Scooby Doo: Mystery Mayhem
If ever a game screamed out to be made fun of, this would be the one. But surprisingly, Scooby-Doo! is turning out better than expected. As the bumbling pooch, you explore smartly designed levels, solve mysteries, and interact with the old gang. Because it's based on the classic version of the cartoon, you can expect cameos from Don Knotts and Tim Conway (yes!).
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Scooby-Dooby Doo and the rest of the crew have done a lot since the 70's. They've solved numerous mysteries, starred in a full-length live action movie, and somewhere along the way became an easily recognizable American icon. Why they've even worked with the Harlem Globetrotters, Sonny and Cher, and Don Knots ' now who else can put that on their resume? Yet despite these many accomplishments, it still seems Scooby and crew can't get it right in videogames, as proven once again with Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem. I guess you really can't teach an old dog new tricks.
It's a bit early on in the review to be so negative, but let's put the nail on the coffin anyways: Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem just isn't much fun. Blame it on its repetitive nature, the bad level design, the lame gameplay mechanics, the poor controls, or the collection mentality that composes a large part of the game ' blame it on something because there's no denying that Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem is a huge bore-fest. Right off the bat, it's easy to notice that the controls are just flat out bad. It doesn't complement the camera at all and it can even be a chore to just pick up items because it feels so imprecise. It borrows some of its core gameplay mechanics from the GameCube launch title Luigi's Mansion, but it fails to capture that game's fun and depth. Likewise, the level design is uninspired and frivolous, often leaving you with the feeling that there's no method to the madness.
The visuals in Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem aim to recreate the look of the cartoon series, and on the whole, it does a decent job. The cut-scenes do a good job of emulating the style of the cartoon series in just about every way, and it's probably the strongest part of the game, especially for Scooby-Doo fans. However, from a technical standpoint, the graphics are just average if not bad at times. Environments are repetitive and un-detailed, and some very noticeable slow-down will often occur.
Like the visuals, Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem does a commendable job at recreating the feel of the Scooby-Doo cartoon series. All the voice actors do a nice job, though your results will vary depending on how much you liked the original show. Scooby's lisp is still there and Shaggy says, 'Like, wow!'? with the same scraggly voice that he had in the 70's. There's even a cheesy laugh track that plays after the dumb jokes, but it's pretty noticeable just how out of place it sounds in the context of a videogame.
Obviously, Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem is primarily geared towards kids. I seriously doubt that any kid will have the tolerance to look past some of the game's debilitating problems however and with so many other great games out there that are aimed at their age group (like Tak and the Power of Juju), they shouldn't have to. It's best left to fans of the series who are looking to relive Saturday mornings spent in front of the tube, because aside from the nostalgia factor that the game creates, Scooby-Doo: Mystery Mayhem has few redeeming qualities.
With another Scooby Doo movie soon to be in theatres it's no surprise to see Scooby Doo: Mystery Mayhem paving the way. Unfortunately it also may be no surprise that this game has some serious gameplay issues, especially if you had any experience of with Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights. Although other aspects of the game help move it along, Scooby Doo: Mystery Mayhem quickly turns into a test of endurance.
All starts out well however with an excellent job of integrating the old tv show. The plot fits nicely and the characters are all represented in their classic form. The cut-scenes also help create the right atmosphere as well with accurate voice-overs and graphics.
Unfortunately, the majority of the gameplay elements don't hold up the same level of quality, turning into a long boring game of fetch. You'll search for clues, monsters, or other items throughout the game and generally have little, if any difficultly finding them. There are a few side quests however to change things up a bit such as simple fights with bad guys but they too lack any real challenge.
One area that does help the gameplay along is the audio. The voice-overs sound accurate and appropriate as do the sound effects. The graphics also help to add authenticity to the game with environments you would expect to see and graphics that although not great, aren't distracting either.
Scooby Doo: Mystery Mayhem might be enjoyable for a young audience who expects little as far as challenge. I would expect however that even they would lose interest quickly but may get enough from a rental. Anybody else looking for some Scooby Doo action should probably wait for the movie.
Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of Scooby-Doo. I used to watch the show every afternoon with my own Great Dane while I was growing up, so there's a nostalgia factor for me when it comes to Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem. That being said, this game is not for hardcore gamers and while it appears to be a relatively fun game for kids, the controls and puzzle solving may be a bit too complicated for that crowd. So what you're left with is a fun game to play with your kids that will probably grow old far before they can adequately play it on their own.
That's unfortunate, because this game has a lot of the elements that could have made it a great family or children's game. The graphics are spot on, including hilarious reproductions of some of Scooby and Shaggy's typical behavior and the sound, although it uses none of the original cast, is also pretty much a perfect reproduction.
In this game you control Scooby and Shaggy as an inseparable duo, you can hit a button to switch between which one you are actively controlling and which one is following your lead. Another button goes into a funny little stealth mode that puts both characters up on their toes in an exaggerated tip-toe. The beginning of the game has you trying to avoid ghosts while you look for clues. The more run-ins with ghosts you have the more your cool meter drops, if it drops all the way, you go into automatic run away mode with Shaggy screaming and cradling Scooby in his arms as he runs from the place. Later in the game you earn a Tome of Doom which allows you to capture the collection of ghosts, ghouls and baddies you run into ala Ghostbusters.
Unfortunately the game play is just a little too simplistic for adults and probably most teens and a bit too hard for younger children.
I had a lot of fun playing with my 3-year-old son, but became bored pretty quickly and he became frustrated every time he tried to go it alone. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem is worth a rent, but I'd recommend against buying it unless you're a huge, huge Scooby fan.