As this is a gamebook that doesn't have any traditional page numbers, we are instead listing pages by what section they appear on. If something takes place on Page 4 of Section 2, then it'll be written as (2.4). We have also included a section for endings, as alternate endings (especially ones resulting in you suffering horrible deaths) became a massive selling point of gamebooks. Be aware that some of the other information here (such as materialisations and locations visited) may only appear in a 'non-canon' bad ending.
You bump into the Doctor, who's trying to stop the vindictive space tyrant at the edge of the universe from beaming his cybernetic army to Earth. The two of you need to discover a way of defeating him for good, while surviving his minions and mysterious domain.
'You', a 1980s youth who chooses to be nicknamed Ixio (after a random word on a TARDIS screen) in this book so the Doctor (and the author) has something to refer to you by.
(11.2) Just prior to the book's events: a dark subterrain tunnel beneath a busy London Street, 1986.
(5) The Doctor attempts to materialise onto the very same street an hour before, but Lord Darval's Hypertime tunnel sends the TARDIS to the middle of a giant desert canyon on Semor VII.
(6) In the middle of a sacred line of coral sculptures on a purple beach, the planet Tokl at the rim of the Universe, the twenty-third century.
(3.2) A jungle terraformed to resemble primeval Earth on the word of Vrini, "nineteen thousand and seven years from today". So, 3893.
(28.2) While off-screen, the Doctor materialises away from the Ormazoid base, somewhere near Orm's main city.
(57.5) In the middle of Darval's throne room, as a distraction.
(66.3) The very same street corner where you met the Doctor at the beginning, a few minutes before it happened.
(10.3) "Moa is more than a lump of stone, isn't he?" Likely coincidental, but a piece of technology being worshipped as a totem by a tribal culture recalls the Tribe of The Free worshipping a black-light converter in the first segment of the Trial of a Time Lord season, The Mysterious Planet. Said story being broadcast a mere month before this book's publication in October 1986.
(10.4) "'Ixio has only one good language,' says the Doctor, mildly. 'Play fair, that's early Alpha Centaurian.'" The Shargoan's trial of Moa is a riddle presented in the language of early Alpha Centurian. We first saw a member of this species in The Curse of Peladon, them becoming one of the Doctor's reoccurring allies and appearing in almost every story set on Peladon in every medium.
(24.4) "One squeeze, Doctor, and the brain of your friend receives a jolt of power that kills an increasing number of brain cells with each succeeding charge. As you say, there is no knowledge to impart but great suffering as his brain shrinks until nothing remains but an empty skull." Brain-related affectations played for medical horror feature heavily in the Trial of a Timelord segment Mindwarp, also written by Phillip Martin. Coincidentally enough, this book was released the same month that story was broadcast.
(56) "You follow the Doctor's pointing finger and scan the Latin inscription above the twisted heraldic emblem: A sinistra tena. 'Keep left,' says the Doctor. 'And that's exactly what we will do.'" Completely retroactive, but a hallway in Lord Darval's castle keeps spinning you back to the beginning if you try to go right, featuring a Latin inscribing that's synonymous with Turn Left. This comes across as an eerily predictive reference to the revival series episode of the same name.
(66.3) "Feeling deflated, you moodily shove your hands into your pockets. A hard, round metal object touches your fingers. You take out a golden crown. The codifier of Darval! A souvenir or a reason for the Doctor to call on you again one day?" Accidental, as these gamebooks were being written independently from one another, but this neatly echoes the ending to The Garden of Evil with the codifier replacing the Doctor's tin whistle.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Lord Darval, a future human from a colony separated from his planetary roots who declared vengeance when Earth natives were marooned on an asteroid as a punishment for murder. Disfigured by radiation and skilful in matters of hypnosis and cybernetics, he quickly became the self-proclaimed ruler of the Rim Worlds. His army consists of the cybernetic Ormazoids (stolen from an unnamed alien race), 'Darvalians' (confusingly named bog-standard humanoid natives of the planet Orm who have betrayed their countrymen for Darval) and Zorian engineers. The Shargoans of Tokl are unwitting pawns in Darval's schemes, but still gladly want to kill you.
- The UK/Australian version of the cover (aside from having the most unflatteringly terrible likeness of Colin Baker I've ever seen) depicts an Ormazoid with a visible face under its supposedly opaque helmet, and a white spacesuit instead of the standard Ormazoid grey (35.2).
