Since Shrek 2 is well on its way to grossing more than $400 million at the box office (tack on another $100 million, at least, in eventual DVD sales), it's a foregone conclusion that games based on the movie are going to be in high demand. Usually, video games that are based on movie licenses--especially animated films, such as Shrek 2--turn out to be terrible. Companies try to make a quick buck by slapping together a weak run-and-jump game using scenes and dialogue from the movie. In the case of Shrek 2 for the GBA, however, Activision has added a puzzle-oriented twist to the stale platform-jumper design and in turn has come up with a fun, kid-friendly game that also does a good job of telling the movie's story.
Donkey can jump on top of the stump that Shrek is holding
The game starts out as Fiona, Shrek, and Donkey make their way to visit Fiona's parents in the land of Far Far Away. After they arrive, Fiona and Shrek soon learn that Fiona's parents--and her fairy godmother--are prejudiced against ogres. They lock the princess away in the castle and set out to do everything they can to separate Fiona from Shrek. That's where you, the player, come in. Your task is to help Shrek and Donkey sneak back into the castle, swipe the godmother's "happily ever after" potion, and reunite Shrek with Fiona before she unwittingly falls in love with Prince Charming. Other fairy tale characters, such as The Three Blind Mice, Pinocchio, The Gingerbread Man, The Three Little Pigs, and Puss in Boots, also make appearances to varying degrees throughout the game.
A good deal of the game involves jumping between platforms and mindlessly pressing the attack button to punch or hack at angry guards and peasants. However, in most of the game's 25 levels, you're required to bring all three of the characters under your control so you can then cross the finish line. Vicarious Visions, the company that developed the game for Activision, borrowed a page from Blizzard's classic, Lost Vikings, by allowing players to switch between three different characters at any time during a level. Every character has a jump move and an attack move, but each character also has one or two skills that can be performed alone. Shrek can do a butt stomp and lift heavy objects, Donkey can kick down doors, Puss 'n' Boots can climb up walls, and so on. Characters have to work together--for example, if Shrek holds a mushroom trampoline above his head, Donkey or Puss 'n' Boots can use it to reach far-off platforms. Characters can also pick up and use tools, such as shields, keys, and invisibility items. In order to get past an obstacle--usually a lever, ramp, or stone doorway--the player has to figure out which character (or which combination of characters) can reach and solve that puzzle so that the other characters can walk past it.