He Should Stay in his Swamp
People probably refer to the name Shrek as being a funny animated movie. Luckily, Shrek is not known for his games. The world has yet to see a good Shrek title with Reekin’ Havoc being no exception.
Shrek has history with many consoles, but the games smell as bad as the ogre himself. Shrek FairyTale Freakdown holds the title for worst GBC fighter. A Shrek game launched with the Xbox but performed poorly. It ripped off Mario Kart in an extremely underdeveloped GBA racer. Shrek Hassle at the Castle was a below average simple side-scroller. Shrek’s newest game, Reekin’ Havoc (RH), plays out in a very similar fashion as Hassle at the Castle but falls shorts in everyway. RH can be summed up in one word: boring.
As in Hassle at the Castle, RH plays out as a sprite based side-scroller mostly in a left to right manner. This game is a very simple platformer as the player will do nothing but punch and perform an occasional jump. The jump feature isn’t as strong as it should be as you can’t even grab onto a ledge and pull yourself up. The game’s slow pace and uneventful game play will make gamers put down their GBAs before the first level is over.
In this game, the bad guy that was in the movie returns in a form of a ghost. It is up to Shrek and the Princess to stop him. For cosmetic looks only, the player will take control of the Princess as well as Shrek during game play.
The player will be sent on idiot quests to find trapped characters as they make their way through the levels. An occasional boss battle will take place at different parts of each stage. These battles are pretty boring due to the fact that Shrek can only jump and punch. If more moves were introduced, boss battles as well as game play, would be deeper and more involved. The boss battles may be boring, but they introduce famous fairy tale characters well.
The player will fight very simple enemies in each level that die from a single punch. More enemies at different strengths could have helped for variety. Aside from fighting simple beasts, basic items will be collected. Coins and different types of health items can be found inside breakables, in hard to reach places, or by defeating monsters.
The control scheme is simple but could use more variety. “A” and “B” jump and punch and “R” will unleash power attacks for a very limited time. As said before, more moves should have made it into this game. Sure, picking up an intermittent rock and throwing it is always fun, but it isn’t enough to spice up game play to a level that it should be at. Clinging to ledges, double jumps, or extra forms of attack would have helped this game. Also, moving the characters on screen will seem slow and clunky. If the game’s pace was slightly faster, it would probably be a little more exciting.
During the game, the player will take control of Shrek or the Princess. Each hero has a frightenly big head that is much bigger than their bodies. These character models are fairly detailed but will haunt you with the soulless stare in their eyes.
Each level is different looking, but everything within each individual level plays the same. For example, the player will have an extremely difficult time navigating their way through the forest level because the background and foreground repeat over and over. Since the environment looks the same and constantly repeats, the player will get lost and have to back track a lot. Variation within each level needs to be present so the player can take mental notes on his surrounding environment to limit confusion, frustration, and back tracking.
The music and sound effects don’t really fit in a Shrek game. Crazy guitar riffs and fast music will play throughout the game. It seems that most of this music would better fit in a MegaMan game. The music is good, but doesn’t truly fit the Shrek fairytale theme.
To sum up, if you want to play a fun game, don’t play any Shrek title. This license has become watered down and needs a dramatic facelift to stay afloat in the future. RH is just not a fun game to play as there are so many better games for each system that you play them on. RH lost its single-pak linking function from Hassle at the Castle and doesn’t offer a multiplayer mode of any kind. However, if you must play a Shrek game, play Hassle at the Castle as the game play, graphics, and sound are slightly better than RH and there is a single-pak link function for up to four players.