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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.2.8    CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 800 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

Shrek 2
November 11, 2004 | Michael Miller

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This is a strength to any game, and the bottom line is that if you think you would enjoy a platform game with some offbeat humor and fanciful locales, whose primary challenge comes from figuring out when and where to jump, then you will like this game. The comments from the various characters, while not taken from the movie, tend to be very amusing, and there are many different locations you will be taken through.

These include fantasy mine shafts with glowing crystals and lurking spiders, lush woodlands inhabited by flaming snapdragons and unfriendly peasantry, and the insides of a really huge dungeon obviously designed to hinder not just escape, but any movement at all. One always wonders what kind of a demented architect would build a castle that requires you hop skip along falling platforms just to get to the jail cells.

Pleasing graphics bring all of these worlds brightly to life, and the main characters you play are especially well modeled and animated. While technically somewhat dated, hence explaining the low system requirements, this doesn't keep the game from utilizing the engine to good effect, which is precisely what it does. Bizarre glitches like suddenly 'climbing' onto nothingness do occur, the entire experience is slick and professionally polished.

Sounds in the game are fairly minimalist, but well done. Swords clang against each other, Puss in Boots hisses and purrs when he attacks in psychotic ways, Donkey brays wildly. Shrek farts. Don't ask. The music is really simple and repetitive, but manages to not be annoying. At times, especially towards the end of the game it adds to feeling heroic and each character gets their own soundtrack. The only really bad spot is that once in the game the marvelous Shrek theme is simply mangled, and why they couldn't just use a recording of the real thing is a mystery.

The latest in a string of movie games that have been coming out on the Mac (a list that includes games like Finding Nemo, Spiderman, and Return of the King) Shrek 2 was published by Aspyr, which seems determined to leave no gaming niche unfilled. And that's exactly what this game does, it fills a niche. Obviously aimed at kids or adults who don't feel like mastering one of the increasingly complex games that fill the market today, it's a simple and fun experience that would provide hours of excitement for a kid and a fun diversion for an adult. Who hasn't wanted to be a giant Muffin Man and sweep away armies while tearing down castle walls?

The pity is that with a touch more thought the game could have been tweaked to be a shining example of what a platformer should be about. Instead, it's a competent example of the genre.

Shrek 2
Publisher: Aspyr Media
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