far Away to keep Shrek from having to be king. Sounds easy, right? Well just to make life more difficult, Prince Charming has taken over Far, Far Away, taken Fiona hostage, and has plans to kill Shrek upon his return with Arthur. Now, of course Shrek's journey can't be an easy one. You'll have to travel through several different lands, playing as Shrek, Arthur, Donkey, and Puss. Each land has its own set of puzzles that you'll have to solve and fairies to collect to move on to the next land. Once you do get back to Far, Far Away, you'll have to figure out what exactly Charming's plot is so that you can stop him and rescue Princess Fiona.

While you are inside each land, you can go back to any area previously played in that land. Once you are warped to the next land, however, you cannot go back to the previous land. So my advice is to make sure you get everything you need while you're there.


Difficulty:

While Shrek the Third isn't the hardest game I've played, the puzzles weren't all exceptionally easy either. Mostly, it's just a matter of figuring out what each character's abilities are and how you can best use them. Each of the characters have their own special abilities. Shrek and Donkey can move items, Shrek picks things up, Donkey kicks things. Puss can climb walls, swing on things, and crawl under things. Arthur can also swing on things, and he can use his shield to do things like toggle switches that there is no other way to reach. Sometimes solving a puzzle is just a matter of trying the same thing you just did with a different character.

Game Mechanics:

Shrek the Third plays like your typical side-scrolling GBA game. Characters can run forwards and backwards in normal side-scroll fashion. To jump, you use the (A) button, to launch your attack, you use the (B) button. There is no "double jump" in Shrek the Third. In many levels, you have to switch between characters to complete the level's puzzles. The shoulder buttons switch from one character to the next. Overall, the controls are very easy to use.

I found Shrek the Third to be an enjoyable game to play. As with most GBA games I've played recently though, I do wish there was more to it. I think it took about 5-6 hours to beat. At times, it frustrated me a little when I kept trying to jump over something only to realize I was supposed to go a different way, but that's part of what makes puzzle games interesting.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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