reviews\ Dec 18, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Scooby Doo: The Case of the Glowing Bug Man - PC - Review

Scooby Dooby Doo! The mystery gang is headed to the Museum of Natural History in Kudzula, but when they arrive they find the museum closed because of a mysterious Bugman, which apparently has disrupted exhibits and generally created havoc. As apparently they have nothing else to do, the gang decides to stick around and clean up the mess, attempting to solve the mystery at the same time.

This is the fourth in a series of Scooby-Doo games from The Learning Company, but this program makes a departure from the previous games in that there is more emphasis on activities, and less on adventure. In fact, this isn't an adventure game at all, but rather a collection of activities with an adventure theme tying them together.

The activities are a mix of critical thinking and arcade games, with a total of eight. Most are critical thinking and feature moving items around to clear paths, and sorting and moving patterns. Some of the most fun activities include the Ice Cream Headache, a mastermind type of pattern and sorting puzzle where the correct ice cream flavors have to be selected from the machine, and Lights Out Rocks, another pattern logic puzzle that involves picking the right color rocks to fit the pattern. Our least favorite games were the Musical Bones activity (match the musical notes) and the Conveyer Belt Chaos, an arcade game that has players moving Scooby-Doo around on conveyor belts to earn scooby snacks, which are used to gain access to areas when Scooby-Doo feels scared.

While the activities for the most part are fairly amusing to play and challenge kids thinking skills, the game as a whole isn't one of The Learning Company's better efforts. It lacks the story elements and exploration of the previous Scooby-Doo games which made them so much fun. In previous games, kids got to talk to various suspects and explore different areas of the game, using inventory items to advance the game, whereas here there aren't any suspects to speak to, but instead there are tape recordings of them left in different rooms. Gameplay is limited to the areas which are simply access points to the different activities. The arcade game also isn't nearly as fun as the ones in Showdown in Ghost Town or Phantom of the Knight, but instead is rather awkward.

The only improvements that can be said to have been made here is the replayability factor, in that these activities are much better randomized and can be played over and over again, and the grid layout of the suspects and clues which is designed like a logic problem. Previous games had fewer activities and only the arcade ones were really replayable, and the adventure aspect was also the same each time played (the suspects and clues were different, but not the inventory objects' placement).

Too bad that these positive elements from all the games couldn't have been combined into a superb game: a cool adventure starring Scooby-Doo that had randomized objects, plus lots of replayable activities. Still, the activities themselves are fun for the most part, and kids will enjoy playing them.

Gameplay: 7
The activities are mostly fun to play, but some are tedious, plus there's not much else to the game besides the activities.

Graphics: 8 
Wonderful animation that captures the essence of Scooby-Doo.

Sound: 7.5
The sounds and background music are just like the cartoon.

Difficulty: Medium
Three difficulty levels are available which affect the difficulty of the activities.

Concept: 6.5 
A decent mix of activities when compared to other activity centers, but disappointing in respect to the fun adventure elements offered in the previous Scooby-Doo games.

Multiplayer: No

Overall: 7.3
While the activities as a whole are engaging and offer a good mix of critical thinking and arcade aspects, a few of them aren't that much fun. Plus, the spirit of exploration and excitement found in the previous games is lacking here.


About The Author
In This Article
From Around The Web
blog comments powered by Disqus