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Wii Review - 'Shrek the Third'

by Rusty Bailey on June 13, 2007 @ 2:20 a.m. PDT

Shrek The Third will take players on an all-new adventure filled with fun and exciting new challenges, never-before-seen characters and environments, plus the same humor we've come to love from Shrek and the gang.

Genre: Platforming
Publisher: Activison
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Release Date: May 15, 2007

I am simply an ogre. I want to be with my ogre wife in my disgusting, muddy swamp and live in peace. I know I'm not fit for this royal business, as I can barely address the people in the king's stead without scratching my butt in the uncomfortable garb required by my station. So with the frog king's dying words, he suggests I go find the sole remaining heir, Arthur.

In Shrek the Third, the story begins as you depart on your mission to find Arthur so that he may relieve you of your kingly duties. Meanwhile, Prince Charming intends to take over the kingdom of Far Far Away with his gang of fairy tale villains. Throughout the game, you will take on the role of Shrek, Puss in Boots, and an array of other characters from "Shrek the Third" to find Artie and reclaim Far Far Away.

Each level is laid out as a simple beat-'em-up fest with a few platforming elements. To perform a regular attack, you shake the Wiimote, and to use the charged attack, you shake the Nunchuk. This charge attack is different for the various characters. For example, Shrek launches his opponent into the air, while Beauty yawns to put the enemy to sleep. The motion controls only consist of constantly shaking the controllers, but they are responsive in that respect.

Throughout the levels, you'll acquire blue orbs which fill up your magic meter, so you can perform powerful moves by pressing the Z button. Also, when the meter is completely full, you go into a rage mode where all the enemies move slower so you can land more hits in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, the finishing moves which you perform by pressing the C button are similar to the finishers in God of War, except a lot more comical and infinitely less violent.

Unfortunately, while you have these few options at your disposal, there isn't really much room for combos or anything interesting. Most of the combat just consists of you shaking the Wiimote, and the enemies are extremely easy. Once you start pounding on them, they're done for. Of course, they try and mix it up a bit by having enemies with shields or bosses that aren't fazed by attacks, but the game is generally is a breeze.

In each level, you are given a set of goals to try and complete, most of which involve collecting a specific number of items. Depending on how many goals you complete, you will earn a set amount of coins at the end of the level, which can be used to unlock costumes, multiplayer levels, and even level commentary.

While most of Shrek the Third is platforming, there are a few instances in the story mode where you must knock down towers in a catapult game. To launch the catapult, you lift the remote vertically and then put it horizontal when you're ready to shoot. How long you lift the Wiimote will determine how far the boulder goes. Once again, it's a very responsive, simple game, but not much effort seemed to be put into the Wii controls.

What's interesting about Shrek the Third is that it follows the general storyline of the movie but adds in some extravagant events to account for the fighting. For example, in the movie, when Shrek finds Artie at his school, he simply takes him on the boat and they continue to Far Far Away. However, in the game, Artie explains that he must complete his final exam before he can leave, or he'll fail. Then you spend a lot of time helping Arthur complete his quest before you get him on the ship. This quest contains a plethora of gnomes, monsters, and dragons to fight — all of which were not included in the movie.

While we're comparing the content of the movie and the game, I think this title did well with its humor. You get to hear funny conversations between guards or Shrek simply making fun of Donkey; much of it seemed like watered-down versions of Psychonauts jokes.

Sadly, the voice actors were not used again for the game, with the sound-alikes mostly doing bad impersonations of the characters' voices. However, something that I find notable is the use of the speaker on the remote. I can't think of many third-party games that actually use that aspect, so that was quite surprising to me. It is definitely overused, as you hear every punch and coin you pick up, but I am happy that someone is utilizing that part of the controller. Also worth mentioning is the hilarious song on the level where you fight Hook's minions. Throughout the level, Hook is playing his piano and singing a humorous song which is similar to — but isn't — the tune in the movie.

The visuals in Shrek the Third are the expected run-of-the-mill graphics for a licensed title. What is interesting, however, is how the story is told during cut scenes with a paper cut-out puppet show that Shrek and Donkey are watching after the events of the movie. It was awfully stylish and added some humor and variety to the game.

Aside from the story mode, you have the option of mini-games and multiplayer. The multiplayer mode is simply the catapult game from story mode, made playable for two players. Mini-games and multiplayer are also essentially the same thing because all of the mini-games can be played with two players. Most the mini-games are simple tasks using the Wiimote, but it's the ones that require aiming that are troubling. Those with quick reflexes need not play here, since moving the cursor on the screen seems terribly slow.

Shrek the Third is a funny beat-'em-up perfect for kids that liked the movie, but it suffers from simple controls and repetitive fighting. The story mode is only a few hours long, so I would not recommend a purchase, but it may be a suitable rental for fans.

Score: 7.0/10

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