Scooby-Doo!: Classic Creep Capers (Game Boy Color)
Scooby-Doo!: Classic Creep Capers is a graphic adventure video game developed by Digital Eclipse Software and published by THQ on 2001-02-20 for the Game Boy Color. The game uses the classic Scooby-Doo cartoon characters and theme, while using a game engine similar to that of Maniac Mansion. Commands are limited to look, take, speak, and use item, and the player must switch between characters to solve the mystery. Despite having the same title and being released only a few months later, this game is completely unrelated to the Nintendo 64 game.
In the game, the gang is searching for a jewel thief and finds themselves stranded outside the mansion of Dr. Jekyll where a ghost begins terrorizing them.
I chose this game randomly to improve my familiarity with the Game Boy Color library. I was surprised to see a graphic adventure developed on the GBC so late after they were mostly abandoned on home computers. I played it for awhile, and liked it enough to keep playing, then beat it on 2022-05-16.
I don't own this game.
Best Version: Game Boy Color
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The characters are animated surprisingly well for as small as they are. They even have the goofy animated walk from the original cartoon. The full screen art of the characters is also quite good as is the full-screen animation.
- The game incorporates plenty of reoccurring themes from the cartoon. Shaggy and Scooby are always hungry, Velma loses her glasses, there is a scene where characters are chased through a room of multiple doors, the mask removal at the end, and the villain saying they would have gotten away with it.
- Although most of the music is pretty low-quality, the game does incorporate the Scooby-Doo theme song.
- The gang uses a shared inventory, which doesn't make sense since the game often separates the characters. For example, when Shaggy picks up an item in the mansion, Fred, who is in different building, has immediate access to it. At no point does a character who is separated from the other need to use an item they shouldn't have access to, so it doesn't break reality too much, but the game almost never takes advantage of the fact that you have multiple characters, so it really doesn't matter.
- There is really bad sprite flicker when multiple characters are on the screen at the same time. Also, the sprite priority is based on the character, not their position in the room. This means that Fred will always be drawn on top of Shaggy, who in turn will always be drawn over Velma. This looks horrible, and I can't imagine how this made it past testing.
- Daphne gets kidnapped right at the beginning of the game, then spends most of her time as a damsel in distress. And Velma, despite being the most competent member of the gang, spends most of it looking for her glasses.
- Most of the gang talks about objects in the exact same manner which really hurts immersion.
- There are sections in the game where you can't switch to certain characters even where there is no reason to prevent you from doing so. It's clear the developers didn't know what to do with the character at the time, so, to prevent unintended glitches, they just made it impossible to use them.
- A large portion of the background is drawn with objects that cannot be interacted with, not even looked at. And, late in the game, even a lot of the things that can be interacted with play no part in the game. It seems like the developers had more planned, but had to cut the game short. The early screenshots seen in the manual confirms this with scenes not present in the final game.
- The story that is used in the intro isn't used later in the game. It seems very tacked-on.
- All of the mystery elements are solved for you. You don't need to decipher the symbols, only look at them, you don't have to setup the trap to catch the villain, and you don't even need to identify the villain (not that there are many characters to choose from anyway).
- The game is not a good example of it's genre. Graphic adventures were very mature by the time this game was made, and the developers clearly had seen Lucasfilm Games, but they made very little use of all the great tropes and mechanics that had accumulated. By only using inventory puzzles found in the earliest of graphic adventures, the game feels more like it should have been released in 1990 rather than 2001.
- The game fat-shames a female character.
The box is the same for the US and European regions, just with minor layout differences. It shows the classic gang spooked outside the haunted mansion. It looks good, but it doesn't really describe what the game will be like.