The Catacombs Episode Critics
Compiled by Martin Willey

17. War Games

As ever, the model excellent, but the acting and plot leave a lot to be desired. Not a classic. (Ty Power, Dreamwatch, 1994)

Boasts good performances, stylish direction and the best special effects sequence - the strafing of the Moonbase- the Andersons ever committed to film, but Penfold's ambitious script lacks clarity and the aliens are pretty dull. Nonetheless, individual scenes possess great power, and Penfold's message -that Mankind invariably reacts to the unknown with fear and hostility- is refreshingly honest. 8/10 (Rob Pritchard, Dreamwatch #27, 1996)

Action packed and thought provoking, but let down only by some obvious cardboard cut-out Eagles and the 'it was all a dream' type conclusion. A- (Chris Bentley, SFX 20, 1996)

Perhaps the most visually spectacular science fiction television episode in the history of the medium. However, beyond the spectacle and awe inspiring special effects, War Games has little to recommend it. The story is confusing and nonsensical when it should be tightly plotted and frightening. It is too facile to write a story in which "anything can happen" and then rationalise the strange events by having a character intone that 'it was all a dream'. This is a dramatic cheat, pure and simple. (John Kenneth Muir, Exploring Space: 1999, p65-66)

Another tired evil alien show. ** (fair) (James O'Neill, Sci-Fi On Tape, p272, 1997)

War Games is an immensely detailed episode which touches on a wealth of complex concepts. The direction is perfect. The sets are beautiful. The performances are captivating and deliver an intense depth of emotion. 10/10 (Bob Wood, The Future Is Fantastic, 2001)

Another dark episode that balances action with a clever examination of the conflict between Alpha's scientific and military personnel. 5/5 (Alasdair Stuart, SciFiNow #10, 2007)