GAMECUBE REVIEW: SHARK TALE

Shark Tale is one of the few really good movie-adapted videogames on the market. Based on the animated motion picture of the same name that starred the voiceacting of Will Smith, there are lots of diverse gameplay elements that closely replicate events in the movie. Not only does it follow the same plot but you'll be able to pull off many of the same stunts that Oscar did in the flick. As close as the game is to the movie, it is without the voiceacting talents of Smith. Not to worry because the replacement actors still sound great.

Oscar is a likeable, fast-talking fish that finds himself in trouble with the local shark mob when he can't make his payments to the loan shark. Don Lino sends his kid, Lenny, out to collect the debt and the two become fast friends. In an effort to save his new buddy, Lenny agrees to help Oscar gain a reputation as a dangerous shark fighting fish. This ruse buys Oscar some time and allows him to cash in on his newfound fame. Of course many incidents arise from this situation which forms the basis of each of the 25 levels.

Much of the gameplay includes exploring the environments and rhythm-based games. In the movie, Oscar would occasionally burst into song. When he does so in the game he is surrounded by a large circle that has smaller circles within it not unlike an old phone dial. Each smaller circle represents a button on the controller and move clockwise within the perimeter of the larger circle. When a particular icon passes through the highlighted area, you must hit the appropriate button on the controller at the exact time. You earn points when you do it right and lose them when you do it wrong. Dancing segments are also included that use arrows as indicators. The Xbox and PS2 support the dance mat. These rhythm games will get more challenging as you go - a lot more challenging.

Collecting pearls will give you currency to purchase and unlock various items such as film clips, art and a music player. There are lots of items available but even if you have lots of money you can't buy everything unless you have reached a certain "reputation" level.

While swimming around you will have to avoid various enemies such as sharks, dolphin police, piranhas and puffer fish. Bumping into some of these enemies such as the piranha and puffer fish will reduce your energy. To gain it back you have to knock on a door and invite yourself in for something to eat. Back outside you can break various crates in which you will find some useful items to help save your tail fin.

During various pursuits the game turns into a race. You can control the speed and direction of Oscar as you receive Dragon Lair-style indicators that tell you which direction to hit the controller, a split-second before impending doom such as landing in the open mouth of a shark.

To maintain your reputation as a shark slayer, you can punch and kick them and even pull a few combos. This will stun them and give you time to escape. Stealth plays a role in the game. There are times when it's best to hide behind things and not get spotted. Just watch the patterns of the enemies and make a run for it when they're out of range or have their back turned.

You couldn't ask for a better looking game. On the Xbox it's almost as good as the cartoon. It runs glitch-free and at a steady, flowing framerate. The environments are well detailed with various AI fish going about their daily business. Clips of the movie appear in the game to keep the story moving. The music and sound effects have also been taken from the movie - and why wouldn't they? It all makes for a high quality game.

There's a lot to like about Shark Tale. It's a medium difficulty game with lots of variety that will keep you from getting bored. All of the gameplay elements seem like they really belong in the game and aren't just mini-games tacked on to pad it up. For a game that's based on underwater cartoon characters, (warning: pun alert) it's got a lot of depth.

Preview By Chris

Based on the new computer-generated animation feature from DreamWorks, Shark Tale is attacking "get it attacking?" every single gaming console. Of course with the "A-List" Stars featured in this one, maybe they need to raise funds to pay their salaries? Shark Tale is a game that both young and old will enjoy. Of course taking a look at the screen shots and the basic game plot, I think the younger gamer will get the most out of this one. The movie hits theaters in October while the game is slated for a September release date. Now with the success of the sequel to Shrek perhaps DreamWorks wants to get this in the minds of everyone they can. Players will take over as the lead-role, Oscar, voiced by Will Smith. You will have to fight off sharks and even show off your skills at bustin some moves, dance moves that is, and the PS2 and Xbox versions will support the use of the dance pad. The game will feature 25+ action-packed levels inspired by the film.

Shark Tale, the game, will follow the movie plot and then go beyond the movie adding to the overall gaming experience. Players can expect plenty of mini-games and surprises from the actual film included in the main versions of the game. While this one is certainly aiming for the younger gamers, older gamers may want to join in and help. Or give it a try alone you may enjoy it? We know many of the talented voices will appear in the game although we do not know if everyone has agreed to be in the game. It will also feature a pretty decent soundtrack for those who enjoy Hip-Hop music. Take a look at the screen shots and the game features on this one. It may not appeal to everyone but it looks to have enough different things added to allow gamers of any age to give it a try.

Features:

  • The Only Game That Lets Fans Relive the "Shark Tale" Film and Beyond-Fans play as Oscar, the fish with more fast-talking flash than any other lead character, and relive movie locations as well as unique environments and situations in 25 numerous adventure-packed missions.
  • More Variety of Gameplay Than Any Other Movie-Inspired Game
    Adventure - Players experience Reef City first hand from working at the Whale wash, sneaking through a Sunken Liner and exploring Oscar's gritty neighborhood.
    Race - Fans careen through a bustling underwater metropolis dodging traffic, buildings, bridges and smashing signs, boxes and crates as they attempt to outrace opponents.
    Fight - Gamers engage in never-before-seen "fish fighting" moves such as smack talk, "Fish Fu," tail slaps, fin boxing and head butts.
    Dance - Players earn points busting moves in the streets of Reef City in uniquely choreographed dance scenes. The gameplay features boogie down and get funky gameplay where players must mix and match dance moves and follow a stream of fast-paced directed commands. Both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox systems support dance pad peripherals.
  • Experience the Hip Culture of Reef City - Gamers interact with the urban environments of Reef City while capturing the vibe of the movie through a combination of original and licensed R&B and hip hop music from classic and current artists
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System: PS2
Dev: Edge Of Reality
Pub: Activision
Released: Sept 2004
Players: 1
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
2.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.0