Friday, 31 December 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today

Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Xmas Special Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today

Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today

Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today

Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today


Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Doctor Who - TARDIS


The new Doctor Who adventure game is here. Download and play along at home or just skip that and read my spoiler filled recap below. Whatever. I'm not your dad.

The Game

The greatest piece of news since the announcement of the Doctor Who adventure game series is, THERE ARE NO STEALTH SECTIONS IN THIS EPISODE. Hallelujah!

Phew.

So this instalment has removed the direst part of the previous games, does this mean that TARDIS is a bold new step forward? Uh, no. Sorry. The hateful minigames are still there, the drag-a-thing-through-the-maze-but-don't-touch-the-wires game is present along with a timed button pressing activity, which is made very frustrating when coupled with lousy character movement. The Doctor (as portrayed by Matt Smith) may move like a man piloted by an uncoordinated bag of epileptic hedgehogs but that's no reason to try and emulate it in the game. The Doctor moves with the soupy grace of a milk float in treacle when attempting to turn mid movement. This makes the final 60 second TARDIS piloting game annoying in the extreme.

Still, at least in this episode you get to explore the TARDIS. Great, eh? Imagine visiting all those mad, impossible rooms that must be contained within the time machine's many corridors. Well keep imagining because you won't see them in this game. This instalment was clearly created on a budget, there are only two rooms and the adversity is a glowing blob with a generic name, The Entity. I'm worried that for this instalment it seems the money has run out and there are still 3 more to come.

The voice acting is an improvement this time, I can only assume (because I haven't checked) that the script was performed in between filming of the regular series and the Christmas special. Matt Smith sounds much more comfortable and less sleepy this time around. Karen Gillen is much improved too, but to be honest she does sound a bit bored of things at times. It doesn't help that Amy is written as being unthinking and careless as she casually insults everything and everyone and vandalises the Doctor's drawing room.

Collectibles are in this episode too, they're not hard to find this time. I'd advise looking underneath the TARDIS controls and the stairs. And yes, none of them are exciting at all.

TARDIS is also very short. It took about an hour to play through, there isn't a whole lot of action and the tale is very simple. This game is more of an interlude rather than a full fledged episode.



The Story

The plot is thus, The Doctor and Amy are discussing holiday plans when the TARDIS goes a bit wrong and flushes the Doctor out into space. There's a prologue available online that explains why the TARDIS is misbehaving. I wonder why it wasn't created as a cutscene? I guess it was for budgetary reasons. The cost of some horse faced aliens and another voice actor probably being too much for what is a very small game.

Anyway, the Doctor is in space without a helmet! Calamity! The Doctor, via the gift of charades, tells Amy to extend the TARDIS field around him so he can breathe. Amy accomplishes by pressing red buttons. Go player one! The Doctor then tells Amy to construct a tractor beam by finding some old junk in the TARDIS Drawing Room. A room we have never heard of up until now but it has been there all along. Honest.

Amy ventures into the drawing room and finds various items from the Doctor's previous adventures; the fourth Doctor's scarf, the Fifth's cricket ball, a Cyberman breast plate, the fob watch from Human Nature, and a few other items of interest. There also seems to be a ye olde portrait of what appears to be Steven Moffat above the fireplace, the picture shows him holding a sonic screwdriver. Amy finds the Master's laser screwdriver and heads back to the console room. A vase is broken while she's in the room but she dismisses it because the plot demands she casually ignore it. A glowing orange vapour emerges from the vase...

Amy completes the laser screwdriver/tractor beam device and pulls the Doctor back into the TARDIS. Unfortunately there's another wobble from the TARDIS and Amy is catapulted into the future of the TARDIS where she's now trapped on her own.

The Doctor runs off to the drawing room to construct a techno babble device so he can save Amy. The Doctor tries to explore the TARDIS but is sent back to the console room if he tries going anywhere but the drawing room. There is also no corridor exploring animation during the journey to the drawing room. The player is disappointed.

