Lego Dimensions: Scooby Doo Team Pack
Lego Dimensions is a deceptive product line. On the surface, a toys-to-life video game is aimed at kids. But if you look at the intellectual properties included in the game’s expansions, it’s pretty obvious the game is intended to appeal to their parents as well. Ideally, the game serves as a way for adults to introduce their kids to nostalgic properties they remember fondly. Or, in the case of Scooby Doo, to serve up a character familiar to both generations.
As a Gen-Xer, I grew up on Scooby Doo. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and The New Scooby-Doo Movies were in reruns I watched every day after school. And there were new episodes of The Scooby-Doo Show on Saturday mornings. As a native of the Cincinnati area, I was especially fond of Hanna-Barbera shows. The animation studio was purchased by Taft Broadcasting which was locally owned. More importantly, it resulted in a partnership with my local amusement park, Kings Island. All of which is to say, my Scooby cred is established.
Last week, I looked at another animated series with The Simpsons. Unfortunately, due to contractual issues, Lego Dimensions wasn’t able to full capture the Simpsons experience. I’m happy to say, that’s not the case here. No matter what era of Scooby Doo you are familiar with, everything about the Scooby Doo Team Pack is instantly recognizable as being from the world in which a group of teenagers and their talking dog solve spooky mysteries.
For starters, the Scooby Doo adventure world has its own look. As an animated property, the world is given a soft cell look as opposed to the hard plastic of most Lego worlds. Since we’re dealing with a team pack, there isn’t a new level to play through. But Shaggy and Scooby can explore a creepy island with a large haunted house, fairgrounds, a lighthouse, cemetery and a shipwreck. There are secret doors to be found and paintings with eyes that follow you. In short, it feels exactly like a Scooby Doo cartoon.
There is one exception. On the show, Shaggy and Scooby almost always run from danger. In the game, they will stand their ground and fight. But they look scared out of their minds. Where Lego Batman confidently throws punches, Shaggy engages in a panicked slap-fight. Obviously this is a concession the developers needed to make in order to include these characters in the game.
Team packs include two characters and two vehicles or gadgets. The characters are naturally Shaggy and his pal, Scooby Doo. The rest of the cast shows up as non-playable characters. While Scooby is a pretty useful character, Shaggy doesn’t bring a lot to the table. Both are voiced by familiar actors (Frank Welker has been Scooby’s voice in just about everything since 2002 and after playing Shaggy in two live-action movies, Matthew Lillard has been playing the character in most animated versions since 2010).
Scooby’s primary skills are tracking and digging. Tracking allows Scooby (and also Shaggy) to follow clues to solve puzzles. Outside of Shaggy and Scooby, there are only a few other trackers in the game. Digging is slightly more common, but Scooby is one of the few characters who can dig underwater which is necessary to solve some of the puzzles in the game.
Any fan knows that the usually cowardly dog can find his courage when bribed with a Scooby Snack. That’s represented in the game by a stack of Lego bricks that resembles the kinds of sandwiches Shaggy and Scooby prefer when they have access to a kitchen. When Scooby (or any character) eats the Scooby Snack, they temporarily gain super strength presumably due to a boost in courage and not just carbs. The Snack can be upgraded to allow characters to breathe fire or turn into ghosts.
Shaggy also has tracking which makes him a lot like Scooby only less useful because he can’t swim. He does carry a flashlight which allows you to light up some of the dark places you will find while solving mysteries. Sure, Gandalf from the Starter Pack will also fill that role. But you don’t want to explore a haunted mansion with Scooby Doo and Gandalf. You’re going to want Shaggy on the job although Gandalf, Batman and others are certainly welcome to make guest appearances as needed.
Naturally, Shaggy’s vehicle is the iconic Mystery Machine. It’s got the usual vehicle abilities. Nothing overly special, but obviously you’re going to want to drive the floral van around the spooky island just because. It can be upgraded to shoot water, grow and clean up hazards for reasons I won’t pretend to understand other than they had to include a few additional skills to make the set worth buying.
During the first year of the game, the Scooby Doo Team Pack was more essential than it is now. Several other characters have been added to the game in year two so tracking isn’t as rare as it once was. But this pack is still the only way to access the Scooby Doo adventure world which is definitely worth the price of admission for any fan of these characters. Lego Dimensions is all about the details and the Scooby Doo pack gets them right.