Doctor Who – The Adventure Games: Blood of the Cybermen

Crikey. I’ve got such litany of gripes about this game, I guess I should do the decent thing and spend a little time telling you about the good stuff. Don’t worry it won’t take long…

It’s pleasing to note that while many involved with this game will end up with egg on their faces, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan remain unblemished by uncooked omelette. The voice acting in the game is one of the highlights, along with the music. Had the script been considerably better, then the game could have conceivably worked well as an audio play. But the script… no, wait! I haven’t quite finished with the positives yet. It looks pretty good. The character modelling, the environments and the weather effects all look pretty cool, and visually speaking, we’re constantly reassured that we’re in the Doctor Who universe.

Doctor Who: The Adventure Games - Blood of the Cybermen

Right, that’s it, I can start a proper rant now. But one small caveat – I’ll put my hand up and confess that the laptop I was playing the game on really wasn’t up the job. It’s not particularly ancient, it’s got plenty of RAM and a decent enough processor – but it doesn’t quite match up to the minimum spec that the game demands. Mind you, I’ve played plenty of games with larger and more complex 3D environments with no problem. Here, however, the game judders about, the cut-scenes have poor syncing with the soundtrack, and some relatively simple puzzles are rendered stupidly difficult because of the terrible frame rate. After an hour’s play, I was tempted to try frying an egg on the shiny surface of the laptop. What is it with eggs today?

Legal disclaimer: do not attempt to cook food on your computer equipment.

In all seriousness though, I don’t understand what the game is doing that requires so much processing power, and I can only conclude that the game engine has been designed without any consideration given to efficiency. This is a shame because I can see hundreds of kids up and down the country cursing their otherwise perfectly good computers. Given the very young section of the fan base that these games are likely to most appeal to, I hope that this problem will be resolved in future versions of the game.

Doctor Who: The Adventure Games - Blood of the Cybermen

Now, back to that script. Did Phil Ford only remember about the script at the last minute? Did he dredge out a scribbled-on fag packet out of the bin in desperation? Here we find stilted, forced dialogue littered with unfunny ‘jokes’ such as Amy talking about igloos with central heating, or saying she was looking forward to a ‘nice stroll’. In a repetition of Dreamland (which Ford also wrote), it’s apparently impossible to mention ventilation ducts without referencing Die Hard. Contrary to popular belief, references to popular culture in scripts doesn’t always equal cool and postmodern.

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