- Speaking of covers, the American cover manages to be completely inaccurate in every way, even if it is a pretty painting. I'm all up for abstracted cover art (my nit-picks in these write-ups mostly being for fun), but this depicts Darval as a Zeus-like god when he's meant to be completely frail and disfigured. There's a fishlike creature poking out of the clouds with him that could pass for a Shargoan, but that doesn't explain the odd... cherubs? Oh, and K9 is there when he doesn't appear in this book at all.
- (30.2) "'Yes... yes,' both mouths speak simultainously from the leaf-green heads, each with a giant eye placed at the centre of the forehead." The Zorian you encounter in person is described as having one giant eye in the middle of both of his heads, but the illustration featuring him (4.2) depicts each head with standard human-like two eyes.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- The factory on Orm distributing the Ormazoid's uniforms accidentally under-manufactured by exactly one, and this is the poor Ormazoid that must make do with a non-regulation uniform, likely being bullied by his brothers in arms.
- There's a point where the Doctor is being tortured for information while off-screen, and we never find out what done to him. I posit that this cover depicts that, as the Ormazoids trapped the Doctor in an odd computer simulation not unlike the Matrix that presents Darval as how he wishes to be seen by his enemies, and that the K9 was... summoned by the Doctor's recent memories of Search for The Doctor to protect him while running around in there, helping him keep his sanity.
- The narrator didn't want to seem rude, and so simply lied about the fact that this Zorian possesses a rare mutation that makes him a literal four-eyed geek.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
(5) The giant rock-eating spiders of Semor VII.
(13) Shargoans: fish-headed, four armed and three-legged telepathic tribespeople from Tokl.
(35.2) Ormazoids: fanatical cybernetic militants under Darval's control.
(47.3) 'Darvalians', what appears to be a political description for the (standardly humanoid) natives of Orm who have allied themselves with Lard Darval.
(30.2) Zorians, leaf-green, coiled-bodied, two-headed geniuses from the rim planet of Zor.
(1) A crowded central London Street, and a dark, subterranean tunnel beneath it.
(5) Semor VII, a dusty desert planet filled with canyons and giant spiders.
(6) The sea-washed Tokl, fifth of the seven Rim Planets at the edge of the Universe. As the Universe is infinitely expanding, we can assume that these planets have something undiscovered that makes them stuck to this spot.
(3.2) Vrini, a planet in the future with terraforming scientists trying to recreate the conditions in which Earth's earliest life evolved.
(14) The Ormazoid spacecraft Vorgen. The Doctor is familiar with the model of craft from a previous adventure (16) but it's unlikely to be a reference to any story we know of.
Starting at (19), the book primarily takes place in the central city on Orm. One of the rim planets (the fourth or sixth, as it's a short spaceflight from Tokl without seeing any of the other planets), it has a murky, thick atmosphere and red sunlight. You visit the Ormazoids' main military base; notable rooms include the torture chamber, the uniform storeroom, the Zorian workshop and the Ormazoid recharging room. Lord Darval's castle overlooks it all on the top of a mountain, notable for an infinitely looping corridor and throne room filled with riches and treasures.
While perfecting Lord Darval's hypertime tunnel under gunpoint, the Doctor tests it by first sending an Ormazoid to the South Pole where it's frozen in a block of ice. (57) Then he sends an entire legion to a dusty London about a million years in the future from the intended timeframe (So roughly around 1,001,986 A.D.), long after the planet has been abandoned by humanity. (57.4)
(3.3) You forget that the TARDIS is indestructible and mash buttons on the console to escape a whirling blade. You materialise into a primeval forest filled with toxic gases and choke to death. Your body is put on display by the research scientists trying to recreate extinct Earth life, causing much academic controversy.
(7) You humiliatingly tell the Doctor you can't adventure with him or else you'll miss your favourite sci-fi program, which distracts him for long enough that Darval's Ormazoids manage to beam themselves to Earth and lay bloody siege to your hometown. (A strong use of the main protagonist being a stand-in for the reader.) The TARDIS spins out of control to a dusty desert planet with the Doctor knocked out. You leave to explore and accidentally activate a random switch on your way out, forced to watch the TARDIS dematerialise away. You are enslaved by a giant rock-eating spider until the day you die.
