|System: Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Torus Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 14, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Scooby Doo used to enjoy the distinction of longest-running cartoon series, but I, as a cartoon fan, cannot be happier this series was finally overthrown by a production of intelligence, integrity and infamy (i.e. The Simpsons). Scooby Doo was popular when I was a kid, and I didnt like it then either. How can you compare it to classics like Popeye and Bug Bunny? But before my contempt for the cartoon series begins to sour your opinion of me, this review, and the video game, let me iterate the game is a different story. I actually liked it.
What I liked about the game is that it doesnt try to reinvent the wheel. Its not innovative in any way. It simply delivers an interactive cartoon universe for us to play around in. Like the cartoon, its simple, corny, formulaic, and repetitive, proving that its much more fun to play than watch. And so far I havent seen a Simpsons game that can touch this one.
Scooby Doo! and the Spooky Swamp targets kids, but it packs enough action, fun, and anticipation to keep the older crowd engaged for a spell. At around seven hours, it can be beaten in a weekend. It contains three storylines, which are well-written, considering. The gameplay is variety personified with elements of action-adventure, point-and-click, puzzle-solving, platforming, combat, collecting, and even a two-player co-op mode. Nothing is particularly difficult, but theres just enough challenge to keep your mind engaged while the storyline unfolds like a mystery novel. Theres even a laugh track.
Scooby and Shaggy are venturing through the swamp when they come upon a young witch crafting a fragrant stew. Motivated more by hunger than adventure, the twosome eagerly agree to help her find special ingredients to complete the delightful brew. The search for these ingredients takes them to places unknown, and thus the adventure begins. But its not long before the gang gets involved. Enter Fred, Daphne and Velma, the more reasonable associates of Mystery Inc. Each character is playable, and each possesses unique abilities not unlike a party in a RPG, but with a whole lot less depth. The characters dont level-up, although you can purchase quaint accessories for them to wear. Scooby can get into smaller openings, Shaggy can use a grappling hook, and Fred can move heavy objects. Velma is a computer geek and can compromise security systems, while Daphne has a talent for climbing poles. No comment.
Im not saying this game is the perfect representation of a cartoon series, but its just not bad, and thats good. Depth is something this game doesnt have, and doesnt need. You wont miss it, except during battles. On the downside there is the repetition of battles, requiring little more than the push of one button. Some enemies actually require a two-button combination. For instance an evil gang of incendiary wrestlers have to be extinguished with water before you can put the kibosh on them. The numerous enemies respawn frequently, causing you to lose interest in fighting them. Fortunately, you can avoid them. The only thing youll stand to lose is unlocking the various bonuses for defeating all of the enemies in a level.
Collecting items is another way to acquire bonuses, among other things. Medallions will get you a bonus if you collect all of them within a level. Scooby Snacks can be used to purchase things such as fashion and costume accessories. Other collectibles include letters that spell Scooby, puzzle pieces, and the aforementioned stew ingredients. Theres lots going on in this game so it doesnt get boring, but at the same time its like fast food: it will fill you up but wont nourish you in the long term.