Shrek SuperSlam PS2 Review

Publisher: Activision Blizzard  Developer: Shaba Games  Genre: Fighting Players: 1-4

Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox, GameCube, DS, GBA

The Dreamcast was a very good console. Unfortunately, it suffered commercially. Its software support was weak – success in this area seems to be gauged by quantity – but from what was released came amazing shining pearls. Worthy of a serious mention is Power Stone – a totally original beat-em-up set in a completely intractable environment. It was a huge leap sideways out of a box where traditional fighters were set. Unfortunately developers since have been content (or at least unadventurous enough) to focus their energies on the status quo. Bizarrely Shrek SuperSlam has picked up the torch ignited by Power Stone all those years ago.

In fact the similarities between Shrek SuperSlam and Power Stone are undeniable. Rather than moving forward with the concept, Shaba, have really just copied it – as if the Shrek universe has been plastered over. Imagine Shrek throwing, punching and hurling worryingly heavy chunks of rock at Puss-in-Boots then you’re on the right lines.

While Power Stone is indeed a fantastic game it was made close to six years ago. Given the evolutionary pace of the gaming industry six years might as well be twenty. However Shrek SuperSlam’s flaws manifest not so much because the concept is dated, but because it isn’t as playable as it should be. The most glorious thing about Power Stone is that it felt so good to play. The Environment was tangible, the consequences of actions had to be counteracted if you were going to beat your opponent. SuperSlam doesn’t have this level of depth. Picking up a chair and throwing it at an opponent doesn’t have to be gauged because your environment regenerates. Tactical thinking, so important in Power Stone, is all but lost in SuperSlam.

The one intentional difference between the two titles is the ‘Slam’ feature. The idea is simple: you hit your enemy enough times to ‘fill’ your Slam meter. Once full you can use this to provide one major blow, if connected your opponent is sent flying and you score a point. And it is here that that the crux of the game is revealed: you must score more Slams than your opponent in order to proceed. However, as this is the only objective to each round the game becomes extremely linear. You’ll find yourself hammering the one punch button to the point of pain and unfortunately after the initial humour of opening cut-scenes boredom quickly reigns supreme.

Shrek SuperSlam is obviously aimed at kids (or at least parents) so there isn’t a huge amount for your typical gamer. The FMV is game for a few laughs if you enjoyed the Shrek films, but hardly worth spending £20 for. What is at least refreshing is that Shaba has at least tried to attempt something different where it would have been just as easy to develop a more commercially pleasing beat-em-up. However, in conclusion, this game isn’t well polished, nor is it fun to play.

Power Stone will always be closely harboured by those who have played it, yet Shrek Superslam will undoubtedly be forgotten like every other Shrek game.