I have to admit that I am a big fan of the Scooby Doo cartoons that have been running since I can remember; there is just something about them that has appealed to me over the years. Perhaps it is the corny lines, the easy to figure our baddies or maybe it is the ghosts that they come across, I just don’t know. It’s a shame that the memories have been darkened thanks to the atrocious movies that have come out, but at least we have the games that have tried to carry the fun on.
The first Scooby Doo! Title that came out last year was “Night of 1000 Frights”. This time round the game has switched from being a platform title to an adventure game.
Scooby and the Gang are back in an all-new adventure! Join your favorite slackers as they try and solve a mystery of super natural proportions. The gang starts out on a routine case in the search of ghosts. During their search, a scheming business tycoon, who will stop at nothing to grow his empire, use The Tome of Doom to unlock some of the creepiest monsters our gang has every seen. Help Scooby and Shaggy find The Tome of Doom, capture monsters, and solve the mystery. Would you help Scooby and Shaggy solve this mystery for a Scooby Snack?
The game revolves around shaggy and Scooby, no surprise there really as they are the two main characters in the cartoon series. The gameplay is pretty simple, but then again it should be as the title is aimed at a much younger audience than even I. The basis behind the game is to find clues and vanquish the ghosts so that you can try to solve the haunting of Hambridge University.
There are a number of different areas you get to visit during the game from Hambridge University, Movie sets, theme parks and more, each area is linked together so that the general story of the game continues as you make progress.
The game makes good use of the Scooby Doo! License, it looks like feels like an episode of the cartoon series. At the start of each mission you will be introduced to various types of ghostly activity such as flying books, scared security guards and actors who are being chased across their sets by ghosts. During each mission you are given cutscenes of the gang heading to the scene via the Mystery Machine, chatting to each other and generally joking around just like the TV Series.
Once your mission begins it is up you Scooby and Shaggy to find clues around the area you are playing in, there are 5 clues in each area that need to be collected, once they are all found you will have to take the clues to Velma who will check through the clues and then come up with a plan to catch the villain. This isn’t all you have to do though, as you will have to complete various other objectives too, such as capturing all the ghosts who are in various areas, rescue friends and more.
Most of the game is spend searching for the clues, items to open areas, keys or various pages from a book called the “Tome of Doom”, none of the objectives here are advanced enough to hold interest for long and you tend to be told what to do during most of the game instead of trying to figure anything out. But it is the combat that really lets the game down. Combat is done by using the “Tome of Doom” which can be used as a vacuum to grab onto the ghosts, when you are close enough to a ghost you open the book and suck them in, but getting them weakened first is done by pressing the correct buttons that appear on the screen in the right order.
This would not be such a problem if it only happened now and then, but it is a requirement in the game to capture ghosts so it can become a real pain to do, especially as this is the only action part that the game has in it.
Apart from a few little mini games that come up during levels there isn’t enough variety in the gameplay, so even for the younger plays I find it hard to see this holding their interests apart from the great animations and humour that is in the game.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically it certainly looks the part, it replicates the look of the cartoons really well, especially in the numerous cutscenes that are included in the game, the framerate holds up perfectly, but then again it should do, because even though the game looks like the cartoon series, it doesn’t exactly push graphical boundaries.
It is the game’s sound that really stands out though, the people who voice the current run of the cartoon all use their talents in the game, and it shows as they all sound perfect. The only bad side is the canned laughter, and I don’t mean it’s annoying, it just isn’t as loud as it perhaps should be in the game like this.
It isn’t a really bad use of the license, it certainly looks the part and can be fun at times, but the repetitive gameplay really hinders it, if there was more to do and a much better ghost combat system then I could recommend it to any Scooby fans, but it’s defiantly only a title that I can recommend for renting for your child.