The Doctor completes the device and sends a message to Amy in the future. Amy activates it but is attacked by the glowing blob that escaped from the vase as she reappears in the present TARDIS. The Doctor manages to cajole The Entity (the creature's name may as well have been Glowy Blob, it has more personality at least) back into a vase and then he releases The Entity into the time vortex where it can feed on the smaller creatures within.

The Doctor is then allowed to explore the TARDIS but he finds he can only really examine the console controls. The console gives detailed descriptions as to what each lever and button does. The player has the sinking feeling that he's going to have to remember this stuff...

The Doctor then decides everything is okay and he can begin another journey through time. The player then frustratedly attempts to pilot the TARDIS four times before finally getting the ship moving.

The Doctor takes Amy to London in the future where it has become an underwater city. Any chances of a relaxing holiday are ruined by a large, monstrous shark patrolling the waters...

Friday, 27 August 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Retrotatstic TV - Maid Marian & Her Merry Men



I was ill a couple of months ago and I did what everyone does when they’re dying from a cold, I fired up a DVD and enjoyed some televisual comfort food. I decided to finally crack open my Maid Marian and Her Merry Men Series One DVD and wrap myself in a big nostalgia blanket.

So is Maid Marian still as funny as the eleven year old me thought?

Surprisingly yes. This is essentially because it’s Blackadder for kids. Maid Marian’s first series was written by Tony Robinson and was clearly an attempt at harnessing the Blackadder style for a younger audience. Whereas Blackadder took a cynical look at historical figures, Maid Marian made an attempt to make every historical figure into a very silly person indeed.

The Sheriff (Tony Robinson) is the closest Blackadder-like figure in the show as he is a sneering, cynical, power grabbing man surrounded by idiots. Unfortunately for the Sheriff he’s also an idiot too as he becomes convinced that Robin Hood is a vicious, mean outlaw, despite all evidence to the contrary. Robin, is a metrosexual tailor and a coward. He’s a terrible leader, he’s an awful shot with a bow, and he’s also really, really polite which isn’t much use when you’re supposed to be a fearsome criminal. Maid Marian is the most intelligent character in the show (although given the people she recruits for her gang, she’s not that clever), she’s moralistic, passionate, caring, and also slightly resentful of Robin as he gets all the credit and adulation from the peasants for the Merry Men’s successful deeds.

My two favourite characters though are Gary and Graeme, two guards who bumble around Nottingham having conversations about hot water bottles and football. They’re supposed to be vicious killers in the employ of King John but they’re not very good at their job and usually spend their time annoying the Sheriff by being charmingly stupid. To extend the Blackadder comparison – they’re a pair of Baldricks with swords.

The performances are the right side of pantomime and everyone pretty much talks LIKE THIS THROUGHOUT EACH EPISODE. But then, that's what almost everyone did in Blackadder too. What's great about THE SHOUTING and overacting is that it's not there to compensate for a poor script or to wring a laugh out of poor jokes, it genuinely aids the show's charming atmosphere. There's a musical number in each episode, some are great, some of them not so, but they're always performed with gusto by the cast and usually get by on goofy charm.

My favourite episode of series one (viewed through the eyes of an adult) is Robin The Incredible Chicken which is a parody of the Robin Hood archery contest legend. It's very silly indeed (almost Pythonesque) and contains a tribute to Bullseye too. Sadly, no one has uploaded any clips from this episode to YouTube. Frowny face.

Maid Marian is proof positive that you don't need to dumb down a concept because it's a kid's show. I could blather on but look, here's a clip from a later series of the show (the fantastic Crystal Maze parody) and then there'll be a link to the DVD (although for some reason series one is £12.99 and the rest of the series DVDs are £4.99 each). If you don't find something in the show that makes you smile then I'm sorry but I'm going to have to declare you an enemy of mankind.



Series One DVD

Or the more cost effective Complete Series Set

Friday, 23 July 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

BONUS - The Daily Mail have joined the campaign to stop these evil made up drugs.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today




Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Doctor Who - Blood of the Cybermen



The second Doctor Who Adventure Game is here. Go grab if you want to play along at home or skip to the story section of this piece if you're lazy (or don't own a PC) and just want to know what happens.

I found the first game to be a disappointment, both technically and storywise so I was hoping that the second game would be an improvement. Is it?

