Monday, 11 March 2013

Doctor Who: The Aztecs – Special Edition – DVD review

The First Doctor and his companions find themselves trapped in the time of the Aztecs, as this story from Doctor Who’s first season gets the two-disc Special Edition treatment – with a previously missing episode included to boot.



DOCTOR WHO
THE AZTECS – SPECIAL EDITION
DVD
RRP: £20.42
BBFC: PG
Released by: BBC Worldwide
Release date: 11 March 2013




"You can't rewrite history – not one line"


I’m going to say this before I go any further: The Aztecs is one of the finest historical adventures ever seen in Doctor Who.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I’ll explain why. It’s May 1964, and the Doctor and his companions have just dematerialised from their search for the keys of Marinus. This is Doctor Who’s first season, and we are about to embark upon the show’s third historical tale. The first happened to also be the first ever Doctor Who story, although the first episode isn’t set in the past. Three stories later came Marco Polo, which is considerably better (albeit too long, a problem exhibited by a number of stories in this first run of the series), but sadly now non-existent in the archive in its original form. Two stories later, from the writer of Marco Polo came The Aztecs – the first historical serial which gets it absolutely right.


Straight away, one of the greatest strengths of The Aztecs reveals itself to us. After the title sequence (and a brief reprise of the TARDIS dematerialising from The Keys of Marinus), we fade up on a profoundly striking image: the remains of Aztec High Priest Yetaxa, preserved within the tomb which gives this first episode of the story its title: The Temple of Evil. (Really? Evil? Nothing’s perfect, but that’s overstating things.) What we see here is representative of the story as a whole, with stunning design on show. Doctor Who’s historical stories always excelled in this respect, and Barry Newbery’s set designs are terrific throughout The Aztecs. The tomb comes across as a claustrophobic, eerie place, and it’s difficult to think of a better set to start the story in. As for the other set designs in the story, another highlight is the Garden of Peace, which changes subtly at various points (see the information subtitles for an explanation), but is mapped out in a manner which allows for some interesting and dynamic camera angles and moves for Doctor Who of this period. The only elements of the sets which fall short are the backdrops, although to be fair, Newbery wanted them further back and slightly defocused, but studio confines precluded this, especially at the BBC’s antiquated Lime Grove studios, where the first and last episodes were recorded. (The production moved to the state-of-the-art BBC Television Centre for its middle two episodes.)


Another noticeable thing is how swiftly the script kicks into its ‘educational’ mode. The moment Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Susan (Carole Ann Ford) step out of the TARDIS’ doors, we’re immediately into some expositional information about the background of the Aztecs. This conforms to the remit which the series had at this point, of alternating between futuristic sci-fi stories (to teach children about science) and educational historical adventures. While The Aztecs' eagerness to get its informative element going feels a bit strange, I wouldn't have it any other way. The initial conversation between Barbara and Susan is fascinating to listen to, and the former already has a great deal of knowledge about the Aztecs due to being a history teacher – this makes her subsequent emotional connection to the fate which she knows will befall their civilisation all the more compelling.


This story manages to completely escape the problem which afflicts so many others, in that every regular character has something to do. Granted, some more than others; the Doctor (William Hartnell) finds an acquaintance in Cameca (Margot Van der Burgh) – more so than you might expect – and allies himself with the wrong person, while Susan transgresses Aztec laws and custom, finding herself in a seminary to be educated (in pre-filmed inserts in the middle two episodes, while Carole Ann Ford took a holiday for a couple of weeks). Ian (William Russell) has a meatier role, pitted against the warrior Ixta (Ian Cullen), resulting in tension throughout the whole story which reaches a dramatic climax. But it is Barbara who indisputably steals the show. The Aztecs was Jacqueline Hill's favourite story, and the reason why is crystal clear. Barbara is mistaken for the High Priest Yetaxa, and attempts to use her new authority to put an end to the Aztecs' practise of human sacrifice. The repercussions of this are thought-provoking and intelligent, and Hill shines throughout. Furthermore, it is this story which introduces a notion which has continued in Doctor Who all the way through to the present day: the Doctor and his companions cannot change the established course of history.


