November 04, 2022
Have you ever wanted to join in the Doctor’s adventures via a video or console game?
The Doctor’s adventures have graced our screens for nearly sixty years throughout time and space. They’ve taken us across the universe from television, to the big screen, novels and more. Every Doctor Who fan, at least once, has wanted to go on one of the Doctor’s adventures; and video games have given us that opportunity for decades.
From simple text-based stories, all the way up to exploring entire virtual realities, here are some of the Doctor’s finest adventures that we got to play, instead of watch...
Doctor Who: The First Adventure
Despite what the title might imply, The First Adventure wasn’t a playable version of An Unearthly Child. It is, instead, the first licensed Doctor Who game.
Released for the BBC Micro in 1983, it is made up of four levels. In an odd twist, the first and last levels sound like Fourth Doctor stories. You can easily imagine the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith being stuck in “The Labyrinth of Death,” or the Doctor with a look of horror as Leela opened “The Box of Tantalus.” The middle two levels, “The Prison,” and “The Terrordactyls,” sound like they’ve been ripped directly from 60s Who.
Players took control of neither the First nor Fourth Doctors, but the Fifth, who was on an epic quest to find the Key to Time and initiate the Second Age of Time. Each level was a take on another famous game, such as Pac-Man and Frogger.
Doctor Who and the Mines of Terror
Gracing the BBC Micro and Commodore 64 systems in 1985, Doctor Who and the Mines of Terror pitted the Sixth Doctor against the horrors of the aforementioned mine. A platforming/adventure hybrid, the Doctor was accompanied by the original companion Splinx, a cybernetic cat. No word on if Splinx and K-9 have met yet…
Doctor Who and the Warlord
A fully text-based adventure, 1985’s Doctor Who and the Warlord was another game for the Sixth Doctor. Players took on the role of the companion, who was separated from the Doctor at the state of the game. After visiting many distant worlds and times, the climax of the game brought players to the Battle of Waterloo, where they had to outwit Napoleon!
Complete with a rendition of the Seventh Doctor’s theme tune, and voice acting, Dalek Attack hit multiple systems in 1992. Not only the main antagonists, the Daleks might have had a hand - or should that be plunger? - in designing the game. During the opening level, players controlled the Doctor on a flying platform, happily shooting everything that crossed his path! For every subsequent level, the sonic screwdriver acted more like the Master’s Laser Screwdriver, blasting everything that stood in the Doctor’s way.
Destiny of the Doctors
1997’s Destiny of the Doctors was the last Doctor Who game we’d see before the relaunch in 2005. Packed full of classic enemies, it was set entirely within the TARDIS. Players took control of the Graak, an amorphous blob created by the Fourth Doctor to save the first Seven Doctors from the Master.
Destiny of the Doctor is also the last appearance of Anthony Ainley as the Master. His appearances were all filmed, rather than rendered by the game’s engine. All of these cutscenes were put together for the DVD version of Survival. If you’ve got a copy, go and check them out!
Evacuation Earth/Return to Earth
More than a decade later, Doctor Who returned to the world of gaming with a timey-wimey concept that even the Doctor would be proud of. On the 29th of October 2010, Evacuation Earth and Return to Earth were released. Both games featured the Eleventh Doctor and Amy arriving on the SS Lucy Gray, but at different points in the ship’s timeline.
In Return to Earth, the TARDIS crew defended the ship against both the Cybermen and the Daleks. Many years later, they would arrive before the ship had taken off in Evacuation Earth. The SS Lucy Grey needed their help once more, as the Daleks attacked. Except, these were the Daleks from Return to Earth, who had come back in time to alter the course of history!
The Adventure Games
Between the 5th of June 2010 and the 31st of October 2011, the world was gifted five new adventures for the Eleventh Doctor in the form of the Adventure Games. These episodic releases pitted players against Daleks, Cybermen, the Vashta Nerada and even classic foes, the Rutans!
