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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Board Game > Doctor Who: Claws of Axos (Special Edition/Story No. 57/BBC DVD) + Doctor Who Monopoly: 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Hasbro)

Doctor Who: Claws of Axos (Special Edition/Story No. 57/BBC DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A+     Episodes: A-




Doctor Who Monopoly: 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Hasbro)


Game Presentation: A     Game Play: A



Story no. 57 features a John Pertwee (Third Doctor) classic, “The Claws of Axos,” and BBC offers this great 4-parter in a new, updated, two disc package that includes even more extra content.  The Axons land on Earth, and more specifically, somewhere in the English countryside, seemingly with the best intentions for everyone.  Apparently humanoid, with gleaming golden skin and angelic features, they ask for help and a place to replenish their reserves of energy, while offering to trade the keys to their amazing alien science.  They dangle limitless energy and control of matter itself in front of the Doctor, Jo Grant (Katy Manning) and UNIT. Axonite is the miracle element that will make all of this possible, they say, but this is Doctor Who, and we know better!


The “Axons” hide a terrible secret.  They are neither benign nor are they really a whole species of aliens, but rather, one monstrous creature called Axos.  Capable of duplicating himself and others in multiple forms and operating these duplicates simultaneously, Axos has come to Earth to drain it of its vital energies!


Just as conservative MP Chinn (Peter Bathurst) demands to know more about the Doctor and his role in UNIT affairs, the “Axons” arrive and the mischief begins.  It’s soon revealed that the alien “spacecraft” also contains a special prisoner, the Master (Roger Delgado)!  His own TARDIS captured by Axos, the creature has come to Earth because of information gleaned from him.  The plot thickens as the Master escapes and then helps turns the tables on Axos after some clever manipulation from the Doctor.


The extras include the standard featurette on the making of “Claws of Axos.”  Cast and crew wrestled with the usual tight schedule and budgetary issues, along with some truly freakish weather that even required a bit of added dialogue to explain away.  From the human interest angle comes a documentary with the irascible John Levene, the actor who played UNIT’s Sergeant Benton.  You can’t help but feel a lot of love Mr. Levene, who spent the last 25 years in Los Angeles only to return to England to care for his ailing mother.  Also included is the always interesting “Now And Then” feature, showing us the locations where the episodes were shot in the UK’s Dungeness area of Kent.


While “Claws of Axos” should really be called “Tentacles of Axos,” this story delivers everything fans of the Pertwee era could hope for, including plenty intrigue from Mr. Delgado’s Master.  The added extras only serve to sweeten the pot.


While “Claws” sits firmly within the province of the Third Doctor, the Doctor Who Monopoly: 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition from Hasbro spans all fifty years of the show’s storied history.  Adeptly adapting the common conventions of the classic Monopoly to the unique sci-fi universe of the Doctor, the graphics and presentation on this gorgeous boxed board game rarely disappoint.


The only deficiency the design on this game suffers from comes in its iconic metal play pieces.  Included are items from the various incarnations of the Doctor over the years: bow tie (Matt Smith, 11th Doctor), celery (Peter Davison, 5th Doctor), recorder (Patrick Troughton, 2nd Doctor), scarf (Tom Baker, 4th Doctor), sonic screwdriver (any Doctor, really), umbrella (Sylvester McCoy, 8th Doctor).  While these items are all cool and thematic, it would have been nicer to have actual 28mm figures of six of the Doctors.  This could be boiled down to a matter of taste, however.  Some players might find these iconic items just fine.


The center of the board features images of all eleven doctors and the TARDIS.  Each stop along the board includes touchstones from all of the eras of the show.  These include episode titles from the show’s fifty year history.  The card piles are labeled Gallifrey and U.N.I.T. respectively, and these unique cards add some new elements to the game play. Players travel around the board buying and selling properties and episodes, fulfilling all of the normal aspects of a Monopoly game.  Doctor Who fans who haven’t played monopoly in years will certainly want to give this one a try.



-   Scott Pyle


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