|Completion Date||Jan. 2, 2014|
|Runner||James 'cooopercrisp' Mernin|
By SDA timing, the run clocks in at 1:32:25. Timing starts when I gain control of Scooby and ends when the Mastermind gets electrocuted.
SCOOBY-DOO!: NIGHT OF 100 FRIGHTS SPEED RUN IN 1:32:25
Note: This run has audio commentary by my sister and I, so I encourage you to check that out if you want a play-by-play while watching the run.
This is a long-standing game in my childhood, and it was a joy to speed run this game. It all started when I saw a 2:43:36 run done by Ghabulous Ghoti (pronounced "Fabulous Fish"). The run was timed from console boot-up till end of the game. I watched it with my sister, and we both agreed that the run could have been far better. To be fair, Ghoti was just doing a run for fun and hadn't planned or routed anything, but he wanted to do better. On July 3, 2013, he uploaded a run that was 2:10:29, shaving more than half an hour from his record. I watched this run as well, and while it was a more polished run than his last, there were still places it could be improved. I decided that while I was at it, I would start speed running the game myself.
I needed a working copy of the game, as I had sold mine years ago. I found one reasonably priced on Amazon, and since it was a fresh copy, the load times were a lot faster. I recorded a run that clocked in at 2:01:24 (this time starting the timer at new game select), shaving about nine minutes from the previous record. I had a lot of deaths, though, and I knew I had to improve my time.
2:01:24 became 1:57:12, and after that I went to school, so I didn't have time to play. Over the winter break, I got a run of 1:54:44, and even though there were a few deaths, I was convinced that there was little time left to save.
Then there was a huge sequence break brought to my attention by Grind3r, a guy with whom I had been avidly discussing the game. It was a complete oversight by the developers, and it was extremely simple to perform. I won't go into what it is now...you'll have to watch the run to figure it out! But my next run clocked in at 1:37:15, and I was so impressed by the time saved that I considered submitting it.
But there were three deaths in that run, and the play at parts was sloppy. I knew I could do better. So on January 2, 2014, I rang in the new year with this beauty: a 1:32:40 run that featured no deaths and solid play throughout. This is timing from the selection of New Game; in SDA time, it clocks in at 1:32:25, starting from initial control of Scooby and ending at the Mastermind's electrocution.
I want to note that this game is available for three consoles: PS2, GameCube, and XBox. PS2 has the worst load times of the three, so a less polished run on GameCube or XBox (which is the fastest) could improve this time.
There's a lot I want to get into, so sit back and relax as I give a play-by-play description of the run's route, the execution, and all of the little tricks strewn about the game.
When I first ran this game, I knew I needed a lot of Scooby Snacks, collectibles needed to unlock new areas of the game. The game expects you to collect a total of 5,550 snacks to complete the game, but as you can see, we won't need quite so many.
In any case, the route initially had Scooby going to the Mystic Playground to collect some snacks before progressing with the main part of the game. I scrapped that and decided to collect around 25 snacks from The Mystery Machine: Part 1 to unlock the first snack gate.
The run progresses as normal until we reach Fear on the Pier! You'll notice that I intentionally start taking damage from the crabs. That is because after you collect the Springs invention, you're expected to trudge through the tar all the way back to the entrance of Part 3. I die intentionally here to save a few seconds by death warping back to the entrance.
Immediately after that, back in Part 2, there is an unintentional trick used to grab a box of snacks and cut down on time trudging through the tar. I bounce off the crab onto a barrel the developers didn't intend for you to land on. I then jump off the barrel and collect the box of snacks floating above the tar. That's one box of snacks I won't need later, and a few seconds saved.
Nothing of significance happens again until Chills and Spills on Haunted Hill!: Part 1. These tree branches are notorious for hitting Scooby when they're not even near him, usually sending him plunging into the pit below. It's very difficult to get through this room without taking damage, and I almost do it here, but then I get caught in a thorny bush. Oh well.
In Part 3, I do my second and final intentional death. Originally, after collecting the Helmet, I climbed back down to the tunnel blocked by cobwebs and went back to On Edge in the Hedge to take a quick trip back to The Mystery Machine. But there's a warp gate in Part 3 of this level, and using that to go back to the Mystery Machine saves a loading screen and thus precious seconds. So I fall down the gap at the top of the hill, activate the warp gate, and warp back. I only miss out on about 8 snacks, so it's no huge loss.
