Doctor Who and the Vortex Crystal is a solo-play adventure game book starring the 4th Doctor and his companions Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan. In it they travel to the fog covered planet Gathwyr where they must solve the puzzle of the Vortex Crystal while dealing with the evil of the Daleks! Will the good Doctor save the universe, or will he be exterminated? That all depends on the reader's decisions, and the luck of the dice!
The choices players/readers are given to make do reflect what one would expect from a Doctor Who story, and are done well. In fact players are rewarded with clues to solving the mystery by playing in a more "Doctorish" fashion. The problem with the book comes with the dice roles. A modified version of the rules for FASA's Doctor Who role playing game are used to determine saving roles. The roles required to save yourself can be laughably absurd at times. Also, on two occasions I was sent to sections of the book that didn't correspond to what I had just decided to do. At times it felt like this book was put out by Celestial Toymaker publishing and not the FASA corporation.
There is a fun adventure here for older fans of classic Doctor Who that can overlook some of the problems with the game play mechanics. Younger fans, or fans of only the revised Doctor Who, probably wouldn't have the incentive to get the most out of this product. I can't say that I would blame them. Readers who enjoyed this book may also want to consider Doctor Who and the Rebel's Gamble, a solo-play adventure game starring the 6th Doctor. Doctor Who and the Rebel's Gamble (A Solo-Play Adventure Game)