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Oct 052016
 

The Scooby-Doo franchise has gone in many directions over the years. So why not a LEGO feature like the TV special LEGO Scooby-Doo: Knight Time Terror.

This time the Scooby gang arrives at a secret treasure is hidden. However, a Black Knight ghost also haunts it. The story plot may sound cliché, but the common gags used in many LEGO features add some great touches to it.

Running the mansion are Charlie Grimsley, his brother Kyle, and their cousin Wanda who is a mechanic and groundskeeper. They are struggling to get customers by providing a treasure hunt. Also at the mansion is Adam the house historian, who Velma has a crush on. This makes how many crushes now?

After the Mystery Machine crashes, it shows more stuff inside than usual. It has a small computer, a bulletin board, and luggage which includes a box of monster traps. Most of the time, the Mystery Machine appears empty.

The mansion contains quite a few traps like a swinging morning star that Shaggy and Scooby find by accident.

Speaking of Shaggy and Scooby, those two are always looking for food. However, we don’t actually see them eat since everything is made out of LEGO pieces. Of course that doesn’t stop the giant plant monster from devouring everything.

This was an interesting feature. What LEGO sets will come to life next?

Aug 132014
 

The Scooby-Doo franchise has certainly evolved over the years. Scooby-Doo: Mask of the Blue Falcon actually goes back to its roots by including the Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. That used to be an old cartoon series from the 70s and the two of them were on the Scooby Doobies team in Laff-A-Lympics, but in this feature Blue Falcon and Dynomutt are portrayed as old comic book characters that also had a TV series.

The Mystery Inc. gang travels to the city of San de Pedro to attend a comic book convention. Shaggy and Scooby are very excited since they are such huge fans of Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. They even made costumes out of string cheese and food coloring. Now that’s just weird.

I go to comic book conventions all the time. They always provide a great atmosphere with posters, pictures, displays, backdrops, and wall hangings of classic characters randomly placed all around. This one has that too and the characters displayed are all from classic Hanna-Barbera franchises. Ones like Space Ghost, Frankenstein Jr., The Jetsons, Atom Ant, Herculoids, Mightor, Yogi Bear, The Impossibles, The Flintstones, Magilla Gorilla, and others. So these characters were really all just fictional in the Scooby-Doo universe, even though some of them did coexist in Laff-A-Lympics with Shaggy and Scooby?

One of the celebrity guests there is Owen Garrison, who played the original Blue Falcon. Now that’s clever because in the actual Dynomutt cartoon series, Laugh In star Gary Owens voiced the Blue Falcon.

The main event Fred looks forward to is the premiere of the new Blue Falcon movie that’s darker and edgier. The leading actor is Brad Adams, who never really watched the original Blue Falcon TV show in order to prepare for the role. Instead he wanted to give the character a clean slate and only sees the Blue Falcon as an enigma. Somehow this reminds me of the comparison between the old Batman series from the 60s and the Batman movies of today.

Meanwhile, Daphne’s desire is to complete her collection of cute stuffed dolls called Littlest Fuzzies. Man, I have never seen her get so obsessed over anything.

I met Grey Delisle, who was the voice of Daphne, at AFO 2012.

However, Velma isn’t thrilled to be at the convention at all. Her only interest is the mystery going on about a monster terrorizing the place. This is no ordinary monster though. It’s the Blue Falcon’s archenemy Mr. Hyde, who is a creature of chaos. Mr. Hyde wasn’t in the new movie, but he was in the old TV series. That’s why Shaggy and Scooby know about him so well.

As the Mystery Inc. gang gets on the case, Shaggy and Scooby are the most knowledgeable and take the mystery more seriously than they usually do. However, the number one suspect is Owen Garrison because he tried to revive the Blue Falcon and every studio turned him down. And with the new movie version out, Mr. Garrison’s fan base has disappeared. He keeps going on and on about it. It seems obvious, but Shaggy and Scooby refuse to accept that because they still believe in the original Blue Falcon. They even found other suspects, yet Fred, Daphne, and Velma still think Mr. Garrison is Mr. Hyde. Can you believe it?

Meanwhile, Jennifer Severin the writer/producer/director of the new Blue Falcon movie takes advantage of all the publicity involving the Mr. Hyde attacks. What I couldn’t help but notice is that she believes that her movies should have less story line and be more about blowing things up since that’s where the money is.

This was a great movie with a modernized collaboration of Hanna-Barbera nostalgia. Even the opening credits feature some of the ghosts from the classic Scooby-Doo series. If you’re a fan of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, be sure to observe the backgrounds and cosplayers closely.

 

Oct 082013
 

Mystery Inc. is back once again in Scooby Doo: Legend of the Phantosaur. After solving a mystery at an old mansion, Shaggy becomes diagnosed with a rare overreaction to fear stimuli. I guess he finally had one spooky mystery too many.

As a result, Shaggy must give up anything frightening, which also means he cannot be part of Mystery Inc. anymore. Meanwhile, Fred has to come up with a science project in order to graduate. Luckily, Daphne has a solution for both problems. There’s a paleontological dig near a spa at the town of La Serena, the least haunted town in America.

Once the Scooby gang arrives at the spa they meet Mr. Hubley who works there and is very hard of hearing. Afterwards, they go to the dig site, where Professor Svankmajor gives them a tour. Just when Shaggy gets completely calm after a nice relaxing ghost free day, they encounter a new supernatural beast called the Phantosaur. Scooby, as the noble dog he is, does all he can to keep Shaggy safe throughout the chase.

