Review: Scooby Doo! Night of 100 frights
Posted 24 Dec 2002 at 06:07 by Franklin
"Like Zoinks Scooby we're in a GameCube game."
That's right Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang are in a game and they need your help. The gang have been called to Mystic Manor by Daphne's friend Holly whose uncle, a famous inventor called Alexander Graham, has gone missing. Of course when the gang learn that the mansion is haunted Shaggy and Scooby opt to stay outside in the van. But when Shaggy suddenly disappears Scooby is left all alone and finds that the others have also gone missing on entering the mansion. Can Scooby find his friends, over come all his old foes again and solve this latest mystery?
Think of the Scooby-Doo cartoon show; now imagine it in three dimensions. That's exactly how this game looks. The programmers have managed to bring Scooby into the 3D world and still keep the exact look and feel of cartoon. The characters all look right out of the show, but that in this case isn't necessarily a good thing. Although they look just like they do in the show only in 3D, they look a fair bit dull and bland, especially in the clothing department. But I guess that can't all go down to the developers, it would have been hard to try anything new with well know characters from a popular cartoon show. Also emotion in the faces just doesn't quite look right. You can see they tried at it, but they just didn't get it in my opinion, with the exception of Scooby himself, obviously a lot more time was spent on Scooby than any other character.
The levels fit in great with the Scooby universe. But like the characters there's just an air of average surrounding them. A lot of the backgrounds seem grey and dark, but with the game being based at night time that could be forgiven. But the dullness that comes with it can't. Although there are many different kinds of levels, none of them are anything special. In fact don't be surprised to be going through one kind of level move into another and not notice the change in scenery for a few minutes, because you just don't care. This is most defiantly not one of those games that will have you stop playing just to take in the scenery.
Water is another thing that seems very poor here. Granted this is a game based on a cartoon and they do try to recreate the cartoon feel, and the water does look like cartoon water, but it just looks too solid and not very fluid at all. There aren't even reflections in the water, even in the cartoon water gives reflections, but not here and it just doesn't seem right with today's technology.
The background music will be familiar to Scooby fans, all taken from the show and will be a delight to fans of the show. The voice acting is very nice and once again is just like that of the cartoon; they did use the actors who voiced the show so why wouldn't it sound like it. Whenever something "funny" happens either in game or during a cut-scene you'll hear an audience laugh in the background, once again keeping the authenticity of the cartoon. But there are some sound effects that will drive you insane; the biggest culprit would be Scooby's "eating/munching" sound when he collects/eats a Scooby Snack or food. You will hear this sound literally thousands of times during the course of the game and it becomes very annoying and repetitive very quickly. Also there appears to be some bugs left in the games sound. On three occasions the background music "skipped" on me, like when a music CD is scratched, everything else was fine however, but the background music continued to "jump" until I either died or entered a new area. And a major sound bug in the ending sequence, about 3/4 way through it the voices go out of sync with the characters lip movements. You see them talk but there's a two to three second delay. This happened at the same point every time I viewed the ending, and really does ruin it.
The game starts off with a nice intro movie that is just like it would be had this game been in the cartoon series. Once the gameplay starts you control Scooby and your task is to explore the mysterious Mystic Manor and surrounding area to find your missing friends and solve the mystery. Each area of the game is divided into a number of "parts" and every time you move from one part or area to another there is a quick five second loading screen. The loading time isn't long enough to annoy you but is encountered enough times that it still does become annoying. A number of times you'll be faced with "Snack Gates" and to open them you will need to have collected a certain number of Scooby Snacks. In the beginning this won't be much of a problem as you should easily have enough snacks, but as the game goes on you will find you will have to backtrack to past areas to find more snacks in order to progress. This often just becomes frustrating. Playing the game is very simplistic and the puzzles aren't very taxing on the brain at all. This can lead to utter boredom at points. The boss battles however do make up for this a bit, especially the final boss, it's a shame there aren't more bosses really. But when the game kicks off, it takes a long time before you encounter some scenes that will move the story along. So for the most part of the game your just going from one place to another looking for Scooby Snacks with little reason other than you can now enter that area.
Throughout the game you'll also find "Monster Tokens" when you find these you can go to the "Gallery" and view a quick summery of the episode in which that villain appeared in the show, and a quick trivia question to test your knowledge of Scooby-Doo. Also when you collect all Scooby Snacks in an area you can go to the gallery and view development pictures of how a level in the game is constructed. If you're a Scooby nut you'll probably want to find all these items to see what they unlock so you'll have a bit extra last ability added to your gameplay.
With regards to dieing in this game, well you really can't. There is no such thing as game over here, you have unlimited lives so it seems. In fact Scooby's life meter is actually his "courage" meter, so when he is attack by an enemy he loses courage not health. So when his courage runs out he gets scared and returns to the start of the area. Not having to worry about a game over and losing your data takes a lot from the game. You go into every level head first without caution cause you know you can't get a game over and lose any unsaved information. The game becomes like a trail and error this way, which is not good.
The controls are easy to get to grips with, so they shouldn't cause any problems. The only problem that you will have, which becomes a big one, is the camera. The camera is fixed-moving. You have no control over it so when it comes time for a lot of platform jumping you will more than likely not have the best view to execute the jump right the first few times.
Fans of Scooby-Doo will enjoy this game, and will love the cartoon and comic feel, especially in the cut-scenes. But I doubt many people will play the game again after completion. And non Scooby fans, well first why did you get the game if your not a fan, will either get a quick laugh out of it or more than likely get bored and leave the game to gather dust before the halfway point.
Not a great game, but should please the Scooby fans out there. The rest of us would be best to give this game a miss, or rent. The camera becomes very annoying and only leads to build up frustration at times. The story takes time to get going which I find is the main cause of the boredom, there just seems to very little reason in what your doing other than your there so do it. The gameplay is very simple for gaming veterans so if you're looking for a challenge you won't find it here. You'll probably get a quick laugh from it and may enjoy the cut scene but unfortunately that's about it.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Fans will like it, others may get a quick laugh from it, but neither will replay it after it's completed.
Just like the cartoon