Saturday, 11 May 2013

Nightmare In Silver

Neil Gaiman’s episode, formerly The Last Cyberman, but it does indeed not really fit. But does the new title...?

Having written a format-bending love letter to the whole idea of Doctor Who, he now shows he can write a regular episode, a Base Under Siege in fact.

New Cybermen - a substantial badass upgrade, but not necessarily a scary one. Popping bits off is useful, and superspeed as well, but the most worrying part was their politeness. The “please stand by” of a disinterested computer feigning manners.

They can creep up on you, but the way it was handled didn’t make this particularly frightening. Compare (here I go again) The Flood for Cybermen with an “aargh” factor. Closing Time got me more, but I admit that may be because their main target was a thirtysomething bloke called Craig...

The Cyberplanner being so casual and conversational made him less scary as well - he didn’t seem soulless. I actually thought the Cybermen taking in the Doctor was going to be their undoing. (Which of course it was for the Planner, but not overall.) As he jumped up on the table and called himself Mister Clever I figured that was the Doctor taking him over. Maybe next time.

The kids got far less to do than younger fans might have hoped and older fans might have feared. NPCs, not visiting players. Perhaps they’ll get a full-on adventure next year?

(And you don’t have beds in the TARDIS?! Not even couches?)

Likewise Jason Watkins and Tamzin Outhwaite in smaller roles than one might expect, and most of the Punishment Platoon (although I did like Missy - “is it okay if I hide?”). Warwick Davies as Porridge would be the visiting player, complete with spending quite a few Story Points to make that ending work!

Probably aiming for Gollum with the clean-right-side-left-Cyber-side conversations, but the evil hand acting was more Ash. Which is no bad thing, but fits the light-hearted romp tone of the story more than the chills we might have expected. (Of course, the Cyberhand running about by itself might have influenced my thinking there.)

Lovely Dave McKean style backgrounds for the Doctor’s mind.

Clara appears to be able to mimic Voice Of Authority if you give her a badge. How much of what she does in any given episode is her putting up a front? Hmm...

And next week... oh my. NEXT WEEK...

So, game-wise, new Cybermen with a stealth mode, rapid upgrades, a way to zoom through initiative order, and a weakness for needing to co-process at times so they freeze up. I shall have to look at Aliens And Creatures and get back to you on that.

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