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Aug 092013
 

Welcome back. The other Shrek Playstation 2 game is Shrek the Third. Once again it’s based on the movie of the same name and I must confess that this was the very first Playstation 2 game I ever played.

Like the Shrek 2 game, Shrek the Third sticks to the main story with extended scenes and alternate dialogue, but this game does play a whole lot better. For starters, you only play as one character per stage and it’s automatic which character is needed. Some levels actually alternate characters in certain areas. That’s automatic also, like a tag team. It’s so much smoother and I love it.

There are also more enemy attacks throughout the game and you can collect fairy dust to gain ogre power strength for Shrek and Fiona, or love charms for Puss in Boots and Sleeping Beauty, etc. If you stun an enemy, you can press the triangle button to have your character do something creative as he or she finishes the enemy off. I like how it makes you invulnerable while you do it.

Of course you still have to look for hidden items, but they’re mostly for unlocking new things in the game. Luckily, they’re not too hard to find if you take the time to smash crates, barrels, and everything else.

You might find this interesting. On the pirate ship level, if you search around, you can find one of the penguins from Madagascar on board in a brief cameo. I’m actually a little surprised that none of the Shrek movies ever did something like bring another Dreamworks character as a walk on role.

Sometimes it can be tough to navigate, but there are plenty of coin trails that can help you along. Just so you know, the coins also help you unlock things in the game.

Like the other Shrek game, you get unlimited lives and get sent back to your last checkpoint, but at least the checkpoints aren’t so spread out this time. They’re actually closer than you might think.

The Shrek 2 game was creative with having Little Red as an apple pitcher that can also fight with her basket. An additional feature in this game is the Lady of the Lake. She talks like a valley girl and loves shoes. It would’ve been interesting if she had been in the movie.

Shrek the Third also has mini games. Some of which are actual levels like Lancelot’s Castle Attack, where you have to knock down targets with a catapult. Some mini games are simple and some aren’t, but I would mostly blame that on the time limit.

I enjoyed Shrek the Third as a video game since it’s so easy to find your way around and it even provides hints when you get stumped, like needing to throw a soccer ball at a witch to get past her forcefield. Now that’s what an adventure game should be like.

Aug 062013
 

Like many movies about sci-fi, fantasy, and superheroes, there’s usually a video game release that quickly follows it. However, when compared with the actual movie, the story line in the video game is never entirely accurate. Sure the characters and basic plot are the same, but the video games have more expanded scenes, additional characters, and altered dialogue. That can be confusing sometimes.

Not many of these types of games were that successful, but there have been some good ones too. The main ones I want to focus on are two of the Shrek games for the Playstation 2. Let’s start with Shrek 2, based on the movie of the same name.

In this game, you go through each level in a group of four characters. Since each one has different skills, you can choose which character you want to play at any time as the CPU controls the other three. It can be a pain sometimes when you have to keep the other characters from getting killed because if one goes down so does the rest of the group. On the bright side, there are unlimited lives in this game.

The only time you get to be a solo character is in the Hero Time levels, but those can also be tough. They’re like first person driving games that you have to pass in order to move forward. Miss once and you have to start the level all over again and that can be frustrating.

Occasionally there are enemies to fight off. What I like about that is that the three CPU controlled characters help you out. However, it’s not easy with the tougher enemies like the spinning armored knights and the trolls that throw bombs.

Each level also has stuff to hunt for, some of which is well hidden. Some items are essential to get through the level and some aren’t. I’m just glad that the essential items are easier to find or I would be in need of a strategy guide every time I play this game, just like I would with the Legend of Zelda games.

Then there are levels that prevent you from exploring like the spooky forest, where you have to keep the three blind mice safe as they wonder aimlessly while finding cheese on the path. Fail to do so and that counts as “losing a life”. Good thing this game has checkpoints, but they’re all so spread out.

One stage I’d really like to point out is the final level. The Fairy Godmother is the last boss, but first you have to fight off a bunch of trolls with bombs, tough knights, and helper elves before you can fight her. The battle is exciting, but like the other stages, if you die you have to start all over again with the groups of tough enemies. That’s what truly makes the Fairy Godmother a very difficult boss. I only beat this game once and it felt like it was luck.

Despite some of its flaws, Shrek 2 is still a fun game with its game play and creative extended story line. Check my blog for part 2. There’s still another Playstation 2 game that’s based on the Shrek franchise.

 

Jul 022013
 

Shrek’s Carnival Craze for the Nintendo Wii features many types of mini games and exciting challenges. What makes this game even more interesting is that there’s also a story behind it.

The Founders Day Carnival from Far Far Away comes to town and everyone is excited to go, except for Shrek. For some reason, Shrek hates carnivals, but Fiona, Donkey, and the gang convince him to come along. How could anyone hate a carnival?

After arriving, it’s also revealed that the winner of the games will be crowned King or Queen of the carnival. Shrek is determined to claim the prize after Prince Charming arrives and plans to win. In a way, it appears tame compared to his previous desire to be king of Far Far Away.

There are five different areas in the carnival with four or five games each. Every game is different, especially when it comes to the controls. Luckily, you don’t have to win first place every time to succeed. All you really need to do is score at least 500 points in 30 seconds. You can always try to improve your score at any time.

Some games are simple, but others can be pretty difficult. Events that require shaking the Wii remote and nunchuk constantly tend to wear my arms out. The really tough ones are the games that require you to aim and throw because the controls have a slight delay, which makes it even trickier.

As you complete the mini games more items unlock like video clips of the story, concept art, and more mini games. I like that you can view them at any time.

I first came to enjoy mini game titles with Mario Party DS with its interesting story line. Shrek’s Carnival Craze is one I would recommend for its hilarity and fun in the same sense of the Mario Party franchise.

Jun 142013
 

The Shrek films may have ended, but the franchise continues with the prequel Puss in Boots. Years before he joined up with Shrek and friends, Puss (voice of Antonio Banderas) was an outlaw in the town of San Ricardo. He hears about the legendary magic beans from a couple of guys in a tavern, with the help of some tattoos that tell the story. Couldn’t they have just used a picture book?

Puss seizes the opportunity, but the murderous outlaws Jack (voice of Billy Bob Thorton) and Jill (voice of Amy Sedaris) have the magic beans. Compared to other versions, Jack and Jill are much older and creepier than I ever would’ve expected them to be.

Puss finds Jack and Jill, but also finds some new competition. She is a master thief cat named Kitty Soft Paws (voice of Salma Hayek). She interferes with Puss’s attempt at the magic beans, so he chases her all over town to a hidden place called The Glitter Box. There, Puss confronts Kitty in a dance fight.

The dance fight is very smooth. In addition to that, the other cats there show plenty of cat related humor, like cats batting at cowbells and other instruments. It wasn’t until the fight ends when Kitty reveals her identity and actually speaks.

Later, Puss meets up with his old friend Humpty Alexander Dumpty (voice of Zach Galifianakis, who I remember best as Davis from Tru Calling). The two of them go way back with the dream of finding the magic beans and going up to the giant’s castle to get the golden goose. Puss and Humpty never found the magic beans and their fates begin to change. Puss had become a town hero and Humpty became a criminal. One night, Humpty tricked Puss into robbing a bank, which is how Puss became an outlaw and has been running ever since.

Puss never forgave Humpty, but he eventually agrees to help Humpty get the magic beans from Jack and Jill with the added assistance of Kitty Soft Paws. They find Jack and Jill on a canyon road and retrieve the magic beans in an exciting chase with Humpty’s wagon that doubles as a flying contraption. The transformation is smooth, especially with how the horse is secured.

Puss, Humpty, and Kitty succeed at planting the magic beans that creates a beanstalk up to the giant’s castle. Although the giant died years ago, the castle is home to the Great Terror, which guards the Golden Goose. That makes me wonder if the giant would have been worse if he were still around.

The group soon finds the Golden Goose and head out in a smooth exciting escape without even revealing what the Great Terror is. The mission was a success, but the danger isn’t over. Jack and Jill arrive and capture the goose. Puss finds himself all alone and when he gets back to town, he’s in for a big surprise, and ends up in prison.

There, Puss meets Andy Beanstalk (voice of Mike Mitchell) who was the original owner of the magic beans. Yes, that’s Jack from the fairytale. He tells Puss about the Great Terror and it’s coming to San Ricardo for the goose.

This was a good addition to the Shrek franchise with adventure smooth action, and of course, cat humor. Although Kitty has become Puss’s love interest, it makes me wonder what became of her after Puss joined up with Shrek.

 

Apr 302013
 

The Monty Python troupe returns with their adaptation of The Wind and the Willows. It’s called Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. In this live action musical adventure which was written and directed by Terry Jones, a nervous Mole (Steve Coogan) loses his home to a bunch of land developing weasels and wants it back.

Mole asks his friend Rat (Eric Idle) to help him out by going with him to Toad Hall and discussing the situation to Mr. Toad (Terry Jones). Unfortunately, when they arrive, Mr. Toad foolishly sold the meadow to the weasels. “It was only a meadow.”

It’s nice that Mole has such good friends. Everyone Mole has told about his lost home offers to let him stay with them. However, Mole turns them all down because he much prefers his own home. I’m guessing that it has more to do with the principle of the thing.

Mr. Toad is a very fickle individual. He loves vehicles, but gets bored with them once he sees something new. First Mr. Toad had an interest in sailing, then gave it up for caravans. Once he saw a motorcar, Toad quickly gave up the caravan and went for the motorcar. Seriously, that Toad needs to stick to something longer and get his priorities straight.

In the background there are many rabbits that are making out, which is so comedically appropriate. I also like the talking objects and talking Sun (Michael Palin). He sees everything, but a least he not deadly.

After Toad wrecks the motorcar, he, Rat, and Mole end up in the wild wood and get separated. Later that evening, Mole encounters a group of weasels. I liked their musical number best. It features neat special effects and sneaky moves. In musical films, I usually find the villains’ songs the most interesting.

Soon Toad, Rat, and Mole get reunited at Badger’s (Nicol Williamson) place, which appears bigger inside than outside. When Badger found out that Toad sold the meadow and crashed a total of seven motorcars, he gives Toad a stern talking to. It takes awhile and yet Toad still isn’t sorry and his obsession for motorcars is still as big as ever. Locking him up in Toad Hall was the best solution.

Toad sneaks out and steals a motorcar, which gets him arrested. Toad’s lawyer (John Cleese) is no help because he believes it’s an open and shut case. No matter how harsh the sentence, Toad still doesn’t see the error of his ways. That is until he discovers that the weasels are going to blow up Toad Hall.

Overall, it’s a good film filled with humor and excitement. Not exactly Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but it still makes a good fantasy adventure.