A Definitive Doctor Who Game?

Where it maybe unfair to pick on the past attempts to make a Who video game (Destiny of the Doctors, Dalek Attack… more on that later) recent incarnations have also fared poorly.

The jury may have been influenced by the free nature of Doctor Who: The Adventure Games enough to let some of its faults pass by but where cash has been exchanged for goods people have been less tolerant.

Doctor Who: Return to EarthDoctor Who: Return to Earth for the Wii was given the kind of reception only reserved for an Uwe Boll film. Official Nintendo Magazine called it an ‘execrable turd’ which while scathing also gave rise to a larger philosophical debate of what was worse: a turd or an execrable turd? While Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth for the Nintendo DS was dismissed as nothing more than a Professor (Layton) in Doctor’s clothing (check out the Kasterborous review by Paul Cavanagh).

The best that can be said about Doctor Who: Top Trumps is that its the kind of game that your Gran would buy you if the shop had run out of copies of Monopoly Streets.

What’s missing then is a definitive Doctor Who game. A benchmark that can help raise the general funk that hangs over past attempts to take the worlds longest running sci-fi show to the next generation consoles.

So, pooling our resources with a high end gaming think tank (consisting of the honourable Doctors Mario, Bandicoot and Bowser – who mostly just ate the table and tried to burn Mario with fire balls) we at Kasterborous have come up with a top five list of video games we’d like to see as Doctor Who games… because imitation is the most sincere (and less litigious) form of flattery:

1) Heavy Rassilon

When David Cage attempted to bring Noir sensibilities to the PS3, the resulting game, Heavy Rain, with its immersing, every-decision-counts game-play was hailed as revolutionary. Players were able to guide their characters through everyday mudane tasks and the crazy-as-hell slicing your own finger off moments of madness all to save a kidnapped child.

So where does this all this grimness fit in with Doctor Who? Imagine being the Time Lord where every decision counts, where you’re lost, on your own and looking for an adventure and a companion. A good choice and everybody lives and the Doctor dances. Lose, and entire species could be wiped from existence. You decide…

2) Age of (Dalek) Empires

Daleks have been done a disservice by Doctor Who: The Adventure Games (and to a lesser extent Return to Earth.) Gone is the palpable air of fear and dread and in its place stand the new Daleks- mobile chicanes that operate on the same level as the guards in Metal Gear Solid. Easy to avoid and devoid of menace.

What’s need is a back to basics Dalek game based on Ensemble Studios classic Real Time Strategy games Age of Empires. Starting on Skaro, players will launch waves of Dalek troops against the Thals, decimating both the landscape and their opposition as they abandon their home planet- looking for new worlds to make into their own. That is until they come to the jewel in this genocidal crown… Gallifrey.

3) LEGO Doctor Who

Back on more kiddie friendly terrain the popular LEGO series has made great strides in taking simple game play and marrying it to classic film franchises like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter. Its this combination of recreating recognisable scenes from famous films and its simple pick up and play controls that would ideal suit the Doctor.

Imagine taking the First Doctor through Skaro, breaking Daleks down to blocks as you build your way through the post-apocalyptic landscape, then head along with the Second Doctor into the Tomb of the Cybermen(remembering to unlock Jamie as a playable character first.) There nearly fifty years of great stories to draw from with each Doctor guaranteed one great level each.

Why this hasn’t been done is beyond me.

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  1. Jez Noir says:

    May I suggest the model for a definitive Doctor Who gaming experience be taken from Deus Ex? Structure wise, I think it makes sense to build the game around a set of large environments that you can travel between via TARDIS, instead of progressing in a linear fashion level by level – then the game could take in Skaro, Mondas, Gallifrey etc. Also have lots of NPC’s providing varied side missions. And lots of different ways of completing tasks. You can’t play as the doctor mind, only as a companion (so that you can, if you wish, kill adversaries). Depending on how much the Doctor likes what you do could determine how much he helps you (which would replace levelling up benefits). Simples?

  2. Jez Noir says:

    Oh yeah, and get Machinae Supremacy to do the soundtrack!

  3. can’t argue with your thinking there, Jez

    I once conceived an outline for a game I called Gallifrey, which was a sort of Star Wars Galaxies done Doctor Who-style. that too had NPCs offering missions, however the difference was that the player would set out to be a Time Lord, time agent, con man or Dalek Killer (you get the idea).

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