IGN Review of Scooby Doo! Who's Watching Who?
Who's watching who? We're watching Doo. Doo, and his crew, in game number two. THQ first brought the Scooby-Doo license to the DS last year with Scooby-Doo! Unmasked, a 2.5D platformer that focused on the Great Dane donning different disguises to navigate action adventure levels. In this follow-up, Scooby-Doo! Who's Watching Who?, the formula is simplified. The crazy costumes are gone, leaving behind a more pure, fun and focused game design that serves as a good representation of what Scooby and his friends have always been about - solving mysteries.
Who's Watching Who? finds Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the Mystery, Inc. gang guest-starring on a reality TV show, "Ghost Scene Investigators." Each episode is a gameplay level, offering a new mystery for Scooby's team to explore. The regular cast of the program (three scientists and a robotic cat) doesn't appreciate being pushed out of the spotlight, though, and so decide to compete against Scooby's crew by trying to solve the mysteries first.
The idea of a rival team racing against players to get to clues sounds great, but isn't used as a gameplay element - just plot. The "competition" is nothing more than snide remarks in text bubbles. Scooby's left to snoop around the game's environments without harassment - not by the other characters, anyway. The harassment comes from the title's mix of 2D and 3D graphics.
He's a 2D dog in a 3D world. Where each environment in Who's Watching Who? is presented in three dimensions, Scooby is but a simple sprite - this is a change from last year's Doo, and not one for the better. It's difficult to judge depth and positioning when jumping between platforms, and there's a lot of jumping between platforms for Doo to do. Thankfully the haunted hotels, haunted candy factories and haunted abandoned military bases of the world are replete with save points, and sending Scooby into the abyss with a misjudged jump won't throw players back too far.
The untapped potential of the rival team and the distracting dimensional disconnect are the game's primary drawbacks - the rest of the experience is solid. Scooby's platforming sequences form the core of the adventure, as the not-so-daring dog quests for clues to use to undo each ruse - masterminded, as always, by ghostly clowns, spectral spacemen or undead pirates. Lesser enemies populate each area, and can be handled with well-placed dash or spin attacks.
Unmasking each villain takes teamwork, so three of Scooby's friends play host to additional, non-platforming gameplay sequences. Leading man Fred gets behind the wheel of the Mystery Machine for driving levels - these are presented in full 3D, and support either D-Pad or touch control for steering. Scaredy-cat Shaggy is called upon to re-enact the Scooby show's popular chase sequences - played in a style similar to Wario Ware, players have to quickly use the touch screen to eliminate obstacles in Shaggy and Scooby's path, lest they be caught by whichever bumbling bad guy is hot on their heels. Finally, keen-minded Velma pulls each case together, investigating the clues Scooby retrieves with a set of touch-controlled tools. Dusting for prints, scrutiny by microscope and even DNA analysis are all employed to evaluate the evidence, which ultimately pinpoints the proper perpetrator.
Each individual element comes together to create one enjoyable formula, matching the formula of the show - finding clues, getting chased by monsters, and ultimately solving each mystery. The overall flavor is on target as well, as groovy tunes play over the action, appropriate classic sound effects and voice clips ("Zoinks!") are peppered throughout, and the dialogue is written to match the conversational mannerisms of each character.
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