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Doctor Who: Return to Earth Review - -

Gameplay 5.0
Graphics 6.0
Sound 7.0
Value 5.0
Distributor: QVS
Michael Marsh


Doctor Who: Return to Earth

I was really excited about this game and being a huge Doctor Who fan, it seemed that all my Christmas' have come at once. Unfortunately I was knocked for six and flushed down the Dalek toilet to boot. But where did this all go wrong? Ironically, the story of Doctor Who: Return To Earth is actually very well written, thanks to the support from the official BBC scribes and to add another element of realism, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan lend their excellent voices to the game.

This however is where all the excellence ends because in terms of gameplay, Doctor Who: Return To Earth is notoriously bad and I don't mean that in a Cybermen or Dalek way.  And yes, I do understand that the game has been created for the younger player in mind but unfortunately some things just don't mesh.

Before we get to the gameplay, lets have recap of the story... this Doctor Who tale begins with the Doctor and his companion Amy boarding a "ghost" ship called the SS Lucy Gray which has been responsible for transmitting a strange signal across the galaxy. As our good Time Lord investigates, he soon learns that this was man's first colonist ship to the stars and upon further investigation, the notorious Cybermen are mixed up in this mess plus some more classic Doctor Who villains... but I'll try not to spoil this game for those who actually want to play it...hmm...

For gameplay, Doctor Who: Return To Earth is an adventure game minus the action and some parts remind of Metal Gear Solid because there's quite a bit and I do mean LOTS of sneaking around. The majority of the gameplay requires the player to search for coloured crystals which are guarded by Daleks and co. You need to sneak up to the Daleks and then steal the crystal in order for them to be used with your sonic screw driver.

Then by using the crystal with your sonic screwdriver, you can interact with various objects in the game to further your quest such as opening door or activating levers. This parts kind of works but there is just not enough variety. Also, if you want some added realism, a sonic screwdriver holder wiimote is available that does add some well deserved FUN to this game. This does not come with the Doctor Who game but can be purchased separately.

As mentioned, there are a variety of coloured crystals to collect and each has a different ability but that's probably the most challenging aspect of the game. The wiimote does become a little annoying as well which is due to the lack of accuracy of it so the majority of time is spent attempting to match the crystal with a particular colour. Lots of pointing to the screen and running around.

As Doctor Who does not condone violence, you spend most of the game hiding from robots and other Doctor Who nasties and if you do get caught or spotted, the game restarts you at the last checkpoint. Fortunately there are quite a few checkpoints around. You even get to swap between the Doctor and Amy but in actual fact, these characters don't add anything new to the gameplay and the doc's companion actually has the ability to use his items too! With such a cool premise, you would expect more wiimote interaction but it's actually quite limited as if the gravity gun which these mini-games revolve. So close yet so far.
Graphically, the title looks a little dated on the Nintendo Wii with some lack of detail. The characters who have been taken from the TV series are fairly reminiscent of their real-world actors or BBC special effects but considering that this is the first flagship of the Doctor Who series on the console world, it definitely looks like a first generation Wii title.

The game is just lacking the finesse that other Nintendo Wii games have and considering how long the Wii has been available for, you would hope that the developers of this title would have the gist of how to create a good game. The saving grace of the graphics is the music and the voice acting, thanks to the Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as his sexy companion, Amy Pond.

In the end, this is one game that most of you should avoid and even though it was created for the younger gamer, there are far superior games available at the moment. Was the game rushed? Was is due to alien radiation? Who knows! But there is one thing I do know, this game does not do the Doctor Who franchise justice! Even with the voice talent of Smith and Gillan plus the writing of Ollie Smith, a scriptwriter for the TV series, the game just doesn't come together.

So that's is, Doctor Who: Return to Earth should be labelled, Doctor Who: Return to Store but don't fret because there is actually one game that does pay homage to Doctor Who on the console world. That game is Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth which is available on the Nintendo DS. I did manage to play this game and by Galileo, it's far superior than this title and my son thought the same. I gave this title 5 out of 10 and that's because I'm a fan of Doctor Who.


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