Following the unexpected success of the first Shrek film, Dreamworks
became aware of the brand’s commercial value and invested in the rather large series of tie-in games. By the time the film series ended in 2010, the series consisted of Shrek
, Shrek 2
, Shrek The Third
and Shrek Forever After Action Adventure
titles as well as Shrek Super Slam Fighting Game
in the wake of Mortal Kombat
, several cart racing games Shrek Super Party
interactive board game and more
The games released in 2001 and 2002 alongside the first film all had terrible reception
: in particular, the Game Boy Advance Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway
received a score of 27
on Metacritic. Later games have generally improved in quality
and gathered more positive, but still lukewarm reviews. Shrek The Third
was even a best-selling game at one point in 2007, mainly due to the better-than-expected quality and the lack of major studio releases at that point in time.
Shrek The Third provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The second-to-last level is one, complete with Spikes of Doom, hundreds of crates and dozens of prisoners, knight guards and even cyclopes. However, it’s implied that this sewer section was modified beforehand.
- Airborne Mook:
- The dragonlings are this, though most of them can only hover at 2-3 m heights and so can be defeated in close combat. The elite white dragonlings fly higher, however, and are savvy enough to remain out of reach for most of the fight.
- The witches all fly into the fray on brooms, but then drop them and fight on foot, allowing Shrek to defeat them. Maybe their brooms only have enough juice for short flights?
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: The coins you collect are generally used to purchase outfits for Shrek.
- Anti-Frustration Features: All levels are filled with dozens of collectibles and it can be easy to miss some. When you repeat the game, the collectibles you already obtained are replaced by a ghostly shadow that gives
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Like in other similar games, enemies don’t ever give up fighting, even when they would often have no good reason to risk their lives.
- Bait and Switch: In the academy level, Shrek wanders in on a prince and the sword being walled off by a force field maintained by an elite witch. He fights and defeats the witch for the prince ... only to find out that it was Lancelot and not Arthur.
- Bloodless Carnage: In keeping with the source material, the only thing left behind enemies is fairy dust, which is collected by characters to fill the combo meter. However, this still allows for some rather impressive finishing moves on more advanced enemies. For instance, knights will often have their helmets punched into the base of their neck.
- Boss Arena Idiocy: The elite red witches are protected by circular force fields Shrek can’t bypass by punching. However, there's an infinite dispenser of breakable crates in the area. The only way to win is to launch them at her and thus bring the barrier down.
- Brain Bleach: In universe, that is the effect Shrek’s bathing suit has on the enemies he fights, giving you a mana boost from them.
- ChargedAttack: All characters have them. Besides simply being a slightly stronger attack, they’re also used to break enemies’ shields and through the barricades.
- Collection Sidequest: All levels have silver beer mugs scattered around each level. Certain levels also have thematic collections: poisoned apples in the witches’ castle, golden oars and peg legs in the pirates’ levels, theatre tickets in the city, etc.. In one level, it becomes part of the main game, when Shrek and Arthur need to drop a coin down the well to appease Lady of the Lake. They don’t have the coin, and to get it, they need to collect 7 crystal slippers for her first. Shrek is just as annoyed about it as the player by this point.
- Continuity Nod:
- One of the outfits you can unlock is the knight’s armor suit Shrek wore in the first film when rescuing Fiona.
- When dressed in a dragon’s suit, Donkey’s rant will include a phrase “How Am I going to tell my wife about this” referencing his marriage to the dragon.
- Crate Expectations: Crates begin to be encountered from second level onwards. However, they’re nowhere near as persistent as barrels.
- Creepy Doll: The pseudo-Pinocchios made by Stromboli in his laboratory underneath the castle.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Puss in Boots and Donkey get captured by a rather small amount of knights in the city, forcing Shrek to surrender to Charming.
- Deadly Lunge: Frequent amongst enemies. Pirates do a spinning one through the mid-air, hockey players will jump several metres forward at you, etc. Even knights can do this in spite of their heavy armour
- Degraded Boss: Happens to most early-game bosses. Enemies with shields that appear as bosses become more frequent later, and same applies to the cyclops and elite dragonlings.
- Elite Mooks: Pirates and knights have shield-bearing elites, dragonlings have a high-flying white version that spends most of its time out of reach, witches have a mini-boss capable of creating force fields.
- Enemy Mine: Released prisoners are willing to pair up with the guards to fight against princesses.
- Excuse Plot: Let’s be honest, what did you expect?
- Fake Longevity: Each level typically has 2 collection sidequests, a bonus point for not dying, a child’s sketch of certain moment in the game, something notable to break and something entirely random (jump onto Witches’ bed, anyone?) In addition to that, there are 6 bonus minigames (many of which are much harder than regular game) to keep you busy after you finish the campaign.
- Finishing Move: While early-game enemies will die quickly, tougher enemies will often be stunned after several attacks, allowing for several different finishing moves.
- Floating Platforms: Cat in Boots has to traverse two sequences of them on the Witches’ castle level. Justified, because it's the only implicitly magic place there.
