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Video Game / Doctor Who Legacy

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Doctor Who Legacy was a tactical Match-Three Game with Role-Playing Game elements based on Doctor Who, published for tablets, smartphones and Facebook by Tiny Rebel Games. It's part of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe.

Notable for its gorgeous art and its Continuity Porn, Doctor Who: Legacy proved that there's No Problem with Licensed Games. It's made for dorks, by dorks, and aimed to celebrate all 50+ years of the show. The game makes no division between "new" and "classic" Doctor Who, nor between the Whoniverse and the Doctor Who Expanded Universe: the game was filled to the brim with references and Continuity Nod moments, going beyond the televised canon and into the worlds of Big Finish, Titan and Doctor Who Magazine comics, novels, and so on. Although solid in plot, Legacy also thrives on Rule of Cool and never takes itself too seriously. (Playable characters, for example, include Stormageddon, Tricey the Triceratops, Bessie, and Mr. Huffle.)

The story starts with the Sontaran empire, which has gotten its hands on time travel technology and is causing a massive Time Crash in the process. The Eleventh Doctor, Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint resolve to prevent the universe from collapsing, using colourful orbs of Circular Gallifreyan. They soon stumble upon the Tenth and Seventh Doctors, and eventually encounter Doctors, companions and friends from all over time and space. Scenes and battles from throughout history get mashed up together by the Time Crash — not that the Sontarans care, because if the glorious Sontaran empire becomes the last surviving stable point in time, it means they'll have conquered the universe. And there are others, much more cunning than the Sontarans, who would use the shredded Web of Time for their own purposes...

The game had an active fan community, and the creators frequently asked the fans for input and suggestions, which were directly reflected in updates.

The main story added significant new characters as they appeared in the series and eventually totaled four "chapters", but the game as a whole remained a work-in-progress to its end. A selection of special level sets were available, such as ultra-difficult "Expert" rounds that drop extra-powerful characters upon completion and sets inspired by Series 8 and 9 onward that were released level-by-level as their respective seasons unfolded. Gamers who spent a little bit of money were also allowed access to beta levels, additional storylines, fan-created content, and a Lighter and Softer set of levels for kids with cartoony art — all of which also dropped additional, unique characters and costumes.

The game was shut down on February 2019 as Tiny Rebel decided not to renew the Doctor Who license for this specific game. In its place, a successor to this game from the same developers, Doctor Who: Infinity, arrived in 2018.

Doctor Who: Legacy provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Who else but Ace herself? Ace has one of the most powerful attacks in the game, although it's not surprising when the in-game art depicts her wielding her Anti-Dalek Rocket Launcher!
  • Allegedly Free Game: As of 2017, the Chapter and Special levels (Expert, Series 8, etc.) remain free...but there are now four Premium campaigns — Bigger on the Inside Chapter 1, Trickster Pack (one battle that drops six fully leveled-up characters!), Sonic Adventure, and The Husbands of River Song — the Fan Area, and the Kids Area, all of which cost extra and feature myriad unique character and costume drops. (Fan Area also eliminates in-game ads when bought.) There are also characters and costumes that can only be bought through the store, rather than acquired through drops.
  • Alternate Continuity: The Series 9 level inspired by "Face the Raven" effectively depicts what would have happened if it had actually ended with the Twelfth Doctor going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge over the death of Clara Oswald.
  • Always Save The Guy: Jack convinces the Doctor to make a detour and take him back to Cardiff, just so they can pick up Ianto.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Alternate outfits are available for many characters, especially if said outfits are very different from each other. The Third Doctor, of course, has about thrice as many outfits — eight total — as most of the pre-Ten Doctors.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Some monsters, the snowmen especially, are very fond of changing your gems' colors to the ones they're weak to.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All is a pretty powerful character. (But he's still carried around by Craig.)
  • Beyond the Impossible: The Eleventh Doctor was supposed to be the final incarnation of The Doctor. Thus he is appropriately freaked out at the Twelfth's existence.
  • Big Damn Heroes: River and the TARDIS, rescuing the group from falling to their deaths in Bubble Universe Beta.
  • The Big Guy: Ironically, Porridge — his HP and attack power are both massive.
  • Break the Cutie: Rory tells the Doctor he can't bring himself to go back to Apalapucia. But he has to, of course. As Eleven explains that there's much worse in his own past, the Eighth Doctor just gives Rory a sorrowful look...
