Scooby-Doo! Who's Watching Who (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew



Scooby Doo is hardly a stranger to consoles - the TV series and movies have provided endless material for games. Like most games of this genre though the results have been less than satisfactory, with the majority of outings playing it safe and producing a generic platformer. The best yet, on a Nintendo handheld, was probably the adventure, on the Gameboy Color, which came closest to embracing the game's main themes: exploration and problem solving. It's strange that since then few developers have gone down this road. Who's Watching You is the latest stab at making things right for the Scooby snack obsessed canine and his friends, but is it just another mediocre offering or something to get spooked about?


Who's Watching You is split into five separate adventures with each being filmed for a TV show (the camera man/director will constantly tell you how you are doing). They take place in a variety of locations, including the seaside and a snow covered ski resort, all with the appropriate spooks causing concerns for the locals. It's up to you (playing as Scooby) to locate clues and three traps in order to capture the monster. These are spread over a huge 3D landscape, featuring everything from moving platforms to some clever traps, not to mention the odd monster who's all about slowing down your progress. There are also a huge number of collectables and, while some give you energy, some of the secret boxes contain henchmen so it's worth keeping an eye on your health meter. On the subject of health, there are a number of check-points dotted about so whenever you see the camera man you'll be beamed back to that very point should you meet your demise.

It's not all about platforming though - embedded into two areas is a race sequence where you must navigate a downhill track, avoiding anything which gets in your way, whilst also collecting the hidden clues. Who's Watching You also boasts the first occasion (on the DS) where you can actually drive the Mystery Machine and the developers have given each section different completion criteria. The best involves collecting four differently colored tokens before the timer reaches zero, which unlocks the location of the final piece of evidence. It's this kind of attention to detail that really separates this Scooby Doo game from the usual thoughtless drivel and, while there's little in the way of replay value, you can play both the driving and race sections repeatedly to beat your high score.


Outside of the various examination exercises it's all traditional controls and although you only use Scooby throughout the game you will find that's he's responsive and generally hits his mark even if you have to make a few attempts at the odd jump when the camera becomes fixed behind him. In addition you'll be able to control the Mystery Machine although while they do offer a touch screen option (with the stylus operation the steering wheel) you'll find it much easier with the d-pad.


The graphics are actually very nice indeed - not only are the various areas well designed but the developers have paid particular attention to the character animation, meaning that Scooby Doo moves just as he does in the TV series. The driving sections are also well designed with large areas and a reasonably good draw distance considering the DS' capabilities. Best of all though is the level of atmosphere the designers have managed to squeeze into each area with the Abandoned Airfield being especially creepy.


The various soundtracks aren't bad at all and there is even a kind of Jukebox feature in the 'extras' menu so you can listen to them whenever you want. Elsewhere there are the usual Scooby Doo type sound effects and, while there's no real speech from the main characters, you do get the odd muttering when they run, jump or collide with an object.

Dual screen

The majority of your touch-screen use is given over to examining evidence that you have collected during the platform levels. This starts out simply enough - you'll have to dust items for finger prints or maybe sniff a book for someone's scent, but you will also have to combine some processes and your final case may involve you submitting objects to the far more intense scrutiny of a Microscope, Spectral Analyzer and a Media Analyzer. As we mentioned earlier you can control the Mystery Machine too, but we wouldn't recommend it. Your other main use of the touch screen is during the 'chase sequences' and it's here, with the aid of Shaggy, that you must use a variety of options to avoid the current ghost or demon. This not only involves running and jumping but also clearing obstacles out of your path so you can keep one step ahead and avoid being caught.

Final comments

One of the reasons for not reviewing this sooner is the poor reputation movie/TV tie-ins have when converted to handhelds. This was clearly an oversight on our part as this latest Scooby Doo outing is not only fun to play but the developers have clearly taken some time analyzing just what makes a good Scooby Doo episode and weaving those elements into a game. The touch screen elements have also been well implemented and unlike some titles, where it simply feels bolted on as an afterthought, the stylus only ever comes into use here when you need to investigate evidence or (in the case of the chase levels) dismantle or remove an obstacle. It does have some drawbacks and some gamers will find it a little too short, but what there is of this game is incredibly satisfying.

Pro: Great Story, Nice Platform Design, Fun to Play.
Con: A Little Too Short
Final score: 7.1


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Boxart of Scooby-Doo! Who's Watching Who (Nintendo DS)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Action
Developer: Human Soft
Publisher: THQ