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I used to love to watch Scooby Doo as a kid, and my 6 year old daughter also loves it (I admit I sit down and watch it with her). Imagine how excited we both were to discover that the Scooby Doo franchise now included games for the PC, and someone on Freecycle had offered a few up? Needless to say, I asked politely for them, and soon we were sat together ready to play.
One of the titles we received was this one. As the name suggests, Scooby and the gang are going along in their Mystery machine and end up at a Wild West ghost town with the humourously name of Los Burritos. A university professor and his students are there studying the town and have run into trouble....there is a phantom and it is out to get them all. We join the gang as they wander about the town and gather clues to solve the mystery. This could so easily be a one shot deal, but while the same places typically have the clues you are looking for, the game has repeat playability as the engine randomly dispenses different clues, so you get to sit there, mull over the clues, and try to deduce who the culprit is this time.
The game is kept light and fun by being made in the format of an interactive Scooby Doo show. We get a lot of animated sequences that blend well into the portions where the player can direct the action by a simple point and click of the mouse. You get to walk the gang through various places in the town, explore the buildings and their rooms, click on different objects for special effects (and to find the occasional clue), as well as interact with the other characters to get dialogue. There is even a rather fun rollercoaster of a ride from the old train station where the old mine train is currently in service to ferry students (and the Scooby gang!) about the town's outlying environs. This makes for a wildly entertaining game as the player gets the feeling of being a silent member of the Scooby gang and a sense of accomplishment when they find the clues for Scooby. Once you have gathered all the clues, you have the option to review the clues, and make a guess as to who the villain is. Whether you guess correctly or not, you get the signature reveal scene a la 1970's classic Hanna Barbera Scooby Doo. The clues are explained and the villain unmasked. So if the player gets it wrong, they find out just where their logic failed them, and it is done in such a way that they merely get the old Fred guessed wrong giggly feeling about their wrong guess, rather than feeling let down and stupid.
The gameplay is rather straightforward, but I did have to sit with my then 5 1/2 year old daughter to play it through with her the first time, as she had never played this style of game before, being previously limited by exposure to titles such as Reader Rabbit and Jump Ahead. Once we had played it once through, she had the know how and confidence to play this game again, and again, and again. She is a rather sensitive child and usually takes failure rather hard, but when she guesses wrong she just laughs it off, and says, I guessed wrong like Fred does on TV, and decides to have another go. Seeing as playing all the way through takes roughly 8-9 hours, I make her wait until the next day to begin a new adventure, as I limit her PC time. Not that I let her play all the way through in one day...rather I let her have an hour each day, and she returns to it the next day, as you can easily save the game where you last were before exiting.
As a parent I love this game for another reason. As one would expect from maker The Learning Company, this Scooby Doo title is not just all about point and click and having a laugh. To get to various parts of the town, and to be able to locate vital clues, the player also has to employ certain skills. In one place, the player must set the hands on a clock to the correct time, and in another solve a puzzle. memory lso plays a role, as in yet another section the player has to use recall of prior events in the game to solve an issue and therefore master that area to gain the clue. Children also gain greater mouse control via various challenges, from trying to play a game of horse shoes to a silly sequence involving a pie fight between a trying to escape Scooby and the Phantom. These sections cannot be avoided as they award needed Scooby Snacks, that have to later be used to bribe Shaggy and Scooby into the spooky places they d not want to go (and here you just thought Velma and the others merely kept a box in the van!).I also appreciate the subtle use of logic and deductive reasoning that children have to use to deduce the baddie from the clues, and must confess that when I myself have played, I got it wrong myself once or twice! So while the game is aimed at ages 5-12, the older Scooby fan can also have a whale of a time and learn a few things. For those who feel nauseous at the later addition of a certain Scrappy Doo to the classic TV show, I can tell you that you can be relieved, as he appears as a mere graphic on the menu screen, and he does not appear anywhere else.
The game is designed for 98 but it runs without having to go into compatibility mode just fine on XP, and current new editions state it is for 98, ME, and XP. The graphics are crisp and clear, and both the animated cartoon adventure clips and the actual game portions look as if they stepped straight off the TV screen's showing of vintage 70's Scooby Doo on Boomerang. The drawings are exceptionally well done, and there are no squared corners on rounded surfaces, pixelating, or other issues with quality and the animation smooth. The sound is also crisp and clear, with spoken dialogue again being TV quality without any distortion, and having the bonus of the voices sounding very original to the characters. This is one exceptionally well put together game!
While we got lucky and obtained this game via Freecycle, it can also be found on Ebay and new from Amazon for the current bargain price of £4.99 or as a Scooby game double pack along with the Scooby Doo and the Phantom of the Knight for £9.99, with the bonus of the new double pack edition also being designed to work on Vista. So, not that expensive, and priced just right for a little birthday pressie or stocking stuffer for boys and girls alike, as well as the grown up Scooby nut.
My 4 year old daughter is a big Scooby fan so it was great to get a game for her to play.
The gang show up in a ghost town, oh what a surprise, and have to find out who is the phantom. When you first play the game it can get frustrating, for adults at least, trying to work out what is going on. Basically in each room you need to collect various items, pick up clues the usual computer stuff.
Once you have all the clues and caught the phantom you need to say who you think the phantom is. It is a nice twist that it changes every time.
The most annoying part of this game is the end when you land up in the cemetary, every time you click on a gravestone, something you have to do to find the phantom, if it isn't the phantom you get taken out of the cemetary and back to town entrance.
There are quite a few games on route like pie throwing. Personally I prefer the jinx at the sphinx. We got a box set of 3 for £10.00 so definitely worth that.
Welcome to Los Burritos! Be careful, the town is haunted...or is it? Uncover the mystery of the Faceless Rider! Los Burritos sounded like a great place to stop for a snack, but Scooby and the gang soon learn that the town is haunted. Help the gang search for clues, but brace yourself for challenging puzzles, wild chases, and even an outrageous pie-throwing showdown. Product features: virtually unlimited game scenarios - the clues, villains, and outcome change each time you play; 3 levels of difficulty: Spooky, Spookier and Spooktacular; over 25 fully interactive areas; puzzles and activities for game clues; cinematic, TV-like animations, movies and an original soundtrack. Builds thinking and problem-solving skills, develops research skills, deductive reasoning, and logical analysis. Recommended for ages 5-10.