Scooby Doo in the Castle Mystery

1986 Elite

Platforms: ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64

Scooby shot 1Dragons Lair was a technical marvel in the early 80s with its impressive Laser Disc technology. Elite jumped on the bandwagon with their licence of the popular cartoon series.

Whereas Dragons Lair was heavily changed for its home conversions, Elite decided to go one better. Originally starting out as a text only adventure, the plan for Scooby Doo grew to include pictures and finally extra interactivity to turn it into an 8-bit laser disc game.

The game was to be set around a castle belonging to Shaggy’s aunt, with all sorts of ghostly goings on. All the popular characters were to be present, and their job would have been to try and solve what was behind the mysterious occurrences at the castle. Various adverts and previews were shown in magazines, depicting a very impressive game.

It was to be something never seen before on any 8-bit. You would direct the action yourself, and not be restricted as much like with other games at the time. The game would feature around 8 action sequences, separated by descriptive scenes where the main characters would interact.

Action sequences would focus on Scooby and Shaggy searching the castle through different view points, helping them solve various problems occurring along the way. The action would be driven by the player, making decisions like a movie director might make. The breakaway to descriptive scenes would give hints and tips to aid your mystery solving.

All sound effects were synchronised with the action, creating the perfect illusion of watching a cartoon, but with interaction. For variety, each new game would present new problems and obstacles, creating a fresh experience each time.

Scooby shot 2

It was never going to be easy trying to cram this game into an 8-bit. Accurate animations and scenes were made after plenty of research by the artists with the cartoons. Programmers had the hefty task of trying to squeeze it all into memory.

At the time, Crash magazine visited the developers and they were confident that they had everything ready and would be able to fit everything in.

Sadly their confidence was shattered, and Elite conceded that it couldn’t be done. It was too much, too soon and Elite had to back down on their ambitious project.

Now with all the costly advertising, Elite were stuck without a game to market, so Gargoyle Games were drafted in to do a quick game for them to make something back. Our promised Laser disc game was transformed into an average platform affair.

It is possible that the original game still exists, with Elite still going strong today in the mobile games market. Maybe well one day get to see it in action in one form or another.

8 Responses to Scooby Doo in the Castle Mystery

  1. That sounds very promising and exactly the type of research i kinda expect to find from a professional publication.

    I know a lot of freelancers out there use Facebook etc to contact people, which is fantastic, as it’s something i refuse to use :-), so i’m more often than not restricted to exactly who i can reach out and ask Q’s about myself.

    A well fleshed-out, properly researched and written article or 3 per magazine can justify my purchase these days, but i so rarely buy any magazines these days, the exact opposite, in fact i start to woirry about the recycling staff, as you should see the pile of old mags out for collection this week alone.

    Still, after your words, i might just be tempted to see if i can find a copy of the latest issue of RG myself in the locals down here…

  2. Other than seeming to say the CPC version was never actually started, does the RG article add much to what’s already known on the game?

    For example, in the 18 months or so, since the inital annoucement, Elite simply produced a run of the mill Kung Fu Master-esq affair, which if you took out the Scooby Doo Sprites, could of been any average game and the cheeck beggars had released the final game at £9.95, when originally the game was set to retail at £7.95, so consumers paid more, for far less of a game.

    Just wondering as no point purchasing the mag, just for a few extra snippets.

    • Still not had chance to read, but i’ll update once I have. Rory has done a good job by the looks of things – even spoke to a guy from Gargoyle Games, which could be interesting.

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