A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the fun, often clever mystery factor at the heart of Scooby Doo! First Frights is buried deep within a whole lot of fighting. In order to get to the clue-searching and puzzle-solving portions, children will have to bop, smash, and bash their way through hordes of meanies (and destroy a lot of property in the process). However, the true cooperative nature of the gameplay really does raise it to a different level than many other brawlers. Two players will never make it to the end without discussing their option and putting their heads together to figure out solutions to roadblocks and hide-and-seek sections. The chance to literally point the finger at the guilty suspect is one young mystery fans will really enjoy (even if the solutions are always pretty easy). It is important to keep in mind, though, that most Scooby-Doo fans are younger kids, and some of the villains in this game are just plain frightening.
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What's it about?
SCOOBY DOO! FIRST FRIGHTS is broken into four separate episodes, all of which are divided into several smaller chapters. In each episode, Scooby-Doo and his teenage human companions happen upon a mystery. There is always a criminal trying to convince the public that a certain place (a school theater, an amusement park, a tourist island, or an old castle) is haunted, in hopes of scaring people away from whatever illegal enterprise that person secretly has going on. Scooby and friends battle the faux-phantoms and bring the culprit to justice.
Is it any good?
Fans of Scooby Doo will not be disappointed by the good, spooky fun to be had here. Despite the fact that the familiar characters have been made to look much younger, First Frights does a great job of keeping the spirit of its source material. There's a lot of humor (although, admittedly, the kind that makes a 7 year old laugh) and an equal amount of fright. However, it's disappointing that so much of the game is fighting-based. In addition to fighting, there's lots of exploration, clue-hunting, and puzzle-solving, all of which is enjoyable. Each episode also features a fast-paced chase scene in which characters simply have to stay ahead of the pursuing monster, jumping and dodging tons of obstacles in their paths.
After you've finished each episode, you can also go back to further explore those levels and find special items you might have missed, like costumes that give the characters extra powers (a sumo costume that lets Velma belly bomb bad guys, a space suit that equips Shaggy with a ray gun, etc.). These factors, as well as trophies you can win by completing specific challenges for each level (like finishing in under 20 minutes or finding 1,000 Scooby Snacks) add a ton of replay value.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes someone a hero. Scooby and Shaggy often act cowardly and don't want to take part in the mysteries. Can they still be heroes?
Even if you think you know who the criminal is in the very beginning of an episode, you can't accuse them of the crime until the end. Why is it important to have proof before accusing somebody of wrongdoing?
- What is it like to rely on another player in order to do well in a game? If the other person is not as good as you, how can you constructively help them do better?
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