Hippo Manchester
October 6, 2005

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Scooby-Doo Unmasked

(XBOX/PS2/GC) THQ

**

by Glenn Given

Everybody loves Scooby-Doo. Itís a fact. If you are in a foreign land and want to form a personal connection with strangers just mention Shaggy and Scooby. Instantly youíll be on the same wavelength. Who doesnít love a pair of cowardly gluttons who solve mysteries and scoot across the haunted countryside in a VW minivan?

Scooby-Doo Unmasked isnít really a great game. Itís actually a rather bland platformer shoe-horned into an extra long episode. On the plus side, Adam West lends his voice as the maker of robot monsters that go haywire and terrorize various amusement parks. Players control Scooby, who fights his way through the monster robots with the help of various costumes that grant the otherwise timid pooch a handful of super-powers ó like super kung-fu or flight or plunger arrows.

Eh?

Yeah, Unmasked could have been a great game had the developers either (a) added more costumes to diversify the rather monotonous gameplay, (b) increased the Adam West quotient by two or three orders of magnitude or (c) taken a cue from some of the great platform games of the past few years like the stellar Metal Arms or the Rachet & Clank series.

Platform games donít have to be stale frustrating messes as most gamers have come to assume but after many years of jump-punch-collect it does take a little bit more than it used to. Itís sad to see a great set of characters, an impressive cast of actors (including Natalie from The Facts of Life as Velma), a wonderful story that lies firmly within the spirit of the cartoon and a kernel of an idea on variable gameplay go to a boring waste as Scooby-Doo Unmasked does.

While Unmasked wonít over-frustrate or offend anyone, itís a lackluster title solely for the kids or the Scooby fanatics. Barring that you could probably trade it for a meal or two while traveling abroad.