Platforms: PC & Mac
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: BBC Wales Interactive
The latest instalment of the Adventure Games series sees The Doctor and Amy travelling to the Arctic, where they stumble across the survivors of a geological survey team, who have found something preserved in the ice that's now slowly coming back to life and attacking anything that gets in their way. Naturally, this grabs The Doctor's attention and he characteristically promises to solve the mystery and save as many people as he can whilst doing so, but little does he know that what's sitting frozen beneath his feet is an entire army belonging to one of his oldest enemies.
I vastly preferred the story behind Blood of the Cybermen compared to that of City of the Daleks, despite the fact that it seemed like the writer had just smashed the plots of The Thing and Tomb of the Cybermen together and hoped for the best. Luckily, the merging works incredibly well and has all the elements of a great Dr. Who story. Once again there are numerous pop culture references and my favourite was the nod to the third Doctor's demise, which you'll only really pick up on if you're a massive Dr. Who fan. Unfortunately, Amy and The Doctor's personalities aren't even close to what we've seen on TV, which is incredibly odd and just doesn't seem right now that we've started to get accustomed to them acting in a certain way.
Initially the puzzles in this episode appear to be a tiny bit disappointing, especially the first one you face involving the quick reprogramming of a Sat Nav, as it appears to be exactly the same as those seen in the first episode. Luckily after the first puzzle, the others take on a completely different format, which at least goes a little way into making you think that The Doctor's enemies don't all use the same technology. The platforming aspects to the game are much better in this episode and you'll come across numerous obstacles, which you'll have to work your way around. Also, the layout of the levels is far more varied this time around and personally I thought they were a little more interesting.
What's especially nice to see in this episode is the dynamic between The Doctor and his companion. You frequently get to switch between the eccentric time lord and Amy, in order to overcome tricky situations that for whatever reason, the other can't overcome. Also, it definitely helps to emphasise the reasons why The Doctor travels around with his ever changing ensemble and drops in a welcome bit of variety. Unfortunately, when the AI takes control of the other character their intelligence takes a turn for the worse and you'll be shouting at them to get out of a hazardous situation as quickly as possible, to no avail.
Whilst sticking to the task in hand is great fun, I've started to take a bit of guilty pleasure in clawing over the environments for the collectibles that have been strewn around, some of which are fairly well hidden and the information they provide gives you a good summary of the previous incarnation of The Doctor, his former companions, and his enemies.
Sadly, whilst I felt that the Cybermen where a bit more of a challenge than the Daleks, which should never be the case in any situation, you can't help but feel that they're a little bit simple minded. Also, whilst I could believe that a Daleks field of view could be narrowed down due to its eyestalk, I can't help but feel that a Cyberman or a Cyberslave would certainly be able to spot you if you were a few feet away, instead you'll be safe wandering into, for example, a corridor they're guarding provided that you don't walk into close proximity to them.
Another big problem with the game is how utterly helpless The Doctor seems to be in a direct confrontation and the only conclusion that I can come to is that the BBC are trying to hammer across the point that he doesn't use weapons to fight his battles. However, as we've seen on countless occasions, he is capable of defending himself, and it would have been nice if there was some way he could do this in the game, for example distracting his foes through the use of some clever speech options or using one of the sonic screwdrivers multiple function.
Finally, one of the most irritating things about both episodes is the fact you can't go into the TARDIS, I'm not saying that you should be able to use it to travel around the levels at your hearts content or take advantage of its superior technology to solve puzzles at every given opportunity, although that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing, but you should at least be able to walk inside and have a proper look around.
They're still a few creases to iron out, but improvements to the gameplay and also the story definitely increase the enjoyment of the experience and fingers crossed the next episode'll be even better.
- It's still free!
- Improvements have been made to the gameplay
- The story's much better
- The Doctor seems to be helpless against his enemies once again
- Most of the collectables can be spotted with ease
- You can't go into the TARDIS
Short Version: Whilst the gameplay's certainly better and the story is far more enjoyable than the first episode, there's still room for improvement.