At last, after ten years of ghostbusting and a year's speculation, Scooby Doo has made it onto your Speccy. Phil South chomps a Scoobysnack and troughs his way through Elite's tallest tail yet!
Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you... dum dee dum dum... ah! I remember Scooby Doo. And now you can play the game, after all this time. Originally tipped as about to be the first genuine cartoon-style game on a micro, Scooby has emerged dog-eared (groan) but intact in this arcade box'em up from Elite.
Before Dr Venkman and all the other Ghostbusters were even out of High School, Scooby Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne were already bustin' ghosts on our black and white tellies. And they're still going strong. Scooby's owner Shaggy pioneered the use of 24 inch flares as a crucial tool in psychic research, and Fred gave part-time handsome lessons. Daphne was the pretty one who never did much, and Velma was the puggy looking one with the glasses who was always losing them.
Scooby Doo the computer game is a stiff draught of pure arcade action. The game is set in a scary old house belonging to some evil villain or other. Naturally enough, you take the role of our favourite Great Dane in his task to free his buddies from the big glass bottles into which they've been decanted. In order for Scooby to help his friends he must first find them, and then get to them by boxing his way through all the phoney spooks and spectres roaming the house. Amongst the deadly holograms and dressed-up henchmen he must beat are Mad Monks, Springs (a bit like Zebedee from Magic Roundabout), Ghosts and (shudder) the ominous Ghoulfish. If he gets scared by any of these bogus bogeymen, Scooby jumps up in the air and onto his back in a dead faint! Worra coward! To help bolster his courage, there are Scoobysnacks littered around the house and when he chomps them they give him an extra life.
Scooby Doo sounds like a really duff idea for a game, but is in fact great fun to play. The game was programmed by those wacky Gargoyle guys, and the graphics are certainly up to their usual standards. The animation of the Scooby sprite is really chortlesome to watch. When you pull the joystick down in order to duck a bat, say, Scooby imitates his cartoon original and puts his paws over his head. When he jumps up he curls his tail and feet under him, and when he boxes the spooks he assumes a sword fencing pose.
Arcade interpretations of successes from other media often suffer from being irrelevent, hasty and frankly a bit of a let down. I don't think anyone could level those accusations at Scooby Doo. It's fast moving, addictive, amusing to play, and most importantly, it's in keeping with the plots and feel of the cartoon series it sprang from. Unlike a lot of other licensed games which are hastily assembled and poorly conceived, Scooby is a sound and playable game in its own right.