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The tutorial level starts off with the Doctor and Vastra noticing the player hiding behind some bins, and they give a quick introduction on the game's mechanics.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Every one of the Expert levels is a staggering hike in difficulty, some with the potential to one-hit-KO your whole team even if everyone's been raised up to 5 stars.
  • Call-Back: While wandering around the Library, the team finds several books previously used by or involving the Doctor such as an ancient tale involving the doctor saving the town with a magical stick, The Time Machine and even Teach Yourself Tibetan!
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Tenza dolls combine this, rather creepily, with Finishing Each Other's Sentences. It's used for plot foreshadowing — two Tenza dolls attacks in a row will spell out "HE IS" / "COMING" or "SAY" / "HIS NAME".
    • This was also used in a more lighthearted way for a Christmas 2013 Special Level, where the attack names of three Santa robots show the message "Happy Holidays Whovians!".
    • This was used again in an Advent 2014 level featuring the Tenza dolls.
  • Cast Full of Gay: The plot starts off with Jenny and Vastra, and two versions of Canton Everett Delaware III can join the crew shortly after that; Jack and Ianto show up later, as do Cinder and Ace.
  • CCG Importance Dissonance: If you even remember who Sam Garner, Jagganth Daiki-Nagata or John Riddell are by name, you'll be happy to know they have the potential to be just as effective as long-running companions like Donna, Rory, or even Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart!
  • Character Focus: Several characters have unlockable storylines built around them, although some are only for those willing to pay.
    • "The Hunt For Greyhound One", a Special storyline which takes place in the second half of Season 5 (and expands upon material in Chapter 3 of the main game), is entirely about the search for the Brigadier.
    • The Twelfth Doctor's adventures in Series 8 and 9 are the basis for season-by-season sets of Special levels, with almost every regular episode represented. Each level was released the day after its corresponding episode initially aired, perhaps by way of making up for his not factoring into the main campaign until Chapter Four. The exceptions are "Listen" and "In the Forest of the Night" in Series 8 and "Heaven Sent" in Series 9 due to the first two episodes having No Antagonist and the latter, a Minimalist Cast episode, having one that can't be fought.note  (Series 10 didn't receive similar treatment, but given that many of that season's antagonists aren't conventionally evil it wouldn't have made much sense to do so.)
    • A Premium storyline adapting "The Husbands of River Song" only features her, the Twelfth Doctor, and other characters/items from that episode. At most only five characters/items are on the player's preset team at a time; two levels have only one playable character!
    • "Bigger on the Inside", a Premium storyline starring the War Doctor (the Prologue levels are free), is written by Engines of War / Doctor Who (Titan) author George Mann, who contacted the game's designers because he'd gotten addicted to the game and wanted in on the fun!
    • The Eighth Doctor, who had a significant supporting role in "Bigger on the Inside", will have his own separate plotline in a future release.
    • Also, a stretch of levels in Chapter Four has all of the Doctors out of commission, with Professor River Song taking his place as the leader of the player's team. She and "A Madman with a Box" (visually represented by the TARDIS itself) are the only characters besides the "official" Doctors who are classified as Doctors by the game's team-creation system.
  • Christmas Episode: Characters and situations from the show's annual Christmas specials up through "The Time of the Doctor" are featured in the main campaign. From 2014 onward, however, specials receive their own unique levels, playable characters, and costume additions released in the days leading up to and/or after their airings.
    • 2014 had an "Advent Calendar" campaign added to the Special area, with a new level released each day in December by way of counting down to the premiere of "Last Christmas"; many featured adversaries from previous Christmas shows. Notably, this is the only Christmas-related run of levels and characters that's free to all players.
    • "The Husbands of River Song" was adapted into a Premium campaign.
    • "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" inspired Fan Area levels and a buyable character pack.
  • Companion Cube: A number of companions are actually Iconic Items from the show, including Bessie, The Whomobile, The TARDIS (sort of), the devices from the Sonic Adventures campaign, the Sonic Sunglasses, and even Mr. Huffle. (he feels pain)
  • Continuity Porn: Lots of characters and concepts from Doctor Who are included in the game. The story first dabbled in Expanded Universe references by mentioning Frobisher and Liam McShane, as well as Charley, C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin and Molly. Later on, characters from the Doctor Who Expanded Universe were included as playable characters, including Charley Pollard, Cinder, Gabby, and Alice Obiefune. Abslom Daak, Shayde, and Frobisher himself were added as playable characters in 2016 as a tie-in to the 500th issue of Doctor Who Magazine; a code only available in that issue unlocked them.
