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Shrek: Smash n' Crash Racing review

Troubled

How’s this for an award-winning premise for a game? Shrek and The Gingerbread Man seeing who can hold their breath the longest… Donkey showing up with the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand… Donkey waving the wand around and – you guessed it – summoning up a swamp beast, a Cinderella-esque kart and a giant cupcake on wheels. Just the kind of respectful swansong the poor old GameCube deserves for its final game.



Shrek: Smash n’ Crash Racing features a whopping line-up of four film characters you pick from – Shrek, The Gingerbread Man, Fiona and Eddie Murphy – with eight more waiting for anyone who has the patience to unlock them. Races are as generic as they come – but with two important changes. One: none of Mario Kart ’s gratifying powersliding. Who needs that? Two: magical purple sparkles on the track that instantly and unavoidably send your kart catapulting in the air. Hit these at any other angle than head-on, and you’ll fly at roughly 134 degrees away from where you want to go – or land in an inescapable pit. It’s liquid gameplay.

Smash n’ Crash Racing also has the requisite speed boosts – these actually add a little shiver of excitement, as Shrek and co. end up pelting along the ceiling of roller-coaster loops and along the walls of narrow tunnels. But the pitifully dull track designs work hard to wipe any half-smiles off faces. The “weapons” are typified by the inexplicable Swamp Gas – a smokescreen that your AI opponents will happily drive through without batting an eyelid.

Unlike fellow titles like Shrek Super Slam, Smash n’ Crash Racing is depressingly devoid of any of the movie series’ charm. There are fewer jokes than a funeral and the voice acting consists of the same lines (“I’ve seen toenails tougher than you!”), repeated over and over, until your teeth are ground down. Even gathering your buddies and trying the multiplayer modes can’t muster a giggle – the Mario Kart -esque battle mode falls flat because ranged items automatically lock on, stripping the scraps of any strategy.

So GameCube should’ve been buried with Twilight Princess, and we’d all have remembered it with an affectionate tear in the eye. Instead, it goes with this, and the anguished wailing you get when you stub your toe.

More Info

Release date: Nov 14 2006 - GameCube, PS2 (US)
Nov 14 2006 - GameCube, PS2 (UK)
Available Platforms: GameCube, PS2
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Activision
ESRB Rating:
Everyone

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