Docotor Who and the mines of terror

Doctor Who

The object of this game is to lead Doctor Who, the time lord, through the subterranean factory on the moon Rijar in order to prevent the construction of a Chaos Weapon. This walkthrough uses the C64 version.

Doctor, who?

Doctor Who is a milestone of classic science fiction. The BBC TV series was enormously popular over several decades – starting in the times of black and white television, and reaching into the 80s. The time lord, played by several actors over the time, lives several lives, which represent the tastes of the audiences at the different times. The effects used in the films also developed with time, most of them seem incredibly simple today. The series tells tales of the
Doctor travelling through time, stopping at various points to solve temporal crimes of his enemies, as there were the Daleks, (which resemble the controllers in the game), or the Master.

A little lecture on self-defence:

The objects in the game

The doctor suffers existential damage if he takes a plunge, if he runs or falls into the stalagmites, if he gets in contact with the
madrags, their eggs or the controllers, and if he breathes the air on the surface of the planet. In hopeless situations, pressing the R key causes the doctor to regenerate. To avoid controllers, it’s best to flee, preferrably to ladders. A few of the controllers run faster than the doctor, but usually they just chase him. As you can see below, the controllers can be disabled on the TIRU device. There is also a mat I can put in the controllers‘ way. They get stuck on it, and I can even walk across them without getting hurt. They are also easy to blow up with detonators, but is that their purpose? If I leave a Splinx marker next to the mat, I can have the cat retrieve it when I need the it somewhere else. Finally, the platform enables me to simply float away from the controllers.

Get the Pick-axe

Doctor Who Slpinx
The Splinx

The first thing to do at the start of the game is to climb up the ladder and turn left. Watch out for the controllers! There are small creatures here, the native inhabitants of the planet, who are busy prospecting heatonite, a rare radioactive ore.
They’re taking turns; I wait until one of them goes away,
and quickly take his pick-axe. With it, I can dig through all cave walls which are colored differently.

Oxygen and explosives - using Splinx

Doctor Who Atemgerät und Sprengstoff
Oxygen supply and explosives

Pressing the S key enters the Splinx programmer. At the start of the game, I put Splinx down by the ladder leading down and leave a marker directly by a madrag egg. Don’t get too
close, or the eggs will hatch, which is dangerous. In the cavern at the left end of the corridor, I leave another marker. You’ll see the reason later, when I get the oxygen supply.
At the starting point, I run to the right and jump over the stalagmites. Then, I jump down to the level below me, after programming Splinx to fetch an egg – this keeps the madrag mother busy, who would otherwise attack me. Using the pick-axe, I make my way to the oxygen, and also get the explosives. If it becomes too risky, I come back later to fetch the explosives.

In the center at the elevator (overview of the game map)

Doctor Who Anpflanzungen
The plantations

Now I make my way to the center of the action: from the starting point of the game, I turn to the right top. There are many controllers in this area, but with a little luck I manage to slip through and get to the elevator. From here I can explore all the different levels. In the lower right area, there is a cave system and a large reactor patrolled by controllers. Above is a secured area where some important items are guarded. To the middle left, there is a large unwatched area mainly occupied by conveyor belts. These lead to a storage room. Workers are carrying boxes from this room to the TIRU device. In the upper left area, there are plantations which are needed as supplies for chemical processing. The tower area and another area in the middle right wing become important at a later stage.

The plantations

Doctor Who Anpflanzungen
The plantations

There is a game-save location near the conveyor belts, so I don’t have to start over from the beginning every time something goes wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to permanently save game states to disk, although such a function would be truly necessary for a game as this! But
let’s start with the plantations: there is only one controller, which is patrolling the entrance. In this area, I collect a jar filled with a chemical, a platform on which I can float in the air, and a mat which I can use against the controllers from now on. They get stuck on it and I can walk across them without being harmed. I throw the chemicals into the same basin into which the workers are throwing their plant parts. This way, I sabotaging the cooling; furthermore, I disable two controllers near the TIRU device.

The TIRU device

Doctor Who TIRU Maschine
The TIRU machine

After throwing the chemicals into the basin, I can enter the area with the TIRU device via the level below it. There, I take the transport vehicle to get to the end, then use the platform to float upwards to the TIRU machine. Here I take the crystal. I’ve got to avoid floating to the upper level, lest I have to regenerate to get out again. Below, there is an apparatus equipped with some fuses marked with letters that form the word „START“. A bit lower, there’s an device to open blocked ladders.