An extra layer of drama comes in the form of Barbara's conflict with Tlotoxl (John Ringham), High Priest of Sacrifice, who doubts Yetaxa's divinity. There's a lot of Richard III in Ringham's performance, which the actor later regretted if the accompanying documentary is anything to go by. But I think that is what makes it so wonderful. Ringham delivers much of his dialogue in Shakespearian iambic pentameter, which – once you get used to it – tends to have the effect that every line he says draws you in. Autloc (Keith Pyott), High Priest of Knowledge, is a very interesting character. This term may be something of a cliché, but he certainly goes on a 'journey' through the story. To say more would spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but the denouement of Autloc's role in the story manages to be both positive and negative all at once, giving the viewer much pause for thought after the final credits stop rolling.


The incidental music in The Aztecs was composed by Richard Rodney Bennett, who passed away late last year. On some levels Bennett's score works, and on others it perhaps doesn't. Some sections are very strong – there is a recurring musical motif (or, more accurately, a recurring tape being rewound and played into the studio again and again, but let's not hold that against it) which consists of wind instruments, which is very good at underlining the intrigue of the storyline. Another regular feature, though, is the use of percussion instruments, and it is this which is the shakier aspect of the incidental score. It certainly sounds very 'Aztec-ish', and for that it should be commended, but it doesn't half get a bit repetitive. It doesn't help at all that whereas the flute parts of the score are brief, the drum sections go on for what seems like forever. But for atmosphere and menace (along with calm serenity, when the script calls for it), Bennett gets it spot on.


The cliffhangers are all pretty good. The first is a powerful and ominous moment, the second (and probably the best) is a very tricky situation with a genius resolution, and the third is a classic piece of Doctor Who peril, albeit with a fairly predictable outcome (the resolution of the cliffhanger is, after all, the very reason the cliffhanger arises in the first place). But that isn't all! As with many stories around this period, The Aztecs leads directly into the next story, The Sensorites – although the explanation of that cliffhanger makes precious little sense, but that's a discussion for another day...


The Aztecs is not only among the best Doctor Who historicals, and it's not even confined to being one of the best of William Hartnell's stories – it's one of the best ever Doctor Who adventures. Every episode feels like it moves the story along, and the actors, sets and costumes are all superb. In fact, I'd champion it as an ideal story for anyone looking for an introduction to Doctor Who's black-and-white days. Gripping, clever, strong and powerful drama.

SPECIAL FEATURES


In 2011, the missing third episode of the 1965 Season 3 opener Galaxy 4 (entitled Air Lock) was rediscovered, and it finally sees the light of day on this DVD. To provide an understanding of the full story even though three quarters of it are still missing, a condensed reconstruction of the first, second and fourth episodes is included. Originally made by Derek Handley for the 2008 DVD release of The Time Meddler, it ultimately wasn't used back then because it was felt that the 2006 animated release of The Invasion's missing episodes had raised the bar for the presentation of missing episodes. But now, it's essentially been used as an off-the-shelf way of presenting the recovered episode in context.


The reconstruction utilises a mixture of existing production photographs, composited images from a number of sources (which make up the majority of it) and CG animation against the surviving off-air soundtrack. Additionally, some footage exists from the first episode, Four Hundred Dawns – a brief cine clip from near the beginning recorded by pointing an 8mm film camera at a television screen, and more significantly, a clip lasting six minutes or so which survives thanks to its inclusion in the Lively Arts documentary Whose Doctor Who.


The end result is extremely good. Although I prefer full-length reconstructions, I have to say that Galaxy 4 does not suffer in the slightest from being cut down. The first and second episodes are combined together with a length of around twenty-eight minutes, then the recovered third episode is presented in full (more on that in a moment), and the reconstruction concludes with around twelve minutes of the fourth episode, The Exploding Planet. Even though I had watched an unofficial full-length reconstruction of Galaxy 4 very recently when I saw this cut-down, it was still very difficult to tell what had been cut! Most of the excised material consists of moments of little dialogue or action, or parts which don’t add anything to the overall story.


At times, there are moments which could almost be mistaken for actual footage. The opening pan across the planet’s surface followed by the materialisation of the TARDIS is very convincing, and this reconstruction also makes use of some of the model footage which was specially shot for an unofficial reconstruction back in 1999. This, along with the reconstruction’s use of CGI to animate the robotic ‘Chumblies’ and other selected shots (and also to embellish still images), adds another level to the overall quality of the piece. The icing on the cake is the reconstructed lead-in to the next story, Mission to the Unknown (which is also sadly missing from the archive).

