Tag Archives: Hanna-Barbera

FGC #231 Scooby-Doo Mystery

Now you're hearing that stupid musicI have never met a human being that actually liked Scooby-Doo.

I find this… odd.

I’ve privately referred to this phenomenon as the “Wendy’s Effect”. I’ve never met anyone that really loved Wendy’s. Yes, I’ve known people that eat there, and even possibly people that eat there quite often. But, aside from “it’s 2 am, what’s open?” I’ve never met anyone that genuinely stated, “Oh man, I’m hungry, let’s go get some Wendy’s!” I’ve seen endless debates about McDonalds vs. Burger King, and I’ve seen, firsthand, the casualties of the Taco Bell vs. KFC wars, but Wendy’s? It’s dog food for people. You open up a can of that stuff, slurp it down, and move on to licking your own genitals. I’ve seen people go crazy for White Castle sliders. I’ve seen people brag excitedly about how many Taco Bell newspaper-based tacos they can consume. I’ve seen people that openly believe Big Macs are made from edible materials. I’ve never seen a human being sincerely excited about Wendy’s.

Yet Wendy’s is everywhere.

Scooby-Doo seems to occupy that exact same space, as, despite the fact that I’ve never heard a human being say “let’s sit down and watch Scooby-Doo”, it’s been on the air in various forms since before I was born, and I’m convinced they’ll employ cyborg technology just to guarantee Frank Welker will be voicing Fred until the end of time. Is it because it’s cheap? I remember when Scooby-Doo headlined the USA Cartoon Express. I remember when A Pup Named Scooby-Doo kicked off Saturday morning cartoons. I remember when Scooby-Doo practically defined Cartoon Network, and, later, Boomerang. Scooby-Doo is big business! And the show has always been awful!

WeeeeAnd, before anyone says it, dude, I know it’s for kids. Think you I would forget such a thing? The only time I could even tolerate Scooby-Doo was when I was a kid, and even then I was desperately fumbling to find something else on the boob tube. Never mind the fact that there might be mutant reptiles or space lions on other channels, I’d be content with some alternative Hannah Barbara offering, like Flintstones or Jonny Quest. Josie and the Pussycats (IN SPACE!) or Dynomutt shouldn’t be too much to ask for, but I’ll even settle for Shirt Tales over yet another “let’s split up, gang.” Go ahead and drive yourself nuts and look up how many episodes of Scooby-Doo are out there. There are 26 episodes of The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show alone! That’s thirteen hours of pure animated crap beamed directly into children’s eyeballs. The Geneva Conventions do nothing to protect us from this!

It’s also not hard to analyze Scooby-Doo. Here’s a fun fact: every damn episode is the same. It doesn’t matter if the Globetrotters or Batman show up, it’s always the same plot with the same running animations in slightly different locales. In a weird way, I can’t even rely on my memory to recall exactly whether there were an overabundance of haunted theme parks in the general Mystery Machine area, or if that was simply the same episode over and over again. How often did Shaggy ‘n Scoob wind up on a rollercoaster? Was that part of (one of) the opening credits, or was that just an easy bit of animation to reuse? Who cares? I’m not watching an episode of Scooby-Doo to make sure. That nonsense is boring.

So, in a way, Scooby-Doo Mystery for your favorite 16-bit platforms is completely true to its source material.

Really?SDM is, basically, an adventure game. To be clear, this isn’t an adventure game like Zelda, this is much more in the King’s Quest vein. Here’s another fun fact: want to know why the adventure game genre languished in failure for so long? It’s not because developers became convinced no one wanted to play adventure games or whatever Double Fine is claiming this week, it’s because it’s really hard to wholesale steal a good adventure game. You can make Mario-alikes, GTA-alikes, or Final Fantasy-alikes until the cows come home, and people are likely going to identify those clones as, if not good games, at least passable experiences. There are men out there that will die on the “Aero the Acro-Bat is good” hill, and it’s because it barely takes two thumbs to make a remotely enjoyable game where “jump” and “attack or something” are the only ways to interact with the world. On the other hand, adventure games are naturally boring, and live or die on their writing. The writing doesn’t have to be funny (though that really helps), but it absolutely has to be compelling enough to trick the player into searching a beach for a damn feather or whatever stupid doodad is going to advance the plot. As such, an adventure game absolutely needs good writing, which is difficult! Writing good is harder than… something… that is… particularly hard. Uh… a rock?

Though I suppose it is possible that a rock wrote Scooby-Doo Mystery. I call this an adventure game because you have to explore a (mostly) nonthreatening (though spooooooky) environment to find the right items to pass the right obstacles, but a number of the objects are just “clues” that are to be delivered to Velma, and… that’s it. Velma comments, “Oh, this clue is really going to help the case,” but the majority of this game is laid out in a manner no more mysterious than your typical Mega Man stage, and, here’s a tip, I think Magnet Man is going to be responsible for the caper that takes place in Magnet Man’s stage. So, without clever writing or even the remotest reason to explore beyond “gotta find stuff”, the only challenge in this game lies on the shoulders of random traps and animals that BANG“scare” Shaggy and Scooby. But, assuming you can master Shaggy’s anemic jump, there isn’t even a challenge there, and the player is just left with… boredom.

So, congratulations Scooby-Doo Mystery, you captured the very essence of Scooby-Doo. This game is boring, rote, and repetitive to the point of parody. The only saving grace of this adventure is that, thanks to the fact that nobody really likes Scooby-Doo, it probably sold all of six copies before haunting EB used bins for the next decade.

Scooby doobie do, where are you? Hopefully nowhere near a controller.

