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Scooby-Doo!: Unmasked

Action and Adventure video game by THQ for the Xbox

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Scooby Doo: Unmasked! - If it hadn't been for those pesky kids....

  • Mar 1, 2006
  • by
Pros: Fun for the kids, Scooby gets to change costume and abilities

Cons: Relatively short, camera issues

The Bottom Line: A fun game for kids that remains faithful to the cartoon. Adults and older kids will bore quickly, but it's fun diversion for the younger set.

The old Scooby Doo cartoons have lived on inexplicably for many years. Kids love the exact same episodes I grew up with. But the recent movies have missed something, that innocent spark that was a part of the cartoons. So does Scooby Doo: Unmasked! suffer from the same mediocrity or does it capture the magic? Read on, dear reader....

•• Story ••
Fred's brother Jed runs a magic and special effects studio for the movies. But we learn early on that Jed has disappeared and a magic dragon may or may not be at the heart of the mystery. Throw in some Chinese stereotypical villains, lots of clues and you have a classic Scooby Doo episode: simple and predictable. But since the story is in the same classic vein as the cartoons, the story works on a kid's level.

•• Gameplay ••
Scooby Doo: Unmasked! is a classic platform game. For those unfamiliar, this game has you controlling Scooby Doo as he jumps on ledges, pulls switches, climbs things and battles bad guys with a highly simplistic battle system. System is a bit of an exaggeration, since Scooby's main battle control is hitting the B button. He'll battle monsters, rats and spiders as well as use this butt-spin attack to smash boxes and barrels. Not exactly deep, but fun for the kids.

On the subject of controls, a major annoyance was the inability to switch the Y axis of the camera control. In other words, press left on the thumbstick and the camera swings right. To me and my son, this is backward. Given that my son is not very good at games anyway, he got very frustrated trying to control a camera that was backwards to him. If there was a setting in the options to change it, I couldn't find it.
As well, the camera suffers from typical platformers that lack polish, the camera gets into some funky angles if Scoob does non-standard things such as move into a corner.

One of the things I did like was the trail of scooby snacks. Whenever a new objective appeared, a new trail of scooby snacks would show for our canine friend to gobble up. As well, there is this substance called "Mubber" which is used for making costumes. Collecting mubber leads to a mini-game which is repeated throughout the game with some variation. Also on the collection front, you can collect pieces of food to give to Shaggy to make a sandwich and other types of edibles. None of these really advance the story and most amount to basically eye candy for the player. This is OK, though. My son was ecstatic to collect all the things to make a sandwich.

One of the fun things that borrows directly from the cartoon, is Scooby's ability to change clothing, and therefore personas with different abilities. He'll transform into kung fu scooby, Bat-scooby, and a Robin hood type Scooby with a bow and arrows made of toilet plungers. Each of these does something different from the standard Scooby. Robin Hood allows you to create walkways where you shoot, Kung fu has more fighting moves and there's a level where you'll be able to fly around as Bat-Scooby. These variations on the typical Scooby not only add a fun element of gameplay, they make the game remain faithful to the cartoon.

Minor complaint: you only get to be Scooby doo. All of the other characters are in the game, but only as non-controllable AI.

All of this makes for a pretty fun, albeit short game. Advanced players might get bored or finish the game quickly, but younger player should remain challenged and entertained for quite a while.

•• Graphics ••
The graphics can only be described as good enough. Taking on a mix of the cel shaded style of the cartoon and typical 3d animation, the game has the look and feel of the cartoon. Scoob and the gang are modelled very nicely and look just like I would expect them to. The animations
are smooth and funny. If scoob starts to fall off a ledge, he does the running-in-air thing that he'd do in the cartoons. Additionally, this gives the player a few extra milliseconds to correct the action that made scooby fall in the first place.

The backgrounds seem to be rather bland which might be an intentional way to make Scooby and friends stand out. The buildings and objects take on a very organic shape without any straight lines or accurate geometry. This adds nicely to the cartoon feel.

One cool thing, the classic opening of the TV show is completely recreated in 3d cel shading. Quite impressive, actually, and not an easy task.

•• Sound ••
The music in Scooby Doo: Unmasked! is either taken from the cartoon or inspired by it. While it doesn't stand out as great, it does create a mood and adds some character. It doesn't take any risks nor does it offend. It merely exists.

The VO acting is a mixed bag. Everyone but Scooby Doo sounds like the characters from the cartoon. Scooby sounds way off for some reason, especially in-game. This is not good since Scooby is the character you control. Will kids notice? Perhaps. Will they care? Not a bit.

•• Multiplayer ••
None whatsoever, not even co-op on the same box.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This game is rated E for Everyone and is safe for all ages. There might be a few "scary" moments in the cutscenes, but they aren't any scarier than the cartoon.

•• Conclusion ••
A fun game for kids that remains faithful to the cartoon. Adults and older kids will bore quickly, but it's fun diversion for the younger set.

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About the reviewer
Jeffrey Kafer ()
Ranked #721
Voice over artist specializing in audiobook narration. Hear more at http://audiobook-voice-over.com/ and http://JeffreyKafer.com
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About this video game


Ruh-roh! Fred's cousin Jed is nowhere to be found! His animatronic monsters have gone haywire and are attacking everyone in sight! It's up to Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc. to stop the creepy costumed creatures unmask the mystery and find Jed before its too late. Could Jed be prime suspect? Zoinks! Get me a Scooby-Snack!
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ESRB: E - (Everyone)
Number of Players: 1
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: September, 2005

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