The secured area

Doctor Who gesicherter Bereich
The secured area

Then, I use the carriage to drive to the right end of the cave, where I find some sealed ladder entrance vestibules. However, they can be opened with the wrench. At later points, there are other sealed locations, which can be opened from the level above (which can be reached with
the platform). In this area, I collect an activator and three detonators, which can be activated, and have limited
explosive force. Watch out for the small blue, round movement detectors in the corridors; they will alert the controllers! At some place in this area, I allow myself to be captured by a controller. Surprisingly, it won’t hurt me; but it locks me in a cell I can only escape by regeneration. But it’s worth it, as from now on, the controllers ignore me and don’t chase me any more! Near the holding cell, a little above, the rocket-shaped escape pods can be found. These are an alternative way to leave the planet at the end of the game, provided I’ve got the activator to launch them. At the very right, a memory cell can be found. Collecting this cell is part of my mission.

Doctor Who gesicherter Bereich
The secured area

Cracking the code - the Security card

The package of this tricky game contains a „Security Card“. Near the holding cell, there is a computer terminal which gives me a code, if I examine it: the display shows a number (n), a symbol and a letter. The letter is the english initial of a colour – I look up the n-th occurrence of the symbol with the given colour on the security card, starting at the outer end of the spiral.
I memorize this symbol and the two following ones. Then I go down two levels, and put the mat in front of the motion detector to catch the two controllers which are on patrol there. I stand in front of the secured door; three symbols are shown there. I select the symbols I memorized in the order shown on the card – open Sesame! I collect a passport here which opens any secured door if I hold it in my hand. This allows me to access some areas of the game which I could only speculate about, like the tower.

Doctor Who securitycard
Security Card (copy protection)

The tower

Holding the passport in hand I use the lift to go to the tower, passing doors and controllers, to finally collect two fuses marked O and P. Then, I go back to the apparatus mentioned earlier, and replace the fuses to change „START“ to „STOP“. After that, the conveyor belts transporting the ore come to a grinding halt.

On the surface

Doctor Who Planetenoberfläche
On the surface

The oxygen allows me to survive in the lethal environment on the planet surface. At the place where I found the pick, I can climb further upwards and take a box from the outside.
The most elegant way to do this is by programming Splinx to collect the object near the doctor. Apparently, the box has no further use, but I’ve got to collect it in order to halt the production plant.

The Tardis

Now it’s time to get away, after I’ve place the explosives to blow up the huge reactor at the very bottom of the plant. Above the reactor there’s an area blocked by a door, which didn’t catch my attention so far. Behind this door, a winding way leads to the other end, and behold – there’s another savepoint, and another Tardis, one of these spaceships that look like a phone booth from the outside. I can use this Tardis to escape from the planet, or one of the escape pods
above. After I walk over this savepoint, I will appear at this
position in case I have to regenerate. Now I activate the explosives, and have to quickly make my way from the reactor to the Tardis. From time to time, my actual nemesis appears – a blue figure looking like the master, a defected timelord as it seems. All can do to me is give me a hit on the nose and snatch my crystal, then he runs off.

The Reactor

Aside from the winding caves near the reactor, the area is rather straightforward. On the bottom of the huge reactor, there is a central pillar in simple orange, which can be broken down using the explosives. After that, a ticking noise starts, and doesn’t stop. I’ve only got a limited amount of time to escape, and if I don’t make it, the doctor regenerates after a certain time. If you find that too hectic, you can simply press ‚R‘ after placing the explosives, and regenerate deliberately, provided that you walked across the savepoint near the Tardis.

The End

Doctor Who Cover Back

If you manage to escape from the planet, you will be judged by the timelords, who apparently were waiting for you. Points are gained when you reach the savepoints throughout the game, by finishing the game with Splinx, by collecting the crystal, and probably some other objects – and by the degree to which the production plant has been destroyed. The principle is simple; each time you reach a savepoint, your score is doubled. It makes sen

Doctor Who II

When you had a look at the game, it’s obvious that Doctor Who II is not a game of its own, but just a frozen game state: someone has collected some objects, and put them down at a central location, which is ideal for further explorations. However, this player has forgotten to get the mat, and hasn’t thrown the chemicals into the basin yet, so you’ve got to return to the plantations in order to do this. Also, he has taken the fuses with him. Since it’s a frozen memory image, it’s not sure whether the game still works correctly.

Versions for other systems

There are several adaptions of the game, which are for the Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Spectrum and the C64. Apparently, there
are some differences between these versions, as the instructions mention some objects which don’t seem to be present in the Commodore version. As far as I know from other players, the Spectrum version was never released to the market. There are two different versions of the BBC adaption: The original version and one which has music and lets you save to disk. In the BBC adaption, it is said there’s a stool near the holding cell. The Amstrad adaption was used as a basis for the commodore adaption, and the box on the planet surface seems to have lost its function in the game – that’s what I call history!

Links

About Micropower and Tony Sothcott, the author of the C64 version: http://www.stairwaytohell.com

Peter Braun, Juni 2004