  • Cool Shades / Goggles Do Something Unusual: With the arrival of Series 9 comes the addition of the Twelfth Doctor's sonic sunglasses as a winnable, playable item — two items in fact: a standard pair and a Fan Area-only one.
  • Crisis Crossover: Once the Seventh Doctor shows up, it becomes clear that this crisis is going to require every single Doctor to solve.
  • Death Glare: The Twelfth Doctor's infamous for this trope, and this game playfully literalizes it — his most powerful ability, "Attack Eyebrows", dishes out tons of damage (96,000 points worth at level six).
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: Jack has a bit of a moment when confronted with himself:
    That may be a Zygon body-print, but it's a damn good looking one!
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Can halve or double the damage, meaning they're a core part of each team's strategy.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Although Tiny Rebel's definition of "ally" is very loose (see "Rule of Cool" below), they have stated that Arch-Enemies such as Davros and The Master will not become playable, even if they, like The Master did in Series 9, become temporary allies on the series. However, they did allow the addition of a fan level inspired by that episode (called "Frienemies") in which The Master is a playable character on a default team. Also, King Hydroflax's Oracular Head serves as an unwitting ally in one level of the Premium campaign that adapts "The Husbands of River Song" and uses only default teams — the opponent is his independently functioning robot body — but is not available as a playable character otherwise.
  • Excuse Plot: Something something time crash something something every Doctor and companion ever!
  • Expanded Universe: Not all companions are from the TV series. Some are from non-televised Doctor Who media, such as Gabby and Alice from the Titan comics, and Charley Pollard from Big Finish Doctor Who. This has led to a bit of Ascended Fanon in the character design, since many Expanded Universe characters don't have a clearly defined look. Cinder (from Engines of War) is designed for the game by Paul Hanley, based on a cosplay done by Athena Stamos & Brian Uiga based on Hanley's first fanart of the character. The design for Charlotte Pollard's outfit was based on a photomanipulation done by a fan years before.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: The Doctors have a habit of this. So do the Tenza dolls (see Calling Your Attacks).
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Characters show up as the plot progresses, and sometimes get a proper introduction scene, but they can also simply be bought with crystals and added to the team as soon as the game starts. Additionally, the alternate outfits that the characters can wear are shown whenever they level up, but their cutscenes only show the default outfits. It's not exactly the most serious game in the world, though, so you're not meant to think about it too hard.
    • Several optional characters get dialogue in the Greyhound One expansion, even if you haven't unlocked them yet. Compare this to the main storyline, where the only companions who have any lines are 100% drops like Porridge, Vastra and Jack.
  • Glass Cannon: Offensive companions have high Attack, but low HP and Heal. Using them without proper support relies a lot on presence of mind when moving your gems.
  • Heal Thyself: Aside from being the Eighth Doctor's power and last words, Pink gems have this effect. Certain companions have this as their special ability.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Winders from Starship UK are recruitable, since the TARDIS lands several years after the events of "The Beast Below"; the Doctor cites his and Amy's special relationship with the ship's "driver". Similarly, Zygons are a major threat in the main campaign, but after Series 9's "The Zygon Invasion"/"The Zygon Inversion" aired, a pack of them became available as companions, reflecting the peace treaty they made with humanity.
  • Instant Seduction: Jack's skill is simply called "Hello". It instantly cures paralysis.
    • On the flip side, the Zygon imitating him has a stun power simply called "Charm".
  • Internal Homage: The level "When Rorybots Attack!" in the second season/chapter is a repeat of one of the Weeping Angel levels from the first season/chapter, but with all the Angels replaced with copies of Rory the Handbot from "The Girl Who Waited" — including a giant Rorybot at the end in place of the Weeping Statue of Liberty.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The Eighth Doctor is lifted straight from the Time War to join the plot. He's not exactly thrilled. Neither is the War Doctor!
  • Large Ham: THE MASTER.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: "I haven't seen 'Asylum of the Daleks' yet but I'm sure this will be fine. Why is the shop selling a character called 'Oswin Oswald (Clara Dalek)'?"
    • Sonic Adventures spoils the big reveal of Series 8 ( Missy is the Master) right off the bat. (In the main campaign, it's not revealed until Chapter Four.) Also related to Series 8, the ultimate fates of both Danny Pink and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart are spoiled by each of them having Cyberman costumes available.
    • The Series 9-inspired levels and "Bigger on the Inside" from Chapter One onward hint at/drop a few major spoilers for that season's events, such as the Cliffhanger twists at the end of "The Girl Who Died" ( Ashildr doesn't stay dead — and changes quite a bit for that) and "The Zygon Invasion" ( Clara is being impersonated by a Zygon), the return of Ashildr/Me in "Face the Raven", and the return to Gallifrey in the three-part Season Finale.
    • Series 10: Why is Bill Potts's only other outfit a Mondasian Cyberman...Oh.
  • Leitmotif: The Master has his four-beat drums.
  • Loading Screen: The game has quite a long load time on startup for a mobile game; to break up the monotony a bit, the genuine status messages are interspersed with messages like "Installing the Rassilon Imprimatur", "Repairing the Fast Return Switch", and "Negiotiating with the Silurians".
  • Mad Bomber: Ace does awesome damage with her Nitro-9.
  • Me's a Crowd: Particularly popular characters get extra-powerful variations as drops in special levels (Expert, Fan, Premium, etc.), and characters who had multiple versions of themselves depicted on screen often warrant a drop for each appearance! As a result, several alternate versions of a single companion/associate can be used at the same time on the same team. Having all these different incarnations of multiple people — some from alternate timelines no less — doesn't really affect the TARDIS, even though (or maybe because) the space-time continuum has much bigger problems to solve. Standouts include:
    • Amy has four different character slots (Amy Pond, Special Agent Amy Pond, The Girl Who Waited, and Amy Pond+) — more than "Impossible Girl" Clara Oswald (Clara Oswald, Clara Oswald+, and Oswin Oswald)!
    • Sarah Jane Smith beats them all with FIVE available selves! There's Young Sarah Jane Smith (original series), Sarah Jane Smith (revival), Sarah Jane Smith+, Fan (fan favorites are given different versions) Sarah Jane Smith, and Trickster Sarah Jane Smith. The last two are from Premium level sets, the latter inspired by a recurring villain from The Sarah Jane Adventures.
    • Professor River Song, the one character besides the Doctor able to fill his slot on a team, can play alongside four other Rivers.
    • In-universe, of course, there's the Doctor. In the actual game, only one of his selves can be on a player's team at a time. The closest he gets to this trope are if Ten is the leader and his Meta-Crisis self is one of the companions, or if Eleven is the lead and he is teamed up with his Spoonhead and/or Ganger doppelgangers (a few other Gangers and their human counterparts are available too).
    • Besides Sarah Jane Smith, Canton Everett Delaware III and Grant Gordon are represented with two characters each, one for their younger and older selves.
    • In the Sonic Adventures story, the Master's various incarnations team up to stop the heroes.
  • Mighty Glacier: Some Tank-type companions are this, having high HP and good attack. The others are more Stone Wall-like.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: "The Husbands of River Song" campaign plays out this way, as no one speaks in the cutscenes. As a bonus, the last level is just a cutscene depicting the episode's ending (for watching it, the player gets two Time Crystals on the first go-round).
  • No Ending: Even prior to the game's shutdown, updates became sporadic after 2015, with the main campaign's storyline not getting any further levels following a tie-in to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff. Chapter 4's title of "Betrayal and Redemption" was never given context, nor did the "Bigger on the Inside" campaign even reach a conclusion either.
  • Non-Action Guy: Basically any Healer-type Companion. However, you'll usually only need one because they're capable of healing more than enough HP with just a modest combo chain.
  • One-Man Army: The Brigadier, to the point where the Doctors spend a very long time rigging the TARDIS just so she can jump into the right time track and recruit him, because the team needs his guidance to "think like an army".
    • The Doctor (or River) can become this after playing through the Sonic Adventures campaign, which unlocks (almost)note  all of the sonic devices seen since the Second Doctor Era. So the Doctor (or River) can just run into battle alone with a blaster, lipstick, a screwdriver, a fancy ring, and a cane and still get stuff done.
  • Personality Powers: Naturally, due to the adaptation medium. Each gem color seems to loosely align with both an element and a personality type, with each playable character's starting color reflecting their core personality, and the secondary color gained at Level 50 reflecting their sometimes Hidden Depths. When Me's a Crowd kicks in for playable characters, the alternate versions of a given character often have different primary and/or secondary gem colors.
