Reviewed: November 14, 2005
Released: October 25, 2005
Normally we see games like Shrek SuperSlam come along just about the time a new movie or DVD release is about to debut, but when you already have the license, why not exploit it. Shaba Games and Activision have taking the lively and loveable cast of Dreamworks blockbuster CG animated feature and turned them into the biggest bunch of brawlers this side of the WWE.
Shrek SuperSlam draws some obvious inspiration from Super Smash Brothers. The characters are definitely more endearing and the single-player story mode is a breath of fresh air that complements the primary multiplayer experience, but the actual fighting engine is somewhat limited and perhaps too easily mastered by older gamers or anyone who has ever played a game in this genre.
Despite the repetitive controls and combat, you do have 20 characters that you get to explore and with so many moves and hilarious attack animations it will still take you quite some time to see it all. There are 16 arenas in which you get to fight, and they are all fully destructible offering plenty of combat-enhancing tactics.
The cast features all of the heroes from the movie as well as some new characters created just for the game, but still made famous in popular Fairy Tales. Each character has their own unique set of moves and expanding list of combos plus a signature move. These super-moves usually feature some natural ability of the character and result in some of the best moments in the game.
Combat is simple and revolves around punches and kicks and grapple moves that can be chained together in various combos. You’ll either have to experiment or watch the loading splash screens for attack combos. There are also 30 items including weapons, potions, and other objects that can be used to heal or attack.
The wonderful fighting animation is also the game’s biggest downfall. The game focuses so much on elaborate moves and detailed animations that you lose much of the real-time control feel of the game and you will find yourself entering in the proper button sequence then sitting back and watching the motion play out.
The single player game was entirely too short (30-60 minutes) and only allows you to play through with the scripted set of characters. It would have been a much more rewarding experience to play a short sequence of 8-10 fights with each character ending in a rewarding movie, much like Tekken or DOA, or any other fighting game for that matter.
Obviously, the story mode was targeted toward kids and for those seeking some solo-training before going head-to-head in versus matches with up to four players. This is the strongest mode of the game and will dominate hours of your gaming time. There are also dozens of mini-games and Mega Challenges that will continually test you and your character’s abilities. You’ll need to complete these to unlock the entire cast and all the fight areas.
Shrek SuperSlam looks really good, perhaps not as good as Shrek 2 and definitely not as good as the film, but for a fighting game that focuses on characters and only a few small environments, there is a surprising amount of detail in both. Arenas are fully destructible on multiple levels with plenty of items you can interact with.
Again, the animation is outstanding to the detriment of gameplay, but nonetheless hysterical to watch and the environments depict a lot of locations that we can only assume existed but were never shown in the movie. Ginger’s hip-hop rapper pad, pimped out Cadillac, and sweat suit outfit complete with “bling” still brings a smile to my face.
Technically, the game uses pretty standard effects, nothing overly flashy, but there are some great lighting and particle effects for the magical items, and everything has an appropriate “Shrek” flavor about it, even with the big green oaf isn’t in the scene. Framerate is solid for the solo game but can take a hit during four-player action when the combat gets really intense.
The single-player game features numerous cutscenes that transition between the various levels. These are expertly created and look pretty close to movie-quality.
The soundtrack is excellent with plenty of Shrek style and character-specific themes. When the action starts the soundtrack can go overboard but no more than the gameplay.
The highlight of the sound and perhaps the entire game is the outstanding voice acting. While none of the feature film stars participated, the sound-alikes for this game are incredible with topnotch acting ability plus the ability to sound just like the original stars that voiced the characters.
The sound effects are just as good with all sorts of physical impact effects, weapons clashing, objects breaking, and magical sounds of potion use and other power-up items. Fire crackles, stone crumbles, wood creaks and breaks, and glass shatters. It’s all presented in a nice Dolby Digital surround mix.
As long as you aren’t going into this game for the solo experience you will be happy with what Shrek SuperSlam offers. The story mode will only take you 30-60 minutes and the mini-games will take another 2-3 hours, but the true potential of this game is in the multiplayer. Nothing beats the insane fun of testing your character knowledge and combat skills with human opposition.
I would have enjoyed an Xbox Live option. Multiplayer is infinitely more fun that playing alone, at least after I have unlocked everything, but if you're like me and most of your multiplayer gaming is over the Internet then you are out of luck.
Shrek SuperSlam is a fun little fighting romp targeted towards the younger crowd and diehard fans of the film. Those coming from a Smash Brothers background will likely blaze through this game and walk away hungry, but for those looking for the casual fighter with charming characters and delightful animation, you can’t go wrong with the cast of Shrek.