Doctor Who Adventure Games

Episode One: City of the Daleks


If you were expecting an adventure game, prepare to be horribly disappointed. There are no clever puzzles, no amusing dialogue, no clues to find, not even a bunch of random objects to collect and put together for inexplicable reasons. No, what this is is... well, it's several different (and equally shitty) games combined into one, for no readily apparent reason.


The first aspect you come up against is the stealth part. Now, I'm not the greatest fan of stealth games at the best of times, but I can appreciate that people like them and they can be done well. This isn't. It is slow, it is tedious, it is repetitive. And it's not even difficult. The only challenge comes in forcing yourself to not try to rush through it, because you will spend a lot of time sitting and waiting for Daleks to turn around so you can walk behind them.

The difficulty ranges from "don't step on the green bits of the floor" to "wait for the Dalek to look in the other direction, then just walk wherever you want". The only variation on this being that after a while you get to play as Amy, and she turns invisible half the time (I'll talk more about that later), so you can pretty much just ignore the stealth entirely in many of her bits.

Now, some may argue that this shouldn't be too difficult, as it's a game for children. That would be an excellent point if not for the fact that it is so incredibly slow and tedious. I cannot imagine a child getting through this game, because after two or three of these stealth sections any child will be bored. And there are a lot of them. A lot.

Also, even when speed would be helpful, you can't actually speed up. Well, not unless you get spotted by a Dalek, in which case you get a chance to run away. This is really handy as Amy, because you can time it so that she gets spotted just as she's about to go invisible, then just run straight through the whole stealth section, making the second half of the game much easier than the first half.


At various points, the Doctor will whip out his magic wand and you'll be forced to do an easy but frustrating puzzle. Examples include simple mazes and symbol matching games. The problem is that the real skill being tested here is your ability to control the mouse cursor well, and an error forces you to begin again. So because the solution is so blindingly obvious, you're tempted to just rush it, which ends up wasting more of your time.

As with the stealth aspects, this ends up being very frustrating but not at all challenging.

Adventure game aspects

Occasionally you're asked to collect a couple of things, which sounds adventure-gamey, but is actually just an excuse for another stealth section, because everything you want is just lying on the ground and to get it you just need to get past some Daleks.

Character interaction is almost non-existent, because 99% of the characters in this game are Daleks, and Daleks do not make for good conversation. There is some though, and though I must admit I didn't play through it a second time to check, there didn't seem to be any consequence to what you actually said to people. There are only a couple of spots in the game where you get dialogue options anyway, and they're very brief. It pretty much seemed like they were there because the designers thought that they were obligatory, not because they were a good addition to the game.


Adding to the sense of tedium and making the game feel really uninteractive is the fact that you have essentially two controls. The left mouse button is the "do things with the thing" control, where "the thing" is whatever interactive object is nearby, and the middle button which is technically the inventory button, but really is the "use the magic wand" button, because that's the only inventory item you have that doesn't have one specific purpose known in advance.

I'll grant you that the control scheme is easy to get a handle on, but it seems purposefully designed to encourage you to not bother thinking about anything. You see something glowing blue, you click. If that doesn't work, try the magic wand. Those are your two options.


Awful. Just awful. The cut scenes are incredibly uncanny-valley and look worse than the actual gameplay. I'm not sure whether they were going for a realistic or a cartoony look, but they failed either way. The Daleks look almost two-dimensional, the humans (and the Doctor) are expressionless and creepy, and it seems that no attempt at all was made to synch the mouth movements with the speech. It all just screams "We allocated $4.50 for the graphics budget."

Educational aspects

Yeah, for some reason they've decided that this game should be educational. But they didn't want to bother incorporating anything educational into the plot, so instead they've just scattered things around the place that look like you can interact with them but when you click, instead it just tells you some boring information. Like, the year that Nelson's column was erected. Fascinating.


The other things you'll find scattered around the place are collectible objects. Each one gives you a little bit of trivia about Doctor Who characters. And by "trivia" I mean things that anyone who watched the relevant episodes would know already and that people who didn't watch the episodes are unlikely to care about. Also, when I finished the game it encouraged me to go back and play again to see more of them, so I'm guessing that you can't actually collect all of them in one playthrough, and the idea that anyone would ever play this game twice is simply laughable.

Oh, also there are various different flavour jelly babies. They all give you the same bit of trivia, so once you've seen one, you've seen them all. But I guess maybe if you play through six or seven times you could collect them all and then maybe you'd get... something? I don't know.


Act One

The Doctor and Amy arrive on Earth in the 1960s to find the place conquered by Daleks. They follow a survivor and see her ruthlessly gunned down by a Dalek, then they leave. There's not much to complain about here, because basically nothing happened.

Act Two

Amy is fading in and out of reality, because apparently time travel works like in Back to the Future today, so the Doctor builds her a magic bracelet to keep her from fading away. Then they go to meet the Dalek leader, to get him to tell them what's going on. Which he does. Apparently the Daleks have managed to get a hold of the Time Lords' greatest power source, the Eye of Harmony.

What's that? Eye of Time? No, I'm pretty sure the Time Lord power source is called the Eye of Harmony. Yeah, it's in the old series'. They even had it in the fucking awful movie. It's pretty well established. Really? That can't be right. It is? Oh.

Sorry, turns out it's a totally different power source called the Eye of Time, which has never been mentioned before but has apparently always been there and is just way more powerful than the Eye of Harmony. I mean, the Eye of Harmony may have been the only power source capable of making TARDISes work and the source of all the Time Lords' power, but no, I'm sure this Eye of Time (which has always been there and was totally not made up on the spot for no fucking reason) is pretty great.


Anyway, the Doctor and Amy jump into it, because they're fucking retarded.

Act Three

Fortunately, this just transports them back in time to just before the Eye of Time was brought to Skaro, for some reason. So they build a booby trap to stop any Daleks from following them. The dialogue tries to imply that this is urgent, but there's no actual time limit, and the voice acting and music fail to convey any sense of urgency, so it just didn't feel like a worry to me.

After they get done with that, Amy (who is now fading in and out again because MAGIC

SCIENCE) uses her invisibility power to go past some Dalek guards and evil plants to get some bits the Doctor needs. The Doctor remarks that the security system is linked to the eyes of every Dalek everywhere, so he can use it to blind them. But only with a very limited range. Because apparently "all Daleks everywhere" doesn't mean what I thought it meant.

So they set up the blindy-thing in the Eye room and then blow up the Eye of Time, but not before jumping back through it to get back to the TARDIS, because apparently it knows where they want to go or something.

And then they look at the TV in the TARDIS and see the girl who got gunned down earlier is alive again
never died, and Earth is not overrun with Daleks. Hooray.

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