Tom Baker's Ultimate Sci Fi Quiz is just one of a hundred
or so interactive test-your-knowledge DVDs (covering everything
from Bullseye to Emmerdale) which have leapt,
seemingly with a life of their own, on to the shopping shelves
in time for Christmas. On face value this should be the ideal
purchase for any visitor to (or reviewer for) Sci-fi-online,
but does it match-up to expectations...?
premise behind the concept is that you are the captain of
the SS Hawking, a research vessel which has been sucked
into a wormhole and thrown 20,000 light-years from Earth.
Your ship carries invaluable information about black holes
which is vital in the fight against the Martian Separatists.
You attempt the journey home by answering questions (sounds
like a particularly bad Blakes 7 plot to me). Kirk
never had this trouble; he simply punched out the bad guys
and seduced the green-skinned ladies with three breasts.
the questions are grouped into twelve categories. You select
a category and are given five questions, for which you are
offered four options each. If you answer correctly your ship
moves forward 1,000 light-years (1K), and if you get it wrong
you remain in position. The goal is to get back to Earth before
the questions run out. There are six rounds in a game, with
five questions per category. So you need to answer twenty
out of thirty. Just to confuse matters, periodically you are
given a "Wormhole Detected" warning, and if you mess-up on
the next question you are moved back 1K. The two player option
differs in that you both play the same categories, but you
can be thrown behind or in front of the other player depending
on how you fair after the wormhole warning.
Baker asks the questions, and it's obvious to me that he's
only there as a name to capture potential sales. One moment
you get caught up in his enthusiasm and another he seems acutely
embarrassed. The first time I played this game I answered
every question correctly. The queries are not very simple,
but any long-time follower of science fiction is going to
know most of these answers. Over the next few tries many of
the same questions popped up, leaving me wondering just how
many there really are. Some categories I wasn't so hot on,
but I still had to purposefully answer incorrectly just to
discover what would happen at the end (not much - just a little
bit of sarcasm from Baker).
and stills are used from many films, but certain movies and
subjects seemed to arise more than most. The Land That
Time Forgot, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
and Doctor Who are just three examples. All of this
silly scenario is superfluous to requirements; it would have
been much better to ask general SF questions and specialist
subject ones, with perhaps the rewards for success being the
unlocking of certain film and TV clips. The worst thing I
found about this release is that at no point does it allow
you to pause or fast forward, so if the telephone rings or
someone knocks at the door you're stuffed.