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Destiny of the Doctors

Game review by Darrell and Edwin Patterson

“The Master holds the seven incarnations of the Doctor as prisoners in a vast combat arena. He must be challenged. You are the challenger - the Graak - an electro-telepathic entity created by the Doctor. Fail and the Doctors, and Graak, are removed from space and time forever.”

As the above hints, this foray of Doctor Who into the world of multimedia promised a lot. The various elements of the game entices and excites the mind: there are seven Doctors, Daleks, Cybermen, Sea Devils, Autons, Sontarans, Silurians and the Master all in one interactive environment. There is a multimedia database with at least 600 entries. There is new audio from Nick Courtney and others portraying their respective characters from Doctor Who. And best of all there is all-new video sequences of Anthony Ainley as the Master!

How could the BBC go astray with this combination of exciting elements? Well sadly they have veered off course and lost their way.

Destiny of the Doctors is a fairly straight-forward adventure game lending itself mostly to the style of Wolfenstein, Doom and their clones. To play the game, you must free each incarnation of the Doctor from the Master who has imprisoned them in a huge combat area known as the Determinant. You must free each incarnation of the Doctor in two stages. Firstly you must complete a task that the Master gives you. These tasks are in the same format as the aforementioned Doom games, but are however not as good. For a fan of Doctor Who, this game play is interesting because one gets to interact with Daleks, Cybermen and Autons and face off against the Master. The challenges by the baddies however are slow and repetitive, so one you have faced say an Auton, facing another is the same as before. So as a game, Destiny of the Doctors - dare we say - gets boring.

Once you have completed a task, you face the Master who issues a challenge. Various challenges include jousting with a Sontaran or battling a Raston Warrior Robot inside the Doctor's mind. The challenges are the best game-play part of the game, so act as a kind of impetus for getting through the ‘task’ period of game-play. The challenge part of the game involves a lot of the newly recorded material by Anthony Ainley. These clips are the highlight of the CD as Ainley plays the part of the Master in the fantastic, overstated manner that became his trademark in the series. Fortunately these sequences can be accessed straight off the CD, so can be enjoyed at leisure.

As for the rest of the game, the graphics are a bit blocky, however thankfully each monster is recognisable. The backgrounds are however bland, lifeless and repetitive making playing this game for hours on end visually very unappealing. Really the game is well suited to the computer industry of three years ago, but compared to today's 3D platforms it looks primitive.

There are several ways that BBC Multimedia could have improved this CD ROM. Firstly they should have made the database accessible outside of game-play. This is because not only do you have to play the game for about ten minutes to access this novel feature, but accessing it uses up life energy meaning that you must die in order to have a proper look at the thing! Secondly, they should have made the character the user plays a recognisable character from Doctor Who. To be a fondly remembered character is somehow more appealing than an unimaginative energy blob.

So, overall the team responsible for Destiny of the Doctors squandered the exciting elements that it was built from. Dalek Attack's supremacy on the Doctor Who computer game front is thus still intact, and until the BBC come up with a version of Destiny that has an accessible data base, this release should remain as a nicely packaged space filler on completists' shelves only.


This item appeared in TSV 55 (October 1998).