Computer Gamer

Dr. Who And The Mines Of Terror

Publisher: Micro Power
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Computer Gamer #14

Dr. Who And The Mines Of Terror

It is surprising that a Doctor Who computer game has not appeared before now but here it is at last.

My overall impression is that the Time Lords at the BBC will be well pleased despite the fact that our favourite villains have had to be replaced with substitute nasties. Controllers replace Daleks, K9 has been transmogrified (trans-moggy-fied?) into Splinx the cat and I suspect that the mines' creators, the Ky-Al-Nargath, were a race of Cybermen, though reference to them as Nargies may belie a belated post-Falklands patriotism (let's kill a Nargie).

By far the greatest terror in the mines is the dreadful substitute for the Dr Who theme. By current state-of-the-art music, this is a load of bullsh*t and the game would be improved by its omission. Apart from the uninspired arrangement, the choice of an operatic classic is hardly suitable.

Doctor Who And The Mines Of Terror

Despite this handicap, the game is an excellent action adventure which is well planned, judging by the mass of information included in the documentation pack. This adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game it is not only background bumpf, a lot of the information is essential to a successful mission. The Master has taken control of the Heatonite Mining Complex on a moon of the planet Rigar, imaginatively called the Second Moon of Rijar. Heatonite is a rare and exotic mineral which can have strange effects on time. These crystals from a vital component of the Time Instant Replay Unit (TIRU) which is the focal point for the game's action.

The TIRU is like a super video recorder which can snatch moments of time into storage. The events contained within that instant can then be edited and its new form replaced into the space-time continuum.

The Doctor's mission is to destroy the TIRU, capture the plans and return to Gallifrey. Such a precious prize is, of course, well guarded and since the Doc is not a violent man he has to rely on Splinx to help.

Doctor Who And The Mines Of Terror

Splinx is a programmable white cat robot who is totally invisible to everyone except the doctor and the game player. It can be programmed to make a feline beeline for a market point set by Doctor Who, pick up any object lying there and then return to its master. All this depends on two crucial factors: battery charge and terrain. If the batteries are not kept topped up, splinx will grind to a halt but a simple ladder can also stop its mission.

Whatever the situation the cat must be recovered at all times. This is especially true when a regeneration occurs if The Doctor puts a foot wron and gets zapped. He rematerialises in a new location either back at the TARDIS or at the nearest Cryogenic Sleep Chamber (CSC).

The CSC has a second function if you want to end a play session because it is here that the game can be saved. Unfortunately, the effort of saving puts such a strain on the interspacial power source that it causes your C64 to reset. Re-entry to the mines can only be achieve by reloading the program. During the mission Dr Who has to solve many puzzles, the first of which is how to get past the Madrag, a gigantic and vicious monster. If inspiration fails at this point, a sealed cheat sheet is supplied which gives one solution to this problem.

Dodging Controllers and collecting potentially useful items in a search for the solution is the basis of this excellent challenge, the Doctor needs you.