First Impressions: Pack the antacid, the ogre is back.
Shrek blew everybody away when it hit the theatres back in May of this year. The movie wasn't expected to be as popular as it was, heck, the second week's totals were bigger than the first week's. A big deal for a film, let alone one that is ?kid? oriented. That's why the videogame incarnation of Shrek is so highly anticipated. Will it be able to live up to the hype and expectations? Or will it be just another lame videogame adaptation of a decent movie?
The answer, quite simply, is this: Shrek (the game) has the potential to become a new platforming icon, in the same vain as Mario, Sonic, or Crash Bandicoot. Instead of retreading the movie over, the developer has equipped Shrek with an entirely new story, giving a breath of originality to what could otherwise be just another lame cartoon game.
The basic plot breakdown goes like this: An evil sorcerer has kidnapped Donkey (still without a real name). Why anybody would want to steal Eddie Murphy is beyond me, but some people are kinky that way. Merlin (that would be the name of the evil sorcerer, remember, this is the land of fairy tales) lives in a far off land, which is inaccessible to Shrek. So, to get there, Shrek needs the help of Magic Mirror, who's magical power of teleportation has unfortunately been taken away. Shrek then embarks on a quest to perform good deeds across the land in order to help restore the magical powers of Magic Mirror.
There will be approximately 36 missions throughout 4 different worlds (that's 9 per world for the math impaired) for Shrek to perform. Of course, since the game's primary character is an ogre, you can bet his idea of a good deed is a little different from helping little old ladies across the street. Merlin didn't just kidnap Donkey either, he messed up a whole bunch of fairytales, and now Shrek has to go around and clean up this mess. Todd MacFarlane has been called apon to help with some of the character designs, such as Humpty Dumpty, so don't expect your normal character interactions either. After helping set the land to rights, Shrek will be able to go top Merlin's Black Tower (yes, it's a black tower, he's an evil magician ? duh) and defeat him to rescue his friend.
TDK and Digital Illusions have worked hard on keeping the humor from the film intact throughout the videogame version. One of the more obvious signs is in Shrek's special attack. Power ups are nothing new in the land of videogames, so having them in Shrek is no surprise. When those power ups are hot peppers, fiery breath comes streaming out of Shrek's mouth. Of course, since he is an ogre, he can command a major stink bomb to come out the other end as well. Combine the two, and well, that's one heck of a special attack. Naturally, Shrek will have his share of regular old fist to the head type of fights as well, and since he is an ogre (a point that may not be stressed enough) he will be able to take on several opponents at once.
Evidently, the humor and gameplay mean nothing nowadays if the visuals look like day old cheese left out in the sun too long. TDK and Digital Illusions where given access to the technology used in the film, apparently this was very useful when it came to recreating some of those wonderful visuals. As expected, not everything can translate directly, but with the power of the Xbox, this is going to be one great looking game.