We now enter the manor, and here I want to talk about my most hated enemies in the game: the Headless Specters. They are positioned precisely to walk in your path, and you either have to jump over them or smash them with your Helmet. Otherwise, you end up taking damage. Well, the Helmet is a lot faster than running, so there's a constant need to stay out of the monsters' ways so I don't hit them and waste a second. That's difficult to do, and the Headless Specters are the monsters I hit the most.
Anyway, back to the run. In Clamor in the Manor!: Part 3, there is a box of snacks under one of the pits in the ground. It's a dangerous box to collect, but I have never in any of my attempts died trying to collect it.
Moving ahead to Mind Your Manors!: Part 1, where Ghosts block your path up some stairs. The game wants you to jump over two gaps with Ghosts floating in them, but you can double jump up to the stairs after the first gap so you only have to deal with one of the gaps. Unfortunately, I mess up a little here, and it takes me a few attempts to jump up to those stairs.
In the hallway following that staircase, I figured out a trick to get the last box of snacks high up before the door. What I was doing was using the wardrobe to reach the box, something I did in Clamor in the Manor!: Part 3. But during one of my failed attempts, I tried to see if the lamp before it could be landed on. I figured out that it could, and that I could reach the chandelier next to the box to collect it. It saved a bit of time and looked cooler, too.
In Part 2, there is a narrow hallway filled with Headless Specters and Witches. I always struggled to make it through the hallway without taking too much damage, and this time around I was more successful because I decided on a whim to stop trying to use the Helmet. It made it a lot easier.
In Part 3, you're supposed to ride a chandelier across a large pit to progress. However, the pit isn't very wide, and while I was routing one day, I tried to double jump over to the floor on the other side. Once I proved it was successful and consistent, I incorporated it into my runs, and it worked out beautifully here.
Things go pretty normally from here until I reach Panic in the Attic!: Part 2. It's faster to jump up to go through the gap immediately on the first slide, but I needed some extra snacks in the route, so I decided to climb up the stairs on the bottom intentionally. The stairs here always gave me trouble, so I decided to jump to get past the initial step in the stairs to go faster. I also used the Helmet less here, too, because I was constantly hitting bats and Witch Doctors.
Panic in the Attic!: Part 4 was an interesting level. I was originally collecting nearly every snack in the room, which meant climbing up to two sets of rafters. With a better route, I found that was no longer necessary, so I saved a lot of time by skipping those climbs.
There's also a box of snacks that's difficult to reach pretty high up off of the floor. It is reachable with a double jump, but you can't see it when you're directly under it, so the jump is tricky to pull off quickly. I got it in my second attempt, so I was pretty happy with that.
In A Dark and Stormy Knight!: Part 1, the flaming chimneys shooting fire in a column are the most dangerous hazards in the room. I had died on the last run that made it this far, so I knew I had to be careful here. Turns out, I got the right cycle, and was able to jump over all five chimneys without slowing down, which is ideal.
Cut ahead to Part 3 and the Black Knight boss fight. In the 1:37:15 run, the Black Knight gave me a lot of trouble. It's one of two random boss fights in the game, because he has to walk in front of the switches so you can hit him with electricity. In that run, he kept walking away from the switches I wanted to hit him with, and I lost a good 20-30 seconds off the 1:54:44 run. This time, he behaved much better, and I killed him quickly.
Fishy Clues for Scooby-Doo? was a level that I thought about carefully during my routing. I found the fastest approach was to ignore most of the snacks on the floor and stay above the ground. In Part 1, I did that quite successfully.
In Part 2, there's a trick I found that involved a broken camera pan. Usually when the game pans the camera away from Scooby to show you something, you can't move. The trigger is faulty here, though, and you can move as Scooby through the room while the camera's moving. It messes up the angle a lot though, to the point where you're no longer on screen. Now, the trick here is to jump to the third moving platform blindly, and if you're successful, you can reach the platform leading to the first key a cycle early. Fail, and you fall to the floor, now required to climb all the way back up to reach the key. On every attempt of this trick, I was able to land on the platform, and it worked here, too.
In Part 3, you're expected to go across a series of platforms to reach the other side of the room. It's easier and faster, however, to jump across from the platform with the Ghost Diver onto the platform on the other side of the room. I then decided to forego the snacks on the moving platforms to the right here to just land on the floor and take the trampoline to the exit. It was my first time attempting it, so I was a bit discombublated, but it worked out fine.
In Part 4, I got hit a few times by flying fish, but it was still a decent room.
Coast for Some Ghosts!: Part 1 is an interesting level. There's a secret area with a ton of snacks that you're supposed to reach using the Plungers, but it's easy enough to jump from one of the lower platforms to the platform with the Ghost Diver on it, and progress through the secret backwards. It's important to collect these snacks, and it's a nice trick.
Part 2 features large crates that will kill you if they hit you. I played it safe here, collecting another large amount of snacks while avoiding death. It looks a little slow, but I haven't had the heart to test if a riskier route is faster. I'm still satisfied with this, though.
Part 3 features another unintended trick, another example of poor coding. Towards the end, you're supposed to hit a button with the Super Smash to bring the fishing net in the distance closer so you can swing over to a line of collapsing boats with snacks on them. At first, I ignored these snacks, because I thought it would take too long to backtrack after collecting them. I decided later that it was worth it to grab these snacks after all, and it showed off an unintended trick, too! I managed to get all the snacks on the boats without the Umbrella, a feat in itself.
In Lighthouse Fright House!: Part 1, your goal is to climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse before the light does, thereby losing no time. I figured out that you could hit all the monsters on the way up, and still have plenty of time to make it. It was safer to do it this way and it cost no time.
In Part 2, there is another trick that I decided to try on a whim. With the newly collected Super Smash in tow, I wanted to see if bouncing off the flying fish could allow you to reach the bridge above and skip the whole level. It worked, and with some practice, I was getting it consistently. I got it again here.
Ahead is a 500 snack gate the game expects you to use to go through the catacombs to get the Plungers. However, there is an alternate entrance to this level in Shock on the Dock!: Part 2 that requires the Super Smash. Since the warp gate is right here, it costs little time to go there and enter the catacombs from above. That's 500 fewer snacks you need to collect, making it crucial in a run.
In Creepy Crawlies in the Hallways: Part 1, I was originally jumping for the floating snacks in the room with the rolling boulders. I had died here before, so I decided it was too risky to go for those snacks, and I went right for the exit instead. Only once have I ever managed to make it across without getting hit, and this time wasn't it. Oh well.
With the Super Smash and Plungers, I am now free to move on from the hedge maze levels to Scared Stiff at Skull Cliff!: Part 1. It was brought to my attention by Grind3r that I could fall towards the exit from above, and as long as I mashed the Circle button, I would leave the room before falling to my death. Doing this skips the whole room and a lot of pointless backtracking, so it was definitely a shortcut worth taking.
This run was going great, and I was so confident in Part 4 that I decided to go for some out of the way snacks while waiting for a moving platform to come back. I was expecting a box, but all I got was one snack, and I just barely managed to jump on the moving platform before it left. I breathed a sigh of relief, cursing myself for nearly wrecking the run over one snack, but I was lucky.
The rest of the sea caves and the beginning graveyard levels are straightforward enough, but in A One Way Trip to the Crypt!: Part 3, there was a glitch in the warp gates brought to my attention by Grind3r. Simply put, you could warp to Gloom and Doom Down in the Tomb!: Part 2 before actually activating it. Only from this warp gate was it possible, and it skipped two entire rooms, but more importantly, it skipped a 600 snack gate! This was the huge sequence break I discussed in the introduction, and it was so easy to perform that I couldn't believe how much time it saved.
After that amazing break, though, came the worst part of the run. The Green Ghost fight went horribly. He used his time-consuming beam attack a total of four times. In the ideal fight, he doesn't use it at all. He takes four hits, and I blundered the fourth hit by not jumping, wasting a good 10-15 seconds off an already bad fight. I lost 20 seconds on that split from a run that also had a bad Green Ghost fight. It was my only significant time loss in the whole run.
Disappointment aside, I made a mistake in Wreck on the Deck!: Part 2. I didn't realize it until it was far too late, but I was supposed to collect the snacks on the sails before hitting the buttons to move them. When I saw them out of the corner of my eye, I was horrified, and I spent the rest of the run trying to make up for the lost snacks. In the end, though, I managed without them, saving a fair bit of time in the process. So the mistake was actually helpful.
One thing I tried to do to recover snacks was to reach the fourth ship in Aghast by the Mast!: Part 1 by bouncing off the flying fish. You're normally supposed to use Soap on the Sea Creature in the box below to make it up there. I failed to reach the boat, but in the end it didn't matter anyway.
Aghast by the Mast!: Part 2 was one of my most hated rooms in the game. It was so easy to fall into the water under the moving platforms, and I was doing it time and time again. I finally figured out a way to collect enough snacks and still stay relatively safe from death, and this was only the second run where I didn't die here. I knew I was almost in the clear now when it came to deaths, but one room still loomed in my mind. I'll get to that later, though.
Turns out in Shiver Your Timbers, Scooby!: Part 1, you can bounce off the sail after getting the second key directly to the sail leading to the third key, skipping the spinning platform and saving a lot of time. I wasn't aware of that trick at the time, so if anyone wants to improve this run, that's a place where you can do it.
The Redbeard fight was a bit slow, but still saved time off my previous run because I had a faster Shiver Your Timbers, Scooby!: Part 1. Seeing how the run was going, though, I was still very satisfied.
There's nothing else to note until we reach Who's Yella in the Cellar?: Part 1. In the 1:37:15 run, I was using the Super Smash to bounce off the Space Kooks to reach the higher chandeliers. It worked well in Creepy Crawlies in the Hallways: Part 3, but it was too risky to do it in these levels, so I switched to using Gum. I had far better Parts 1 and 2 by being conservative in this manner.
Everything else goes normally until I hit Little Lab of Horrors: Part 1, one of the most risky rooms in the game. There is a way to skip hitting the first button in the room that activates the platforms above that is best explained by watching it. The route I use includes a totally blind jump from one gurney to the other, and it was the last risky jump in the whole game. When I made it, I knew a deathless run was all but certain.
The last big trick was discovered by Grind3r involving an invisible ledge in Little Lab of Horrors: Part 2. At this point, I was dangerously low on health, so I went out of my way to collect a few sandwiches while I was lost searching for the area I needed to be. There's a ledge to the left of the warp gate up above that you can jump on to reach the upper platform and thereby skip Little Lab of Horrors: Part 3. It took a few tries, but I got up there very quickly and saved a bunch of time off my last run.
In Mastermind Unmasked: Part 2, I play it safe on these platforms over the acid to avoid dying. The platforms are just barely out of reach to jump on immediately after the cut scene skip.
The final leg of the run is the Mastermind fight, and I have never had a perfect first phase with the monsters in a run before. The only damage I took was intentional, as it allowed food to spawn which is all but necessary in the second phase. It's so hard to kill Funland Robots in a group, because the Helmet makes you vulnerable to attack for like a second. Using the stunned Robot to block the others from attacking me was the best way to avoid damage, and it worked like a charm here.
Where the Mastermind spawns in the second phase is random, so I was praying for a good location. He wasn't right next to the electricity, but he was close enough that the second phase went relatively smoothly.
I use a program called WSplit to time my runs. Fifteen out of my eighteen splits were gold, meaning they were the best I had ever done in a run. That tells me that this run is incredible, and with no deaths and only small mistakes, I am more than happy with this run.
The obvious response to this run is to wonder if sub 1:30 is possible. It might be, but it would be difficult and rely on good luck with the Black Knight and Green Ghost boss fights. On a GameCube or XBox, it's definitely possible, but I think I've just about reached my limit on the PS2 version.
I would like to thank Ghabulous Ghoti for sparking my interest in speed running this game and Grind3r for talking with me in the forum and pointing out all of these time-saving tricks. Without them, this run would not exist, and I owe a lot of my success to these two individuals.
What's next for me? Well, I feel as though a 100% run is in order. That involves collecting all of the Scooby Snacks and Monster Tokens, which is a daunting task, but one that is feasible with planning and good execution. I'm already finding a lot of shortcuts, so it is easy to imagine that it will be a great run.
Well, thanks for reading my extensive comments and watching this over ninety minute long run, and I hope it was entertaining. Until next time.