Shrek is big, but stupid

Shrek Extra Large
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One day some fat suited types sat around a boardroom table and said, "I really love this idea about the big, green, farting ogre. I reckon we’re onto something here." I expect there was some kind of golden handshake. They all left the room with dollar signs in their eyes, high on the prospect of major marketing tie-ins; lunch boxes, bed spreads, games, maybe even a TV show. This could be the next Toy Story, they promised themselves.

Shrek was good. I liked Shrek. But the same cannot be said for the string of games it has spawned. This time TDK are bringing Shrek to Gamecube, and all I can say is at least it’s not awful.

As I’ve always experienced with Shrek games, it’s nicely presented. The idea of the game is some kind of alternative fairy tale world. Princess Fiona has been captured and locked in the evil sorcerer’s Dark Tower Fortress thingy. Your training starts back home at Shrek’s swamp, where you learn everything you need to keep yourself out of trouble in the world of fairy tales – allegedly.

At his disposal, Shrek has a number of moves including the usual jumping, punching, kicking, grabbing and throwing plus the more unusual farting and belching. I must admit even the training mission was a little trying. One of Shrek’s special moves is lighting his belches (hilarious) after eating chilies, the only snag being the hot pepper effect wears out, which can prove frustrating. Eat onions scattered around to fill the Gas Meter, giving you the ability to keep enemies at bay with the stench of your belches.

After the endurance test that was the training I hopped through the Magic Mirror and onto the World Map. My first stop was the Enchanted Forest, inhabited by a camp of Robin Hood style characters. My mission should I choose to accept it was to go find Red Riding Hood’s candy, which was scattered around the trees and up in the Merry Men’s tree top hide-out. It has to be said I did enjoy hopping around in the tree tops and when you belch in their faces they bent over double coughing and spluttering (much to my amusement).

The only drawback is that the controls are a bit clumsy, making jumping around trees and the like a little tricky and annoying for those of us with less than a little patience. I had more luck gathering baby, walking, talking eggs and putting them in a nest out of reach from an evil Humpty Dumpty character.

My next adventure was with Bo Peep and the Big Bad Wolf, who kept pilfering sheep out of her pen. This proved to be a frustrating and tedious exercise in knocking out the wolf, gathering the sheep and putting them back in the pen, before the wolf came and stole them out again. Oh yawnsville!!

There really is no reason for anyone to buy this game when Gamecube has the likes of Mario Sunshine and even Luigi’s Mansion on it. Shrek is a very average platform game that admittedly features some humorous moments and cute little touches, but not enough to warrant paying top dollar for it. I’m going to offer Shrek a score of 2 GiN gems because it really did nothing for me and is a blatant attempt to cash in on a movie license.

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