Doctor Who Adventure Games: “Shadows of the Vashta Narada and The Gunpowder Plot”

Greetings intrepid Whovians and gamers!

Have you ever played a game based off Doctor Who? Would you like to? Well, this quarantine has got us all bent out of shape. So, why not try two episodes of a little-known game produced a decade ago??

The Doctor tries to save Martin, a crew member of the beset Poseidon underwater base

The first part of the game “The Shadows of the Vashta Narada” centers around the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond visiting an underwater city in Earths future. At the very start, our heroic duo are startled by huge misshapen sharks ramming the huge glass windows of said base, cracking them. This frightens the duo (and me) and the Doctor helps them escape. The Time Lord uses his Sonic Screwdriver to unlock the doors to the adjacent hall, which permits he and Amy to flee. Intrigued, the Doctor reasons this shark is not native to Earth and thus doesn’t belong here.

The Doctor must race through underwater corridors, dodging mutated sharks and trying to save Poseidon’s crew. This sequence was fantastic.

Their game of cat-and-mouse with the sharks continues until the Doctor finds a stranded crew. This weathered down crew is trying to escape their aquatic haven, Poseidon. Before the Doctor can learn more of a sickness that is afflicting the crew he is beset by an old foe: the Vashta Narada. The darkling creatures devour a crew mate as the lights go out across the station. Quickly enough, the emergency lights switch on and the Doctor and Amy must race against time to save the stranded crew and uncover the mysteries plaguing the station: the alien sharks, the strange sickness and the Vashta Narada.

What ensues is a flurry of puzzle-solving and direct interaction with Doctor Who’s rogue’s gallery played to the iconic score of the fifth season.

The Doctor in 1600’s London

The second part of the game “The Gunpowder Plot” starts with the Doctor’s TARDIS crashing into an alien ship. The collision creates ‘lesions’ in space/time. Rory begrudgingly retrieves an item in the tear and the Doctor creates a device to repair the rifts. But our heroes aren’t out of the woods yet; when our trio emerge from the TARDIS they learn they are in England in 1605. Guy Fawkes and his conspirators plan to kill the King of England, but are now aided by a mysterious ‘Lady Winters.’ Noting that ‘Winters’ is not mentioned in the history books, Amy investigates further. ‘Winters’ is revealed to be a leader of the Rutan Host. This force is about to recommence war with the Sontarans, who have also arrived in London to make war. The Doctor, Amy and Rory get to explore the rough world of 1605 London and the slimy ominous Rutan ship. Our heroes embark on a quest to seal the tears, preserve history and prevent galactic-level war.

Rory confronts “The Black Rod” who is attempting to protect King James I from the collaborators. The twist: Sontarans get to this loyalist first.

I loved these games. The plot, voice acting and music were spot-on. I could actually feel as though I were running with the Eleventh Doctor!
The weakest parts of this game are the puzzle-solving, limited dialogue and average graphics.

On the puzzle-solving; the challenges are about third-grade level. Much of them have to do with sequences and using items you just found. I expected more from a Doctor Who game. But, my complaints about the puzzles in this game are minor, seeing as this is akin to the Nancy Drew series of games, which I also enjoyed.

There is a lot of puzzle-solving in this game and the player gets to control both the Doctor and his companions.

Secondly, this game features the actual voice talents of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, which is great! I can tell it is the actual actors emoting in their characters. But, they don’t have many captivating memorable lines. Their lines are serviceable but not much more than routine. Such a shame!

Thirdly, the graphics are somewhat impressive for the time they were rendered (2010-2011). The Doctor and Amy look like themselves and the way they stand and move are alike to their live performances. However, Rory, the Sontarans and “Black Rod” all look kind of terrible. The latter looks so cartoonish (he’d look worse if it weren’t for the abundant green lighting) and Rory’s face looks like an unfinished wax model. (Sigh).

Overall, I enjoyed this game so much that the detracting points are lessened for me. The scenery, music and voice-acting takes me into the world of Doctor Who TV show and I love it! I think I enjoyed the setting and landscape of “Shadows of the Vashta Narada” most, while the “Gunpowder Plot” contains a far more engrossing story that had me at the edge of my seat. I had a blast with the unfolding mystery!

“Sontar ha!”

So, who would I recommend these games to?

I would recommend these games to anyone who loves Doctor Who and likes a quick romp with a good story. This game gets a 8.0 rating from me. While it isn’t perfect it is a whole load of fun for Whovians and gamers who like a good mystery.

Amy, like any companion, is rightly scared on these adventures.

What about you?

Have you played the Doctor Who Adventure games? If so, what did you think? Are there any obscure games you would recommend? Please comment below!

Thanks for reading!

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