- Flunky Boss: Fiona battles an axe-wielding, armored giant in sewers alongside many of his friends, in what is the most difficult boss battle of the game.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: When Shrek and Arthur reach the fairy, she asks them to drop a coin down the well to complete the graduation. While the player would likely have several hundred coins at this point, neither Shrek nor Arthur have any money on them in the cutscene, and so have to perform a fetch quest for her.
- Genre Savvy: Charming knows that princesses will likely escape, so he grants pardon to all the other prisoners, knowing that they hate the royal family and will fight alongside the guards against princesses.
- Get Back Here Boss: Donkey’s battle against the horse-drawn carriage. He has to follow it until it eventually crashes, while the occupants throw bales of hay at him.
- Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Used during the "siege" levels where you're trying to bring down castle's towers with a ballista and a catapult. Every once in a while, a gold hot air balloon will rise from the castle. Shooting it down upgrades the projectiles to a next level until you miss. The last level of upgrades is gold.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Being an ogre, Shrek doesn’t need weapons and so he defeats most enemies hand-to-hand. Sometimes, though, he’s required to throw small objects (mainly crates and barrels) at shielded/faraway enemies.
- Ground Pound: The mace-wielding knights can jump up and do one, complete with a yellow energy thing immediately at the point of impact (no shockwave.)
- Heavily Armored Mook: Knight enemies. They’re still not that challenging due to the game’s poorly balanced difficulty, but they do have enough health to allow for a variety of finishing moves on them.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: During early levels, it is sometimes possible to find a leg of roast meat, which restores health and gives plenty of fairy dust.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Invoked in the prison level when Sleeping Beauty finds Gingerbread, locked in a cell with candy cane bars. When asked why he couldn’t eat his way out, he replies “I’m not a cannibal!”
- Improbable Weapon User: Frequent. Pirates attack with their oars, school’s hockey players attack with their implements, servants in the tutorial attack with brushes and ice carving tools. Special mention goes to the prisoners in the sewer level, which fight with sharpened spoons and can perform complicated routines with them. There are also the common ranged bandits, which throw some sort of weak blue-red projectile from their pouches. It’s never explained just what exactly do they use.
- Instant Ice, Just Add Cold: Happens to Arthur during the dragon boss fight if he gets hit by the dragon’s Ice Breath.
- Joke Character: Donkey. He is only used twice, and the second time he’s dressed in a crap dragon suit, something he constantly grumbles about. Similarly,
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Arthur is defined by this trope. His shield is so powerful it can successfully protect him from Ice Dragon’s claws, head-butts and even ice breath.
- Made of Iron: All characters can survive dozens of blows without blocking, due to the game being rushed out alongside the film before testing was complete. Special mention goes to Shrek, who can survive a cannonball here.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Ice Dragon has an attack where it shouts upwards to summon a hail of icicles downwards. Incidentally, it is practically the only attack it has that ignore Arthur’s shield.
- Mind Control: Puss in Boots is capable of stunning enemies by doing his “cute look” thing. Sleeping Beauty goes one step further, as she’s capable of forcing enemies under her spell to fight each other for her.
- Mini Mook: In Stromboli’s laboratory, you can occasionally encounter miniature versions of the evil Pinocchio knock-offs. They’re often harder to fight, as they’re just short enough to slip underneath your fists.
- Oh, Crap: When you first encounter mace-wielding knights as a Sleeping Beauty, one of them is discussing Rapunzel’s betrayal and discusses Sleeping Beauty in derogative terms. When he notices her, his reaction is akin to this.
- Regenerating Health: One of the major factors contributing to the game’s lack of challenge.
- Roboteching: Witches’ magical projectiles firstly fly straight, then slightly arc towards your location.
- Shield-Bearing Mook: Two varieties. There are the elite pirates with tridents and silver shields (which have lobster engravings on them), and knights with axes and heavy round shields. Both are immune to regular attacks and can only be defeated with ultimates or if their shield is broken by the Charged Attack first.
- Shockwave Stomp: Shrek’s first tier ability has him slam his arms into the ground for a light green shockwave attack.
- Shout-Out: On the pirate ship, there is a hideout underneath the ladder filled with breakable crates. Last one will reveal a penguin saying: “Too hot. Need to find Antarctica.”
- Slo Mo: Shrek and Fiona possess this as their ultimate ability.
- Smash Mook: The cyclopi essentially boil down to this.
- Spikes of Doom: A notable example occurs in the sewer level, where there’s a row of curved, hair-like spikes going up and down, with a guard looking on. When Fiona begins to go through it, said guard will hesitate between giving up or encouraging her to go through and get skewered.
- Spin Attack:
- Used by the Sleeping Beauty and Arthur for their Charged Attack.
- Fiona has a variety where she performs a pirouette.
- The armored giant boss fought twice performs a powerful spin attack. An elite prisoner variant combines this with Deadly Lunge: they charge forwards, spinning around and slashing with their spoons in elaborate patterns.
- Sword Beam: Arthur’s charged ability is to send one forward.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Occurs twice with two levels devoted to the "siege" minigame where Sherek controls either a ballista or a catapult to bring down a castle within a set time limit. First time is at the end of Academy section and the second time is when you're bringing down the Fiona’s prison.
- Unique Enemy: Many enemies, like dragonlings or hockey players, are only encountered in their respective areas. Last level has Shrek fight against actors dressed like him for the Charming’s performance.