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Scooby Doo: Classic Creep Capers

Score: 40%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Southpeak Interactive
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

From the start, Scooby-Doo!: Classic Creep Capers is a hit-and-miss affair. The levels are spotty in their graphical quality. The first level, the Museum, is quite nice looking. The same goes for the second level, set in the snow. But once you hit the beach, the game becomes a series of drab paths through dull forests. Itís ugly, repetitive, and boring. The last level picks it up a bit, but itís got a few too many mazelike structures for my taste. I suppose thatís only one and a half strikes out of a possible four, though, so one can say that the graphics arenít really that bad. A few of the animations are actually kinda cool -- I especially like the tentacles on the last level -- but thereís nothing here thatíll really impress you. The N64 blurry texture syndrome doesnít help, either.

And as for the sound, Scooby-Doo falters almost irrecoverably. The music is all right, and actually sounds like something you would have seen on the show -- although a few of the chase scenes have a little too upbeat music for their own good. Itís hard to get pumped about being chased by a big knight-type figure when the music is cheery. As for the voice acting... well, thereís practically none. Scooby has plenty of Scooby-lines, and Shaggy says ďZoinks!Ē once or twice, but thatís it. None of the other characters talk, and even Scoobyís lines are few and far between. Itís a real disappointment. The sound effects are equally weak, with a few scattered sounds here and there, but nothing special. And youíll get tired of the ďShaggy quakingĒ sound before you beat the first area of the game.


Gameplay:

If you beat the first area of the game, that is. Scooby-Doo!: Classic Creep Capers tries to capture the fun of the TV show, and ends up failing pretty miserably. Thereís a little fun if you look deep, deep into the game, but most people will give up before they ever hit anything interesting. You control Shaggy, with Scooby-Doo usually following, as you find clues and parts of traps to capture the Bad Guy and figure out just who he or she is. After collecting enough items and giving them to the Gang, or using them to open up new areas, you have to search out the Bad Guy and engage in a Chase Scene. There are also a few chase scenes in each level, usually necessary to get a certain item or open up a certain area.

The problem is that the gameís just not fun. Itís exacerbated by the fact that the control is God awful; the fact that the game gets way too hard for its target audience (kids) doesnít help either. As a general rule, you can find items that you need lying around on the floor. Youíll occasionally have to open something to get an item, but thatís the extent of those puzzles. You also occasionally need to use items, whether to hide yourself from the Bad Guy, or to convince a parrot to talk, or other such things. These puzzles are usually pretty simple to figure out, and not as counterintuitive as, say, Resident Evil. But instead of doing something simple like going through your inventory and taking everything they need, the Gang requires you to go item by item and see if they want it as a clue or a trap piece. This is really obnoxious on the last level, where you donít meet the Gang until near the end and you have about fifteen key items. Itís repetitious, boring, and unnecessary.

Because of the wonky controls, youíll find yourself running into walls and back into rooms that you just left in an attempt to flee from the Bad Guys. As you get ďhitĒ by enemies, you get more scared; the only way to recover is to eat Scooby Snacks or raid the fridge in the first three levels. I never quite figured out if itís a Fright Meter or a Hunger Meter -- I donít see the connection between the two, even for Shaggy and Scooby.

And there are a few parts of the game that are patently unfair. The near-uncontrollable ski scene, and its sister, the log-rolling scene are both irritating and not fun. And the first chase in the third level will probably have most kids throwing their controller down in frustration. The bad guy moves faster than you, so you basically have to time it perfectly so that you donít die by the time that you reach the end of the run. Itís obnoxious.

The plots themselves are typical Scooby-Doo plots, and for what itís worth, Classic Creep Capers presents them pretty well. The cut scenes are done well, and what little plot there is moves along fairly rapidly. Itís just difficult to get yourself to even see the plot. The game can be beaten in one long sitting if you really want to, and I doubt that any but the most hard-head... er, perseverant children would ever beat this. A few near-impossible chase scenes can frustrate even the adult gamer, and kids get turned off on this sort of thing much faster. My nephew played Classic Creep Capers for about five minutes, then turned it off to play something else. Evidence enough?


Difficulty:

Other than a few retardedly hard chase scenes, the game is trivial. Find the annoying camera angle which shows you the blinking item, pick up all blinking items, go through your inventory and give everything to the Gang, find the one item you missed in some back corner, get chased, beat level. There are only four levels, so a night of hard playing will get you through the entire thing. The major difficulty of Classic Creep Capers is handling the terrible, terrible control scheme. That, and bothering to play the game at all.

Game Mechanics:

Look at Classic Creep Capers as an excellent example of ďHow Not To Control A Game That Changes Camera Angles.Ē Using a Resident Evil-style camera, Classic Creep Capers uses a relative-to-screen control mechanism. Until you walk into another room -- at this point, the scheme doesnít change to the new room. This is to keep you from getting confused, I suppose, but it ends up being much worse. Walk through a succession of rooms, and youíll find yourself pressing right on the analog stick to go up and left, or other such nonsensical settings. Letting go of the stick reverts control to relative-to-screen, but when youíre getting chased by the Bad Guy that cheats and moves faster than you, you donít have time to let the controls revert. Itís awful, awful, awful, and unfun. The rest of the controls are easy enough -- one key to pull up inventory, a cancel button, and a use button. The main menu conspicuously lacks a Load option, instead forcing you to go under Options to load. Eh? The rest of the menus are easy enough to navigate, although the only one youíll see with any regularity is the save/load screen.

While the last level is somewhat amusing, the rest of Scooby-Doo!: Classic Creep Capers just doesnít stack up. Boring gameplay, horrible controls, and a lack of much of the charm that is Scooby-Doo makes for a title that even die-hard Scooby fans should consider passing on. Rent it, perhaps, and see if Classic Creep Capers is your cup of tea -- chances are great, however, that itís not.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Nintendo 64 Toy Story 2 Nintendo 64 Rally Challenge 2000

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated