With more experience playing the tie-in board game than viewing the film, Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase was unmarked territory for me. Nostalgia may serve my mind from time to time, but it did not stand the tests and tribulations of my brain. It has not survived the onslaught, but I like to think I can rekindle this old, passionate flame. The old dog is still kicking. Scooby-Doo, not me. I’m not that old. While I may be a lost relic of the 20th century, I like to think I can live out my days coasting off of how much nostalgia my generation holds for these pop culture packets. Surely injecting enough sentimentality into my rose-tinted eyes will be enough to overcome the grief of living, isolated and alone.
Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase looks surprisingly fantastic. While it may be a tad heavy of a note to make for a family film, there is a sense that the Phantom Virus (Gary Anthony Sturgis) represents the Y2K bug fracas. “He’s deleting our data!”, one scientist screeches. Alongside a baseball-cap wearing professor and a man far too similar to Albert Einstein, this trio of bumbling fools have birthed a memorable monster for the Scooby-Doo brand. Were they not the fears millions of flag-bearing American heroes had when they realised their data would be wiped at the turn of the century? President Clinton did us proud, monitoring this scandalous act and providing plenty of cash flow for that scared population. Still, I’m not convinced a mad German scientist and two comical sidekicks are enough to prevent the Phantom Virus and the cyber chase he shall take these meddling young kids on.
“Some of this old junk could be very valuable,” Velma blows the dust off of a recently uncovered book. Such dust heads right into the direction of the Phantom Virus, who sneezes. He then steps on a magnet, where Daphne, Fred (Frank Welker) and Velma (B. J. Ward) hold up giant magnets like they’re some form of super squad. Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase hits all the right notes. From Shaggy and Scooby downing horrendous amounts of food to the inevitable meta jokes on splitting up and looking for clues. The pacing is fast and encourages this sort of humour. It is safe and similar, but the mystery on their hands is a change in tact and offers audiences the chance to venture forth into the future. Down into the depths of “cyber space” we go. Never to return. Don’t look back.
When you have Sigmund Freud as a background gag followed by a montage of Shaggy and Scooby-Doo dealing damage to an entity of electricity, it is hard not to have fun with Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase. There are many ethical and legal considerations to having a video game that cannot be exited until completed, but we should focus more on the space buggy “needing new shocks”, whatever that means. Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase is fast, dumb and fun. A trilogy of ideals that has never escaped the Scooby-Doo series, but is certainly most prominent here.