I’ll admit, despite my rather advanced age I’m still a sucker for the better animated movie. Next to some of the well known Disney Classics I also own Dreamworks’ flagship movies Shrek and Shrek 2. And I didn’t buy them for the kids alone, I truly enjoy watching them myself. The humour and advanced technology places them both at the absolute top of the (digital) animated film. They’re not overly nice, everything can and will be made fun of without having parents troubled too much on some of the jokes, something I don’t really see in the Disney movies.
What really sets Shrek apart from a lot of other movies is the same quality that is shown in the sequel, something you don’t really see a lot in animated movies (except maybe Disney’s Toy Story, of which in my opinion the sequel was better). Certainly the cast is very important in these films. Mike Myers, known for such films as Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, is a comical genius, Eddie Murphy, who rose through the ranks using hilarious smut like his stage shows “Raw” and “Delirious”, and the semi-humorous “Beverly Hills Cop” movies, and the divine Cameron Diaz, maybe not that well known as a comical actress – although “There’s Something About Mary” proves she can do comedy very well indeed – but is mostly cast as the beauty she is: she certainly popped my eyes and had my tongue on the table in “The Mask”. Throw in people like John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders, John Landau, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, Rupert Everett and a lot of others and you have the ingredients for comical success. Superbly written scripts also tend to help in that department. Next to a supercast and a good script you also need good music and that’s what we got: rock to disco, it’s all in there!
I certainly don’t need to tell you that millions of dollars were spent. But the films were successful in the theatres and the DVD’s still sell strong. Dreamworks certainly has earned back every penny invested and more. But, as is the case with a lot of successful movies, more is not enough. So in comes a game based on the movie.
I had the dubious pleasure of reviewing this title (the other side of the medal I guess, it can’t be top-titles all the time) and I have to say that I’m somewhat disappointed in this game. A short list:•Localised release:
To my surprise I saw that the review copy was only playable in dutch (for those of you that don’t know this: Fragland is based in Belgium where about 60% of the people speak Dutch and the other 40% speaks French, with a bit of German divided between them). I understand that the targeted audience for this game might not speak or understand a lot of English, but a choice would have been nice. I know enough native English speaking people in Belgium who hardly understand Dutch (and some of them do, or at least the local dialect). Looking at myself: call me a snob, but I’d rather play a game in English.•Annoying voices:
The casting and recording of the voices must have been rushed, as I don’t know a lot of games that are that repetitive like this one! The commentator becomes so irritating that you’d only play the game without sound. They never even come close to the humour of the movies, maybe one exception: Donkey’s “Kus mijn harige hoef” (kiss my hairy hoof) which my daughter found hilarious and consequently used it as often as she could for days on end… •No recognisable soundtrack:
Not once have I heard a tune that was in one of the movies. All of it sounded too “nice” for my taste, something that just isn’t true in the films!•Substandard graphics:
Ok, we’re talking an animation movie, and I certainly didn’t expect glossy CGI in a game made for the PS2, but Shrek SuperSlam doesn’t impress. I can’t say the graphics would have worked on the original PlayStation, but I also can’t say they pushed the PS2 to the max.
But all is not bad! My son and co-author on the “Star Wars: Battlefront 2″ review has a lot of fun playing the game. I found the gameplay to be a bit too simple, but he certainly likes it and doesn’t really care about the things that bother me about the game. So maybe this game does have it’s merits and should be seen from a child’s perspective. He did find the PEGI rating of +12 (for violence) a bit silly.
This isn’t a game for the Shrek fan, despite the fact that (almost) all the movie’s characters are playable. The fan in me is mostly bothered by the lack of quality as we know it from the movies, but the casual young gamer can really enjoy the game. So for rating purposes I’ve consulted my son for the gamplay and concept scoring… And just maybe that might have been a good decision.