Yes, albeit only a slight improvement.

THE GAME

The corridors. The endless corridors. With an occasional small outside bit. Yes, the level design once again is rather limited. You will spend most of your time running and sneaking down endless corridors avoiding enemies and looking for collectibles and puzzles to solve. The stealth portions of the game are just as aggravating and tedious as in the first instalment and require split second timing in some sections. In fact I'm not sure that casual gamers or the very young are going to be able to progress past some parts of the game without help from a savvy gaming veteran.

The minigames are not quite as odious this time. Gone is the stupid hold-an-icon-steady-around-a-bit-of-wire game from the Dalek adventure, this time it is replaced with a match rotating coloured balls affair which is much less frustrating.

There is a strange platform crossing section early in the game which is bloody terrible. The Doctor has to cross moving blocks of ice and if his efforts are slightly mistimed he falls to his death. Unfortunately the Doctor's movement is not the most precise and he tends to stumble around and slide off the ice to his doom. Granted, the 11th Doctor is a somewhat clumsy and inelegant creature but when you apply this to an insta-death platforming section, it does not lead to fun times. It's like controlling a dodgem car greased with butter. On ice.

Once again the voice acting is dull and undersold in places. I think it may be a problem with the direction as Matt Smith and Karen Gillen seem to be struggling with the correct range that voice acting requires. Perhaps a few more takes would have done the trick? For all I know, the lines were recorded between episodes which would explain the tiredness in the principal actors' performances.

The collectibles are back and I found several flavours of jelly baby. The collectibles are still entirely unnecessary but fun if you like looking at unused publicity photos of characters and monsters.



THE STORY (SPOILERS ABOUND)

Again, I will start this section with a question - did you enjoy Tomb of the Cybermen? Do you think it would be better mashed up with The Tenth Planet and every space based Troughton cyberman story? You'd be (un)surprised to find that the result is not particularly satisfying.

The Doctor receives a distress beacon and lands the TARDIS in the Arctic. The Doctor rescues an archaeologist/engineer named Chisholm from an ice cave and discovers that Chisholm was attempting to flee his own Arctic survey team.

Amy helps by moaning. Amy is still dressed in a mini skirt and at no point changes into something warmer. Instead she spends her time complaining and generally showing up Classic Who companions Tegan and Peri in the whingeing stakes. It seems that Phil Ford is struggling to write dialogue for Amy that makes her a sassy and feisty companion without making her a bit of an irritating berk. And is it too much to ask the developers to give Amy Pond different outfits for each game?

The Doctor decides to investigate the digsite that Chisholm has fled from, despite Chisholm frantic pleading not to return him there. Upon arrival Chisholm is immediately attacked by a Cybermat. A Cybermat! Yes, it's the return of the silly metal rat things from the 60s. Amy makes an incredibly lame mousemat joke at this point. I sigh and want to slap Phil Ford for that one. This time the Cybermats have a poison bite that infects you with a nano virus that turns you into a Cyberslave. Poor Chisholm immediately runs off and isolates himself in a locked room to save the Doctor and Amy from being infected or attacked by him.

Unfortunately for the Doctor and Amy they soon discover what a Cyberslave is when they open the main complex door and are attacked by a Cyberman in a jumpsuit. Seems a Cyberslave gets partially converted via the magic of nanites. Amy disables the Cyberslave by venting some steam at it. Yeah, I don't know how that really works either.

Inside the research complex, the Doctor finds a professor who is attempting to develop a cure for Cyberslave-itis. The Doctor cheerfully informs her that it won't work until he gets a pure sample of nano-wotsits from a Cyberslave. The Doctor rigs up an EMP device to disable a nest of Cybermats and then Amy disables a Cyberman with a loose electric cable. Armed with the necessary components, the Doctor creates a cure by playing a quick minigame. The professor has vanished though...

The Doctor uses the cure on Chisholm (who has now become a messy fusion of Cyberman and human - a makeup effect that I would have liked to have seen on the TV for real) before heading to the digsite to locate the cybership lying beneath the ice.

