Shark Tale – XB – Review

With the recent release of
Dreamworks’ computer animated film, Activision is hopping on board and putting
out a game based on Shark Tale.  Shark Tale isn’t exactly an action game with
any real cohesive gameplay elements, but rather a collection of different
genres.  You’ll find a variety of mini-games as you play, from DDR-style rhythm
games to driving to stealth action.  Young children will find these games easy
to grasp and should have a pretty good time with the game’s characters and
storyline.  However, most older gamers will probably find the game’s situations
to be pretty simplistic.


Shark Tale begins with a
vengeance as Oscar, a self-professed shark slayer fish and hero of the film, is
caught in a high speed chase in front of a huge shark.  In order to keep Oscar
from becoming shark food, you must press a direction on the controller that
appears at opportune times.  This timing-based action reminded me of games like
the old Dragon’s Lair arcade game or more recent attempts seen in games like
Shenmue and Die Hard Arcade.  These missions were pretty easy to understand,
simply push the directions at the right time or be eaten.


The next stage is a dance
game where you must hit the onscreen arrows as they get into a section on the
bottom of the onscreen wheel.  This was reminiscent of Dance Dance Revolution
(you could even use the DDR Ultramix Dance Pad if you want), although the arrows
aren’t terribly complex in their steps.  Most sections entail pushing one
direction about ten times in a row to the beat of the music (which in this stage
happens to be Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer).




Next, in the driving
stages, you must catch a cab (another fish) and tail someone else as they drive
off in another car.  It is extremely important to not tail too close or else you
could be discovered and lose the level, but at the same time, you can’t trail
too far or you could lose the person, er, fish you’re following.


Following this are the
side scrolling portions presented in pseudo-2D.  In these stages, you guide
Oscar through a variety of different tasks, from things like hiding in bushes
and behind signed in order to try to avoid a photographer bent on proving that
you are a fake shark slayer to avoiding lamp fish in order to stealthily
infiltrate an area.


Finally, there are the
boss battle modes where you must face off against a shark.  These are similar to
the first level where you were simply running from the beast, only now you are
able to get some punches in.  You have to dodge the shark’s attacks, and once
they subside, you must perform punching combos in order to defeat them.



While the game presents a
variety of different gameplay modes, they are very simplistic mini-games.  None
of them are terribly difficult, which may turn off some gamers looking for a bit
more of a challenge.


The game’s aesthetic isn’t
very detailed, but it does a fine job of emulating the look of the film.  The
characters and the environments have a bright and colorful appearance and convey
the attitude of the movie.


Shark Tale’s collection of
arcade style mini-games and bright appearance will appeal mainly to those for
which this game was made, namely the young crowd who enjoy the film.  However,
most gamers will be turned away by the simplistic gameplay and low difficulty. 
If you are a fan of the film and are curious about the game, then give it a
rental at most.


Review Scoring Details


Gameplay: 7.0
The gameplay gives the player a lot
of choices with quite a few different gameplay modes.  Some of the game types
are more simplistic than others giving you a very limiting amount of things to
do, while others are a bit deeper.  However, most people will agree that the
game is very simplistic overall.

Graphics: 8.2
The graphics in Shark Tale are
pretty nice, showing the personally of the characters with all of the knack of
the film.  While the character models and environments aren’t too terribly
detailed or complex, but they do a good job of emulating the aesthetic of the

Sound: 8.0
The sound effects are pretty good,
with well-acted voice impersonations of the film’s actors and a soundtrack
featuring such songs as Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer and a few other gems.

Difficulty: Easy
This is a game aimed at young kids,
and is thusly not terribly challenging.

Concept: 7.0
The game is more of a collection of
arcade-style mini games than a real cohesive action game, and the games are all
pretty simplistic.

Overall: 7.0
Shark Tale sets out with a specific
target audience in mind, youngsters who enjoy the film looking to get a piece of
the action.  However, seasoned gamers and adults probably won’t get too much out
of the simplistic gameplay and real lack of challenge.