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Shrek SuperSlam

Platform(s): Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Shaba Games / Amaze Entertainment / Griptonite Games


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PS2 Review - 'Shrek SuperSlam'

by Geson Hatchett on Feb. 10, 2006 @ 12:17 a.m. PST

Shrek SuperSlam pits the characters from the Shrek franchise against each other in the only game that combines the twisted humor and pop culture parodies of the Shrek universe with the fast-paced action of a melee fighting game.

Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Shaba Games
Release Date: October 25, 2005

Xbox | GameCube | NDS | GBA | PC | PlayStation 2

Hey, now, this isn’t half bad at all.

The Shrek franchise has seen a good amount of game genres at this point, and it’s a wonder why a fighting game wasn’t made out of it sooner. With the moderate success of its platforming brawler games, however, it was inevitable. Shrek SuperSlam takes the madness of the Shrek world and characters into closed arenas, and God help these locales, because every usable character is more than capable of tearing them to bits.

Provided you’re not looking for anything too deep, said tearing proves to be a good amount of fun as well.

SuperSlam doesn’t pretend to have any sort of world-spanning story behind it; no world’s in trouble that requires the whole of the Shrek cast to save it or anything like that. Heck, the story mode centers around a bunch of bedtime stories which cross-cast the characters into various fantasy roles. Of special note is Pinocchio serving as a fast-food worker with a chip on his shoulder.

No matter what the circumstance, any given fight’s objectives are the same. The object is to “Slam” your opponent more times than your opponent can Slam you. A Slam is pretty much a super move that requires just one button, and you are given the ability to Slam after hitting your opponent a sufficient number of times such that your Slam meter is filled. Hit opponent, deliver Slam, lather, rinse, repeat—that’s the order of the day.

Slamming opponents is easier said than done, because there’s so much mayhem going on in the arena at once that you’re more likely to run into something or someone and fill up someone else’s Slam meter. You’ll have to pick and choose your shots and combos in order to fill your meter, otherwise you’ll end up getting slapped around like a pinball. Fortunately, once your Slam meter does build up, getting the actual Slam move off is fairly easy, as all Slam moves have either high priority, or span the entire arena, and the Slam meter will only disappear when a Slam is successfully landed. In addition, Slams will cause the victim to bounce around the arena, causing various forms of destruction to it that provide both amusement as well as strategic battle changes.

In addition to the single player mode, a tutorial is included that is good at telling you how the system works. There’s also the prerequisite two-player mode, and, finally, a mission mode that’s actually fairly engaging. Said mission mode consists of several challenges under a myriad of circumstances involving changes to either the arena or the players involved—it’s much like the Mission Mode in the original Dreamcast Soul Calibur, and just as fun. There are over 200 missions, and playing this mode is required to unlock the second half of the cast, as well as costumes and other goodies.

It’s easy to nitpick at and pick apart this game without much work. Fortunately, if the worst part of a game is its announcer, then you’re definitely on the right track. (Really, the announcer is horrible and I want him banned from voice work until the end of time.) As for the actual gameplay, well, it doesn’t really feel that deep, even by party-fighter standards. Power Stone, which this game apes most closely, has a bit more technique attached to it, with attacks and combinations that feel a lot less random than in this title. Due to the Slam System, tactics are based not around the characters’ physical or special attacks (in other words, their actual abilities), but how well you can hit and run. In order to become a complete fighting package, this is something that the engine must overcome. As a random party beat-em-up, however, this suffices.

Even on the PS2, the graphics are quite passable for the engine and the mayhem. There’s no slowdown, even when lots of objects (or people) are being banged around at super-high speeds. The game is also well-animated, sometimes so much so that it forgets that it’s a fighting game; in the aforementioned case of Pinocchio, chaining his boxing attacks can be a chore because his attack animations are tailored more for show than for tactics. This is actually the case with a good number of characters with automatic combination moves, such as Princess Fiona or Puss N’ Boots. It’s yet another aspect of the game that keeps it strictly a party fighter. There certainly won’t be any high-level Shrek players anytime soon—though perhaps it’s just as well.

Aside from the aforementioned absolutely horrific announcer (really, I hate this guy), the game’s actually a treat for the ears. Character voices are reprised, as are all the zany sound effects one comes to associate with the Shrek franchise. Extra treats such as the Friar Tuck’s Fat Boy restaurant theme song are sprinkled about the fighting, and all of the aforementioned ensure that you’ll be doing a lot of chuckling as you beat people senseless.

If you find yourself looking for a change of pace outside the usual party fighting game fare, Shrek SuperSlam couple be right up your alley. The comedic atmosphere and the fact that just about very move you land has more visible results than any other four-player brawler out there will keep you and yours amused for hours on end. The system, while haphazard at times, is just different enough to allow for a refreshing change of pace. Finally, it’s definitely a good recommendation for kids and fans of the Shrek franchise.

All in all… this one’s mostly harmless, and could surprise you. Go ahead and give it a shot.

Score: 7.0/10

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