Doctor Who Adventure Games Eps 1 and 2 – Review

Doctor Who Adventure Game Logo

What’s it about?

City of the Daleks: The TARDIS materializes in 1963 to find the human race crushed by the Daleks. The Doctor embarks on a quest to the Dalek planet to correct time and save the last survivor of Humanity – Amy Pond!

Blood of the Cybermen: The Doctor and Amy materialize in the Arctic – where members of a survey team are turning from flesh to metal and digging something sinister from under the ice that’s been waiting thousands of years – an army of Cybermen!

Review it:

I wasn’t expecting much from these games, partly due to experience with previous “Who” games and partly because they’re offered for free by the BBC. I know –

it’s a terrible assumption to make, but you get nothing good for free, right? Wrong.

Game Engine

Based on the characters of the 2010 Doctor Who series, the character models are pretty darn accurate for a low-specification game. The Doctor and Amy both

look enough like themselves and the motion capture definitely reflects the actors’ on-screen movements adequately. That said, the Daleks in the first installment are quite bland in texture (though this could be due to the new design) and their is some dodgy-clipping that occurs as they move around at times.

The locations are nice enough, if a little sparse in decore. From devastated London, to the City of the Daleks on Skaro, ice cave to isolated research base, each location is distinct and coherently mapped. Exploring the Dalek city was a particular joy for me as a long term Who-fan.

London Devastated in "City of the Daleks"

London Devastated in "City of the Daleks"

Voice work is … average. While Matt Smith, Karen Gillian and their co-stars perform their lines adequately, there’s sometimes something missing from the delivery. It’s almost as if the actors were not really aware of what was going on in the game and so their delivery was almost out-of-sync with the action, if you get what I mean.

Music and sounds are used to nice effect – the Doctor’s theme announces success on a mini-game for example and really does hearten the player! Also, it’s chilling to hear Daleks shouting HALT and knowing the order is aimed directly at you.

Gameplay

Gameplay is simple, with the player guiding The Doctor and / or Amy Pond through the levels and solving simple puzzles along the way. At various points, it’s necessary to sneak past Dalek or Cybermen. These segments are quite tense at times, though patience always proves to be the key. Each enemy has a “sight
indicator” meaning that you always know where their attention is … and the full range of their awareness. While this helps the more inexperienced game player, I found it made the sections slightly too easy and made me wonder how the Daleks (and indeed the Cybermen) became so feared when they can only see about 2 meters in a cone in front of them!

Other puzzles involve negotiating objects through mazes without touching the walls, re-wiring components without crossing cables, symbol matching and so on. There’s enough variety in these to stop them feeling over-repetitive as each instance of a puzzle is given at the very least a slightly different interface. There’s no punishment for failing these, which takes some of the fun away as you can just keep re-trying until success is achieved.

Likenesses are great for a freebie!

Likenesses are great for a freebie!

The games include a number of collectibles that expand on the player’s Who knowledge (OK – it probably doesn’t if they’re fans!) and finding these can add a certain degree of replayability to the adventures, though there is no indication of how many are in each segment which is a slight flaw. Additionally, there are “real world facts” dotted around which shed a little knowledge through the game which is a nice little addition.

Overall

Fun but simple gameplay on top of enjoyable stories. I particularly enjoyed the “pre-title” scenes followed by a simplified rendering of the current title sequence. These two installments are well worth a look.

Rate it: 3.5 / 5 – Not for the hardcore gamer, maybe but there’s enough to keep casual gamers and Who fans occupied here.
Dry Slaps: 0 / 5.
Buy / Rent / Avoid: Well, they’re free …

Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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