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North America

Shrek 2

by Jonathan Metts - April 11, 2004, 8:33 pm EDT

The irreverent ogre is back, and he's bringing friends.

After a disappointing outing on Xbox and GameCube (and we won’t even get into the party game fiasco), Shrek is heading back to all three consoles with a new game design and a new publisher. Shrek 2 is in development at Luxoflux, an internal studio at Activision that also developed True Crime: Streets of L.A. The game sequel is based directly on the upcoming movie sequel, with the same crazy story being told through voiced narration and real-time cut-scenes.

The game focuses on traditional platforming gameplay, so you can expect plenty of simplistic combat and item collecting, wrapped up in the guise of “missions” handed down from various characters who need help. The basic goal is to explore each level and complete all the tasks presented. There are a number of mini-games that involve kicking chickens into a cauldron, singing with birds, and flying a dragon through a valley, among other things.

Where Shrek 2 deviates from the competition is in its multi-character system, which resembles the one found in Sonic Heroes. At any given time, you control four characters at once: Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and one other. The fourth character is different for every stage. Each character shares the same control scheme, but there are different physical attributes, as well as some variation in moves and special abilities. You can switch among the characters at any time with the shoulder triggers, and the ones you aren’t controlling will follow along, picking up items and even battling enemies automatically.

An interesting offshoot of this multi-character system is that Shrek 2 is a fully multiplayer platforming game. Up to three other players can join in or drop out at any time. Each player controls one of the four on-screen characters, and if there are any free characters, players can switch like normal with the shoulder triggers. The camera tends to stay zoomed out, but players can’t get separated beyond the zoom limit, so sometimes you’ll have to regroup in order to move on. In other words, you can’t leave someone offscreen like in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.

The characters and environments are rendered in true 3D, and the art style is faithful to the movie sources, so expect bright color schemes and silly character designs. The graphics naturally can’t compare to the incredibly detailed CG movie visuals, but depending on the camera angle, sometimes the game looks very similar. Fans of the movies will be very happy to know what the game contains an abundance of voice samples from sound-alikes, although the writing doesn’t seem to be quite as good as in the movies. The game also supports progressive scan and Dolby Pro Logic II.

Shrek 2 aims to please fans of the popular film franchise with twisted fairy tale settings, goofy dialogue, and loads of familiar characters. Look for it to arrive near the movie’s theatrical release.

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Genre Adventure
Developer Luxoflux
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Shrek 2
Release May 03, 2004
eu: Shrek 2: The Game
Release Jun 18, 2004
aus: Shrek 2
Release TBA

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