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Scooby-Do: First Frights Review

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Very short on 'Zowie!'

★★★★★

While the classic Scooby ’toons are crushingly clichéd, fiercely formulaic and look like amateur doodles beside the stylish, eye-popping animation that airs every day on the Cartoon Network, the series’ diverse heroes and mystery-solving action are still the perfect raw materials for a fantastic kids’ videogame. So why the developers decided to dump everything that’s good about Scooby-Doo and crap-out a bog-standard beat ’em up is a mystery even Velma and the gang couldn’t solve…

Looking on the bright side, the presentation of First Frights is spot on, the game’s silky animation, moody lighting and camp laugh track making this feel like a genuine piece of Scooby lore. The opportunity for co-operative brawling is also a good opportunity for parents to introduce children to the joys of videogaming, and the controls are simple and intuitive enough that even the greenest gamer will figure out what to do in a couple of minutes.

But aside from these silver linings, First Frights is a mess: the brawling action is tedious and cruelly repetitive, allowing players to mash the same attack buttons throughout the entire adventure and never see a Game Over screen; the occasional platforming challenges are undermined by the gloomy backdrops, which make it hard to see where you’re jumping; and the story makes no attempt to make best use of the characters and situations made famous by almost 40 years of TV ’toonage, with poorly-scripted dialogue, a paper-thin plot, and beloved heroes in uncharacteristic situations that aren’t in keeping with the hallowed source material.

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