With the impending release of The Eternity Clock, regular contributor Mez Burdett recalls another big Doctor Who video game release, Destiny of the Doctors…
It was simply the best thing you could think of in 1997 if you were a fan of Doctor Who. A computer game that was set primarily inside the TARDIS, featuring the first seven Doctors, the Master and a whole host of enemies including Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, Seas Devils, Autons, Ice Warriors and….Quarks.
There was newly recorded material from Anthony Ainley, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. It was magical and something that had never been attempted before. Destiny of the Doctors was only £29.99 on the PC and it seemed at the time like it was going to change the way people looked at computer games and Doctor Who.
There was only one problem…it wasn’t very good at all.
Don’t get me wrong, the spirit and passion is evident. The developers clearly had the best of intentions and there was a thrill like no other to be gained from roaming around the TARDIS corridors evading the marauding monsters and then activating, actually activating, the TARDIS console and zooming off into time and space. Take that, Dalek Attack!
There is also the fighting urge to complete tasks so that you can see more wonderful clips of the Master, as seen below:
But the bizarre health meter (you seemed to lose life by simply walking around), the uneven combat system (you could simply walk away from enemies and they would soon be fading into the background noise of the familiar TARDIS hum) and the fact that the game didn’t seem to acknowledge events from the 1996 TV movie and therefore forgot all about Doctor number eight meant that the game itself was an odd one to play.
However, roaming the Master’s TARDIS, contacting the Brigadier for help on your mission, accessing the TARDIS databanks for information on the Doctor’s adventures and planting a stick of Dalekanium onto a Dalek and then watching it blow were all too much of a treat to not play this game.
This was a brave and unashamed game that made no apologies and kept a fair few Doctor Who fans happy for quite a while. It’s a labour of love, as the Candyman once said, in a time when Doctor Who was very much thought of as a “dead show”. The developers were brave and the actors were willing and enthusiastic. Plus, you could take the dialogue from the game and use it on your PC as a start up/shut down sound bite. How many times my poor old mum and dad heard the third Doctor uttering “I think things should be heating up nicely now” as I logged on to Windows 95, I don’t care to remember.
But it brings on a wave of nostalgia like no other, so thank you Destiny of the Doctors for doing what some people do as well-trying hard, not giving up and giving some very good memories in the process.