It's at this point I get confused about the current incarnation of Cybermen. It seems they've been blended with original versions to once again become a spacefaring, time travelling race. They are now much more advanced than their humble beginnings in series two of New Who. It's a little confusing really and I wonder if their weakness to gold or the repeated shouting of "excellent!" is going to make a comeback next.

The Doctor spends a lot of time pressing buttons on lifts and avoiding Cybermen until he eventually reaches the control centre of the ship. It's at this point we find out that the professor was a Cyberslave all along. GASP. It was a trap laid for the Doctor to find the ship so he could finish waking up the Cybermen, because apparently the Cyber Leader couldn't figure this out for himself. The professor aimed the distress call at the TARDIS to lure him all the way to the ship. This doesn't explain why she was working on a cure for the Cyberslave condition or why the Cyberslaves and Cybermen were attempting to kill the Doctor if they needed him to free them. THIS MAKES MY HEAD HURT.

The Doctor manages to escape the clutches of the Cybermen and save Amy from cyber conversion. Chisholm makes an heroic comeback and destroys the Cyber Leader and then the Doctor sets the ship to self destruct and everyone makes a last second escape. Hurrah. The Doctor and Amy depart leaving Chisholm to explain to a rescue party exactly what went on...

Apart from the dumb plot twist toward the end, this was a solid enough story. It's nothing we haven't seen done before with the Cybermen and I don't think reintroducing the Cybermats is anything other than Classic Who fan service. Still, this game was more enjoyable than City of the Daleks and hopefully the games will continue to improve.

Now if only we could have a clever plot and a wander around the TARIDS next time...

Friday, 25 June 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today




Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Doctor Who - City of the Daleks



It's here! It's finally here! The Doctor Who PC game made by the BBC and given to the public for free. FREE! Now isn't the BBC brilliant?

Is the game equally brilliant?

Well, not quite. I'm going to split this post into two parts, I'll discuss the mechanics of the game itself and then I'll take a look at and describe the story for those of you who can't, or won't, play the game but want to know what happens.

THE GAME

Mechanically the Doctor Who Adventure Game is a mix of point and click adventure, stealth, and godawful mini games. It's a strange choice to include so much stealth in a Doctor Who game, the Doctor is not the most stealthy of characters and his usual approach to a new situation is to boldly walk in, start showing off, and talk at everyone. I can understand the need for stealth in this story though, I just hope that each episode doesn't include this episode's often tedious stealth sequences.

The game repeats the same formula throughout its act based structure - you will be presented with a problem to overcome (find a path through ruined London, construct a device, switch power back on, etc) and then you'll be forced to creep and run down corridors to achieve it. Yes, even in a computer game the Doctor is still forced to explore and run down endless corridors. Bloody things. The various problems and tasks are not too puzzling and everything that you can interact with is helpfully highlighted with a bright blue glow whenever you stand near. Unfortunately in order to resolve the Doctor's problems you'll have to sneak behind Daleks and play some awful mini games. The worst offender is the gadget creation game where you have to drag an icon around a maze whilst avoiding touching the electric walls. It's just like the game at the fair where you have to keep your hand steady and guide a metal loop around a wavy wire only much less fun and you don't win a stuffed animal.

During the course of saving Earth from the Daleks you can find collectible icons hidden around each level. Your reward is often a picture of an old character or monster accompanied by a brief summary of their appearances or abilities. The first Doctor collectible I found was Colin Baker with his multi coloured coat. That coat was something I did not want to see suddenly appear on my screen without warning. The collectibles seem to do nothing other than fuel whatever OCD game habits you might have.

The voice acting isn't great. I don't know when the lines were recorded in the filming schedule but Karen Gillen sounds tired and flat. Matt Smith tries to inject some energy into his performance but he sounds weary too. The performances also sound like they were recorded separately, especially as the sound quality seems to change from line to line. It's a shame that the performances couldn't give the game's plot the energy it sorely needs from its principal characters.

