|Dev: Sumo Digital|
|Pub: BBC Wales Interactive|
|Release: December 26, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Although both of these chapters will likely take you less than an afternoon to complete, the price tag for admission ($9) doesn't seem too high. Though TARDIS is a huge let-down, Shadows of the Vashta Nerada more than makes up for the weak third episode. However, if you want to skip the third episode and just purchase the fourth episode as a standalone for $5, you might be better off, as there really isn't anything you'll miss from the third episode, other than collectibles.
As for production values, episodes 3 and 4 of the Adventure Games are almost identical to the first two titles. The character models look fairly standard, but the animations are still a little awkward. This problem is especially noticeable in Shadows of the Vashta Nerada, as there are a lot of "stock" animations interspersed with the action sequences, which slow down the flow of the game considerably. Sound still works well, and the voiceovers are still capably performed by current-season stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. Although the soundtrack samples nicely from the show, I have to say that the constant repetition of the "I am the Doctor" theme is a little excessive, and can become rather grating, especially for those who played the first two games.
Controls are also exactly the same as in previous games, and unfortunately, that becomes a bit of an issue with the fourth episode. Because Shadows of the Vashta Nerada features a lot of action and stealth sequences, the "click to move forward" controls aren't always precise enough to get the job done the first or second time around. Of course, like any sub-par control system, you'll find ways to get around the problem in tricky situations, but that doesn't really excuse this issue, and I really hope it is addressed in future releases.
Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Episodes 3 and 4 is a nice package, even if it is a mixed bag. The third episode is by far the weakest of the Adventure Games' first season, but the fourth episode more than makes up for the third's shortcomings. Although this is the end of the Doctor's first season of downloadable video game adventures, the BBC has confirmed that The Adventure Games has been commissioned for a second season to begin later this year, so there's plenty to look forward to!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer