Fighting titles have long been a staple for any video game system, beginning with Combat on the Atari machines, to Soul Calibur and Mortal Combat. Recently, some designers decided that the pace and style of current fighting games were taking all the fun out of the gameplay. Enter Super Smash Brothers on the Gamecube. This title suddenly brought the fun back to fighting games by making it simple, easy to pick up and play with three other friends. Shrek Superslam takes the same concept of simple crazy battles and brings it to the DS hardware. Now you can battle on the go! But is it worth it? Unfortunately, the game stumbles right out of the gate in the graphics department. I found many of the levels disorienting and confusing because of the poor textures using a similar shade of color. One level had me playing inside of an inn, and it was very hard for me to tell where the floor ended and the walls began. In some areas, other objects helped this disorientation, but not enough to make this game difficult to play. Because of the game’s release on multiple platforms at once, and after seeing the graphics in action, my mind draws the conclusion that the levels were ported from other versions of the game and retextured in a manner that the DS could handle. When you have to fight the environment and the enemy AI, the game quickly starts to not become fun. The sound was unremarkable for the most part. Simple themes played during the levels, but they were forgettable. The rest of the in-game noises amounted to grunts, screeches, and thuds from the characters as the action wore on. Between levels, Donkey told his story, which came through pretty clearly on the DS speakers, but I could find little other evidence of voicework used from the movies. The sound really missed the chance to bring any excitement to the game. If the sound and graphics were complete misses for this game, the controls fall well below them. The game uses combinations of buttons to perform various attacks in game. The timing of these combinations caused me so much frustration. I could pull off a slam attack maybe one in four times I attempted it, and that one time is when I didn’t need the attack. Jumping attacks and other moves continued the trend of being difficult to time and aim, which further added to my frustration.
The game did make use of the touch screen display, but only for inventory selection and camera zoom control. This only frustrates the overall control scheme because you have to take your hands from the controls and hit the touch pad to change items.
Much like Super Smash Brothers, this game does not come with life bars. You are simply trying to bash your opponent enough times to make them dizzy. You then slam them out of the arena, or just complete a required number of slams on them. The game tries to vary this formula by putting you up against various enemies, and changing the number of enemies that you face at any given time. Throw in some hard to use special weapons, like a broom, and you get…well…little that is enjoyable. The game has a story mode that each character can play through, but once the basic controls are mastered, this only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to play through for each character, and has stills of Donkey narrating the story to his offspring. Not terribly engaging, and definitely below par after the movies. There was an extras menu, but I could not find anything to unlock in my play of the game. The only long term value in the game would be the wireless multiplayer, and even then, I’d be hard pressed to call that value. The multiplayer seems to have the same features as the single player game, allowing four people to bash to their heart’s content. I could not test this mode fully as I could not locate anyone who actually owned this game for the DS, and it does not support Single Card play.