The Eternity Clock
The final gaming entry for the Eleventh Doctor, although this time players were also finally able to play as everyone’s favourite time travelling archaeologist, River Song! River and the Doctor teamed up to track down the missing parts of the Eternity Clock, a device of immense power that was even able to overpower the TARDIS!
Doctor Who Legacy/Doctor Who Infinity
A different sort of game entered the Doctor Who universe with 2013’s Doctor Who Legacy, straight into your own hand! Combining puzzles with RPG elements, Legacy featured multiple storylines, which pulled in different incarnations of the Doctor, as well as large swathes of their allies and enemies, available on your mobile. The game spawned a spiritual sequel in 2018’s Doctor Who Infinity - which brought with it new stories, each one focusing on a different TARDIS team.
When you have a game about travelling through various times and places and collaborating with various franchises, crossing over with Doctor Who seems inevitable! The Doctor Who level pack saw you take control of the Twelfth Doctor to fight back against the Daleks, teaming up with K-9 to repel Skaro’s death machines.
While many Doctor Who games had used the term ‘regeneration’ to explain how you had multiple lives, LEGO Dimensions fully committed to the concept. Every time you died in the game, you would reappear as the next incarnation of the Doctor!
Edge of Time / Edge of Reality
Initially, a VR-exclusive title, the Edge of Time allowed players to stand in the TARDIS from the comfort of their own home! Guided by the Thirteenth Doctor, players travelled across the universe and were brought face-to-face with the Weeping Angels. The only thing more terrifying than the Weeping Angels on screen? Having to actually keep staring at one!
In 2021, the game was brought to non-VR platforms and expanded. Players now also had to contend with the Cybermen and crossed paths with the Tenth Doctor.
Hitting the Doctor Who website in 2020, this highly addictive game saw players having to combine tiles to reach the Thirteenth Doctor. You might think it is easy at first, but the game ramps up in difficulty the longer the game goes on. The very definition of an “Oh go on then, just one more go,” type of game, Thirteen is still available on the website for you to try for yourself.
Maybe just clear an hour or two in your diary before you start.
The Lonely Assassins
Even though they haven’t been around for as long as other classic Doctor Who villains, the Weeping Angels have shot to near the top of the list of utterly terrifying creatures. If you can overcome the terror of facing them, then you should dive into 2021’s The Lonely Assassins. Teaming players with trusty UNIT scientist Osgood, the main objective was to track down Larry Nightingale, who was featured in the seminal episode Blink. This game allowed you to solve the mystery from your mobile, picking up clues and solving the mysteries of the universe.
The Lonely Assassins is still available to be played now.
When global phenomena collide! Players in Fortnite were able to enjoy all manner of challenges related to the Doctor’s travels. Not only could they duke it out on Gallifrey, but there were also themed challenges relating to the Doctor’s adventures in Series 11. If that wasn’t enough, there was also a museum where players could learn more about the various Doctors and their multitudes of friends and foes. You can read more here.
While no ship in the entirety of EVE Online is as impressive as the TARDIS, players were able to have a brief taste of the Doctor’s life. For a limited time, Gallifrey appeared in the EVE Online universe and could be visited. Admittedly, it was surrounded by Daleks which players would have to fight. Then again, trips to Gallifrey have often proved to be dangerous for the Doctor, so you could say players were getting the authentic experience! You can read more here.
The latest addition to the pantheon in Doctor Who gaming is a cross-over with the hit game Fall Guys. Players will be able to dress up their beans as the Fourth and Thirteenth Doctors, as well as in an adorable Dalek outfit. An achievement in and of itself, as no one’s ever been able to call a Dalek adorable before! On top of all that, making his debut in the world of gaming, the Fourteenth Doctor’s natty blue outfit is up for grabs as well. Find out more here.
Doctor Who: Lost in Time
Coming up in the world of games is a new mobile phone game, currently in its soft launch phase to be released December 2022/January 2023. Developed by Bigfoot Gaming and published by East Side Games, Lost in Time is an idle game where you explore time space and collecting energy to save the universe.
Which is your favourite Doctor Who game? Visit our Play section for quizzes, experiences, activities and more.