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Software reviews

By JIM TYRRELL

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 17, 2000


Scooby-Doo! Mystery of the Fun Park Phantom

  • SouthPeak Interactive
  • Price: $19.99

Upon seeing the colorful box covered with Scooby-Doo characters, my 10- and 12-year-old kids eagerly tore into this game, loaded it themselves and were smiling and giggling at the animated introduction. They especially enjoyed reading the descriptions of the characters. For instance, Velma Dinkley's profile goes like this: "Age: 15; Height: 4' 9"; Weight: 95 pounds; Eyes: Not so good." That's pretty much where the smiles stopped and the sighs began. This household, I admit, has low tolerance for being forced to figure things out. If it's not immediately apparent, exasperation sets in quickly. Thus it was with this game, in which the Scooby gang tries to collect clues so it can set a trap for a phantom loose in a fun park. Click on this item and you collect a clue. Where does it go? How do you use it? Why can't tools be picked up after a certain point? In multiplayer competition, why do some turns end quickly, while others go on for minutes? Just how do you solve the mystery? Why does it take so long to switch between turns? I'm sure the answers to these questions become apparent after a few tries. This game takes meddling and determination. My two kids, however, were not willing to invest the time. Perhaps in a few days, the bright-colored box will beckon again and they'll give Scooby another go. Platform: Windows

Animaniacs Splat Ball

  • SouthPeak Interactive
  • Online price: $19.99

Capture a balloon and splat or get splatted. The characters Yakko, Wakko and Dot dash and dart through the sets of Warner Bros. Studio, firing their paintball weapons at Ralph the Guard, Dr. Scratchansniff and Thaddeus J. Plotz, while dodging enemy fire. Along the way the good guys pick up extra paint or extra powers. It's a great cartoon setting and the animation, sound effects and color make the game appealing. We were slowed down, however, trying to maneuver the characters. With one hand you advance the characters by pressing the arrow keys; with the other you work the mouse, which aims the characters in the right direction. You fire with the left mouse button, duck with the right. That's a lot of coordination for a klutz like me. With a little practice, though, Splat Ball could prove to be fun. Platform: Windows

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