Reviews// Doctor Who: The Adventure Games

Posted 4 Jun 2010 18:10 by
The Daleks' fields of vision are shown using green light and you have to dodge past them before using a burnt-out Hackney carriage to make yourself an entrance to the Underground.

The Daleks seem to be a little short-sighted and, in this instance, a little thick. They still provide a bit of a challenge, though ? like the rest of the game there's certainly nothing massively difficult, but you can't just expect to waltz through without any difficulty at all. This is because, executive producer Charles Cecil told me, the games are meant to be a reasonably quick, fluid experience.

These stealth sections make up a good chunk of the gameplay, as do environment-based puzzles, in which you find and make use of various bits and bobs. They handle fairly well, although the control scheme does feel a little too loose at times. I found myself staring at the ceiling a few too many times, although I'm prepared to admit that might have been my complete inadequacy when it comes to using a mouse in games.

The remainder on the game is made up of more traditional puzzles. The two types that present themselves in City of the Daleks are symbol matching challenges and top-down electric mazes that you have to navigate objects through with the mouse.

But to focus purely on the gameplay elements would be to do a disservice to The Adventure Games. As I mentioned earlier, they're not being treated as an amusing side project ? the BBC wants you to think of these games as full-blooded Who episodes which you happen to be able to play. So how does it stand up on those terms?

Plot-wise, the answer is 'quite well'. It doesn't have so many twists and surprises as you might expect from a TV episode, but there are limits to how much of that you can do in a two and a half hour game that has to have some of that gameplay stuff in. Certainly, getting a canonical Dalek appearance and a trip to their capital city, Kaalann, is not to be sniffed at.

The script is a little let down, however, by the voice acting. While it's great to have Matt Smith and Karen Gillan's voices in there, there's a sense that they haven't fully adjusted to working without sets and props. The result is voice acting that doesn't have the body or urgency of Smith and Gillan's on-screen performances. That's not to say they're by any means bad ? just a bit flatter than we've grown used to.

For Who fans, City of the Daleks is a must. Frankly, since it's free, I probably don't need to tell you that as you've no doubt downloaded it already and you're just reading this so you can nod your head in agreement or shake your fists at the screen. As a newly-minted Who fan I got a big ol' kick out of digging further into the mythos and seeing things I'm unlikely to get on my telly. The BBC's obvious commitment to the project has helped Sumo create a rich experience to coax that nerdy kid inside you from out behind the sofa. If you're a gamer looking for something new ? the gameplay mechanics are nothing ground-breaking, but they come packed with a colourful storyline and you're likely to get something out of City of the Daleks. Plus, it's difficult to sniff at free.

SPOnG Score: 82%
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Anonymous 31 Jul 2010 15:38
GO Doctor who!!
plop meister 22 Aug 2010 10:18
downloading now looks awesome
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bob 6 Nov 2010 12:34
i've played so far all three adventure games and i think i can be proud of my acheivments on the games
emi 24 Jan 2011 12:27
Gotta say, I feel a bit heartbroken at the idea that, as a US fan of the show, I'd have to pay $12 to play these games. While it sounds like an amazing deal for free, it sounds as if it wouldn't really be worth the money. Shame, shame.
alex p 8 Jan 2012 05:38
These games would be a lot more interesting if the animations looked better. Everyone looks stiff and out of place. Don't get me wrong, I'm not usually one for "graphics make the game"..but in this case, the game tries to mimic the TV show, and with the horrible animations, it just..doesn't do that properly, so it kinda takes away the "immersion". Voice acting is good though. very best adventure game.

[8 Jan 2012, 13:46: Message edited by 'config' - spam link removed]
Kash 22 May 2012 07:00
lionn420 / BBCAmerica is not offering the video games for free here in the US we're going to have to pay for them ..ever so slghitly unfair but i'm more than willing to pay the price for a real proper Dr Who game. the graphics look realy good and the action looks good too. while it's a much better game than Destiny of the Doctors (took me forever to find a copy of that game) i do hope one of the episodes takes place entirely in the tardis, let us see what's realy inside that ship
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