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Scooby-Doo! Unmasked
game: Scooby-Doo! Unmasked
posted by: Eric Bodrero
publisher: THQ
developer: THQ
ESRB rating: E (Everyone)
date posted: 12:00 AM Fri Jun 17th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Fri Jun 17th, 2005

Click to read.Fans of the ever lovable Scooby-Doo cartoons will be pleased to know that they aren't being left out in the cold this fall, as Scooby-Doo is back in another horror-filled adventure in Scooby-Doo! Unmasked, and this time Scooby has some nifty power-ups to help him. Scooby-Doo games have always been about the power ups, but Unmasked takes it even further by allowing Scooby-Doo access to three ultra power-up costumes: a Robin Hood-like archer costume that allows Scooby to shoot toilet plungers at enemies (something I˜m sure all the kids should get a fairly big kick out of), a bat suit which gives Scooby flying and gliding abilities, and a kung fu outfit which instantly turns Scooby into an ultra sleek kung fu master, high kicks and all. You'll need the help of all three costumes too, as the enemies in this installment are seemingly harder than in previous Scooby-Doo games, a change which will be welcome for all those who breezed through (or helped their four year old breeze through) prior games.

The story lives up to what we've all come to expect in a great Scooby-Doo mystery. Scooby-Doo and friends visit Fred's cousin, Jed, who is a monster-movie set designer. It's not long before somebody disappears, and that somebody is Jed. To make things worse his animatronics are out of control, making Jed the prime suspect in the whole fiasco. It's up to Scooby-Doo and gang to stop the crazy costumed creepers and prove Jed's innocence.

Scooby-Doo! Unmasked consists of three sprawling worlds and eleven levels that include Chinatown, a rollercoaster world, and a museum. Each level is packed with an incredible amount of action and things to do and discover, including lots of mini games. This is your typical platformer by all means, but is done with such a great eye for detail that you may wonder how the levels in other platformers turned out so crappy. The camera has also seen a large improvement over past Scooby installments, where it was difficult to even see where you were supposed to land after taking that leap of faith.

The art style has taken a distinctive turn for the best with soft, warm colors and a very cartoonish look that's easy on the eyes and very inviting. Scooby-Doo has certainly never looked this good. The developers have done a great job with the animations, as every character moves and acts believably, and the character design is new and fresh, with great looking monsters and baddies filling in the levels. The sound effects are very friendly, and the voice acting, at least where I heard it, was done well. We do get to hear the authentic Scooby-Doo cartoon actors, plus T.V. Batman's own Adam West play the role of the evil Winslow Stanton in the console versions, which should make for some interesting dialog. Like past Scooby-Doo games, it comes complete with catch phrases and canned laughter, making it a true-to-life fit of the original cartoon series.

However, one big gripe of mine, which is true of almost any platformer, is the save feature. Why can I still not save anywhere? Why am I forced to start a level or area over when I die? Unmasked does an okay job with this, since at least you don't have to start the whole darn level over again as in previous Scooby games. But I would love to see a save anywhere feature in my Scooby-Doo! Maybe it'll be implemented in the final game; one can only hope.

If you're a fan of Scooby-Doo and platformers, then THQ certainly has you covered this September, when Scooby-Doo! Unmasked hits the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA and Nintendo DS.

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