As a game City of the Daleks is disappointing, personally I think that a point and click Doctor Who game that focuses more on the adventure aspects would be more satisfying. The puzzles in City of the Daleks are never taxing enough to give you a sense of achievement once you've completed them. I'd prefer to see less stealth and more puzzle solving and interaction with other characters in game. There are some dialogue moments where you speak as the Doctor but it's merely a case of clicking on all the options until you've heard all the dialogue and the plot moves on. I'm interested to see if the balance of gameplay elements changes in the next episode.



THE STORY

Did you enjoy the Willaim Hartnell Doctor stories, The Daleks and Dalek Invasion of Earth? Would you like to see them combined into a less satisfying whole with a classic Who continuity reference?

Yes?

What's wrong with you?

Okay, here it is - the story isn't very good. Phil Ford has constructed a very basic plot for a game. It's so generic in structure that I wonder if the fact that he was writing for a game caused him to reduce the number of locations to make it easy for the developers.

The Doctor takes Amy to 1963 London to see the swinging sixties. Unfortunately the Doctor learns (by virtue of the most conveniently placed and unnecessary newspaper headline ever) that the Daleks have already visited and laid waste to the entire planet.



The Doctor and Amy soon see the last remaining human (a young woman still dressed immaculately during the alien apocalypse) being hunted by the racist pepper pots, so they decide to follow her into the subway. Unfortunately the Doctor and Amy manage to get the poor girl killed when she is forced to sacrifice herself to cover the Doctor and Amy's escape back to the TARDIS.

The Doctor decides to visit the Dalek's home planet of Skaro to find out how they have acquired the ability to change time and conquer planets so rapidly. Yes, Skaro is back and the Daleks have rebuilt their capital city, Kaalann. The Doctor is shocked to see that the Daleks have recovered so quickly from their previous dire straits so he creeps around the city attempting to find out what happened. At this point Amy starts to fade like Marty McFly in Back to the Future.

It seems that Amy has now become a paradox (she now won't be born as the Daleks have exterminated the human race) and she is disappearing from reality. Luckily for her the Doctor makes a magic bracelet that stops her from disappearing altogether. The Doctor mentions that the TARDIS protects its passengers from paradoxes but it can't protect Amy for long.

The Doctor eventually tires of sneaking around Skaro (at one point he sends Amy to do the sneaking to look for Dalek spare parts, despite the fact she could be erased from existence at any moment) and surrenders himself to the Daleks. The Daleks as ever, spend all of their time talking to the Doctor instead of exterminating him. The Doctor meets the new Emperor Dalek and asks him to explain his evil plan, which he gladly does.

The Daleks have harnessed the Eye of Harmony (last seen in Doctor Who The Unsuccessful US Pilot Episode, fact fans) and are now using it, much as the Timelords did, to travel through time and space. It seems that the Eye of Harmony is now called the Eye of Time and it's now a natural phenomena that can be caught and housed as the Timelords are now gone and the Eye was just floating around space waiting to be pinched. What? It's utter nonsense of course but it's a significantly dramatic McGuffin as the Eye of Time gives the Daleks the power to access, and invade, all of time and space.

The Doctor and Amy jump into the Eye (apparently that's perfectly fine despite it being essentially a wibbly wobbly black hole thing) and appear, rather conveniently on Skaro before the Daleks appeared and rebuilt everything. Why this convenient piece of time travel occurs, I'm not sure.

The Doctor uses the opportunity to sabotage the device that houses the Eye of Time so that when the Daleks chase him back through time he can release the Eye. The Daleks appear through the Eye on old Skaro and the Doctor destroys the Eye's housing. Then the Doctor jumps back into the Eye which delivers him back to the TARDIS. Everything the Daleks did has now been undone and 1963 London is back to normal.

Urgh. The magic reset button.

Only, this makes no sense and is now a giant paradox. Seriously, don't think about it or you'll go mad. Furthermore, what is preventing the Daleks from locating the Eye again and repeating the same thing?

Oh well, it was nice to see that the Daleks weren't defeated once and for all (for what would have been the 8723rd time) but I don't think anything in the TV show is ever going to reference the events of the game in any meaningful way.

