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Fight A Day 16: The Strange Fairy Tale of Shrek Super Slam

On 02/22/2016 at 09:36 PM by Vice's Assistant

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Shrek Super Slam is a pretty decent fighter.

I understand that sentence is a bit strange to fathom. I can assure you though its true. I have not been paid by Dreamworks Animation, which has released many animated 3D movie classics such as Kung Fu Panda 3 in Theaters now. Joking a side, there is a serious…OK semi-serious side to Super Slam that a story in itself.

The first thing you need to understand with Shrek Super Slam is the the fact that’s not the first Shrek based fighting game but the fourth. Yes, someone thought “Sure that makes perfect sense for a fighting game” and not only thought that once but three times, and bizarrely made those three on the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. The first one, Shrek’s Fairy Tale Freakdown (shown above) released in 2001 for the GB Color, is considered to be the worst game to bear the Shrek name. So how does Super Slam stack up against that?

Well Super Slam has one thing going for it: The combat had some thought to it. Despite the claims that Super Slam is aping Smash Bros, it actually plays much more a kin to Power Stone and much of the combat shares that feeling. Super Slam’s combat plays out in large, highly destructible environments, with items aplenty for combat. Speaking of combat, Super Slam has a very interesting way of handling fisticuffs without items. Much of the combat in the game is broken down into different combinations of a light and heavy attack into “combat trees”. Its a fancy way of saying that Super Slam has chain combos, similar to games like Tekken or Smash Bros’ rapid neutral Smash combos. However doing certain button press not only do different combos but serve different purposes. For example, Shrek’s default light, light, light, is a decent combo for damage but his light, heavy, heavy combo breaks guards. Its those touches that really make Super Slam stand out beyond just being a licensed cash grab. However one of the more interesting comes in the form of how points are scored in Super Slam. Unlike most fighters, Super Slam lacks any formal health meter; you can’t technically “KO” anyone in the game. What it does have in lieu of that is the Slam meter. Getting damage on your opponents in the game builds the meter and at max, you can unleash your character’s Slam attack. Slam attacks are only way you can get any points in the game and the person who has the most Slams in a match wins. The Slam meter eerily mirrors how Playstation All Stars: Battle Royale would handle its KO system, seven years before it was ever released. On top of the Slam system, Super Slam also features multiple mobility options, including air dashes and even instant air dash cancels to reduce landing lag. The level of thought put into this game is staggering with the exception of its pacing. Super Slam can get super hectic at times, making it hard to follow players especially in four player fights. Also the controls can be a little stiff in movement as well as the game can be a bit buggy at times (which I guess considering its a fighting game, is perfectly normal).

There is one thing that will forever bug me about Shrek Super Slam and its one that will never get answer: Why? Even back then, Shrek was name known with mediocrity in video games. Super Slam, while not a work of art, has some really ingenious ideas that really make it stand out of from that. I honestly think that Super Slam started life as another new arena fighter but probably got the Shrek license to make it easier to get published. There’s no clear answer, a fact made even harder to get considering the developer of the game literally went out of business after making the game.

Super Slam has had a strange resurgence over the last few years. A large part of this is due the renewed meme resurgence in Shrek but also, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, from its competitive aspect. Yes, there is competitive Shrek Super Slam. I mean I should be OK with this, pretty much anything can become a competitive fighting game. But part of this seems really like a joke gone wild. There is even a sub reddit for Competitive Super Slam. The most surprising aspect about this though its the fact that there exist a fan made re-balancing of the game made for tournament play.

There is a Project M (Or I guess Project S?!) for Super Slam. Competitive Super Slam.

Friends, I’m sorry that is piece has been basically 50 different versions of me saying “What the Fuck is Shrek Super Slam,” but understand why I’m so baffled/fascinated: For a series that basically lampoon of fairy tales and popular culture, having a video game like Super Slam seem almost like an artificial growth from that. The sole idea of a competitive Super Slam scene seems like it was literally written in a script for a joke in a Shrek movie and somehow that came into a our world. Super Slam is a decent fighter with fun concepts, that’s part is true. However, the strange turn of events that the game is undergone is making the reality stranger than  the fiction it is based from.



Super Step Contributing Writer

02/22/2016 at 09:45 PM

Well that's new.

Cary Woodham

02/23/2016 at 02:06 PM

I've reviewed a lot of Shrek games in my line of work, but I don't think I've played this one!

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