Scooby Doo Mystery is one of those adventure games that uses the very console-unfriendly Maniac Mansion interface. For those of you not familiar, that means it’s a point and click game where there are a bunch of different actions listed at the bottom of the screen. You choose one of them, then point at the object on screen you want to interact with. For example, you could choose “Use”, then point to a rifle on the screen, and then finally pick Scooby Doo to create the sentence “Use Rifle on Scooby Doo”, which would then result in the world’s most awesome re-enactment of the end of Old Yeller.
This kind of interface really works best on a computer, and even then it tends to get a bit frustrating and tedious if not done really, really well. Maniac Mansion was a fun game because it had some genuinely funny parts and some ingenious puzzles; and even then, as a console game, it was kind of unsatisfying. And as anyone who has ever watched the Sccoby Doo cartoon show can tell you, it is neither funny nor ingenious. So what you end up with is a hard to play, slow-paced, not very fun game. It’s enough to make you want to go put on an evil robot costume and “haunt” the Sunsoft headquarters before they can unleash their next failure.
Now let me get a little off topic here for a sec – first of all, have you ever noticed that Scooby and his gang aren’t really great detectives?All they ever do is set traps and catch the “monster” red-handed, and then, only after they already know who the perpetrator is, do they finally put together the painfully obvious clues and solve the mystery.And every single time, its always the only person in town who would ever stand to benefit from it.I mean, if they just thought about that part first, they’d probably figure out right away who was behind things, and then they could confront them in person, instead of using Scooby and Shaggy as bait in their increasingly dangerous schemes.I mean, one of these days, something’s going to go horribly wrong, and either Shaggy or Scooby is going to get seriously hurt (or worse); and at that point I would really like to see Fred trying to explain to Shaggy’s mom why her son got killed trying to run away from a guy dressed up as a vampire, while she’s screaming at them “Did you ever think maybe the guy who owned the competing hotel across the street might have been trying to scare everyone out of the Inn and drive them out of business?Nerd girl didn’t figure that part out for you?”
And then once they catch the guy, and take his mask off, and then hand him over to the police, and he says “I would have gotten away with it…”, etc. What exactly are the cops going to charge him with? Are there laws against dressing up as a monster to scare everyone away so you can drive a place out of business or whatever other underhanded scheme is going on? I mean, there may have been some trespassing or harassment going on, but I gotta think the best protection you have against these kinds of things is to not be a retard – I mean, could you imagine a bunch of Sears employees dressing up as mummies and trying to convince everyone that Wal-Mart was haunted? It would never work. Why? Because most people – and we’re talking about the kind of people who would be headed over to Wal-Mart to buy Eagle Eye on Blu-Ray for $30 here – just aren’t that stupid.