Shrek is Blech

Shrek: Fairy Tale Freakdown
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Well, perhaps not totally blech, but you probably won’t enjoy this title very much.

Shameless licensing of a game on the back of a movie? Well, there is nothing wrong with that. Such shamelessness brought us the likes of Goldeneye (nuff said). Okay, so the ingredients are summer a blockbuster, comedy, family entertainment, fairy tale fantasy, lovability, highly marketable characters, and state of the art computer animation. Phew, put those together and you could have yourself the makings of a cute 2D platform adventure. Or not!

The folks at TDK opted for Shrek the ‘fighting adventure.’ Hmm, I noticed the fighting bit, but there was a distinct lack of adventure. To say that I was disappointed to see a fighting game in place of an adventure or puzzle-game designed to exploit what the Game Boy Color does best, would be an understatement.

At first sight, the game is presented quite nicely. Menus appear as parchment scrolls and the screens take on the look of a page out of a fairy tale book. Having said that, it was all a bit dark and dingy. The murky color palette didn’t do much to fire my enthusiasm, but I persevered, sweeping aside my first impressions.

The story is a negligible part of the game, apart from the fact that you get to choose from a host of characters present in the movie. The idea of the game is that you compete in fights to gain the title of "Ultimate Champion." Choose your character from one of nine and head for The Forest for your first fight.

I chose to be Shrek, the green ogre himself and managed a couple of easy, but hollow victories. Then I met Gingerbread Man, who proved a little more challenging. That’s more like it I thought. No, the challenge only served to highlight the fact that I was dealing with the most unresponsive control system in the world – ever! I was getting trashed, my health bar was teetering at the brink and I’d only just managed to jump a couple of times. Knowing the limits of my fighting game prowess, I passed the game to a friend with nimble fingers to see if it was just me. My friend proceeded to grumble and promptly handed the Game Boy back.

I hasten to add I did manage to get past this level, but it took a steely will and stiff thumbs, coupled with a lot of swearing. It’s conclusive, my hindrance wasn’t a result of a steep learning curve, it was down to the controls well"er"not controlling. This all adds up to a very frustrating experience.

In all fairness to TDK, they have tried to translate some of the humour of the movie onto the small screen. Among Shrek’s basic moves are the ‘flying-burrito kick’

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