At last, after ten years of ghostbusting and a year's speculation, Scooby Doo has made it onto your Speccy. Phil South chomps a Scoobysnack and troughs his way through Elite's tallest tail yet!
Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you... dum dee dum dum... ah! I remember Scooby Doo. And now you can play the game, after all this time. Originally tipped as about to be the first genuine cartoon-style game on a micro, Scooby has emerged dog-eared (groan) but intact in this arcade box'em up from Elite.
Before Dr Venkman and all the other Ghostbusters were even out of High School, Scooby Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne were already bustin' ghosts on our black and white tellies. And they're still going strong. Scooby's owner Shaggy pioneered the use of 24 inch flares as a crucial tool in psychic research, and Fred gave part-time handsome lessons. Daphne was the pretty one who never did much, and Velma was the puggy looking one with the glasses who was always losing them.
Scooby Doo the computer game is a stiff draught of pure arcade action. The game is set in a scary old house belonging to some evil villain or other. Naturally enough, you take the role of our favourite Great Dane in his task to free his buddies from the big glass bottles into which they've been decanted. In order for Scooby to help his friends he must first find them, and then get to them by boxing his way through all the phoney spooks and spectres roaming the house. Amongst the deadly holograms and dressed-up henchmen he must beat are Mad Monks, Springs (a bit like Zebedee from Magic Roundabout), Ghosts and (shudder) the ominous Ghoulfish. If he gets scared by any of these bogus bogeymen, Scooby jumps up in the air and onto his back in a dead faint! Worra coward! To help bolster his courage, there are Scoobysnacks littered around the house and when he chomps them they give him an extra life.
Scooby Doo sounds like a really duff idea for a game, but is in fact great fun to play. The game was programmed by those wacky Gargoyle guys, and the graphics are certainly up to their usual standards. The animation of the Scooby sprite is really chortlesome to watch. When you pull the joystick down in order to duck a bat, say, Scooby imitates his cartoon original and puts his paws over his head. When he jumps up he curls his tail and feet under him, and when he boxes the spooks he assumes a sword fencing pose.
Arcade interpretations of successes from other media often suffer from being irrelevent, hasty and frankly a bit of a let down. I don't think anyone could level those accusations at Scooby Doo. It's fast moving, addictive, amusing to play, and most importantly, it's in keeping with the plots and feel of the cartoon series it sprang from. Unlike a lot of other licensed games which are hastily assembled and poorly conceived, Scooby is a sound and playable game in its own right.
Oooooooo. Gulp. It's a g-g-ghost. They're real scary and real fast. They whizz along the corridors at great speed, so you have to be quite careful where you stand.
It'll take almost all your lives to finish this level, so you'll be glad to know that there is a Scoobysnack on the left on the bottom floor. Go for it, but watch your back.Velma's got a lotta bottle. Your bottled chum is at the left hand end of the top floor, but the way up isn't that easy I'm afraid. Go left till you reach the last stair, up and right, up and left and bob's your thingy.This is a secret hatch in the wall. What comes out of it is a little hard to describe. Eek! Don't stand too close to the hatch, as they come out a lot more frequently than the spooks did!This is what boings out of the hatch, a sort of cross between a barbell and a plumbers mate. They fall into two categories: the fast moving hatch jumpers and the slow moving corridor roamers. Weird!These cheerful idiots just boing aimlessly around the corridors looking for nosy Scoobies to tromp. They're easy to box, but they travel a bit faster than the others so place yourself carefully.After balls what next? Bats of course! Ha ha ha. Watch out for these little rubbery things, 'cos they come out at you through the walls when you least expect it. Eek eek eek. Brr, rotten slimy horrible bats. I hate 'em. Brr.Another nasty touch to this level is the bowling balls which roll randomly along the carpet. What's difficult about that? You try jumping, boxing and ducking at the same time, then you see how tricky that can be. Oh brother!Gaps in the floor serve several purposes. They allow ghosts to drop on your head. (Gulp) They allow ghoulfish to drop on your back and suck your brains out. (Urg!) But they also allow you to drop down onto levels which don't have any stairs. Aaaaaaah! Thud!What's this, Scoob? Looks like a goldarn weather vane! Hmm, it looks harmless enough, but I guess you'd better duck it, 'cos it'll duff you up like the bat if you don't.Heh heh heh. THis is a mad monk. Hah! Of course, we know in the end it'll turn out to be just a henchman dressed up as a monk, don't we? Don't we? Er... They look fearsome but they're really easy to box. He heh OOF! Oh, by the way, they drop through the gaps too! Oh fu-!Behind these doors lurks a guest... huh? Shouldn't that be ghost? Nope, it's a guest ghost! A spooky sprite from Heavy On The Magick, just to make you feel right at home.The thing to remember about these doors when standing between two, is always to be closer to one door than the other. Why? Well, when the ghosts leap out you can box them one at a time instead of being sandwiched!Skulduggery is afoot. Don't trip on the skulls or you might get spooked. Jump over them, but take it slowly, or you might run into something nasty. It's better to clear the screen of nasties before you jump 'em.Sppoky staircase. Ooer! You'd better watch your step as you pad up the creaky stairs. If you're not right at the top and a spook travels under you, you'll lose a life! Creeaaaakkk!Rooby-roo! Scoobysnacks. (Slurp!) Yum! If you need some more lives, you'd better chase around and snaffle some of these yummy snacks before the spooks get you! There are lots of them on all levels so you'll have lots to eat. (Slobber, drool!)Brrrrr. The ghoulfish... (shudder)... is the ghostliest thing! Urgh! It's the scariest monster in the game, and I for one will be having nightmares about it for weeks! Not only is it scary, not only is it ugly, but it also drops down the stairs at you! Aaaaagggghhhh!The best technique for dealing with being sandwiched by two meanies is the Flip-Box. You hold down the fire button until the first ghost cops it, then still holding fire, flip yourself around to point in the opposite direction. Bam bam! You'll get them both and still walk away.Uh oh! You've got both hatches and doors on this level. Spooks come out of both holes so stay sharp. The hatches are quite close together so don't get caught out. Remember your Flip-Box trick, and don't get caught between two doors and under a hole in the ceiling. Rooby-roo!This is just another one of those spooks, right? Wrong! On this level they start their party piece, and that means they can drop down the stairwells and holes in the ceiling. Do they do this at the most inconvenient times? You bet your Bonio they do!
Boing! These little Zebedee clones are the happy smiling bouncy little chaps you'll find on level two. Boing boing boing boing ruddy boing!
Here's the Ghoulfish. Brrr. I really hate this, it makes my skin creep... but wait a minute. It reminds me of someone. (One more word and you're dead! Ed.) Ulp!
Poor old Velma. She doesn't look that chipper ordinarily, but squashed into a bottle she looks like a goldfish. Still, a buddy is a buddy, and you're a loyal dawg. Rooby-rooby-roo!