Video games and science fiction go hand in hand pretty well. This is mostly because the largest audience of the gaming industry is still the people who are fans of sci-fi and fantasy genres. So considering that fact that Doctor Who is practically one of the oldest science fiction television shows to still be in production, it is not surprising that there have already been several games based on the show. Here is a quick list of a few essential titles that fans would not want to miss out on.
This old BBC Micro game dates back to almost 3 decades and is one of the first Doctor Who related games ever made. In this game, players must take on the role of the Sixth Doctor (originally portrayed by Colin Baker). For those of you still new to the DW franchise, the 6th is the one wearing a multicolored suit.
Anyway, the story here is that the Doctor must find a way to reach and stop the Master from altering the future. To do so, players must overcome a series of challenges and puzzles inside the ‘mines of terror’ –which is basically a mine for heatonite (a fictional material used to power a future-altering fictional machine). The old 8-bit graphics barely holds well here, with badly planned animation and character design, the game feels less retro and more like a sloppy program. Still, die-hard fans will appreciate the fact that once again, the weaponless Doctor must rely on his wits to save the day.
Not exactly the most accurate Doctor Who game (considering that he is armed with a laser blaster of sorts), but given the events of the recently aired 50th Anniversary Special: the Day of the Doctor, it may actually be possible to finally shoehorn this game into the canon.
Anyway, Dalek Attack is all about players controlling various incarnations of the Doctor (primarily, the Seventh; though additional choices vary depending on the platform you are using). The game is simple, control the hovering platform the Doctor is on and shoot the incoming Daleks. The game would later add a bit of platform jumping into the mix in the later stages but the idea remains the same. Davros also makes an appearance as the final boss –which is sure to delight the fans.
This PC game combines FPS style gameplay with puzzle solving (and a bit of FPS combat) in order to provide DW fans with a more indirect way of playing a game featuring the Doctors. In Destiny, players take control of a Graak. The Graak is a creature created purely out of psychic energy that came from the Doctor, and its’ mission is to help save the Doctor (in his various incarnations) and ultimately, stop the Master.
Considering that the game is a 1997 release, the graphics are pretty old and dated –add in the fact that 3D rendering was still in its’ early days and you can expect to be weirded out by some of the roughly made character models for some of the monsters. Still, the overall gameplay manages to do well (though most of the puzzles are mostly underwhelming, and the repetitiveness starts getting evident early on), and the additional voiceover work from the various actors portraying the Doctors add life to the story (the voice over for Hartnell and Troughton were done by susbstitutes however).
Many of us here grew up on Top Trumps cards (the fighter planes are our favorite from the old series), and it is not surprising that the physical Doctor Who Top Trumps cards are also selling well (the latest expansions include content from the newest specials too). Anyway, the Top Trumps: Doctor Who video game was released on the Sony Playstation 2, the Nintendo DS, and on the PC. The game covers the run of the series from the Ninth Doctor and halfway through the Tenth Doctor’s era (up to the time that Martha was the companion).
For those unfamiliar with Top Trumps, it is a card game where players will each have a card and one calls out a certain stat –whoever holds the card with the higher value (or lower value, depending on the call) wins the match. Win enough matches and you win the game. It is simple, but also highly satisfying. And being able to compare various the stats of the various characters and monsters of the show is a definite plus for fans.
The DW Adventure titles are composed of 4 episodic releases that feature individual plots. The good part is that the stories presented here are considered canon and are referenced a few times in the actual show. The let down is the fact that the game still needs a lot of work. From clumsily made character models to bad stage design, it is a surprise that sheer fandom alone allowed this game to be successful to a degree. Still, with episodic releases now to be a proven formula, it would not be surprising to see a later series of DW related titles that are able to properly capitalize on the medium.
The Eternity Clock is a standalone game featuring the Eleventh Doctor and River Song on their last major adventure before the events of Silence in the Library. In this game, players must travel across time and space and outwit several of the Doctor’s greatest enemies in order to assemble the Eternity Clock (which is basically the game’s deus ex machina). Plot-wise, it does okay for the era it is set in. Gameplay-wise, Eternity Clock should have spend more time on the development stage. The controls are clumsy, the puzzles unintuitive, and the overall gameplay is a drag. The only real saving grace of the game is that it is easily accessible for fans (it is out on various platforms), and the fact that you finally get to see the Doctor and River go on an adventure on their own.
This mobile app game is a match-3 free to play title with various in-app purchase options. Overall, it is a fairly decent game with good artwork, and wide range of characters to choose from. The only downside is the extremely low drop rate for rare items (which is pretty much a norm for all freemium apps), and the fact that the story leaves much to be desired. This game mainly focuses on the seasons 6 and 7 of the new era (which means that the events focus on the episodes of the 11th Doctor). Still the ability to change which Doctor you are using at will and being able to mix and match up to five various companions at any time is a definite plus for the fans.