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Content Starts Average Review for Dalek Attack in New CU Amiga Magazine

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The latest edition of CU Amiga Magazine has posted a good review for the new Dalek Attack Video Game, giving the game a score of 70%.

Reviewer: Steve Merrett

Currently found glued to his telly at 7:15 every Friday, Steve Merrett enters Alternative’s Tardis to join Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy in a battle to the death against the Daleks.


MORE THAN NOSTALGIA

Yes, I know that the sets are wobbly, and that the monsters are nearly always a failed rep actor in a wet-suit, but Doctor Who holds a certain magic for me – and before you ask, my complexion is clear, yes I AM interested in women, and, no, I do not possess an anorak. As a wee nipper, watching Jon Pertwee battle against Autons, Sontarans and Roger Delgado’s Master was an essential part of my week. And, of course, there were the Daieks.. If it wasn’t for Terry Nation’s gliding creations, Doctor Who probably wouldn’t have made it past its initial twelve-week run. However, in the second story in this fledgling series, the Daleks glided up to menace William Hartnell and Co. and, in doing so, won themselves a place in the history books. It’s ironic actually that in the 27 years Doctor Who was on our screens, only the Daleks broke the mould of the popular ‘men in suits’ idiom – although it was the easiness of copying them in the playground which started ‘Dalekmania’ in the 60s. Whatever the reason for their success, even now in these days of Bart Simpson and the Toxic Crusaders, the Daleks still keep people glued to the telly – well, they would do it the BBC saw sense and brought the programme back!

Obviously, for such a long-running programme, there’s no shortage of Doctor Who merchandise, but whilst there have been a number of Who derivative games, only two ‘official’ titles have hit our screens – until now. The first was a tawdry Acornsoft BBC Micro effort, which starred Peter Davison’s Doctor as he worked his way through a series of dire puzzles and simplified arcade sequences. The second was ‘The-Mines Of Terror’ by Micropower and starred Colin Baker’s incarnation – although, rather sadly, licensing restrictions meant that Micropower couldn’t use popular characters such as the Daleks, K9 and Co., and the result was a dull little arcade’adventure involving the Doctor, a metallic cat, and a race of robots who trundled along on castors — sound familiar?

THIRD TIME LUCKY?

Thankfully, no such restrictions limit Alternative’s latest attempt at a Who tie-in: but the game still falls short of expectations. Opening with a sampled Dalek tirade and a dodgy, warbling rendition of the programme’s theme tune, Sylvester McCoy’s face appears on-screen to give us a wink before fading away to be replaced by the show’s old diamond logo. So far so good then. Next up, an option screen appears allowing the player to choose which Doctor out of Patrick Troughton, Torn Baker and Sylvester they wish
to control. In addition, Ace and a UNIT Soldier offer themselves as a companion for later in the game, and K9 also wags his little aerial at the prospect of joining in the fun. I must say, though, that I was disappointed that Jon Pertviree wasn’t included, but never mind. On selecting your Time Lord, he duly legs it to the Tardis and dematerialises into the game.

Unrestricted by a meagre budget and guest appearances by people like Bonnie Langford and Ken Dodd, Alternative’s binary vision of Doctor Who is a multi-national affair with the Doctor battling against his oldest foes in Britain. Tokyo and the USA whilst simultaneously searching for parts of a machine which will enable him to put an end to their plans forever – however, despite such grand intentions, the game still looks as if the backdrops have been roughly assembled and would wobble if touched! Actually, I’m being rather cruel here, but it has to be said that so much more could have been done with the game’s graphics. The Doctor sprites are too small and although recognisable, are far from impressive In addition, although Alternative will please die-hard Fans with the inclusion of Ogrons (ape-like henchmen), Robomen (converted humans harking back to Hartnell era), and Emperor and Special Weapons Daleks, the sprites just aren’t imposing enough, and its hard to be intimidated by a Dalek or Ogron which is little more than half an inch tall and is barely distinguishable from the similarly-coloured backdrops.

SEWER FAR SO GOOD

Starting in a sewer setting, the Doctor pilots a Dalek anti-gravity disc which he must steer through the narrow drainage system – shooting anything which gets in his way as he goes. Yes, indeed, Alternative have broken the good Time Lord’s life-long tradition of not killing things unnecessarily by arming him with a laser gun – although on later stages, Alternative try and validate this by explaining that it isn’t in fact a laser gun but a specially-modified Sonic Screwdriver. Hmmmmmmm. Oh well, once out of the sewers and having defeated what appears to be a two-headed Loch Ness monster in a dull blasting match, the action switches to that of a conventional arcade adventure with the good Doctor out-running the aforementioned Daleks, Ogrons and Robomen in search of the machine parts. This section proves extremely tough. and even with the extremely agile 793-year-old leaping from platform to platform, it often seems nigh-on impossible to avoid the pursuing baddies. Providing our hero’s energy holds out, though, he eventually gets to repeat the pattern throughout the said countries, before eventually heading towards Skaro -. home of the Daleks and base of their evil leader, Davros.

I’m not sure if I was expecting way too much because I’m such an ardent fan of the programme, but Dalek Attack falls short on a number of counts. Admittedly, the game proves quite fun in the short-term. but prolonged play prompts irritation thanks to numerous ‘no-win’ situations, and I’m also disappointed by the platform action the programmers opted for. Bearing in mind that every story climaxed with the Doctor outwitting his foes, I feel that Datek Attack would benefit from more puzzles in the action. Also, the general ‘look’ of the game wrecks the multi-national ‘epic’ scenario the game is given by making it look dull and lifeless. It’s by no means a complete loss and I’m sure that it’s sub-twenty quid price will win it a lot of fans, and Alternative are indeed to be commended for this price point, but even so, I hope when Alternative have another stab at the licence – and I sincerely hope they do as they are on the right track – it regenerates into some-thing better than this.

Graphics: 68%
Sound: 69%
Lastability: 76%
Playability: 73%

Overall: 70%

Dalek Attack is out now priced £16.99. The latest edition of CU Amiga was released today priced £3.95.

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