Completionator is turning 10 years old, so to celebrate we're having a giveaway and a scavenger hunt. Click here for more info!

The GameCube Gauntlet #020 - Shrek 2

1 Likes
BY AllTheTrophies ON April 21, 2024


Completion Time: 5h:06m:40s
Rating: 7/10

....................................................................................................

Happy Belated Birthday, Shrek 2

....................................................................................................

Ah, the Shrek sequel game. Just in time for the 20th anniversary of the film. Or rather, I'm actually a week and a half late for the 20th anniversary. I sort of expedited this one when I found out that the theaters around me were already placing the movie back on screens. But better late than never... which wouldn't have come, because I'm going through all the GameCube games. Also, check out Cheesyben's article from earlier this year on Shrek 2 as well. He actually made his BEFORE the anniversary, so you know, he has a one-up on me already!

I wonder what's aged worse: the movie or this game?

....................................................................................................

Hero Time

....................................................................................................

I've been covering a number of 3D licensed games on the GameCube lately, but this one at least offers variety in a number of ways. The first of these, and perhaps the most important: 4 player co-op. I grew up with this game on the console, and long after the title was relevant I would play this one with friends and family alike just because of the way the co-op play was implemented, whether the game itself could be called good or not. Rather than just having all of the players running around and gaming together to solve puzzles, this game has you each play as a very specific character in the different levels. All of the playable characters have unique abilities, ways to solve puzzles, and the occasional mini-game that only they're allowed to play to progress. Everyone playing this one can feel like they provide value in some way, which often time leads to some of the best memories playing with friends. This may be best exemplified through the fight with Puss in Boots, where each player has to input button commands on beat to do damage to Puss. If you miss and get knocked out, you're gonna get heckled by your teammates, no way around it.

The premiere moment, all eyes are on you: The Ultimate Catfight

You progress through the plot of the game in the same way that the Shrek 2 movie progresses (if memory serves), with some obvious license game padding and inserts to give you more things to actually do. The prison break sequence, for example, is here expanded into a full level with secondary Shrek character bandying together to rescue the ogre and his pals from a large jail. My favorite bits of padding in Shrek 2 are the mini-game levels. There are about 2-3 of these, where the entire level is broken up into a series of mini-games that you can go into. Things like beating chickens into submission, climbing a hill while dodging rolling vegetables, and collecting bits of a fractured Humpty Dumpty all help to break up the monotony of the game. And the best part is: if you're just playing for fun and you don't have the completion sickness that I have, you only have to beat a few of these before the game will let you move on from the level. You don't have to stick around and do something you don't find any joy in, get marching to the next part of the game soldier!

There are a lot of the king's men here, so why isn't Humpty together again? Makes one think

There are also segments of levels that let the different characters and their unique attributes shine. The "Hero Time" segments can range from beat-em-up sections to platformers to racing stages, but it's all built under the same conceit of allowing each person to do their thing and do it well. This is where the multiple players aspect best comes into focus. Playing through a level and then hearing the sleepy announcer say "It's Hero Time" while Puss in Boots is thrust into a world of springs and tightrope is made all the more enjoyable when there's one person who has been playing as Puss the whole level and is now thrust into the spotlight against their will. I'm not sure where this concept came from during the design phase of the game, but it's a welcome one. I love that the game even treats it almost like its accepted lore of the Shrek universe, as at the end of the first level the Magic Mirror swoops in and is like "that's right Fiona, it's your Hero Time!" and she's all excited. I imagine this must just happen on a regular basis.

I swear, nothing is funnier than the lack of enthusiasm this guy brings to his line reading of "It's Hero Time"

....................................................................................................

Completing the Game

....................................................................................................

There are a few different completion criteria that I've considered for this game, some of which folks might think are "going the extra mile", but really it doesn't make things all that more complicated. The first of these is to naturally beat all of the challenges within each level. Some of these you'll get just by playing through the level, since they're story related, but there are challenges to collect magic beans and snail eyeballs, to free caged dwarves, and the minigame levels are full of these too, since you can leave these areas without engaging in all of the minigame sections. So unless you play through it perfectly the first time around, you'll likely be doing a ton of revisiting to the various areas.

One has to wonder why dwarves are such a hot commodity to the baddies of this world

Outside of this, there is a second form of completion that most overlook, because it's pretty out of the way and doesn't represent itself in an easily trackable way. That, my friends, would be the upgrades. There's a leprechaun that can occasionally be encountered while playing through the story normally, and he'll request some form of payment to progress through the rest of the level. Outside of these sections, the coins don't appear to have much worth. That is, unless you track down the leprechaun to out of the way locations in a few of the areas, where he operates a sort of store front. There you can spend your collected coins for permanent upgrades that will make your journey that much easier. They run the gamut of improving things like speed, strength, and health, while some even increase multiplier you get when picking up coins. I always wondered why this wasn't more front and center in the game, as it's something I was only keyed into recently, and this doesn't really seem like the sort of thing that should be hidden in the way it is.

The nice little rhymes almost makes up for the headache

There are way worse games to play from this generation, especially considering this offers 4 player co-op in a way that makes everyone useful to some degree. I have many a memory of playing levels of this game with friends and relatives, and there's a reason that it's stuck in my mind all these years (even with my not caring for Shrek as a franchise in the slightest). Hell, to this day friends and I will quote "Hero Time" in the same sleepy tone that the game uses. A lasting impact, for sure.

This is another entry in a series where I go through and complete every GameCube game, as it is the largest part of my video game collection. GameCube Games: 20/652

Comments (0)