DreamWorks most recent animated blockbuster has made it to the PC. In your role as Oscar, you'll take to the 'streets'? of Reef City trying to find the fame and fortune you so richly deserve. This title features a plot directly from the movie interspersed with action, task-driven scenarios and a little Dance Dance Revolution thrown in for good measure. But all in all, is Shark Tale a fun, intriguing blend of action and adventure, or just another blah PC game trying to ride the coattails of the movie's popularity
Controlling Oscar is an exercise in simplicity, as you can move almost completely with mouse controls. Though Reef City can be a bit confusing at first entry, the simple interface makes getting around town and interacting with the environment quite simple. Graphics are quite good for this style of game, and look very similar to the characters from the film. The soundtrack is, of course, urban, but with a not-so-subtle 90's feel from time to time, and isn't actually as bad as I first expected.
There's a lot not to like, though. As with all games of this variety, i.e. make a game out of a movie that everyone's already seen, there's no real payoff. You know what's going to happen. It's also excruciatingly simple to play and complete. Twenty minutes into the game and I'd already cleared the first two areas and had filled up both my apartment and penthouse with goods. And let's not spend any time getting into my opinion of the voice acting: if the dialogue from the film was this bad, I don't know if I could handle it.
All in all, Shark Tale is just another mediocre film knock off of a game, one good for only about an hour or two of light, mindless fun. While somewhat entertaining for a younger crowd and fans of the film, even the most casual older gamers might want to pass this one up.
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Lately it seems that movie motivated games have been breaking the mold, delivering solid and creative games as opposed to the 'get it out the door as cheap and quick as possible'? method that seemed common for years. Shark Tale unfortunately swims in neutral waters as it falls way short of other recent movie motivated games such as Spiderman 2 but isn't as bad as many we've seen in the past.
Shark Tale is essentially a bunch of mini-games strung together across 25 chapters. The mini-games fall into a few different varieties such as dancing where you push the d-pad in the appropriate direction at the right time or searching a fish city for specific characters. Most of these games are straightforward and almost too easy plus a few can be downright frustrating. Overall however, they will engage you enough to at least offer a minimum amount of entertainment and the different games help to keep things moving. When a mini-games is completed, you are treated to a cut scene that unfolds the plot so there is some incentive to finish the mini-games.
The graphics are actually well done and do a good job of mimicking the animation from the movie while the audio offers some nice soundtracks and voice-overs. Really, if Shark Tale stumbled here this whole game would have fallen apart as the gameplay by itself just isn't strong enough to keep this game afloat.
Shark Tale puts forth a reasonable effort but don't expect much from the gameplay. The mini-games are generally shallow but still somewhat entertaining. Shark Tale would probably make a decent rental and only huge fans of the movie will be satisfied with a purchase.