Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

DreamWorks'  Shark Tale

DreamWorks' Shark Tale

Spring 2005 Video Games
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Publisher: Activision, Inc.
Price: $49.99
Gaming System: PlayStation 2
Borrowing its remarkable 3D graphics and animation from the popular DreamWorks feature-length animated movie of the same name, this is one beautiful game on the screen. So playing as the movie's main character, Oscar the cute fish, is fun and compelling as you try to reach Oscar's goal--to become rich and famous.

The characters are the same as in the movie. The game is based on some of the same events. The soundtrack is worth listening to. But the game plays a little uneven in difficulty, ranging from overly easy activities such as the shark chase at the beginning (a big flashing arrow clues you on which way to swim) to suddenly more difficult tasks such as the open-exploration searches that demand some persistence. It's probably the result of trying to make the game appeal to all ages. Fortunately, kids (ages 6-10) don't seem to have a problem with it.

Working at the Whale Wash at Reef City, boxing sharks using "Fish Fu," exploring gritty neighborhoods, racing bad guys through Oceanic metropolises, even bustin' a few dance moves doing underwater hip-hop, the 30 or so "chapters" are all fun and funny--and at times a little silly. Too bad this was made as a one-player game; two players would've multiplied the fun-and-silly factor.

As in so many crossovers in entertainment today, if you child loved Shark Tales the movie, he or she will probably love Shark Tales the Video Game. And vice versa.

Don Oldenburg   ©2005 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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