Shrek Fairy Tale Freakdown – Nintendo Game Boy Color
Platform: Nintendo Game Boy Color
Developer: Prolific Publishing
Publisher: TDK Mediactive
Release Date: May 2001
Nerd Rating: 2.5/10
Reviewed by Steroid Gamer
I now know how Shrek felt after listening to Donkey all these years. “Are we there yet? Are we there now? How about now?”, “Can I stay with you?…Can I stay with you…please? “, the famous talking Donkey can be as irritating as he is loveable. To put myself in Shrek’s shoes all I had to do was play Shrek Fairy Tale Freakdown for about thirty minutes. Shrek’s 2-D fighting game was developed by Prolific Publishing and published by TDK Mediactive in 2001 exclusively for the Nintendo Game Boy Color. Sadly, not one single ounce of the charm and wit from the films carries over into the game.
Shrek’s Freakdown is as basic as a 2-D fighter can be. You have a basic attack (pressing the A button) which is utterly pointless and does little to no damage, regardless of your selected character and whomever you’re fighting against, or a heavier attack (smashing the B button). You can jump and slam down on your opponent with a heavier attack, but it rarely connects due to the A.I.’s programming. That’s your move set. There aren’t a whole lot of options here, no combos or finishing maneuvers of any kind. I suppose it’s worth noting that you can throw projectiles but you won’t ever need to use them due to how easy the game is.
The game is far far away (pun intended) from a challenge. All you’ll ever really need to do is mash the B button over and over, just spamming away with the same attack. This is because there are two types of A.I. opponents. The first one, and less common, just stands there blocking for the whole fight. If your opponent is blocking they still receive chip damage, so while Pinocchio or The Big Bad Wolf stand there and block like idiots, you can just spam them until they die. The second type of A.I. is not only the most annoying but the one you’ll run into frequently. This opponent just plays a boring game of keep-away. All they do is constantly run away from you and throw projectiles in your direction; in a similar manner a “troll” might do in an online fighting game. Even though this foe may be controlled by a program and not a human it doesn’t make it any less annoying. You won’t even fear for yourself dying because the A.I. is so damn stupid it just runs away until you can sneak a hit in, prolonging matches and on top of that there is absolutely NO punishment or failure for losing. You get an infinite amount of retries.
At times, Shrek Fairy Tale Freakdown can be a bit hard because of the unresponsive and atrocious controls. Playing this game is like driving a scooter on the wrong side of the highway while wearing a blindfold. Button prompts feel delayed or simply just don’t register, your character moves slower than crap on roller-skates, and there’s no way to cancel out of a move if need be. The music in the game sucks too. Most of the tracks are indistinguishable from each other and with no option (in-game) to turn off the sound this game is best played on mute. I will say that I did find the “Winner” and “Loser” results screen’s music to be quite catchy.
There is no rhyme or reason to Shrek’s battling either. You can start the game with characters like Pinocchio, Fiona, Big Bad Wolf, or Shrek himself. Problem is, regardless of your character choice you fight through the exact same levels against the exact same enemies every time you play. The game is so sloppy in this regard that you even fight yourself! Shrek vs. Shrek? Umm…Okay? And you get to do that twice!! It’s weird because Fairy Tale Freakdown has you running around beating up all your pals for no reason. Why is Shrek beating up on his cookie pal Gingie again? But (if you play as Shrek) you won’t fight against Fiona, instead getting to fight a Shrek clone which you already did in the “swamp” level. Why make one brief exception here and not anywhere else is a question I can’t answer.
There are a couple of unlockable characters and when I say a couple I mean literally three. There’s not much use to any of them though because all the characters control the same. After beating the nine levels you’re done with the game. That’s it. There are no new levels, no new characters to unlock, or even hidden game modes. You get to fight the same nine battles over and over and over. Fairy Tale Freakdown didn’t support saving either, not that you’d care, so each time you turn of the system you in theory would have to start from scratch. Since there isn’t anything to do other, than the 20 minutes it will take to beat this game, the lack of saving isn’t much of an issue.
Being on the Game Boy Color I will say there was a good use of colors in the game. Backgrounds had a variety of locations and unique color palettes. Unfortunately, the animation and detail in the backgrounds, as well as the character models themselves, look worse than your ugly step-sister.
Honestly, there really isn’t a good thing I can say about this game. The controls suck, its incredible short, key franchise characters like Donkey are missing, and the game looks and sounds awful. Add in the fact there was no Game Boy link 2 player support and you’re stuck facing an idiotic repetitive A.I. foe that knows more about putting a player to sleep (from boredom) than it does about getting in a scrap. Just do yourself a favor. If you’re getting a craving for something green oriented I suggest you go eat some vegetables, watch the Shrek movies, or mow the lawn. Hell, you’d be better off placing a chair in front of a blank wall and staring at it for twenty minutes, than you would playing Shrek Fairy Tale Freakdown. In that twenty minutes you’d come up with something far better to do than play this boring, dull, ugly, button-masher game. You may be asking yourself “Is it REALLY that bad?”. My answer to that is a simply one. Yes, Donkey… really really.
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