Scooby Doo Haunts the PS2
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Scooby Dooby Doo...where are you? Ah, the sound of my youth. I remember back in the days when I didn't have to worry about homework, keeping my room clean, girls, or any of the other countless "important" things that bog my day when all I had to do to be happy was park in front of the TV and turn the dial to Cartoon Network. I admit it, I spent many an afternoon watching TV instead of playing out in the sun, but how could I go outside? These mysteries were always so interesting, and I just HAD to find out who the jerk was this time that was scaring people.
Of course, that was before I grew up and discovered that the plots were paper thin, Scooby and Shaggy are stoners (heck, the word "Dooby" is in the cartoon's theme song), and Scrappy is the more annoying than watching Madonna's movies while one of William Shatner's records plays in the background and Carrot Top does stand-up behind you.
Despite my getting tired of the series many years ago I was still somewhat interested to play Scooby Doo and the Night of 100 Frights. Now that I have played it I can tell you that while the game isn't excellent, it's a decent platforming romping that's sure to please to young fans of the series...but no one else.
The game opens the way a typical Scooby episode would. The gang's all stuffed into the mystery machine when they catch wind of a mystery. Also in typical Scooby Doo fashion, someone has disappeared and people are scared to look for him in the manor he got lost in because (surprise) it's haunted!
Of course, when Shaggy and Scooby catch wind of this the two quickly reject to enter the haunted manor, so they stay outside while the rest of the gang heads in. About a second after Shaggy and Scooby are left alone though, Shaggy walks right into a trap door, leaving Scooby all alone to trek through the manor to find the rest of the gang, solve the mystery, and score some Scooby snacks in the process.
The first thing that you'll notice about 100 Frights is how woefully bad the game looks. Character models and environments look shoddily under detailed, and character animations are few as they are rigid. All of these graphical shortcomings come out in greater detail during the game's cut scenes, where you get to watch a blockhead Fred talk with lip sync that rivals many Hong Kong action movies in their quality (or more specifically, the lack thereof).
The dialogue that the characters utter is very reminiscent of a kung fu movie as well, as it's painfully obvious that developer Rage gave some bum on the streets with a Scooby Doo hat he found in a dumpster five bucks to write the script. Thankfully, the voice actors pull the script out of the trenches with great voice acting that rivals many of today's most expensive titles.
If you can ignore the poorly written dialogue and Atari 2600-worthy graphics though you'll find that there is some good platforming fun to be had in Scooby. Scooby's tale takes the form that many platformers have been taking as of late, mixing jumping and enemy battering with scavenging and collecting. Though the mix certainly isn't new and isn't executed to the fullest extent, it is still somewhat enjoyable to take Scooby about the haunted manor.
Unfortunately it's never terribly fun due to a few severely annoying flaws in the game's design. For one, the game's far-off camera is simply horrid; keeping you from seeing things you need to see to progress and skewing your view during important points of the game. The game also loads far too often, which is severely annoying when you're exploring the manor and every three seconds you have to pause and stare at a black screen.
In the end, Scooby Doo would make a great platformer for little kids to play during commercial breaks of the show, but few other people would enjoy the game. Though the game displays some redeeming traits, the bad camera, shoddy writing, and laughable graphics hopelessly drown them. Please skip this title, even if it means not getting a Scooby snack.
Alex is a biased, cynical jerk. So all of your assumptions of him giving your favorite game a bad review simply because he's been bought out by Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony/Joseph Lieberman are true. If you would like to bother him, email him at : firstname.lastname@example.org.