FGC #231 Scooby-Doo Mystery

  • System: Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The Super Nintendo version has the occasional platforming area, while the Sega Genesis version is just the adventure game elements. Pick your poison.
  • Number of players: Even though “control both Shaggy and Scooby” would have been a no-brainer for two controllers, it’s one player.
  • Just play the gig, man: Oh, and the music is that one stupid Scooby-Doo song that was probably composed in all of seven seconds by farting in the general direction of an oboe with the slightest amount of rhythm. That’s pretty much the entire soundtrack. Come to think of it, if this article comes off as mean-spirited, it’s likely because of that damn song.
  • And such small portions: The Genesis version is two stages, and the SNES boasts a total of four. That’s it. Even for a licensed cash grab, that seems particularly short.
  • SPOOKY!For the record: I am aware there are likely people that distinctly like Wendy’s and Scooby-Doo. I’m just assuming they are such a small subset of the population so as to be statistically insignificant.
  • Minigame Mania: There are two (seemingly random) minigames that involve Scooby gathering sandwich materials and Shaggy playing whack-a-mole with rubber-mask monsters. Both games have the possibility of awarding extra lives… and probably the only reason this game has “lives” at all is to justify the minigames. It’s an endless cycle of terrible.
  • Say something nice: Okay, Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. is actually a worthwhile Scooby-Doo experience. It doesn’t justify decades of absolute crap, but it at least makes an unlikely heroine out of a woman named “Hot Dog Water”. I can get behind that.
  • Did you know? Shaggy is just a nickname. His real name is Norville Rogers.
  • Would I play again: You know what? I did not care for this game.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… War Gods for the N64! ROB, you’re on a real roll with “fun” games here. Is a “3-D” fighting game featuring magical neon gods any better than finding clues with a cowardly dog? Let’s find out! Please look forward to it!

Get 'em

Christmas Comes to Pacland

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Pacland
Only one family was stirring, that of Pac-Man.
Mister, Miss, and Baby were out in the snow
Trying to give this capering thing a go.

The happy family

The ghosts appeared to ruin everyone’s fun
To see that the Pac-Family would be forever done.
But they were swiftly banished with a power pellet
And during their escape, upset a man in red velvet.

Santa fell to Pacland with a tremendous clatter.
The Pac-family rushed to see what was the matter.
“Stay away from that man,” warned Missus Pac,
“You never know when strange creatures will attack!”

You don't know where it's been!

The moon was high in the sky, but Santa was not.
The ghosts didn’t know the horror they had wrought.
With good St. Nick buried and crashed,
Hopes for a jolly Christmas were dashed.

The Pac folk were scared, but still resolute.
They had to help the strange man in the red suit.
So they dragged the gang out of this quagmire,
And stuck them all in front of the fire.

Now Dasher, now, Dancer, now, Prancer and Vixen,
Oh, Comet, oh, Cupid, oh Donner and Blitzen!
They all had bumps and bruises and cuts,
But the biggest problem was Santa the klutz.

They look dead to anybody else?

The sleigh had been full of toys for every boy and girl,
But when the ghosts attacked, they flew off in a whirl.
So the toys were lost, forever and ever, it would appear,
Which was a much bigger problem than eight damaged reindeer.

But Pac-Man spent his life collecting weird dots,
So it shouldn’t be a problem to find toys for tots.
He set out into the blizzard with his loyal Pac-Dog,
While Santa sat and warmed himself by a burning Yule log.

Those ghosts, they recovered, and got to the toys first.
Maybe not all monsters are naughty, but these were the worst.
They played with the toys meant for every good lad
Even though they knew they had been nothing but bad.

They're just having fun!

Under the snow, Pac-Man did stealthily burrow,
But his sneaking skills weren’t exactly thorough,
The ghosts discovered the intruder with some haste,
And then the poor Pac-Man found himself chased.

So proud of himself

If there was one thing he could do, it was outrace a ghost,
So Pac-Man maintained speed, and kept the monsters engrossed,
While a furry little pac-dog grabbed a great big sack,
And started the long journey home, all the way back.

Pac-Man escaped, and the ghosts were lost,
But the blizzard was blowing a killing frost.
About the time man and dog fell right off a bluff,
Well, the odds of success were looking pretty rough.

Down I go...

But they both made it home safe, all the toys in tow,
Even if Pac-Man did look like a corpse from Fargo.
So Christmas was saved… except now it was much too late,
Just hours to go, even Santa couldn’t fly so fast, so great.

Pac-Man had another idea, and they all rushed to the orchard,
Where power pellets grew abundantly, and ghosts were tortured.
Hyped up on pac-drugs, every reindeer started to glow.
Now Santa wouldn’t be late, the reindeer were ready to go!

That can't be natural

So Santa flew from this place, bidding every pac adieu.
The jolly old elf leaving behind this spherical hullaballoo.
Pac-Man and family went home, proud of their good deed,
While reindeer pulled a sleigh at light speed.

But the tale was not over, oh no, not yet,
There were still gifts for the family to get.
A visit from St. Nick meant presents for all,
Like the pac-cat, Sourpuss, who got a yarn ball.

Even the ghosts, whose plans were often malicious,
Received a host of presents, some of them delicious.
Everyone was happy, everyone was filled with joy,
And Pac-Man went back to Smash, where he battled Roy.

D'aww

And Santa flew through the skies, contemplating that weird land,
That, he surmised, was likely related to a video game brand,
“But no matter,” he was heard to say, with some pomp,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good chomp!”

Thanks for putting up with this nonsense!