Scooby Doo, Shaggy and the rest of the gang are all back to solve the mystery of the Spooky Swamp. Join GamesMediaPro as we bring you all the clues to solving the puzzle as you decide whether you should buy this game or not?
“ Scooby Doo! Where are you?” yell’s a young-looking Shaggy to his trusty and ever-present canine companion Scooby as the pair join up with their loyal friends Daphne, Thelma and Fred as the quintet of quintessential teen detectives take on their latest case. The band of mop-topped friends are called in to help solve the mystery that lies behind the odd goings on at the ‘Spooky Swamp.’ But things are not quite what they seem to be as the gang soon discover…
…The game begins with our two hapless heroes, Shaggy and Scooby Doo, following the trail of an altogether more familiar aroma as the duo of mischief makers attempt to locate the origin of the delicious scent that is permeating the pairs nostril’s. What they find, instead of a giant feast of gargantuan proportions, is the games tutorial level where the couple of ‘canny connivers’ are taught the basics of the games control’s as they overcome attack’s by vicious ‘bad guys’ and attempt to locate the precious ‘Scooby Snacks’ for those all important bonuses. As far as introductory levels are concerned, this has to be one of the most enjoyable that we have had the pleasure of experiencing for some time, and we would even go so far as to say that the level fares better than most platformer’s actual content. So after you learn how to fight, switch characters and generally operate the games controls you are then rewarded by finally reaching your original destination and making the discovery of the birthplace of that heavenly aroma. It is in fact a Rastafarian chef, who has began to cook his world-famous soup. There is only one snag though. The chef does not have all the ingredients to complete his culinary masterpiece. So in return for the promise of a sample of this West Indian Ambrosia our two boys are enlisted into searching the globe for the last vital ingredients that will complete the chef’s bombastic bowl of beautiful broth. With that the pair get together the rest of the gang and jump into the Mystery Van and race off to the aid of the ‘Deadlocked Delia’ as they attempt to locate the necessary ingredients he needs.
So off we go in search of the missing condiments when the gang stumble upon all manner of misbehaviour along the way. As you reach each destination you will have to decide which character to utilise in order to best achieve the desired outcome. Holding down the ‘C’ button will bring up the ‘character selection wheel’ and from here you will select who you want to proceed as. For example it may be that the only way into a building is through a small crawl space, for that you will need to bring up the ‘character wheel’ and select Scooby. He will then squeeze his way through the gap and open the way for the rest of the gang further on into the level. This is typical of the gameplay and it works very well. Each character brings their own individual skill or particular talent to the melting pot, and as such the game moves very fluid throughout as you switch from Scooby to Shaggy to Fred and so on and so forth until you reach your destination. Another fun piece of individuality that is available throughout the game is when you uncover different costumes and outfits for the Mystery Gang along the way and dress them as you see fit.
The puzzles in the game that form the mainstay of the actual gameplay are all particularly well thought out, and very well executed in our opinion. No two puzzles or clues are the same in Scooby Doo and the Spooky Swamp, and even though sometimes you will find yourself having to backtrack after reading a particular clue or message, there is never the feeling that the clues or locations become repetitive or tiresome. Use of the Wiimote has been fully taken advantage of by the developers and the designers of the game as they have incorporated the wand into the game play at every opportunity, and the game plays so much better for that fact. The combat is competitive without being over complicated so that even the little ones can roar with victory and delight as they overcome the Luchadores and villains with their combative prowess.
The animation is beautiful and looks perfect for the game’s storyline. The sound effects will have you hiding behind the cushions at time as the spooky music builds to its crescendo, but the voice acting is where the game truly comes to life. Usually this is a games stumbling block but we can honestly tell you that the voice acting in Scooby Doo and the Spooky Swamp is first-rate. The humour too is very real and instead of the groans that all too often accompany attempts by developers to add a touch of comic timing to spice up their title, in Scooby Doo there are numerous occasions where one finds themselves emitting full belly laughs as the jokes come thick and fast. The storyline has been very well written, and the plot of the game could very well be the next digitally enhanced CGI movie version, such was the high level of scripting.
The environments are all very well rendered and fun to visit with The Alpine Village being a firm favourite of all in the office for its picturesque look and picture postcard feel. The characters themselves all appear as a more contemporary comparison to their 1970’s images, however with the new voice talent turning in such stellar performances this fact is accepted as everything just seems to work, and work very well.
All in all Scooby Doo and the Spooky Swamp would be a welcome addition to any Wii gamers collection, and to top it all off there are also Playstation 2 and Nintendo DS version available that look and handle just as well as their Nintendo Wii sibling. Do not be deterred by the low Pegi rating as Scooby and the gang have brought together a really cracking title that far outweighs the commercial success that it will more than likely receive. If there is one underrated and underestimated game that we have to recommend that you all purchase this year, then it would have to be Scooby Doo and the Spooky Swamp. No doubt about it. The gameplay is sizzling and fun to play for all ages of gamer, and not just the very young. There are enough challenging puzzles and locations to keep you occupied, and the humour will have you chuckling away to yourself for many an hour or three.
Graphics: By far and away the most entertaining experience that we have played on the Wii for some time. We are not sure if it was the impressive graphics, that had no itches, glitches, bugs or problems, or if it was the top-notch writing that had us in stitches laughing. Either way this title will keep you smiling. 7
Gameplay: Really good fun that had us playing through the entire game in one sitting. That is not because the game was too short, it was because we just enjoyed the title that much that we played it from start to finish. The developers have made great use of the Wiimote, but DS gamers will also notice that the functionality of the Dual Screen has been put to good use also, both in the problem solving and in the gameplay. 8
RePlay Value: Although the title is not the longest game in the industry’s history, we can honestly say that you will enjoy the experience that Scooby Doo and the Spooky Swamp gives you so much that I defy anyone not to pick it up again. Kid’s will absolutely love this title , and we just pray that it gets the recognition and commercial success that it deserves. 7
Presentation: In this day and age when all we hear is how movie and TV crossovers always fail, it is gladdening then to discover that Warner Bros and Turos Studio’s have managed to create such a compelling title that pokes it tongue out at that rule. A really great game that will bring you more fun than you will probably ever dare admit to your friends, but we do suggest to everyone out there whether they have children or not, to do themselves a big favour and purchase this little piece of puzzler masterclass from Warner Bros. A cracking title. 8