Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tales From The TARDIS: The Sea Of Death

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Hello and Welcome to the Basement, This is Tales From The TARDIS

This week we begin the overlook of 'The Keys of Marinus", a six part adventure that first aired April 11 to May 16 in 1964. Now unlike 'Marco Polo', this whole adventure is intact and can be found on DVD.

Now every story has a beginning, and in this case, the beginning is called 'The Sea of Death'.

The Doctor and crew (Barbara, Ian and Susan) arrive on an island, where the beach is made of glass and the sea is acid... so basically they arrived in Atlantic City. Now would they find out the sea is filled with acid? Well one of Susan's shoes gets knocked into the water by Barbara, and it dissolves. So correction, they aren't in Atlantic City, they are in Ocean City. Susan goes to the TARDIS to get a new pair, but is followed by a strange creature... of course she is! Because if someone is going to be followed it's going to be Susan... oh and insert your own American Horror Story Rubber-Man joke here.

I'm going to jump a head slightly here, to keep some things together as Susan reaches the TARDIS, she finds footprints... and instead of telling the others, she chooses to investigate and follows the footprints to a structure in the distance. When she arrives she looks around, but as the creature in the rubber suit is about to attack her with a knife, a wall revolves, knocking it to who knows where. Also let me comment on Susan's attire, I love the vest, slacks long sleeve shirt combo on her. It just works for me. As Susan continues to explore, she is 'saved' from being attack again but a mysterious figure in dressed like a monk.

Anyway, The Doctor, Ian and Barbara come across four submarines (or torpedoes as Barbara called them), one holding an empty rubber suit with a tear in one leg, safe to say, that whoever was wearing said suit died when it was exposed to the acid. They go back to the TARDIS and see that Susan isn't there, they go to check out the structure, and split up to look for her... but thanks to the revolving walls, all three end up inside eventually. Once inside, Ian discovers one of the rubber suited creatures fighting with the monk and intervenes, pulling the creatures off the guy... and in a strange sequence, the creature ends up against a wall, a panel opens and ends up falling down a shaft down into a pool of acid. What a way to go!

The monk introduces himself to Ian as Arbitan, he says the creatures are called Voords and that he is the Keeper of the Conscience of Marinus , a computer that was developed over two millennia ago as a justice machine to keep law and order on the planet...   insert your own Law and Order joke here folks....Everyone is reunited as Arbitan explains that for seven hundred years, Marinus was kept things under control until a Voord named Yartek worked out how to resist it. Well it was bound to happen sooner later, but now the Conscience has been upgraded (probably to Windows 10) and is ready to be activated again... but there's a problem. When Arbitan saved the Conscience from the Voord, he separated the five keys that regulate it, he has one but the other four are on other locations on the planet. Ain't that just typical... you place your keys somewhere and when you need them, you need volunteers to get them back.

The Doctor flat out refuses and goes to leave for the TARDIS, but when he and the others arrive, the police box has a force field around it. Arbitan isn't going to take no for an answer, forcing the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan to do the task. They are given travel dials which are pre-set to take then to different parts of the Marimus and their quest begins... as they are teleported to their first destination, Arbitan is attacked and killed by a Voord... but that's not the end.... for the real cliff hanger is when our heroes reach their first destination, and Barbara is missing.... only her travel-dial is left... and it has blood on it!

This episode does what it sets out to, establishing the plot for the new adventure, explaining why our heroes can't jump back into the TARDIS and leave, and gives us an idea of who the villains are. As I said, I really like Susan's attire in this episode, but let's talk about the sets. Because of budget limitations of the time, the show was done a lot on a sound-stage, so the use of matte paintings and building of props to create an alien word really shows the effort and creativity needed at the time to bring things into reality.

Anyway, that will just about do it for this weeks episode, next week it's part two and the Velvet Web

Indiana Jones and the Fate Of Atlantis

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The year is 1939...

A Mr. Smith has tasked Professor Henry 'Indiana' Jones Jr, with finding a lock to match a key he happens to have... but it's all apart of plot... for Mr. Smith is Klaus Kerner of the Third Reich and they are searching for the lost City of Atlantis! This my friends is how the adventure that is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis begins....

Release in 1992 (on floppy disk and later CD-ROM with audio) from Lucas Arts, this is one of my all time favorite computer games. I have a real soft spot for the classic Lucas Arts games like this, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max Hit The Road, the simple but effective point and click, puzzle games were things that quite grew on me... and something I remember how to play (as you can see in the replay video of a live stream covering the first third of the game over the period of two hours while going for the 'team path')

So what is it about this game from 24 years ago that makes it worth playing? Well for one it is an Indiana Jones adventure, it has the look and feel of something grand, even if the graphics don't really convey it, the story tells it wonderfully.

There is a lot of replay value, with various dialog choices that have different reactions, plus there are three different paths, one a team path with Sophia Hapgood, one where Indy is solo and is heavy on the puzzles, and one where Indy gets into fights along the way. While each path starts and ends the same, the middle portion of the story varies.I personally prefer to Team Path, because Sophia and Indy have great chemistry as characters, and when you think about it, all the Indiana Jones films see him with a sidekick. Plus it means taking breaks for some side-conversation and getting insight on what to do.

Adding to the replay value is the 'random' factor, as if you play through the game once and play through it again with the exact same choices, some events happen slightly differently, such as herding the jungle rodent towards a snake (why did it have to be snakes) sees the rodent start off at a different point every time, the collection where the Lost Dialog of Plato is found varies not to mention the location (It could be in a wax cat, in a tipped over book case, behind a totem pole), what the shop keeper would wand in a trad for a Squab on a Stick and the combination of the Sun, Moon and World Stone can change.

And because of all these things, I think the game has aged very well and the same could be said for a lot of the Lucas Arts point and click games. It's why I hope at some point more of them get ported to Steam at some point, because these are games that should be experienced and enjoyed in this day and age.

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