Shrek Super Slam

Review

posted 12/19/2005 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: GC
There are a number of other modes to choose from, most notably king of the hill and story. King of the hill is played in a special arena with a very slippery hill and not much else in the background. Again, there was potential here, but gameplay is more of the same button mashing, trying to stay on the hill the longest while batting other players away. Story mode glues several matches to a thin plot involving a bedtime story of some sort. Basically, you choose a character and beat your way through a series of one-on-one battles with a CPU player, much in the same manner as the melee mode. Yes, Smash Bros. does the exact same thing, with even less of a story, but the mechanics are far removed from Super Slam and make Smash Bros. so much more fun to play.

So, the gameplay is nothing spectacular or even very enjoyable, but how does the game look? Well there’s a real tossup in Super Slam concerning graphics, and it plays out like this. Character modeling is actually quite impressive, with each player model sporting a good deal of polygons and imitating their movie versions with decent fidelity. Animations are spot on, facial expressions in particular, and this is probably where Super Slam does the best job of representing the source material. In short, you don’t have to squint to tell that you’re looking at Shrek.

Environments are nothing to shout about, but there are plenty of little touches that bring the decidedly low-brow humor of the films into the gaming realm. There are the occasional traps and landmarks that feel very Shrek-like, and the weapons are at least appropriate. Particle effects, physics and other frills are merely satisfactory, but it’s nice to see them anyway. The only real problem with the graphics is the texturing. Every last surface, be it on a character or playfield, is noticeably smeary. They aren’t disgusting to look at, but with such great poly models, you’d think Amaze would deck them out with some higher res textures.

Sound is really quite refreshing after some of the sub-par elements in the graphics and gameplay. To be honest I was amazed at the quality of the voice work. I had to look in the manual to determine that the actually movie actors didn’t provide the voices; the sound-alikes are that good. Music is what you’d expect from such a game, but it has a distinctly Shrek flavor. So, you get the remixes of 70’s pop and the typical party game tunes, which all serve their purpose without being too overt.

With such a well rounded package of production values, it’s a surprise that Shrek Super Slam didn’t have more polish put into the actual gameplay. The developers took their cue from Smash Bros, but if you’re going to do that, you’d better get it right. The final product is only half of what it could’ve been, with mechanics that are more irritating than addictive, and a gameplay principle that limits customization in the end. Shrek fans should give this one a rent—they’ll enjoy the movie references and playing as their favorite characters. Hardcore gamers and just about everybody else should keep on playing Smash Bros. Melee.


D
Activision has churned out another Shrek licensed title, with all the sophomoric charm of the films but a tired gameplay concept. There’s a certain degree of variety, between story and multiplayer modes, but it all comes up short when the player realizes there’s nothing here to hold interest.


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