Scooby Doo Unmasked – GBA – Review

It’s time
to release another game based on a successful cartoon and/or movie. It’s time
for another attempt to grab some easy money by making a knock-off generic game
with a name-brand on the label to make it sell. It’s that time, but this is NOT
the place (or game). No, in fact, Scooby-Doo! Unmasked is a fun
excursion that actually earns the right to carry the name. Unlike some recent
horrendous brand-name rip-offs, THQ has delivered a surprisingly fun and
smile-inducing game for all ages. OK, hard-core Ghost Recon or Doom 3
folks may not be up for this unique detour, but the rest of us that enjoy a
step back into something simple and fun will enjoy it.

The groovy
Mystery Machine and the gang of Fred, Wilma, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby are out
to visit Fred’s cousin Jed. However, when they arrive at the Special Effects
factory, Freddie’s cuz is nowhere to be found. The mystery begins! This
particular production facility manufactures a special costume/effect substance
called "Mubber"– not to be confused with the Disney product "Flubber".
I am sure the name is sheer coincidence. Mubber enables you to create any kind
of costume you like– with all of the characteristics of that…. character.
Let’s say you create a costume that makes you look like a martial arts Master.
Well heck…. you actually become a Kung-Fu guru just by wearing it. Score one
for Originality.

you "talk" (read dialog) with the rest of the gang– and employees along the
way, you play as the always-cool Scooby-Doo, himself. Exploring various creative
buildings and environments, you collect clues and examine them with Velma. The
two of you have to answer (simple) questions to get points for the clues. It’s
little (and I mean– tiny) games within the game. Just something to help
add to the "solving" portion of the experience. As you explore the places and
collect Scooby-snacks for energy, you come upon a Mubber costume machine that
will produce particular outfits to save. In the costume, you take on the
abilities of that character. Things such as the Kung-Fu Master, Bat outfit and
Robin-Hood archer type. If exposed to Ultra-Violet light, your costume will
dissolve. So, tuck it away in your inventory until it’s needed. Then, slip it on
to achieve otherwise impossible tasks to get through various obstacles. Lose
your suit, and you may have to start that level over– assuming you saved your
cryptic password.

graphics are bright, creative and fun. It’s a side-action scroller, but there
are plenty of challenges to make it more engaging than many similar games.
There’s nothing new about the way the game plays, but the way they did it makes
it stand out more than other titles.

The music
is hip and catches the mood of the original series (before Scrappy and kiddie
versions of the gang ruined it all). Although the music is repetitive, it never
reached the "get it out of my head" level of annoyance. The sound effects work
well, and there’s even the golden voice of Adam West (TV’s 60s Batman) along
with Scooby’s "talking".

It’s an
overall fun romp into yesterday’s brand of fun. There are moves and hurdles
enough to challenge some seasoned gamers, but it’s geared for a younger crowd–
without playing down to them. It will challenge youths, tremendously. It’s hard
to pull off a game geared on a kid’s show without making it insulting to anyone
that’s still got their baby-teeth. This is one such exception. I had fun playing
it, and enjoyed completing levels and continuing. That may seem over-simplified,
but with many kid’s games, such achievements aren’t as fulfilling. That’s a
credit to the game’s design.

Gameplay: 8.0
It’s easy enough to
learn the moves, and the tutorials at the beginning are fantastic. Along with
Shaggy telling you how to do certain tasks, a "ghost" image Scooby will move out
of your actual body and demonstrate it for you. That was fantastic. Scooby can
jump, super-jump, crawl and spin/break things. There’s more to that hound than a
over-active appetite!

Graphics: 8.5 
The bright and
imaginative levels are fun to explore, and the costumes make Scooby look
quite… fun. There’s great shading with the new graphics engine, here. It gives
the game a far deeper cartoon appearance and enriches the playability. It’s much
more fun to play it when you can actually SEE what’s going on!

Sound: 7.0
The music is
classic Scooby-groovy. It’s nicely dated and adds to the fun. It hums along on
the background without driving the player insane. That’s a fine line to walk,
and they do it– well. You get to hear some nice CHOMPING as Scooby eats up his
treats. The breaking and environment noises are average. 


Difficulty: Easy
The game’s not hard, but there’s enough to it to not make it a one-day
event. Even if you finish it, I am betting you’d want to try it again. There are
not a lot of difficult puzzles, but you do need to have a brain to know when to
use which Mubber-created costume.

Concept: 8.5 
It’s a side action scroller, but a good one. It has many of the same moves
as any other of this class, but it’s pulled off with more detail and cleverness.
Playing as Scooby is a lot of fun, and enriches it further. The Mubber-stuff is
a fun creation to give the gameplay a little extra "push". It’s clever to have
Scooby dressed up as various characters, which is what you expect to see from
that cartoon, anyway. It was a nice way to bring some of that TV fun to your own

Overall: 8.0
This is an engaging and fun game. Not just for a kid’s level, but I think
many people will get something from it. It has some nice detailed graphical
wonders for a GBA title, and the action/mystery aspects make it more difficult
to put down. Having to solve simple clues with Velma is a nice touch to give a
"intellectual" break from the action. You get to see some familiar classic
monsters from the old show as well. They do not play a huge part of this
original design, but are there to bring a smile to the faces of us fans of the
show. The goal of the game is, as always, to unmask the evil villain. For those
that are brave enough, give it a try. Would you do it for a Scooby-snack? Two
Scooby snacks?!