STAFF REVIEW of Shrek: Super Party (Xbox)

Friday, December 20, 2002.
by Queasy Buddy

Shrek: Super Party Box art Super Party neglected to live up to my expectations. Instead of providing xbox owners with a Shrek version of Nintendo's Mario Party, it just makes you wish you had an N64. Shrek: super party while a bit better than those other crappy games, still just isn't worth your hard-earned money. For those of you wondering who this "Shrek" guy is (come on, there might be a few of you), he's a big green ogre from the film of the same name. The computer-animated flick is actually pretty good and worth a rental if you haven't seen it. It stars the voices of Mike Meyers (Shrek), Eddie Murphy (a talking donkey), and Cameron Diaz (a princess), among a few others. Of course, you wont actually find any of those voices in the game version, which is only the first sign that it doesn't quite live up to it's movie counterpart. Well actually Aside from the repetitive antics of Snow White's narrating mirror, there are no other voices from the characters of the movie?. and believe me the handful of different comments that the mirror those say are extremely bland and uninspired therefore the mute button will do a great deal of good in this title. Shrek Super Party has some similarities as the Mario Party Series. You can play as one of six characters from the Shrek movie, either solo or with up to three other friends. Compete to move around the game board by winning various mini-games grouped according to the game area in which they're located. Shrek Super Party features three gameplay modes including, Tournament, Free-for-All and 1-player Quick-Click.

You may take the role of Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey, Lord Farquaad, Monsieur Hood or Thelonius. Shrek Super Party accommodates up to 4 players at a time, with the computer controlling any excess player slots. Shrek offers three modes of play. Tournament mode is the familiar format of board game with integrated mini-games. Free-for-All mode gives you a chance to play the mini-games separately. The Quick-Click mode is a single-player game that is like Tournament mode, but with a more advanced starting position yielding a shorter overall game. All told there are some 30 mini-games on offer. That's less than the 70 or so mini-games in Mario Party 3, but Shrek's games doesn?t offer both a graphical depth and edgier attitude like Mario party which makes this game not even worth a look for fans of the genre. Gameplay more closely resembles Mario Party than it differs, so those familiar with the genre should be right at home. By the same token, like all good party games, total novices should find themselves able to get up and running in mere minutes, even if getting good at the mini-games takes longer. Among the 30 mini-games their were about a handful that are worth mentioning like the knight-squishing game in which the players, atop barrels, rolled around a confined area flattening armored knights. You'll see that game pictured here, complete with the dirt imprints of the pancaked fighters, who promptly hop back up into shape, only to be repeatedly rolled down until time runs out (I fund that pretty funny). Another charmer was a rat tossing game. In this one, you chase rats around a well in the middle of the map. Once caught, you twirl the rat around, picking up speed, then fling it into the well. The longer your shot, the higher your score. Other players can block your shots, however, which makes long shots not only difficult to aim, but tricky to make if your opponents decide to play defense. There are maybe a few other ones worth mentioning but the rest of the mini-games do not deserve to be talked about.

Mario Party turned from a quirky little game into the definition of an entire genre. Mario Party spawned not only sequels in its own franchise, but a host of other opportunistic titles (using other licenses). Some have been good, others . . . less so. Now comes Shrek Super Party for the Xbox. Shrek's instant contribution to the genre -- other than adding a party game to the Xbox is its attractive graphical package. The player characters are drawn in caricature with big heads and tiny bodies, but are crisply rendered, as are their environments. The graphics are decent at best, but the skewed top-down view makes everything seem flat. Not to mention the utter sense of pointlessness you feel just smashing away on your controller, with nothing for your heroes to do except look stupid. To their credit, the designers have thrown in some graphical depth, like when you walk around the character?s leave traces. But other than that there is only one word, horrible. I presume that even little kids, who the game is presumably aimed at, won't like the gameplay nor the graphics.

The sound, isn't good. The music is fairly innocuous, but the players grunts and groans as they maneuver around in mini-games will get old really fast. The only voice from the movie is that of the magic mirror who does the introduction like a classic game show host. From an entertainment perspective, this is one of the highlights of the game. At least the game doesn't have that stupid Smashmouth song that they seem to be selling to any movie, TV show, or commercial willing to pony up some dough. By the same token, there's a limited amount of audio expression available in this game. Not one of the main character ever speaks, and so all there was to add an aural touch to was a quick dash or the hideous crunch of some blunt object. Thus, just about all you'll ever hear over the carny-music themes is a slide-whistle charge or some variation on the theme of "crash," "bang," or "smash." There is no tunes from the movie which could have made this game a little bit more enjoyable and you can?t even rip you own songs from you hard drive like in fusion frenzy.

The movie may have had box office success, but his game makes me sad. I would suggest taking a look at the Mario party series.

Overall: 3.0 / 10
Gameplay: 3.0 / 10
Visuals: 4.0 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10


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