|System: Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Torus Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 21, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Each episode ends with a boss stage and, for the most part, they're an entertaining challenge. Some issues with collision detection can cause a bit of frustration, but the three-stage formula for most bosses is well crafted.
In addition to action-adventure levels, each episode contains one "Chase" sequence. It's one of those deals that has you running toward the screen while being chased by some baddie. None of these little bits of gameplay are very fun, but thankfully, they take only a minute or two to complete.
We came across a few glitches here and there that had us stuck behind walls, though we were never stopped in our tracks for too long. The main issue we had with the game was getting at the extra content. Though there are tons of costumes to purchase, there doesn't seem to be an option to choose from amongst them when replaying missions. Additionally, you're given the same pre-determined characters when revisiting levels, and we were unable to access areas that required other character abilities.
First Frights is a strangely satisfying romp, however, that pays fun homage to the series. Daphne is a bit more flirtatious and violent than we remember her being, but she's also one of the best characters to take control of in the game. Destroying everything in a level becomes is a guilty pleasure, especially when there are collectibles to uncover.
Cooperative play also helps, affording you the opportunity to have a friend or family member jump into the game at any time. The camera stays locked on both characters at all times, and considering the nature of most levels, it's a design that works. Combat and platforming can get a bit tricky, though, if you and your partner don't stay close enough together. Still, it's a nice feature that adds value to the overall package.
Production-wise, the game has a great style, but it's no technical marvel by any means. Character models are blocky and lack detail, though facial expressions are excellent. The animations are fluid, and the lighting adds a great sense of mood throughout levels. Again, things can get a tad too dark at times, but from a visual standpoint the game looks really good. There are only a handful of cutscenes in each episode, but cinematic camera pans and cues are waiting around almost every corner.
Long-time fans will recognize the familiar voices for at least two of the main characters, Fred and Shaggy, but all of the actors do a bang-up job with their respective roles. The soundtrack is clean and atmospheric, with almost no rough patches when moving on to different portions of a level. The sound effects are sure to warm the hearts of folks who grew up watching the television show, and there's even a laugh track thrown in to add the perfect pinch of campiness.
Scooby Doo! First Frights goes where many games have gone before, but it's a respectable title fans should enjoy. Levels are often huge and interesting to explore, and ultimately, the developers make fun use of the license. The four episodes and confusing extras make for a fairly light package, but most levels are worthy of at least an additional playthrough. The game retails for $40 on Wii and $20 on PS2, though we aren't aware of any features unique to the Wii version.
CCC Freelance Writer