that there is no end to the number of games that can be affiliated with a
successful movie, but there very much does seem to be a "milk it until it's dry" mentality. These games are nearly always the same-old
same-old, with nothing to really differentiate them from the crowd other than a
newly licensed collection of characters.
Using this model, publishers can release nearly identical games with no
more effort than adding new character models and replacing some audio.
little diatribe brings us to the topic at hand: Activision's Shrek
Super Slam, a run-of-the-mill fighter that will hopefully be the final teat
on Dreamwork's Shrek franchise cash
not that Super Slam is a bad game,
it's just that there's nothing really innovative about it. If you already have a fighting game that you
like, you won't need this one. If you don't,
you'd be better advised to take a
look at Microsoft's Kung Fu Chaos,
which is the game my kids wanted to play instead every time I asked them to
play Super Slam. I don't want to lapse into a review of Kung Fu Chaos, but
I will point out the most obvious difference between the two: in Super Slam, you fight in a static
(albeit destructible) arena, whereas in Kung
Fu Chaos, the arena "moves" as the fight progresses. Again, this is not to say that the arenas in
Super Slam are bad. They are, in fact,
pretty nice looking, and they do have some fun elements that arise from the
destructibility. They also have plenty
of loose objects such as tables and large vases that can be picked up and used
as weapons. But these things are de
rigeur in any new fighter, and therefore do not sufficiently differentiate
Super Slam from the multitude of competing titles.
your young 'uns have a real thing
for Shrek titles, they probably won't
be too disappointed in Super Slam. The problem is, most kids that are that hung
up on Shrek are under the age of 10, and Super Slam proudly wears an ESRB
rating of E 10+. I wouldn't get too hung up on that, though, as I didn't see anything in the game that I wouldn't allow a younger kid to see. It is the rare 8 year old indeed that isn't already inured to the dangers of "cartoon
violence." And this isn't Itchy & Scratchy level violence we're talking about here; it's
more of the Tom & Jerry type. Just
make sure you're ok with them seeing
fart humor, though. But if you let them
see the Shrek movie(s), you've
already made that decision, haven't
some creative elements to Super Slam,
in that the animated scenes before each chapter are pretty clever. The voices are reasonably accurate facsimiles
to the original voice talent, and they do have some clever lines. I was unable to detect any continuity between
the chapters as I progressed through them, so they're
really more accurately described as vignettes.
That said, the cut scenes will have a shelf life of exactly one viewing,
so they cannot really be considered as a long-term draw. To encourage replay value, and with a street
price of $40 you should insist upon that, you need good game play.
That's a bit of a mixed bag in Super Slam. I found the
controls to be somewhat mushy and unresponsive, so battles quickly degenerated
into exercises in button mashing. The
interactivity of the arenas helped keep the excitement level somewhere above
jury duty, but it was nowhere near as compelling as the aforementioned Kung Fu Chaos. The camera was well positioned for the most
part, although the size of some of the arenas required that it zoom out far
enough to include all of the characters, and at times that made it difficult to
get a close enough view of what was going on to continue the fight.
plenty of standard and character-specific moves to learn, and if you can master
the timing of the controls you can really own your opponent. The animations are smooth and fluid, and I
never felt like the game was bogging down.
As you progress though the game, you unlock new costumes for the
characters. Something about seeing the
Gingerbread man dressed in hip-hop wear, complete with neck Bling and his
trusty pal Gingerbread dog seemed a little off, though.
summation, there isn't much new or
innovative about Shrek Super Slam,
but there's nothing inherently wrong
with it, either. This one will go over
well with young Shrek fans, but is unlikely to elicit any long-term loyalty in
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