Back at the spa, Mr. Hubley uses computerized holographic hypnosis to help Shaggy become more fearless after hearing the word “bad”, and switch back to normal when he hears it again. Unfortunately, Mr. Hubley ends up forgetting the key word. That can only lead to trouble if anyone says it by accident.

This mystery also has an excellent share of hilarity. For instance, while at a coffee joint, Scooby drinks a sip of coffee and goes crazy running all over the place and on the ceiling. That’s definitely a first for Scooby-Doo.

While Fred, Daphne, and Velma search for clues back at the dig site, Shaggy and Scooby get into trouble with a biker gang. While under the affects of the hypnosis, Shaggy kicks all of their butts single-handedly and agrees to a motorcycle race against Tex, the gang’s leader. After Tex says “bad”, Shaggy returns to normal and he remembers everything that happened and is dreading what he got himself into. Luckily, Daphne was able to teach him how to ride a motorcycle, sort of.

Soon, another problem occurs. Velma is love struck by the professor’s assistant Winsor. So much so that she can’t concentrate on the mystery. That’s very unlikely to happen because Velma is usually the most focused.

During the motorcycle race, the Phantosaur returns and it’s revealed that the culprits behind it are a couple of mining engineers who were after silver. Tex and his biker gang become allies with the Scooby gang as they capture the criminals. That’s another case closed, or so they thought.

A new Phantosaur comes to town, which also turns out to be a fake. The mystery gets solved at the dig site, but the Scooby gang must also survive a cave-in. Shaggy manages to help out while under the affects of the hypnosis. If only they could figure out the key word.

This is definitely one of the funniest Scooby-Doo adventures yet. It’s good to know that Mystery Inc. doesn’t break up with Shaggy’s traumatic condition and that his friends are always there for him.

Oct 082012
 

In the Playstation 2 game Scooby Doo First Frights (which is also available on Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS) the Mystery Inc. gang heads over to a food festival at Keystone Castle. Along the way, they make a few stops with mysteries to solve. First it’s at St. Louis High School, then an amusement park, and a village by the ocean. That makes a total of four episodes.

Each episode has several levels filled with really neat creepy exploration. Even though you have to search every nook and cranny for hidden items and clues, you never have to worry about losing your way because there’s always a trail of Scooby Snacks to follow.

The game play is also neat. Each area always features a group of two Mystery Inc. members, whether it’s in one or two player mode. In one-player mode the CPU controls the other character to back you up.

Although every character has the same fighting skill and double jumping ability, only certain characters can do certain things. Fred pushes boxes and turns levers, Daphne climbs flashing poles, Velma works computer systems, Shaggy uses a yo-yo like a grappling hook, and Scooby can enter doggy door passages.

The Scooby gang isn’t known for “battling” enemies, but there are plenty of little monsters like skeletons, witches, creepy living dolls, and other creatures. Every episode has a boss, which is the main monster in the story. The monster has to be fought before the unmasking.

There are also chase levels, where Shaggy and Scooby must run for their lives from the scary monster. Those are tricky because the level is a fast scroller. If you can’t keep up, you have to start over. That can be tough sometimes, but at least you never have to worry about dying in this game.

What also makes the creepy exploration interesting is the story lines behind the mysteries. Throughout the level, the Scooby gang keeps in contact by walkie-talkie and encounter suspects. Like the original Scooby-Doo cartoons, there’s a laugh track during the story. I don’t see the purpose for that, unless it represents Scooby-Doo nostalgia, considering that no other Scooby-Doo series uses it.

As you complete certain tasks in the game, you get trophies, some of which can only be earned in Exploration Mode.

On the option menu screen, you can also view video clips from the story lines in the game as well as short scenes from Scooby-Doo the Mystery Begins.

I really enjoyed this game for its story lines and simple game play. The only part I dislike is the pass code option because there are no pass codes revealed in the game at all. How else are you supposed to get them?

Aug 152012
 

Scooby-Doo and the gang face their most treacherous mystery yet in Scooby Doo: Camp Scare. In this adventure, Mystery Inc. heads over to Fred’s old summer camp, Camp Little Moose, to serve as camp counselors. Fred is more excited than anyone.

After arriving, they meet Burt the head counselor and Forest Ranger Knudsen, who tell then that an axe maniac called the Woodsman haunts the camp. With everyone scared off, Camp Little Moose will have to be closed down. However, Fred convinces Burt to keep the camp open in order for Mystery Inc. to find out what’s going on.

 

Just then, three campers arrive. They are Luke an enthusiastic young man, Trudy a shy computer genius, and Deacon a kid with asthma. While Fred, Daphne, and Velma do activities with the kids, Shaggy and Scooby prepare supper. I can’t help but feel sorry for Fred because he tries so hard to be a good counselor, but no one takes him seriously.

As it turns out, the Woodsman isn’t the only monster running loose. There’s also a sea creature called the Fish Man, who haunts a lake over at the neighboring camp, Camp Big Moose. The main difference between the two camps is that Camp Big Moose is more refined and Camp Little Moose is run down. Much to Fred’s dismay, the gang goes to Big Moose Lake and has a large time. That is until the Fish Man comes for them.

After escaping, the mystery becomes even stranger when some equipment from Camp Big Moose goes missing, which includes an RV. Velma finds out that it’s in Shadow Canyon, which is haunted by another monster called the Specter of Shadow Canyon. This one is as creepy as a banshee. Now this is the first time Mystery Inc. faces three completely different haunts in one feature.

This was a really adventurous movie. You can only imagine what kind of spooky mysteries Mystery Inc. will encounter next, considering how many they have had over the years.

One last note: I recently met two voice actors from this feature at Anime Festival Orlando 2012, Grey Delisle (Daphne) and Tara Strong (Trudy).