Scooby-Doo! Unmasked

  • Release: September 12, 2005
  • Developer: A2M
  • Publisher: THQ
  • Genre: Action

Scooby-Doo! Unmasked

Zoinks! It's a g-g-g-good licensed game? First impressions say yes.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: August 22, 2005
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A good six or so months ago, we got an e-mail from THQ asking about an interest check in Scooby-Doo. Our reply was that Shaggy and Scooby never really go out of style, but a licensed game had better be good before we even think of covering it. Flash forward half a year to the discovery of a preview build of Scooby-Doo Unmasked!, and after spending a fair amount of time with it, we've gotta, we're spooked; it's actually pretty good.

Part of the attraction from the game probably comes from the fact that the original show is so timeless. Every time someone tries to update the formula or adds something retarded like, say, Scrappy-Doo, the whole thing turns to shite, but when you stick with the original cookie-cutter plotlines involving monsters, clues and someone who would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those stupid kids, it's hard not to get all nostalgic.

THQ and developer A2M clearly understand this, so much so that they've built up an entire game around more or less replicating the feel and spirit (hurrrrr) of the original 70's cartoon show. When Fred's cousin Jed (yes, they're just full of creativity in that family) starts raking in a little dough making monsters at the appropriately named Monsterous Fright and Magic: Monsters While You Wait, the gang decides to drop in and see how things are going. They're going especially crappy, apparently, since Jed's gone and MF&M's head cheese says the boy's a thief and a Mubber plucker.

Mubber, you see, is soy-based... well, stuff, that can supposedly be shaped into just about anything, thus lending itself rather nicely to creating creepy crawlies that Hollywood never seems to tire of. This same Mubber exerts some interesting properties when formed into suits that Scooby can wear, since they imbue him with powers while he's sporting the new duds. Kung-fu, archery and even limited gliding add-ons give the eternally hungry pooch new moves.

The first Scooby-Doo game, Night of 100 Frights attacked translating the game in much the same way Unmasked does, more or less lifting the tone and humor of the show (complete with laugh track during cutscenes and re-worked intro with the original intro theme), but further injects a sort of cartoon feel with the nigh-ubiquitous cel -- er contour --shading technique.

The inclusion of voice talent from both the original and current shows, and the addition of Adam "I Am The M-Fing Man And Don't You Forget It" West to the voice cast is certainly a nice touch, though Scooby seemed almost too understandable for our tastes. The sound effects, impressively detailed animations and overall setting for the levels were also seemingly lifted straight from archive reels of the original show. It makes for a fantastic way to more or less play the show that entertained a nation of stoners and children alike -- kinda like video games!

Whereas Night of 100 Frights mainly concentrated on a sort of Klonoa-style 2.5D presentation, Unmasked has gone fully 3D, with plenty of interaction with objects, which break, crumble, explode and just basically react to attacks. The levels themselves are broken down by a series of freely explorable hub worlds that have multiple sub-levels that are unlocked after you find clues. The clues open a hatch or turn on a light or unlock a door, and once you have enough, you can have a pow-wow with Velma to piece together who's behind the monster mask.

You... unmask 'em, git it!

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