Monday 31 May 2010

Doctor Who (Amiga)

Thought I might as well hunt them all down... I mean there's not too many and they're all extremely obscure.

Simply titled Doctor Who, this is another Amiga game that came out in 1992. If you decided to hunt down Dalek Attack after last post, you may notice that this looks a bit better already. Well that's because it is. No need to force a Doctor Who theme out of the Amiga's sound chip - the developers Accursed Toys just ripped it straight from the early 80s era of the programme. Makes sense.

Technically this game isn't legal. It doesn't have the backing of the BBC and it was distributed for free under the creative title of "Promoware". It's meant to promote the skills of Accursed Toys and get you to buy their only commercial product - an Amiga/DOS game called "Boppin'". Not sure if it really worked, but they did make an interesting Robots clone.

The basic idea of the game is that you're the Doctor, and you have to collect TIME KEYS, take them back to the TARDIS, rinse and repeat. Random enemies of the Doctor Who universe stand in your way, and occasionally the Master pops up to make your life difficult before running away in his own TARDIS. If the Doctor moves, the enemies move, and in order to defeat them the enemies must either collide or shoot each other. Unlike Robots the Doctor isn't restricted to four directions - he has eight, which means for once you can out manouvore the enemies and get to your goal.

Each time the Doctor (or his assistant if you're playing a two player match) gets killed, they regenerate. You have a finite number of lives and a few "tricks" which dazzle your enemies for a few moments. It's a very simple game but extends the formula quite nicely. Now you don't need a UNIX-based computer... though really you didn't need one anyway.

Sound effects are stolen from the TV series, whereas the music is an original composition done by the in-house team. And because it can cope with both sound effects AND music, it means the game is a tiny bit more professional than Dalek Attack, i.e. they've beaten the real deal. The graphics are original too, and fairly good, though a bit too small to really see the Doctor or the non-Dalek enemies. Saves them having to sprite 7+ variations of the timelord but it does ruin things a little.

The levels are generated randomly, so it's very unlikely you'll always take the same route. There even seems to be a tileset that takes place in what I'd like to think is the BBC's car park. Randomness isn't always too great though - you can have some shockingly easy levels then some almost impossible ones. Sometimes the enemies might be placed right next to you. There are a lot of lives though, so it's not a constant string of game overs.

Point is, it's a nice title. As is Boppin'. More on that later.

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