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     " Bad Gameplay, Sound, and Story...You know the unimportant stuff "

   Title: Scooby-Doo: Mystery of the Fun Park Phantom

   Format: PC Mystery/Adventure

   Reviewing Monkey: Simi N

   The Hype: 9 fully-interactive amusement park areas to explore Humorous character voices Animations that bring the characters to life The classic 2-D look of the original cartoon characters Single-player and Multi-player competitive play Multiple skill level settings MSN Gaming Zone Internet play

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: The graphics in this game are OK, they are 2D and not especially realistic looking, but when playing a game titled "Scooby-Doo" realism isnít to be expected. The real problem with the graphics in this game is that they are not smooth. They are choppy in movement in every situation other than the opening and closing cutscenes. All throughout the game every single character moves slowly and with a poor frame rate. This detracts so much from the game that I was forced to turn off the animations. But when the animations are off, the characters jump from one place to the next, so keeping track of the surroundings can become difficult. 3 out of 5

   Sound: The sound in this game is OK. The character's voices are very similar to those heard in the actual cartoon, but I get the feeling that the same voice actors were not used to make this particular program. That is not to say that the voices are way off, they arenít. In fact they sound almost right, but not quite. This may be a problem not with the voice acting, but with the sound reproduction. What Iíve noticed is that in every case the voices sound off because they seem a little high-pitched. The rest of the sounds in this game are, well, cartoony as is to be expected, but sometimes they borderline on obnoxious. For example when the Phantom finds your character, you are bombarded by an incredibly loud wave of dissonant music and your only real thought is to make the music stop. Forget actually trying to get away. 3 out of 5

   Game Play: The gameplay has many problems. Not the least of which is that fact that when you are found by the phantom, you have to solve a puzzle (similar to "Simon") to get away. The puzzle itself is easy, but the fact that it really has nothing to do with the rest of the game makes you almost resent having to solve it. Another problem has to do with the way your character explores his or her environment. The character moves wherever the mouse is clicked on different areas on the screen. But there is no way to move the screen to see more of the area around you without moving your character. As a result, if you want to move from one side of an area to another it may take you up to twelve different click events to do so. This is a fairly small problem, but it gets more and more annoying as the game goes on. 2 out of 5

   Level and Environment Designs: The levels are pretty neat looking. The buildings, plants, and other objects have good detail, along with a good cartoony look. The layouts of the various parts of the amusement park are very realistic with strange winding trails and plenty of room for those annoying switchbacks that all of us who have been to an amusement park have grown to hate. The different themes of the amusement parks are also pretty cool. My favorite is the "Miniature World" area where there are dozens of world famous monuments from the Sphinx to the Eiffel Tower. 4 out of 5

   Multiplayer: This game was designed to be a multiplayer game. In fact if you are not planning on having at least two people playing, you shouldnít be playing this game. The sad thing is that even though this game was designed for multiplayer, it really isnít that great in that arena. Although I have to admit, it is fun when your opponent knows exactly who the phantom is, but canít do anything about it because you keep taking the one trap piece he needs to win the game. 3 out of 5

   Story/Dramatics: The story in this game is clichť, and is just about exactly what you would expect from something bearing the name Scooby-Doo. That much is OK, because we all know that Scooby-Doo tales are cheesy and simple, but at least in the cartoon Shaggy and Scooby have most of the screen time so we can laugh at them. Without a whole lot of them, as is the case in this game, the story just seems boring, and unoriginal. 3 out of 5

   Instructions and Learning Curve: The instructions in this game are very thorough. If you donít mind reading for about fifteen minutes before you start the game, you will know absolutely everything you need to in order to win, except the identity of the phantom of course. And if you donít want to read the game has an in-game hints feature that will tell you what you need to know, if you can stand to listen to the highly annoying voice that is. 4 out of 5

   Installation and Real System Requirements: This game asks for some ridiculous hardware capabilities. Not ridiculously high for most games, but considering that this game is entirely 2-D with little animation, and sub standard sound quality, the system requirements seem downright insulting. But here they are anyway: 166 MHz processor, 32 MB RAM, DirectX compatible video card with 2 MB VRAM, DirectX compatible sound card, 45 MB free hard disk space, 4X CD-ROM, a mouse, and a 28.8 kbs modem for online play. 2 Ĺ of of 5.

   The Verdict:

       This game definitely has some good qualities, but the bad parts are so annoying that they far outweigh the good. This game is slow, choppy, has poor sound quality, only fairly decent multiplayer action.

   The Good: Scooby-Doo will always have a place in my heart.

   The Bad: Gameplay, Sound, Story, you know the unimportant stuff

   The Overall Ugly: The people who made this game had a good idea, but unfortunately their idea did not transfer to our friend, the PC well at all. The game is neat, when playing it you feel that you are doing something novel, however, this feeling of novelty does not last, due mostly to the frustration caused by all of the crappy design problems. So to sum up, this game, while novel in concept, is annoying enough that I just couldnít imagine someone playing more than a few times.

   What it's Worth: I suppose you could justify spending Fifteen bucks on this, but I wouldnít go higher than Ten.

Buy it now from Amazon.com

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