Review by Ed Ricketts
Look, sorry about this but the Daleks were never frightening. The Cybermen were quite scary, those blokes with the pasty- shaped heads (the Sea Devils or whatever) were pretty terrifying, but the Daleks? Nah. Davros was a bit odd, though, until they changed the bloke who did his voice. After that you could see right through his little game.
Yep, Dr Who was a real trouser-filler during its heyday. Of course, the fact that you were only about eight or nine when you watched it and Sylvester McCoy was still doing “alternative” acts in clubs might have helped. According to Admiral, Dalek Attack is the first home computer game to feature both the Doctor and the Daleks together, which is surprising when you think about it. Let’s hope it’s the last. (Oh, what a giveaway. )
Apparently, the Daleks, having invaded Universe Sector Zeep 3 (no, honest, that’s what it says in the manual), have decided Earth is next on their shopping list. But of course they’re not counting on the Doctor, who, with the full might of his – er, sonic screwdriver, is out to stop them.
The Daleks have already captured four of the earth’s cities and planted pods which are destroying the ozone layer, ready for their invasion. Quite what they have against the ozone layer isn’t made clear. Anyway, Doctor Who (and a young pert friend if desired) has to stop them. So, our hearts pounding with excitement, let’s enter the magical world of Dr Who.
Blimey, that first sequence was pretty crap, wasn’t it? Was that wailing drone supposed to the Doctor Who music, do you think? Never mind, we’ll just wait for it to load. (Some minutes later. ) Nearly there now. (Another three minutes later. ) Ah. Right. We’re there. OK, first city to stop at, London.
Hmm. We seem to be whizzing through a sort of tunnel on Zimmer frames shooting at globby things on the ceiling. Oh, I see, they’re humans captured by the Daleks – who are chasing us. It’s a bit too easy, this. There’s the end of level alien thingies. Look at that animation! Well, sort of animation… Right, now they’re dead, up the ladder and into the city.
Great! Things to shoot! A pity you can’t protect yourself from anything. Run along here… climb up the window… collect a few powerups. And there are the Daleks, a mastery of graphic design. Oh sorry, it’s not the Daleks, it’s a bus.Into the house, rescue those couple of humans… oh, seem to have died. Back to the beginning then. Let’s try jumping over these bricks. No, jumping, not falling flat on your face. The problem is the controls are so unresponsive. Into the sewers… run along a bit… out of the sewers. Hmm. Let’s see if there’s anything on the TV. Fancy a cup of tea? (and so on).
Yes, the horrible truth has dawned: Dalek Attack is desperately dull. You run a bit, you get hit by everything shooting at you (be (because even if you crouch down you can’t avoid them), and you hope you have enough energy to complete the level. The Doctor’s fiddly to control, mainly because he feels so wooden, which leads to long falls off buildings andother disasters.
To be fair, the background graphics aren’t at all bad – they’ve got a sort of polished look. The character graphics aren’t as impressive and the sound is just dismal. The game’s awkward and unfulfilling to play, lacking good design and anydecent rewards for your efforts.
Dalek Attack is quite unbelivably sad. Admiral had the licence to one of the most kitsch and popular series ever shown, and they’ve squandered it on this pathetic platform nonsense. You can imagine the conversation at Admiral: “Hey, people, what shall we do with this licence, then?” “How about a 3D polygon shoot-’em-up with the Daleks?” “No – an RPG along the lines of Captive. ” “No, wait, I’ve got it – a bog standard platformer with absolutely no relevance to the series whatsoever! All the Who fans will flock to buy it even though it’s sad, because they’re so desperate for anything new they’ll buy anything!” “That’s absolutely brilliant, ” Thompkins, have a promotion. ” “Wait till you hear my plans for the Silence of the Lambs licence…”
Honestly, there isn’t anything here that you won’t have played and yawned at millions of times before. It’s not as if the game’s a good example of the platform genre either. Who fans have been used to being fobbed off with cheap and nasty material, but this is going just a bit too far.
Final Score: 43%
Dalek Attack is out now from Admiral Software priced £16.99. The latest edition of ST Format is available at all good newsagents.Categorised in: Merchandise, News, Toys & Games