Missing Matt Smith? Try Doctor Who: The Adventures On the Cheap!
Tick tock, goes the clock, even for the Doctor.
As River Song is wont to caution, don't worry, no spoilers for those of you who haven't yet managed to see Matt Smith's last turn as the Doctor in the BBC's Christmas Special "The Time of the Doctor." Suffice to say that the Smith years have now come to a close and Peter Capaldi is here to take up the reins come this September.
But who really wanted to see the lovable, bowtie-wearing, fez-addicted, cool, clever boy go?
If you're pining for more of the Smith years, and have exhausted all efforts to rewatch Series 5-7, consider trying your hand at the Doctor Who: The Adventures games for PC from the BBC, a series of downloadable games for Doctor Who.
What are they?
In these games you play as the Doctor (and at least in Episode 1: City of the Daleks, as Amy Pond for a few sections as well) in adventures that requires you to solve puzzles, defeat monsters, and explore both time and space.
These games are fairly short and can be finished in about half an hour (the latest, The Gunpowder Plot, may take longer). Voiced by the original actors, players can revel in the distinct nostalgia of seeing the Doctor and Amy off on another adventure. Children as young as 8 years old are encouraged to play!
Be warned, these games were created free of charge for residents in the UK from the BBC, and run on PCs and Macs that are 3-4 years old.
The minimum requirements on Windows are:
- Operating System: Windows XP (with Service Pack 2)
- Central Processor Unit: Intel Pentium4 1.6 GHz+ or AMD Sempron 2800 + or higher
- Main Memory: Windows XP / Windows 7 - 512 MB, Windows Vista - 1GB
- Free Hard Disk Space: 3.3Gb (pus additional working space)
- Sound Card: Direct X 9 compatible
- Graphics Card: 100% DirectX 9 or above compatible. 128 Mb memory. Pixel Shader 2.0 or above with the latest drivers for your card.
- The game supports onboard graphics cards that have Pixel Shader 2.0 capability (includes the Intel chipsets) but may have reduced framerates.
- You also require DirectX 9 to be installed on your PC. The game installer will install these as part of the install process.
As you can see, the graphics are not nearly as photorealistic as you would like, and the voice acting comes across a little flat - at least in comparison with the actors' performances on the show.
Nevertheless, the games are cute, charming, and successfully manage to play like an interactive episode of Doctor Who - albeit a rather simplistic one. Made for fans of the show, it is not recommended that this be your starting point for testing out the waters of the Doctor Who fandom.
For those of us who don't currently live in the UK and won't get the games for free, BBC One redirects us to Legacy Games, where they retail for $6.95 each, though the site is currently running a 50% off sale on all titles.
Still, compared to free, that's still a bit of a stretch, especially when you consider that most of us are staggering from beneath the financial strain of Christmas gifts and personal Steam sale self-gratification.
For those who would like to try out these super-short games without shelling out about $14, the current Holiday Helpers Groupees Bundle is offering all four episodes (among a slew of other games and digital music soundtracks) for as low as $1.
All four episodes of Doctor Who: The Adventures count as one game, so you also have the choice of checking out some other indie titles that are currently selling on Steam (even on sale!) for a lot more - and to donate to charity while you're at it.