Main Range 248: Black Thursday/Power Game (spoilers) Feb 18, 2019 9:46:04 GMT
Post by number13 on Feb 18, 2019 9:46:04 GMT
Back in the early 80s, 'adventure games' were all the rage - on TV and on (what we thought of as) computers - up to date ones with colour graphics (graphics using 4 colours at once!) and 32K of RAM. 32,000 whole bytes. A PC keyboard has more than that now! But the games were fun and so were the TV shows and that of course includes 'The Five Doctors', a perfect example of the 'adventure game' genre turned into drama (and one of my all-time favourites) which was perfectly of its time.
And for me, Eddie Robson's story is also perfectly of its time and I loved it for that. If you don't remember the (other) time when the Doctor was young and blond, this might come across as 'just' a good, entertaining 'Doctor Who' adventure, but for someone like me who was around in those ancient days then this is a beautifully depicted slice of pure nostalgia plus alien skulduggery. I had friends just like Una and Richard and Stuart - in fact I might have been one of those guys with their prize possession - a state-of-the-art VCR - which is ancient English for Video Cassette Recorder. Respect, guys, I know how much you had to save to buy that box! (Because I did the same, just in time that I could record 'The Five Doctors' in November 1983.) They cost hundreds in 1983/4 terms, maybe £1500 today's equivalent, so these are some serious tech-heads and just the right sort of people to pick up on alien weirdness infiltrating the wealth (four) of channels on British TV.
I liked the vibe of 'The Adventure Game' meets 'Knightmare' of the alien 'game' very much. The latter (ITV) was more gothic and 'dungeons and dragons'-y and I think aimed at younger viewers, the former (BBC) was the show I watched, high-tech styled and set on Arg with alien 'Argonds' (dragons) pretending to be humans to welcome their guests. Win, and you went home. Lose and... well, there's an awful lot of space out there if you're hitch-hiking... 'The Adventure Game' was the one contemporary with the Fifth Doctor in the early 80s and like his TARDIS, sometimes used in-game graphics done on a BBC Micro (presumably a Model B. You were not taken seriously if you only had a Model A. ) So I loved the idea that the Hostess showed a real and dangerous world as BBC Micro graphics to make her 'players' feel at home.
This alien adventure played out in the usual 'Doctor Who' style but I didn't mind that at all, with a double-dose of nostalgia on offer it was very enjoyable. This could have been a 'lost' Fifth Doctor story of the era imo and it depicts the real-world era as sharply as cyan and purple line graphics on a black background. (Historical reference.)
My only criticism is that for the third story running, Kamelion becomes the unwilling agent of trouble and has to be rescued / defeated. I suppose this is almost inevitable, doing the will of others is what Kamelion was created for. But I would have hoped for one story where the Doctor or his companions provide the will (with Kamelion's active participation) to turn it into an agent of good - a silver hero to go perhaps where no organic life-form could do. Maybe in the final story of the set we'll get the good Kamelion?
And I seem to remember Uncle Aspidistra!
Who also sometimes manifested himself as a steaming kettle if I'm remembering right?!
EDIT: wikipedia says a teapot, but I was close.