Activision capitalizes on the new Shrek movie by pumping out a few game adaptations across most platforms. Today we are taking a look at the Nintendo DS offering which gives a 2D side scrolling feel to the third Shrek motion picture, simply named Shrek the Third.
In Shrek the Third you will have the chance to control most of the lead characters from the new Shrek movie. This includes the new swordsman Artie (Fiona’s Cousin), Donkey, Puss-in-Boots, and of the ogre of the hour, Shrek. Each character has unique abilities like Puss’s agility and Shrek’s brute force. The combination of all the characters combined make for a more interesting product then just running around as the oversized green ogre. Shrek the Third has minor puzzle solving bits, with the main portion of the game on combat. There is a good message of team work strung through the game, so even though mindless, Shrek has his values.
The plot line follows the movies plot which involves Shrek and the gang searching for Arthur (Artie) the rightful heir to the throne. It’s unfortunate that Shrek can’t be allowed to rule the kingdom, in my opinion it just shows another side of DreamWorks negative concepts, and I know I’m in the minority. Shrek finds Artie and this leads to a wizard who helps Shrek return home. All this time Prince Charming is not so charming and storms the castle in Far Far Away attempting to take the throne. Again, enters Shrek to save the game and work up for that magical ‘DreamWorks’ ending.
Shrek the Third isn’t an overly long game with twenty levels and a number of boss battles. You will cross through the majority of environments which usually runs for three levels a piece. If you like to use the stylus when you play your DS games, Shrek the Third can accommodate. Stylus heavy Shrek the Third will have you using the little pointer from everything from jumping, solving puzzles and even combat. The gameplay isn’t groundbreaking, but it is varied enough to make Shrek worth a few sit downs until it comes to a charming close. Better yet is that the controls are easy to use and shouldn’t frustrate younger gamers who want to get into the adventure.
A minor detail that bothered me in Shrek is that the computer didn’t take control of the other characters during times of need. Until you move them, they are frozen, even if they are all on the screen at the same time. It’s understandable because computer A.I. would have changed the concept of the game, but at the same time it feels a little unnatural.
Shrek the Third also supports game sharing which is a huge bonus, and boasts the title as the first Nintendo DS game to support Co-Op play. Up to three friends to lock on to your copy and enjoy some simple and fun adventure with Shrek and the gang. I like the team work aspect of the spectator mode which lets you watch and lend a helpful hand to the person playing the game. The only trick is picking who plays, and who supports.
For visuals, we have the weakest area of the game. The handheld tries to match up 3D characters imported into 2D environments. The models are acceptable, but by no means impressive and a little too small for my tastes. Keeping with the movie license, Shrek the Third is faithful to the characters while trying to add as much detail and animation to the characters as possible. The environments themselves are a little dry and again, acceptable for the DS standards. I wouldn’t knock Vicarious Visions attempt, but I won’t praise it at the same time.
Audio wise, the game is average. The real voice talents didn’t sign up to be a part of the game and so we have a mimicked voice talent spitting out the scripts lines. Thankfully, their talents are good enough that it’s not a train wreck, and they are good enough that you might not even notice. Along with the voice work, average soundtrack and sound effects, Vicarious pulls it together once again and gives a substantial performance for the Nintendo DS’s capabilities.
Shrek the Third is obviously made for fans of the film, or Shrek in general. This particular cartridge is geared towards a younger audience and it does a good job at making a fun 2D action game. Adding in the Multiplayer value and the fact you can get into Shrek the Third before the movie is released is another bonus. Shrek the Third isn’t the best movie-game adaptation on the market, but with expectations lowered, Shrek the Third on the Nintendo DS performs nicely.
Gameplay: 6, Graphics/Sound: 5.5, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 6. Final: 6.5 / 10