Scooby Doo's Maze Chase
"This game sets itself apart from the other ECS titles in that it shouldn't be an ECS title. I don't see how it takes advantage of any of the features of the ECS, other than the keyboard for the maze editor. Even then, with the exception of the maze editor, it doesn't even qualify to be an ECS title. It doesn't even use so-called SuperGraphics. No more than three sound channels are put to use at one time, with the exception of the in-game 'BGM' which is nothing more than an initially low tone that rises in pitch every second, each successive tone played on the next channel -- a somewhat unpleasant sound. The title screen music sounds just like the Donkey Kong Jr. intro music, only at a lower pitch and at a slower tempo. It only plays the melody in parallel octaves like so many other Intellivision games as well.
"The game plays similar to Thunder Castle in that it has the same 'Pursue And Be Pursued' theme. The player controls Scooby Doo, trying to catch three ghosts in a maze while avoiding the skull. A ghost that has been caught will reappear 30 seconds later, which is all the time the player has to catch the other two ghosts and the submarine sandwich. As the skill level increases the ghosts and skull speed up and get 'smarter.' The skull will eventually begin to outrun Scooby Doo, forcing the player to use bones to stop it in its tracks. Starting with only one, the player earns an extra bone every time Scooby Doo catches a submarine sandwich which appears after the three ghosts have been caught.
"The point value for each ghost as it is caught depends on the number of other ghosts in play. The submarine sandwich also nets points when caught. There is no other way to earn points. After every 2,000 points the difficulty level increases. If Scooby Doo is caught by the skull, not only does the player lose a life, but the skill level is halved. Play continues until all the lives are lost.
"The fact that the player does not choose the starting skill level is bad enough, but 'dropping back' half the number of levels advanced upon losing a life is simply a bad idea. Perhaps it is due to the fact that this is meant to be a kids' game, and keeping the difficulty level down is supposed to make it less stressful for younger audiences. As a result, it merely thwarts the idea of progress. A proposed alternative would be to have made the difficulty ramping a variable factor (or even optional altogether). As it is, I only consider it to be a good game as opposed to a great game. Unlike the other ECS titles it has a manual that is less than fifty pages long, but again, it doesn't seem to utilize the ECS at all except for the needless use of extra sound channels and the keyboard. Buy it if you have the 'completist' mindset, but expect to be neither disappointed nor blown away." Rating: 3/5 -- Mike Hayes