Here’s a post for all enthusiasts of Doctor Who and video games… don’t all thank me at once
As best I can tell there have been only 6 video games based on Doctor Who over the years. I have played precisely zero of these, so I have a bit of a fascination for every one of them (well, except perhaps the most recent one). I have a pretty good idea at least one person reading this (*cough*, AW, *cough*) has played some and if you have, please share your opinion in the comments!
(Note that I am only describing the officially licensed Doctor Who games here – as you can imagine there are oodles of fan-made games, and even-more-oodles of unrelated games with Who cameos. I am also omitting various official ‘flash games’ the BBC has included on the Doctor Who website.)
Doctor Who: The First Adventure (BBC Micro / BBCSoft / 1983)
The first officially licensed Doctor Who game appeared in 1983 and ’starred’ the fifth Doctor in an action game consisting of four mini-games that were themselves ripoffs of existing arcade games (Pac-Man, Frogger, Space Invaders and… Battleship!). The screenshot shown is from the third stage, the Space Invaders ripoff. Apparently the game was crap (surprise, surprise) and produced in limited quantity. Therefore it is sought after these days by collectors.
Doctor Who And The Warlord (BBC Micro / BBCSoft 1985)
A text adventure in which you play the role of the companion to the (unspecified, presumably Colin Baker) Doctor. Apparently quite an amateurish piece of software, and even harder to find intact these days due to low sales. Apparently it was planned to release a Spectrum version as well, but it was never made.
Here’s an original TV ad for the game, worth watching to hear the description of the advanced features (saving!)
Doctor Who And The Mines Of Terror (C64 & BBC Micro / Micro Power / 1985)
This was a very large, complex and difficult graphic adventure game in which the player assumed the role of Doctor number 6 (Colin Baker) as he squared off against The Master and a collection of alien baddies trying to make a ‘time reset switch’. The Doctor’s companion in this endeavour was a robot cat (seen in the image above).
The game was long in development and very costly for the developer, and poor sales (notice a trend?) led to their demise. I very strongly remember reading all about this one in the UK game mags of the day, and looking forward to getting it once it was released in Australia. Which, alas, it never was. In my youth this was the only Doctor Who game I ever knew about, and consequently the one I wanted to play more than any other.
And here is the theme song on the C64. (<- this is really, really awesome)
(Doesn’t that theme remind you of the Zelda 2 NES music?)
Dalek Attack (everything / Admiral Software / 1992)
This game, a sort of “Doctor Who meets Contra”, is perhaps the strangest officially licensed Doctor Who game ever made. It’s a run-and-gun in which you (as one of several selectable Doctors) face off against a wealth of baddies and blast the hell out of them with guns. In other words, it’s not very Doctor Who-ish! Be sure to check out the advertisement (on the right above), particularly the list of enemies they boast about (Sumo Wrestlers?!?!?). The game is apparently ludicrously difficult
The game came out for many different systems. Above are C64, Spectrum and Amiga screenshots.
Above is an original review of the spectrum version from a gaming magazine of the time.
Doctor Who: Destiny Of The Doctors (PC / BBC / 1997)
An elaborate CD-based adventure , this game featured all surviving actors that played the Doctor reprising their roles in an epic struggle through time against the Master (played by Anthony Ainley, in his final performance before his death). The game is a weird hybrid of Doom and Myst, and amazingly enough, was even released in the US! Shamefully have to admit I never knew at the time, else I may have bought it. It’s still freely available on ebay or amazon.uk.
There are many videos of gameplay on Youtube. Here is an example. The game looks intriguing, albeit crap.
Top Trumps Doctor Who (PS2, DS, PC, Wii / Eidos / 2008)
And now we are launched into the new era, with the latest game being a version of the Top Trumps card game, in electronic form. Reasonably playable, and (apparently) well programmed, I feel I should certainly obtain the DS version at some time…
The above screens are from the PS2 (left) and DS (right versions). Gameplay consists of taking a card from your deck and matching it against your opponent. The strongest card wins. Simple as that!
Here’s some video of the PC version. It actually looks fairly decent.
And that ends my list of official Doctor Who games. As I said originally I have never actually played any of these, although I would love to. Anyone know of any I have missed?