Scooby-Doo Mystery – Like, a must-play for the Genesis…ZOINKS!
I’d be remiss to not thank Gamester81 for this. An early Top Video Games of All Time series he put out had this one slated at #100. In my usual naiveté and ambition, I set out to play each and every game on his list. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get far. In fact, I only managed to pick up Scooby-Doo Mystery on the Sega Genesis. But jinkies, I’m glad I did!
“This hidden gem has you playing as Shaggy and Scooby, solving two feature mysteries”
A traditional point-and-click adventure, this hidden gem has you playing as Shaggy and Scooby, solving two feature mysteries. The first, a once ancient burial ground now a hip ski resort, has been overrun by the ghost of a tribal chieftan. The hotel’s owner, Rudolph L. Blake (also Daphne’s uncle), mysteriously disappears – and it’s up to the crew of The Mystery Machine to crack the case. The second, a derelict carnival shrouded in mystery, with a menacing clown determined to ruin the day for everyone. Both are fun and unique adventures, though I found myself enjoying the raw caper-cracking of the hotel campaign slightly more than the mini-game mayhem of the carnival.
“I felt a steady sense of progression as I solved one puzzle after the next”
The game provides you with 10 ways to interact with your environment, all using the D-Pad controlled reticle. It’s the standard menu items that you’d expect from a 90’s adventure title – Take or Give, Look or Talk, Open or Shut, Push or Pull, Eat or Use. And while it’s not always clear which option is correct, each yields comedic quips, keeping the cycle of trial and error fresh and fun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. Almost unfairly so. Every locale is sprinkled with red-herrings. Yet, with the genuine humour and charm around every corner, I felt a steady sense of progression as I solved one puzzle after the next.
Scooby-Doo Mystery makes a notable attempt at keeping the puzzle solutions logical. Unlike Discworld, which has you removing a belt using an octopus and some custard, this game (despite also having a usable octopus), promotes rationality to anticipate where your inventory might come in handy. A raging fire heats the hotel lobby and is home to a crumpled (and apparently fireproof?) piece of paper. Your on-hand items include a (suggestive) string of beads, a nameless bottle of pink antacid which helps with nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach and diarrhea, and a pot of water. The last, of course, being the solution. It doesn’t always err this far on the side of simplicity, but it never seems overly ridiculous, and I really enjoyed that.
“…it all harkens back to the hijinks of the Hanna-Barbera classic cartoon”
Seeing the Scooby Gang brought to life on the Genesis is great. And while I do wish that Fred, Velma and Daphne played a bigger role than just the opening exposition of each story, my enjoyment of Scoob and Shaggy more than made up for it. Colorful palettes, smooth animations, well-written dialogue; it all harkens back to the hijinks of the Hanna-Barbera classic cartoon. One scene in Blake’s Hotel depicts the classic Scooby-Dooby Doors trope, and it really took me back to my days watching the 60’s cartoon on YTV. Complimenting the familiar antics and gorgeous visuals, was the scale. Objects in the foreground helped provide contrast to the objects in the background, and none of the interactable items seems unfairly small or obtuse. Overall, big points on the graphics.
“The music isn’t varied or catchy enough to give you more than a few minutes of enjoyment.”
The music….well that’s a different story. While the Sega Genesis has some of my favourite soundtracks, I’m often turned off by those distinctive love-it or hate-it metallic tones that the hardware offers. This is no exception. The music is well-designed for 30-minute spurt, but after a few grating hours, you’ll no doubt be turning down the TV and throwing in some of your own tunes. A great example is the Ha Ha Carnival theme. A long enough loop not to have you gouging your ears out, but not varied or catchy enough to give you more than a few minutes of enjoyment.
Sunsoft helps prove that licensed games of the era didn’t have to be bad. It’s easily the best Scooby-Doo game I’ve played, and a really admirable point-and-click adventure. If you’re a fan of the franchise, or just want a few solid hours of challenging enjoyment, I’d highly recommend adding this one to your Genesis library.
Zoinks! Like, I almost forgot…if you’ve played it, be sure to head on over to the Cartridge Club forums to share your thoughts as well!