Many people don’t get on that well with their siblings, at least in the early years, where something as seemingly worthless as a ripped toy quickly becomes a tug of war between battling foes. I count myself as one of those kids always butting heads with siblings, particularly with my brother. Whatever he wanted, I wanted, and whatever I had, he stole and hid in his toy box. We weren’t that fond of each other, in a spoilt sibling kind of way, but eventually we found common ground.
What finally brought us together was a game called Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase, a hastily purchased gift by a family member who had forgotten my brother’s birthday the previous month. It was one of our first forays into the gaming world, and we were immediately hooked.
The game was based off the Scooby Doo movie of the same name, which we had watched countless times before. Basically you got to be Scooby and Shaggy in a 3D, virtual environment and the whole game is about defeating bosses in each of the seven stages, which can range from something as tame as a group of cute polar bears to a T-Rex to a Japanese samurai. The player has to get through each level and defeat the boss (by using pies as weapons) at the end in order to grab a packet of delicious, glowing Scooby Snax. Nothing ground-breaking.
The characters are pretty straight forward, in that we have the gang featuring Shaggy and Scooby Doo, the only playable characters, along with Velma, whose job is to stand by the giant TVs in the home screen and tell the duo what to do. Shaggy and Scooby are good craic as they occasionally shout out their iconic lines, such as ‘Relp!’ and ‘Zoinks!’ It’s all very cheesy but once you embrace it, you’ll have a good time.
The Phantom Virus himself reminds me of the Joker. That is, if you took the Joker and dipped him in metallic paint then replaced his head with a silver-wrapped Hershey’s kiss. That’s what you can expect. He’s also mean-spirited and acts a bit mental. You don’t even love to hate him, you just plain hate that guy.
Although technically you have to fight and beat seven different bosses, one for each level, they’re not really the ones you have to worry about, so I won’t get into them. The Phantom Virus is constantly cackling away in the background and mocking your efforts; he is the boss you have to fight during the ‘Arctic Circle’ level where he rides a snowball-blowing polar bear, in the ‘Egypt’ level where he appears along with several mummies, and during the final level of the game called ‘Amusement Park’, which is one of the hardest levels I’ve ever had to play in any game during my childhood.
I’m sad to say that neither me or my brother ever finished the final level. We spent hours trying to beat the Phantom Virus in the final battle and we were always so close, but still so far from winning. It was surprisingly very hard, particularly for a game aimed at children.
The final level was reminiscent of Johnny Quest, with Scooby surrounded by a vortex of green lines and numbers, desperately trying to take out the Phantom Virus with the pies. Once you managed to land a hit, the Phantom would freak out and split into clones. It was already hard enough to hit him with a fairly dodgy fighting system, but with several Phantoms spinning around you and taunting you, nobody could blame you if you came out of the fight with vertigo. One of the Phantom’s attacks also involved a giant storm cloud of lightning bolts that was impossible to dodge, so it was hard to keep enough HP to even survive that onslaught.
In the movie, Fred said that magnets were like kryptonite to the Phantom, so what were we doing throwing pies in the first place? No wonder it took forever. It was just the developers wrecking lives as usual.
We had been trying the whole night when we decided to give up and try again the next day and, like someone returning from a long day at work, we belly flopped our beds and slept in very late the next day. Only to find that our dad had unplugged the Playstation! Plus we didn’t have a memory card at that point so everything we’d worked for was lost. We didn’t have the heart to start again and so we left it, leaving only the echo of the phantom’s mocking laugh to remind us of our failure. That may have been a lack of sleep, though…
However, years later I checked out what it would’ve been like to win and was surprised to see the Phantom go down without much drama, but then that final glorious box of Scooby Snax descended in front of Scooby and I knew it would all have been worth it.
Overall, it’s a really fun game to play, albeit very frustrating at times. However, you may need to be an experienced gamer to beat the final level (I kid you not), so make sure to be ready for possible failure.
Have you played Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!