Reviews

Tethered- PlayStation VR Review

 

How would you like to be a God? Games have given us the chance to pretend to be a god many times. With games like populous we tinkered and played at being the almighty controller of our little people’s lives. Tethered_20161105142256

Well now there is a new God sim and it plays unlike anything you have ever played before. I’m talking about Tethered on PlayStation VR. (more…)

Big Finish: The Torchwood Archive

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 10 years since Torchwood first hit TV, perhaps due in no small part to John Barrowman’s lack of aging. Like its parent show, it has worked in several guises across different media in that time, most recently having two six-episode seasons on Big Finish. And therein lies the challenge of celebrating it – with such a diversity of format (and not a particularly high character survival rate!) how do you reflect it all?

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Cue Big Finish stepping forward, of course, and the bumper 2-hour The Torchwood Archive… but is this an archive worth digging in to?

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The War Doctor vol 3: Agents of Chaos

For a man with no name, the War Doctor don’t half get around a bit. Yes, John Hurt’s grumpy soldier is back, joined once again by Jaqueline Pearce’s Servalanalike Cardinal Ollistra in a new Big Finish boxset: War Doctor Vol 3: Agents of Chaos.

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This three-volume set continues the story of the Time War, and opens with David Llewlyn’s rather wonderful The Shadow Vortex: Ollistra sends the Doctor to cold-war Berlin to track agent of Skaro Lara Zannis, who is hell-bent on using the nascent post-war atomic science to usher in a new world order shaped like a million Daleks. Second is Andrew Smith’s The Eternity Cage, in which the Sontarans bluff and blackmail Time Lord and Dalek alike in an effort to grab a little Time War glory for themselves. And the set closes with Ken Bentley’s Eye of Harmony which has the Dalek Time Strategist basing his next campaign on a rewatch of Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS essentially.

For a one-off gag, or at least a one-story device, as Steven Moffat originally intended the War Doctor to be for the fiftieth anniversary show, this incarnation of everyone’s favourite Time Lord has a surprising amount of depth and character. In part, of course, that is thanks to the fact that he is played by a superlative actor who lives and breathes characterisation; but it is also due to the care with which Big Finish amongst others have taken the skeleton provided by Moffat and added flesh to the bones. Despite being a soldier embroiled in war, the nameless one as interpreted by BF spends most of his time eschewing violence and yearning for a time when everyone gets on with one another regardless of race, creed or the ability to get up stairs without an ominously humming base unit. But this is no criticism: Hurt’s Doctor has every right to the name he refuses, since, just like all the others, he is a flawed guardian of morality and justice.

And the overriding narrative is strengthened further through a range of other characters of depth: Pearce’s wonderfully Machiavellian Ollistra, of course; Dalek agent Lara Zannis is played adeptly by Who royalty in the shape of Neve Macintosh; Honeysuckle Weeks’s Heleyna similarly plays a character whose true trajectory is well hidden until the appropriate moment; and Timothy Speyer’s Kruger, the Stasi officer who first captures and then aids War (as the kids have it) is a joy, with a journey that goes from traditional East-European intelligence officer stereotype through proper companion material to at last a sympathetic hero with a back story that actually justifies the choices he’s made.

It all sounds, as ever, great – the sound design, as professional as ever from Big Finish, creates totally believable environments; and a cast of fewer than fifteen delivers what feels like all of Berlin and most of the rest of the universe to boot. The writing is tight, taught and efficient, making for satisfying and unputdownable (now a word) listening. Overall, this is a joy and well worth adding to any BF collection.

There are those who thought the retro-fitting of the War Doctor into Who canon was a mistake that should never have been attempted. I was one of them. Well, I was wrong in 2013 when Steven Moffat did it, and I’m even more wrong now.

Red Dwarf XI – Episode 2: Samsara

At face value this sounds like a standard style Red Dwarf tale: an escape pod and message leads to a crashed ship, the eponymous Samsara, in which the crew get split up and find themselves in mortal danger.  So far, so jolly fine.

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Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead!

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Big Finish – The Sacrifice of Sherlock Holmes

The latest installment in Big Finish’s Sherlock series finds an older Holmes facing revitalised foes from his past, enemies that have come back stronger, and who are focusing on his destruction. It’s not a promising start for the world’s greatest detective, although being reunited with Dr Watson provides perhaps a single strand of hope in the battle. But both men are old and adrift, Holmes now deprived of the help of his brother Mycroft whom he suspects has been murdered by the Society, and Watson alone due to marital difficulties.The sacrifice of Sherlock Holmes

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Warp Factor (PS)4 Mr Sulu!

 

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Timey Wimey. It’s five and a bit day’s mission, to explore strange new controls, to seek out new loot and new customisations, to boldly go where no console has gone before… cue the theme music!

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As if that wasn’t enough of a clue, Perfect World and Cryptic Studios long running MMO, Star Trek Online has arrived on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Set in the Star Trek universe, STO places you firmly in the captain’s chair in charge of your own crew and your very own starship. (more…)

Red Dwarf XI- Episode One: Twentica

The boys from the Dwarf are back.  The galaxies most dysfunctional crew might be older but they’re no wiser and no less likely to get into trouble.
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Once again the crew find themselves sent back in time to Nineteen Twenties America but in this past technology has been outlawed (not good news when half your crew depends on it).  They’re only hope is to infiltrate a tech savvy, top secret, underground group and find a way to bring down the the authoritarian regime.

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Horror Channel Frightfest 2016

Frightfest is back… not quite where you were looking! This year with new headline sponsor The Horror Channel, Frightfest took over the entire of the West 12 Vue in Shepherds Bush, and offered a 67-film lineup over main and discovery screens.

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Big Finish: 4th Doctor Adventures: The Pursuit of History and Casualties of Time

A trap woven across time and a plan centuries in the making awaits the Doctor, Romana and K9 as they once again face the Conglomerate, with its mysterious head, Cuthbert. Time itself is under threat from the company’s business tactics and strange distortions in the Vortex are only the start of the Doctor’s troubles.  Someone has been playing a long game, and it may already be  too late to stop Cuthbert from embracing his destiny.  But is he destined to run the universe… or destroy it?

The Pursuit of History and Casualties of Time (more…)

Glasgow Film and Comic Con – Day 2

Comic Con is always a highlight. If you’re like me, then the dealer’s hall is great fun, wandering around spotting fun t-shirts and retro toys from your childhood (oh how that G1 Metroplex was tempting), alongside spotting glimpses of famous faces from the various shows I’ve enjoyed over the years.Glasgow Film and Comic Con 2016

This year, I attended on the Sunday, so it was a bit quieter than the busy Saturday. The signings had been moved up to a new area upstairs, overlooking the river, which made for a much nicer, bright, open area. Various cult figures were present, including Jimmy Vee, Ray Park, Margot Kidder and Sean Astin.

However for me, there was one guest I had to see. The Sixth Doctor himself, Colin Baker. (more…)

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