Scooby-Doo! First Frights

 
(i)

 

Scary mystery has bopping, bashing -- but, zoinks, it's fun.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Teamwork and cooperation is crucial in the game. In 2-player co-op mode, two characters may need to pull switches at the same time, or one might need to hit a switch that allows the other to run under a gate and open it from the inside. When the heroes fight, they are forced into it.

Positive role models

Scooby and Shaggy talk incessantly of food and eating. This is, of course, true to their long-standing television characters.

Ease of play

There's a steady increase in difficulty from the first level to the last. It doesn't rise too steeply, but the end of the game is far more challenging than the beginning. The two player cooperative mode makes playing with a friend easy to do.

Violence & scariness

There's a lot of fighting in this game. The villains — ghosts, skeletons, werewolves and the like, all of which disappear in a puff of smoke when defeated — sometimes use scary weapons, like axes and hooks. Traps used can include swinging axes and other weapons. The teenage heroes punch and kick, and throw makeshift weapons like books and footballs. The injured disappear in a cloud of smoke. A few secret unlockable "costumes" can also provide the good guys with real weapons (a sword, hammer, ray gun, and popgun). Also be aware that many of the phantoms and monsters in the game are genuinely scary, particularly a headless menace. 

Language

Nothing, unless you count "Zoinks!"

Consumerism

Ties into the long-running Scooby-Doo cartoon franchise, but doesn't push the show so much as it celebrates nostalgia for it.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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. 

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Warner Bros. Games
Release date:September 22, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2)

This review of Scooby-Doo! First Frights was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymelsbox25 March 22, 2010
 

Scooby Fan

My son is a huge Scooby Fan and was thrilled to receive this from Santa. This game can be a challenge for children who aren't "gamers". Prepare to help them do lots of jumping tasks, as even I as an adult had trouble crossing bridges, rocks, platforms. It's true in that there is a lot of fighting (something you don't really see on the television show), but it keeps the game moving. Overall, this is by far the best game we've played. And the only game we own that we have completed from start to finish. Differences aside, I recommend this hands down!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old June 12, 2010
Kid, 9 years old October 11, 2009
 

perfect

i love it
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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