    • Red aligns with Fire and is used for fire monsters. Characters with this colour tend to be Hot-Blooded (Strax, the Fourth Doctor), sexy and passionate (Jenny Flint, Clara Oswald), willing to pursue scorched-earth policies (Ohila, War Doctor) or all of these (River Song, Tenth Doctor).
    • Yellow aligns with Electricity and is used by many robots. It also applies to moralising and martial characters with prickly personalities (Third Doctor, Sixth Doctor, War Doctor+, Madame Vastra, Amy Pond, the older Sarah Jane Smith, Danny Pink).
    • Blue aligns with Ice and Time and seems to be given to misfit intellectuals (Vincent Van Gogh, Young Sarah Jane Smith) and Timey-Wimey Ball enthusiast mad intellectuals (First and Eleventh Doctors, and Third Doctor+ and Fourth Doctor+) as well as to ice monsters.
    • Green aligns with Nature. It's associated with plant or organic monsters as well as with gentle and easygoing characters with plenty of hidden strength (Second Doctor, Fifth Doctor, Seventh Doctor, and Rory Williams).
    • Black aligns with Darkness. It's associated with Eldritch Abomination monsters (Oswin Oswald, Stormageddon Dark Lord Of All) as well as Loveable Rogues (Porridge, Charley), unfeeling machines (K-9, the TARDIS), characters controlled by villains (Tobias "Toby" Zed, Professor Edwin Bracewell, Tasha Lem), Wild Cards (Professor River Song+, Ashildr/Me), miscellaneous beings with amazing powers (Idris, ARC, Grant Gordon), and tortured Byronic Hero types (the Eighth, Ninth, and Twelfth Doctors, plus Sonic Adventures One and Signature Series Six).
    • Stone, a sixth petrified type of gem with no way of bumping, appears when Weeping Angels show up.
    • With each Doctor, their secondary colour is based on their previous incarnation's primary colour, as that side of their personality tends to carry over. The Second Doctor is green with blue as secondary. The Third is yellow with green as secondary. The Fourth is red with yellow as secondary. Fifth is green with red as secondary. Later, the Tenth is red with black as secondary. Etcetera, etcetera.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Series 9 level inspired by Wham Episode "Face the Raven" is this, allowing the player to destroy the raven, trap street residents, and finally Ashildr/Me in an Alternate Continuity in which the Twelfth Doctor gets his vengeance over Clara's death. It was even hyped with the phrase "Need Revenge?"
  • Rule of Cool: Go ahead and fill your team with a dinosaur, a pirate, a robot dog, a Gallifreyan WMD, a superhero, and/or a Dalek. The game won't mind — even though some of them, like Tricey and Oswin, died at the end of their debut episodes.
    • There is literally a level titled "Eighth Doctor is awesome" in the 2014 Advent collection of levels, because creator Lee Cummings is "the most hardcore Eighth Doctor fan you could possibly imagine".
  • The Sacred Darkness: Black/darkness powers are as powerful as any of the other elemental powers represented, and used by both good and evil characters, including several Doctors (Eight, Nine, Twelve, and Signature Series Six). It's also the yin to Yellow/Electricity's (or lightning) yang in that each deals double damage to the other.
  • Sapient Ship: The TARDIS is, of course, a playable character.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The War Doctor steers the TARDIS straight back into the Time War, just so he can pluck out Cinder from the events of Engines of War. He knows it's wrong (and Jack tries his best to dissuade him), but he does it anyway.
  • Status Effects: They're called power effects here and they range from Stun(paralysis), Lock(locked gems), Poison and Life Tap(steals HP).
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Characters get these whenever they use their abilities.
  • Taken for Granite: The Weeping Angels can make stone gems appear, or petrify normal gems into stone. Though they can be matched up and used to bolster combos, the stone gems chiefly serve to obstruct the player's board. Fortunately, the Third Doctor can convert them to pink gems.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: One of the Seventh Doctor's attacks is "Dundrearyism".
  • Time Crash: The Sontaran plan starts literally ripping time apart, deleting entire races and planets... until even Sontar itself falls.
  • Title Drop: One of the First Doctor's abilities is called "Doctor Who?"
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The Tenth Doctor has twelve available outfits and the Eleventh has thirteen, but Twelve's wardrobe has become the biggest with fourteen available looks thus far. Clara Oswald has the most costumes of the companions with ten.
  • Villain Team-Up: Sontarans working together with Zygons!
  • Words Can Break My Bones: The default "gem" equivalents in this game are Circular Gallifreyan glyphs.