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Shrek the Third

Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 (2 Multiplayer: taking turns)
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:

Graphically, Shrek the Third as a platformer geared toward the younger crowd is okay, but definitely what you would call last-gen. The developers at Amaze Entertainment have done a wonderful job with character creation, and some aspects of animation, which really helps sell the Shrek universe in this interactive incarnation. Some animations have had to get a bit gamey with attack sequences and the like, but most of the cut-scenes look pretty good, and replicate the movie franchise's characters pretty well. Unfortunately, there are some graphical glitches (pixilated shadows, floating characters) that do detract from the overall experience visually.

As far as audio goes, the music and sound effects go hand in hand with the films. The character voiceovers are equally well-done, especially considering the lack of first-string players. With the exception of John Cleese as the Narrator and Kin Harold, I believe that all other characters have stand-in voice actors. However, most are very convincing, and children, especially, may not pick up the differences.


Shrek the Third is about as much of a platformer as you can get. Fetch. Fight. Repeat. That is the main goal behind each of the vast number of levels. Some levels are more challenging than others, but for the most part, each level is repetitive in nature, just like its predecessor. What is great about Shrek the Third is that you will actually play as different characters from the movies. You'll have control of Shrek himself, of course, but also be able to kick some tail with Donkey, Puss In Boots, and Sleeping Beauty, just to name a few. Each character also has his or her own attack moves, speed, and jumping ability, which can take a bit of getting used to as well. For example, Puss is a rather quick, high-jumping fellow. Because of this, some of the platforming that he is required to perform can cause frustration when a silly slip-up sends him falling back to the bottom of a long jump sequence.

Following the plotlines from the big screen version of Shrek the Third, you will originally take control of Shrek with the master goal of NOT becoming king. To do this, Shrek and Donkey set out on an action/adventure to find a suitable replacement, Fiona's cousin Artie. Unfortunately, Artie isn't as kingly as expected, so you will also have to help him build confidence as you progress through the game.

Shrek and his cohorts will encounter many minions of evil throughout the journey, all trying to stop your characters in their tracks. There are also very basic environmental puzzles, which could actually have a claim to be a bit too difficult for younger children that may play the game. (You may have to step in and help them with the platforming/jumping now and again.)

Shrek the Third is mostly all about the single-player experience. As you proceed, you'll earn Far, Far Pounds (Far, Far Away's fairytale currency), which will help you unlock everything from different costumes to difficulty settings and multiplayer maps. The multiplayer is entertaining for a few minutes, but very easily forgettable. You and a friend will take turns launching boulders via catapult at your opponent's castle walls, destroying them to earn points. Unfortunately, the turn-based system shares a clock, making it easy to manipulate if you delay your next shot while winning. Also, this is basically it for multiplayer, which doesn't add a whole lot to the experience.


For adults (young and old), the game version of Shrek proves fairly easy, despite the difficulty setting chosen. However, younger gamers may find certain aspects of Shrek the Third a bit difficult. In many cases, the characters will have to effectively push ice chunks to a certain location to jump up onto, then jump to retrieve a high-up item, and finish it all before the ice melts into a puddle of splashing water. This difficulty really gets enhanced because of the control scheme (using the keyboard) and possible camera shifts that flip-flop the controlling direction. Using a game pad would likely lower the difficulty caused by poor controls, but some of the puzzle elements may be equally as difficult for youngsters.

Game Mechanics:

Getting used to the default keyboard controls is, by far, the most difficult part of playing Shrek the Third on PC. I have to imagine that with a gamepad on a console, this game would be much more enjoyable. While you can re-map the controls, I stuck with the originals to get a good feel for what many will encounter. Moving around isn't much of an issue, using the standard WASD keys, but when the camera shifts on occasion, it may be a bit confusing. Fighting is accomplished using the arrow keys, as well as jumping with the SPACEBAR, blocking with TAB, and executing special powers (using fairy dust collected) with the Q key. Sound confusing? It is.

At the end of the day, a review must end with a recommendation. Being that I love the Shrek universe to death, I think that kids with the same passion will enjoy Shrek the Third's game version of the movie. However, even with a large number of levels, the repetition may become a bit of a bore and the replay value is limited to going back for goals you may have missed. Added to that is the fact that multiplayer is practically non-existent. Combine all of the above with keyboard controls that are clunky, and I would highly suggest a console version of the game over this PC version, unless, of course, you have no choice.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Minimum System Requirements:

3D hardware accelerator card required - 100% DirectX(R) 9.0c-compliant 64 MB video card and drivers, Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP, Pentium(R) III 800MHz or Athlon(TM) 800MHz or higher processor, 512 MB of RAM, 3 GB of uncompressed hard disk space (plus 300 MB for the Windows(R) swap file and 12 KB free for saved games), A 100% Windows(R) XP-compatible computer system including: DirectX(R) 9.0c (Included), 100% DirectX(R) 9.0c-compliant true 16-bit sound card and drivers, 100% Windows(R) XP- compatible mouse, keyboard and drivers, 100% Windows(R) XP- compatible quad speed DVD-ROM drive (600 K/sec sustained transfer rate) and drivers, Supported Chipsets for Windows XP: All NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) 4 Ti 4200 64mb and better chipsets, All ATI(R) Radeon(R) 8500 64mb and better chipsets

*Important Note: Some 3D accelerator cards with the chipsets listed here may not be compatible with the 3D acceleration features utilized by Shrek the Third. Please refer to your hardware manufacturer for 100% DirectX(R) 9.0c compatibility.


Test System:

AMD Athlon 2700+ CPU, Windows XP Pro SP2, 2GB (2x 512MB; 1x 1GB) PC3200 DDR400 RAM, ATI All-In-Wonder 9600 2006 Edition 8x AGP Video Card, NVIDIA nForce MCP Audio, DirectX 9.0c, 16x DVD-ROM used as main 32x CD-ROM, Sony DRU-500A DVD±R/RW, 6 USB ports, Cable Modem Hi-Speed Internet Connection

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