Monday, 30 August 2010

Doctor Who - TARDIS

The new Doctor Who adventure game is here. Download and play along at home or just skip that and read my spoiler filled recap below. Whatever. I'm not your dad.

The Game

The greatest piece of news since the announcement of the Doctor Who adventure game series is, THERE ARE NO STEALTH SECTIONS IN THIS EPISODE. Hallelujah!


So this instalment has removed the direst part of the previous games, does this mean that TARDIS is a bold new step forward? Uh, no. Sorry. The hateful minigames are still there, the drag-a-thing-through-the-maze-but-don't-touch-the-wires game is present along with a timed button pressing activity, which is made very frustrating when coupled with lousy character movement. The Doctor (as portrayed by Matt Smith) may move like a man piloted by an uncoordinated bag of epileptic hedgehogs but that's no reason to try and emulate it in the game. The Doctor moves with the soupy grace of a milk float in treacle when attempting to turn mid movement. This makes the final 60 second TARDIS piloting game annoying in the extreme.

Still, at least in this episode you get to explore the TARDIS. Great, eh? Imagine visiting all those mad, impossible rooms that must be contained within the time machine's many corridors. Well keep imagining because you won't see them in this game. This instalment was clearly created on a budget, there are only two rooms and the adversity is a glowing blob with a generic name, The Entity. I'm worried that for this instalment it seems the money has run out and there are still 3 more to come.

The voice acting is an improvement this time, I can only assume (because I haven't checked) that the script was performed in between filming of the regular series and the Christmas special. Matt Smith sounds much more comfortable and less sleepy this time around. Karen Gillen is much improved too, but to be honest she does sound a bit bored of things at times. It doesn't help that Amy is written as being unthinking and careless as she casually insults everything and everyone and vandalises the Doctor's drawing room.

Collectibles are in this episode too, they're not hard to find this time. I'd advise looking underneath the TARDIS controls and the stairs. And yes, none of them are exciting at all.

TARDIS is also very short. It took about an hour to play through, there isn't a whole lot of action and the tale is very simple. This game is more of an interlude rather than a full fledged episode.

The Story

The plot is thus, The Doctor and Amy are discussing holiday plans when the TARDIS goes a bit wrong and flushes the Doctor out into space. There's a prologue available online that explains why the TARDIS is misbehaving. I wonder why it wasn't created as a cutscene? I guess it was for budgetary reasons. The cost of some horse faced aliens and another voice actor probably being too much for what is a very small game.

Anyway, the Doctor is in space without a helmet! Calamity! The Doctor, via the gift of charades, tells Amy to extend the TARDIS field around him so he can breathe. Amy accomplishes by pressing red buttons. Go player one! The Doctor then tells Amy to construct a tractor beam by finding some old junk in the TARDIS Drawing Room. A room we have never heard of up until now but it has been there all along. Honest.

Amy ventures into the drawing room and finds various items from the Doctor's previous adventures; the fourth Doctor's scarf, the Fifth's cricket ball, a Cyberman breast plate, the fob watch from Human Nature, and a few other items of interest. There also seems to be a ye olde portrait of what appears to be Steven Moffat above the fireplace, the picture shows him holding a sonic screwdriver. Amy finds the Master's laser screwdriver and heads back to the console room. A vase is broken while she's in the room but she dismisses it because the plot demands she casually ignore it. A glowing orange vapour emerges from the vase...

Amy completes the laser screwdriver/tractor beam device and pulls the Doctor back into the TARDIS. Unfortunately there's another wobble from the TARDIS and Amy is catapulted into the future of the TARDIS where she's now trapped on her own.

The Doctor runs off to the drawing room to construct a techno babble device so he can save Amy. The Doctor tries to explore the TARDIS but is sent back to the console room if he tries going anywhere but the drawing room. There is also no corridor exploring animation during the journey to the drawing room. The player is disappointed.

The Doctor completes the device and sends a message to Amy in the future. Amy activates it but is attacked by the glowing blob that escaped from the vase as she reappears in the present TARDIS. The Doctor manages to cajole The Entity (the creature's name may as well have been Glowy Blob, it has more personality at least) back into a vase and then he releases The Entity into the time vortex where it can feed on the smaller creatures within.

The Doctor is then allowed to explore the TARDIS but he finds he can only really examine the console controls. The console gives detailed descriptions as to what each lever and button does. The player has the sinking feeling that he's going to have to remember this stuff...

The Doctor then decides everything is okay and he can begin another journey through time. The player then frustratedly attempts to pilot the TARDIS four times before finally getting the ship moving.

The Doctor takes Amy to London in the future where it has become an underwater city. Any chances of a relaxing holiday are ruined by a large, monstrous shark patrolling the waters...

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