Doctor Who: The Adventure Games – City of the Daleks

The Doctor and Amy Pond have landed in London. It’s 1963 and they’re all set to meet The Beatles (definitely Lennon, not so much Ringo – “there’s no such thing as a hot drummer”).  In the tradition of all good Who adventures, however, the reality outside the TARDIS is not quite what the Doctor promises and soon turns into a race against time to save the last human being in the universe, one Amelia Pond.  Welcome to the first of four Doctor Who adventures to be realised via the Doctor Who website and aimed at everyone, whether they’re six or sixty, who loves Doctor Who.

Many film and TV tie-ins are considered to be, well, just a little bit rubbish. They’re an easy way to make money for companies, because they’ll sell to fans of the show or film almost regardless of whether they’re actually any fun to play. You can abandon that thought pretty much straight away here – for starters the game’s completely free. Yup, it will cost you nothing at all to enjoy each of the four adventures. Secondly, everything has been created with the full co-operation of the full Doctor Who team – from the people behind the scenes to the stars themselves. The story has been written by Phil Ford, a respected genre writer who has written for Doctor Who and Torchwood and has been treated in exactly the same way as an episode of the show would be. You’re effectively playing a game of the fourteenth episode of the current series of Doctor Who.

Graphically the game has been designed to run on an average home PC – the game designers know that people who are interested in these games aren’t going to necessarily have the latest graphics cards and system set-ups. As such, you’re not going to get high-end visuals but what you do get is still pretty damn good. Trafalgar Square has been faithfully recreated (well, recreated if it had been destroyed by the Daleks) and, as the setting for the first portion of the game, has a nice authentic Earthy feel. Once you enter the middle of the story and journey to Skaro you’ll find yourself in a city which, while futuristic, retains a feel which is unmistakably Dalek. And don’t forget to look out of the windows.

The sound in the game is excellent. Featuring the voices of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan you’re whisked into the story through the use of cutscenes before being thrown into the gameplay. The musical score of Doctor Who has always been an important feature – characters and monsters had their own signature music, and the game is no different. The music helps to lend a level of atmosphere and excitement to the game – much as does to with the TV show itself, except this time you’re responsible for guiding the Doctor past the ever watchful eyestalks of the Dalek drones.

In terms of longevity, you’re getting about two hours of gameplay here if you want to see the story from start to finish. The game play varies between stealth sections, where you have to avoid the Dalek’s watchful eye and exploratory sections where you’ll be looking for a specific item or items. You’ll also find yourself up against increasingly tricky mini-games. Bearing in mind that the game is designed for everyone to play these aren’t particularly taxing but do require either a steady hand or fast reflexes in places – often a mix of the two – whether you’re guiding a ball through a maze, without touching the sides, or trying to match a rapidly approaching series of symbols, the minigames will keep you on your toes.  There’s also another couple of elements which have been thrown into the game, which help to increase the longevity and add replay value. As the BBC’s remit is to entertain, educate and inform you’ll find, throughout the game, little fact bubbles that pop up – they’re on all sorts of things from London buses to Dalek machinery – these contain little nuggets of information, relating either to the history of the real item or, in the case of things from the Who-verse, little info bursts relating to the show. There are also collectible cards throughout the four episodes – these cover everything from the Doctors, through to the companions, the monsters and different flavours of jelly baby (ask your parents, folks, if you don’t know why).







Leave a Reply