Ultimately this game is a disappointment due to its shoddy story more than its gameplay failings. I can forgive shoddy mechanics as long as the plot is entertaining and intriguing but City of the Daleks fails at both elements. I still think it's fantastic that the BBC have devoted time and talent to this project (and it's still early days) but I hope that the games improve during the course of their run.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today




Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Stupid Movies That I Love - They Live

Hey look, alt text! The first of many

They Live is John Carpenter at his angriest. In this movie he rails against modern society and its consumer led culture and while it has a powerful idea, it never really fulfils its promise. Still, despite the story's shortcomings and pacing issues, They Live contains some excellent ideas and scenes that have made it a firm favourite of mine.

Rowdy Roddy Piper (yes, the wrestler) plays Nada, a drifter who arrives in Los Angeles looking for work and a place to stay for the night. Nada meets up with a cardboard city community of other drifters and down on their luck cases and it's here that Nada becomes embroiled in a conspiracy. After a ruthless attack by riot police on the homeless community of LA Nada escapes with a box full of sunglasses. Nada tries on a pair and discovers that the world is not what it seems...

Sadly Roddy did not get a rematch against the aliens at Wrestlemania IV

Nada realises that he is effectively a stranger in his own land when he sees that he is surrounded by aliens disguised as normal people. Nada reacts in the only sensible way available, he goes on an alien killing spree. When that doesn't work he joins with the human resistance to end the alien menace once and for all.

It's clear that Carpenter was pretty pissed off at American society when he wrote the screenplay and there's a constant sense of despair and anger throughout the movie. Each character seems to be either struggling to make ends meet or is a secret member of the rich elite, looking to profit from mankind's physical and economic suffering. Earth is treated as an easily exploited third world country by the occupying alien force.

Despite the downbeat tone of the film there are some fantastically silly scenes as Nada gets into fights with aliens and other humans that he's trying to convince of the alien threat. Watch the movie below and see one of the greatest fights committed to film - please note that this fight began because Roddy Piper insisted that Keith David put on a pair of sunglasses:



When worn, the sunglasses vision turns the movie black and white replaces all advertising signs, TVs, and magazines into stark white signs that contain commands such as OBEY, SLEEP, CONSUME. The scenes where Nada wanders the streets of LA with his glasses on are chilling and contrast well with the sunny, advertising covered, colour scenes throughout the rest of the movie.

They Live influence has been felt through the genre since its release in 1988. I'm sure that They Live influenced Valve's Half Life 2 as the alien Combine in that game have a similar goal and plan to the aliens in They Live. Both want to subjugate and dominate the human race in order to use them as a slave race, they both attempt to change Earth's climate to suit their own needs, and both alien races have technology that is far in advance of our own. Unfortunately, They Live even influenced a Simpson's computer game - Bart Vs The Space Mutants. Check out the intro to the game:



*Sigh* I remember that into being amazing when it was first released. Time has not been kind...

Anyway, They Live is a B-Movie classic that introduces an interesting take on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers theme. What if the aliens had already invaded and we had already surrendered? What if we were blissfully unaware that we had already lost the war? Obviously we need wrestlers with mullets and sunglasses to save the day.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today




Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Friday Facts In Association With Brass Eye & The Day Today



Modern life can be filled with uncertainty and confusion. Every Friday Brass Eye and The Day Today will provide a shining moment of clarity, a stark image of the world around us, a fact beacon which will shine the light of truth into the dark corners of doubt. Prepare your eyes for FACTS.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Doctor Who Companions: SEXY OR UNSEXY?

After the recent furore over the appropriate levels of sexiness in Doctor Who, I thought I would add to the debate with photographic evidence. Each time on SEXY OR UNSEXY I will present two companions - one from the original series (1963-89) and one from the modern era (2005 onwards).

SEXY OR UNSEXY?

YOU DECIDE

First up is a teacher all the way from 60s Britain, she was among the first to meet the Daleks, she loves sensible fashions and history books - it's Barbara Wright!



Next is a girl we met when she was only a child but she soon grew up to become a flame haired kiss-o-gram - it's Amy Pond!



So who is sexy or unsexy? Both? Neither?

Obviously it's Barbara. Shouldn't have asked really.

Join me next time for more SEXY OR UNSEXY.