(8.2) You hesitate for too long in answering the phone inside a telephone kiosk and end up crushed to death by a grey sphere made of smoke. To make your death even worse, the newspaper reporting on it publishes an embarrassing mugshot and jokes about what a fool you were.
(20) You run into phaser fire by accident, and the Doctor sends you a sombre telepathic message informing you that someone must die in any given war, and that he's sorry it had to be you.
(22.4) You betray the Doctor at the offer of becoming worshipped as a minor god to the Shargoans. This process means literally encasing you in rock to become a sculpture, so you suffocate in a damp cave.
(25) While at the Vorgen's controls, you time a warp-speed jump incorrectly: this has no ill effect except for the Commander wresting control from you and ordering you be jettisoned into space.
(27) You ignore the Doctor's warning to look away from the machine he sabotaged, getting captured while he escapes without you. The rest of your life is spent in a high security prison cell, the only person you get to talk to being Lord Darval, who personally revels in your misery.
(32) You hide in vain from the Ormazoids in a uniform storeroom before being caught and imprisoned for the rest of your life.
(33.2) You directly tell the Ormazoids about the Doctor's plan to pretend that you're sick, and in return you get jettisoned into deep space without a suit.
(34) While impersonating an Ormazoid, you're sent to a 're-energising' station, where the combination of electricity surging into your body and induction video turns you into a genuine brainwashed subject of Lord Darval.
(37.2) Your attempt to fire back against enemies with superior firepower proves fruitless, as the swooper car containing you and the Doctor becomes a fireball that crashes into the side of a building.
(39) You try and run away from four Ormazoids who are expert marksmen, but they simultaneously shoot you dead.
(40) You don't take the chance to grab the ship's controls, and the Ormazoid Commander orders that you're jettisoned into deep space under the belief you've caught space fever.
(43) While being chased through the Ormazoids' main base, you try and take a shortcut instead of the route you know is safe. You end up plunging into a subterranean river and a giant wave forces you under the surface, where you drown helplessly.
(50) While at the Vorgen's controls, an alert startles you into panicking and randomly hitting buttons, accidentally activating the ship's self-destruct sequence.
(51.2) You bravely distract the guards so the Doctor can run back to the TARDIS alone, surrendering when he safely dematerialises. You've likely made it so the Doctor has enough time to save the Earth by himself, but nobody except him will ever know of your sacrifice as you're executed by the guards.
(53.2) Lord Darval personally converts you into an Ormazoid, finding pleasure in making you do humiliating things before forgetting about you to focus on his takeover of Earth. You become a trooper who dies while laying siege on Fort Knox, dutifully taking out into the US Army's last line of defence by walking into them as a living bomb.
(58) While impersonating an Ormazoid, you're sent to a "re-energising" station, where the sheer amount of electricity being pumped into you gives you a death comparable to the electric chair. The Ormazoids responsible wonder why you took such a foolish gamble and are rewarded with great wealth by Lord Darval, pleased to see even just one human dead.
(62) You relinquish control of the Vorgen in exchange for the Doctor's life, and the Ormazoids blast you with phasers the first chance they get. Numbness is the last thing you ever feel.
(63) While at the ship's controls, you time a warp-speed jump incorrectly: you and everyone else onboard become a tiny glow of light that disappears into nothingness.
(66) Darval may have escaped to plot his revenge, but the Doctor frees the Ormazoids and politely asks them to assist the oppressed natives of Orm in rebuilding their city. You get dropped off at the same street the journey began on a few minutes before you left and notice that the Doctor has slipped Darval's crown into your pocket. You take this to mean he might take you another adventure one day, and happily go home to catch your favourite sci-fi program. You nerd. (The Good Ending)
IN SUMMARY - Dylan 'Malk' Carroll
A very fast-paced and pulpy sci-fi adventure, refreshingly free from any overbearing links to greater continuity. Martin captures the Sixth Doctor's voice well: a fine mix of enigmatic and empathic. While this range's gameplay segments are still weak (die rolling and one singular decoding riddle) and the plot is mostly a lot of action set pieces, it makes up for its lack of depth in sheer colour and charm alone. Highly recommended if you want a breezy bit of fun.