Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen

Posted by Mervyn Graham.
First posted on 25 July 2014. Last updated on 25 July 2014.
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Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen
The Doctor and Amy arrive at the Arctic Circle in the TARDIS.
Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen
A Cybermat bites Chisholm and infects him.
Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen
The Doctor holds an arm of a Cyberman.
Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen
The Doctor must work quickly to synthesize the antidote.
Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen
The Doctor rescues Amy who has been kidnapped by the Cybersalves.

The game is available at GamersGate.

Doctor Who: The Adventure Games

The series is comprised of 5 episodes:

Episode One: City of the Daleks

Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen

Episode Three: TARDIS

Episode Four: Shadows of the Vashta Nerada

Episode Five: The Gunpowder Plot

There are hardly any sci-fi fans who have not heard of Doctor Who. Created originally as a television series by BBC in 1963, Doctor Who is now the longest (though not continuous) running sci-fi television show of all time. In Series 5 (2010) of the show, the Doctor is the played by Matt Smith, and his travelling companion Amy (Amelia) Pond is played by Karen Gillan. Commissioned by the BBC, Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, is an episodic game series developed by Sumo Digital originally as downloadable games to supplement the show in the UK. The games have since been made available worldwide, published by BBC Wales Interactive. Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen is the second episode of the series.

Doctor Who: The Adventure Games is a third-person point-and-click adventure where you take on the protagonist roles of the Doctor and his companion Amy. In this episode, the Doctor and Amy resume their travel in the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), a time machine housed in a blue police box, when they respond to a distress beacon emanating from somewhere at the Arctic Circle. Tracking the beacon's signal, they arrive at a geological dig site, about 30 miles west of the GSO (Geological Survey Outpost). There, a team of researchers are digging inside an ice cave when they unearth a large metallic arm of a Cyberman. Visibly shaken, Chisholm (a member of the research team) takes off on a skidoo and flees for his life. An earth tremor causes him to fall off a ledge, where he is rendered unconscious. The Doctor and Amy rescue Chisholm and take him back to the research station. Upon arriving at the station, however, Chisholm is bitten by a Cybermat (a large tadpole like metallic creature) and gets infected. Without an antidote, he will eventually transform into a Cyberslave. It is up to the Doctor and Amy to save Chisholm by procuring an antidote and then stop the deadly Cyberslaves before they can awaken the Cybermen from their cryonic sleep deep beneath the station.

Downloading and installing the game is straightforward without any glitches. The game does not include a separate game manual. After creating a player profile, you are presented with the Main Menu from which you can select Play, Options, Help, or Quit. In the Options menu, you can select Controls, Display, Sound (including Subtitles), or Change Player. Once the game begins, if you are ever stuck, you can talk to Amy who will always provide a helpful clue on what you need to do or where you need to go next. If you are still stuck, you can also use the Esc key to get help on the immediate objective. There are no save game slots to make manual saves. Rather, after each milestone has been reached, an auto save is made by the game. If you want to return to the game later, you can use the available auto saves to do so.

Gameplay is mainly targeted at casual adventure gamers who are also fans of the show. Navigation is done by using both the mouse and the keyboard. I find it easiest to use the keyboard to walk and the mouse to turn or pan. In certain places, you are also able to climb up or down. During stealth mode, you are automatically crouched down when the enemies are near. If you ever get exterminated by the Cybermats or the Cyberslaves, you will be resurrected to the last autosave checkpoint to try again. Throughout the game, you are constantly reminded of what your next task is. As a bonus challenge, you also can find hidden collectable cards on the previous Doctors, past characters and monsters, and trivia about the show.

The plot is that of a typical episode of Doctor Who as seen on television. Although many of the details may make most sense to only diehard fans of the show, the story is sufficient to almost survive as a standalone adventure. My only criticism is that the game also follows the television show in its length, making it a rather short adventure.

The character models for the Doctor and Amy are instantly recognizable and closely resemble the actors who portray them respectively. According to the developer, the characters are animated using rotoscope technique where actors' movements are captured and animators then trace over their footages frame by frame. Built using the proprietary Immersion engine, the interior of the TARDIS also looks like that from the television show. The game features the familiar opening Doctor Who theme composed by Ron Grainer as well as the voices of Smith and Gillan playing their own roles. As in the television show, Smith speaks with a very English accent whereas Gillan speaks with a broad Scottish accent. Lip synchronization is very good. The voice acting for the other characters are also well done. Ambient music, ranging from light orchestral to dramatic, is present throughout. Sound effects are aptly done.

Despite being a short game, there are 7 puzzles to solve. There is the obligatory wiring puzzle, a laser and mirror deflecting puzzle, a sound wave matching puzzle, and several color based puzzles. All of the puzzles are menial and can be easily solved, even for novice adventure game fans. Beyond these puzzles, the only challenge in the game is to avoid getting bitten by the Cybermats or killed by the Cyberslaves. Limiting your resurrections is a feat within itself.

In sum, Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episode Two: Blood of the Cybermen is quite an enjoyable game. While fans of Doctor Who will undoubtedly relish the experience, non-fans of the show will also likely gain some pleasure playing the game. Compared to previous computer games featuring Doctor Who, this game is definitely among the better adaptations of the franchise.

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