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Scooby-Doo! Unmasked Review

Developer: A2M Publisher: THQ
Release Date: September 12, 2005 Also On: GBA, GCN, PS2, and Xbox

Scooby-Doo is one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time. Indeed, what child hasn’t heard of the omniphobic dog who accompanies a group of people who solve paranormal-related mysteries? It is therefore no surprise that THQ has released a follow-up to Mystery Mayhem, marking the third time that Scooby-Doo has appeared on current-generation systems. While Mystery Mayhem was a competent, if short, Luigi’s Mansion clone, Unmasked seems to revert back to a more traditional style of platformer, but, although traditional platformers are present in abundance anymore, especially from THQ, Scooby-Doo: Unmasked has enough of a Scooby-Doo feeling to it that despite its brevity, Scooby fans should be able to get some enjoyment out of it.

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The graphics, like those in Mystery Mayhem, look more like THQ was trying to emulate a Scooby-Doo cartoon than like they were going for maximum graphics potential, but the Scooby-Doo cartoon look is fairly accurate. The characters, backgrounds, and enemies all look believable for a Scooby-Doo cartoon and, while not overly detailed, are far from bad. The music and sound effects certainly sound like Scooby-Doo fare, and the voice acting is done very well also. Overall, the aesthetic values are not awe-inspiring from a technical standpoint, but they will make a Scooby fan feel right at home.

The gameplay, like I said, is generic platforming. There are a couple hub levels, each with its own mystery that needs to be solved by collecting clues hidden in the levels that can be accessed from the hub. As well as clues, there are ingredients to be collected in the levels to increase your life bar and other items to be collected to unlock enemy profiles and stuff like that. Every clue that you collect in a level will unlock something in the hub level, although most of the clues remain optional by unlocking access to ingredients or special items that are optional to collect, although these items generally are useful enough to make them worth finding.

By default, Scooby has the basic platformer essentials. He can move around, he can jump (and double jump), and he can cling to things to swing from them, slide down them, or climb across them. He also has a few basic platformer-style attack maneuvers. What makes matters even more interesting though is when he wears costumes. There are a couple costumes that can be collected in the game, one that makes Scooby a kung fu master and one that makes him a bat. Each of these costumes is unlocked by finding a silver coin and can be upgraded by finding a gold coin. The kung fu costume allows Scooby better attack moves, whereas the bat costume gives him the ability to glide across longer gaps.

Basically, what we’re left with is a short but fun platformer. I was able to get through a little under half of the game in the three hours I’ve spent playing it, so I can’t imagine the game will take the average platformer fan much more than six or seven hours to beat completely, and there is little if any reason to play it again after you beat it unless you missed something, so it lacks replay value. It is fun while it lasts though, and the Scooby-Doo universe is very well implemented making this game recommendable for at least a rental to Scooby-Doo fans, if not a purchase, since the game launched with a $30 price tag.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 6.1
Written by Martin Review Guide