Now, the biggest selling point of this whole release: Air Lock.


This episode was discovered in the possession of film collector Terry Burnett on 20 July 2011, and its existence (along with that of The Underwater Menace Episode 2, recovered in September 2011) was announced to the masses on 11 December of that year. Precisely fifteen months after The Day The Internet Went Mad, this DVD at last lets Air Lock out into the light of day. Galaxy 4 may not generally be a fan-favourite, but Air Lock still offers plenty to enjoy.


Of course, being able to properly see the original moving footage of the episode has a profound impact upon the previous viewing/listening experience. Now we know just how flimsy the Rills’ ship is (one of the comic highlights of the episode being the Doctor’s “I can’t move it! It’s immoveable!” – to a barrier which is moving a lot more than the script had in mind), with at least one Chumbley crashing into a wall which then promptly wobbles alarmingly. But there is a lot of good stuff here as well, which we simply had no idea about before.


Perhaps the best example is a flashback scene in which the Rill (voiced by Robert Cartland) describes the story of how its ship came to be on the planet. As a visual point-of-view sequence, it’s more dynamic and unusual for sixties Doctor Who than we could ever have imagined. There’s even some blood in it! Indeed, judging by what we can see in Air Lock, Derek Martinus’ directorial debut on Doctor Who makes the most out of what is, it has to be said, a rather slow-burning and repetitive script. Cameras crane up and down within the Rill Centre, and move around the studio floor framing parts of the scenery between the lens and the actors.


Setting aside the aforementioned issues with less-than-sturdy sets, there is only one area in which Air Lock could be called a disappointment, and that is how much we see (or don’t see) of the Rills. I’m sure I was far from the only person excited about seeing them properly when the recovery of the episode was announced, as all we previously had were one or two indistinct medium close-up photographs. But sadly, in Air Lock we really don’t see much more than that on-screen! At least we get a more decent look at the head of one of the creatures, but it is still distorted behind a screen. The following episode – The Exploding Planet – is where we would have fully seen the Rills, but alas, their full appearance is still lost in time at the moment… (But the reconstruction makes a pretty good guess with some fantastic CGI.)


It’s incredible to be able to see a performance from William Hartnell which we all thought was lost forever. He has some great dialogue across the story, such as his comparison between the Drahvins’ ship and his own – a line I won’t give away here, because it needs to be heard with Hartnell’s unique delivery to have the full effect. Something that doesn’t quite make complete sense is the Doctor’s attempted sabotage of the Rills’ system for making ammonia. He takes what seems like forever to try to wreck it (surely pulling a couple of wires would suffice?), and then has the cheek to tell everyone else to hurry later on! But these shortcomings in the script aside, Hartnell puts everything he’s got into his performance, and the result is something very special.


Vicki’s character developed during her time in the series – beginning as a frightened, orphaned girl stranded on an alien world, by the time of Galaxy 4 she has matured significantly, finding the solution to a Chumbley conundrum. (Although quite why she names them Chumblies in the first place has always baffled me – what, exactly, is “a sort of Chumbley movement”?) Maureen O’Brien always brings the best of her character out of the script and gives a great performance here. It is Steven (Peter Purves) who draws the short straw of the script. There is a long-standing myth (and one which Purves certainly believes) that Steven’s part in the script was cannibalised from dialogue and actions written for the character of Barbara Wright, who departed the series before Galaxy 4 reached the screen. According to Doctor Who expert Stephen James Walker, however, this most likely isn’t actually the case. But it certainly is true that in Galaxy 4, Steven is portrayed as considerably weaker than usual. The problem most likely originates from producer Verity Lambert's change of the Drahvins from male to female, which makes the manner in which they so easily overpower Steven and hold him prisoner rather more bizarre.


The screen is stolen, though, by Stephanie Bidmead as Maaga, the leader of the Drahvins. In another example of a scene which works hugely better now that the third episode is back, Maaga describes the burning demise of the planet, with Bidmead staring directly at the camera. Surrounded by inferior Drahvins devoid of any self-will or intelligence, it really does feel as though Maaga is talking to us. Bidmead gives a lively performance in the existing footage of the first episode as well, signalling one of her subordinates back to attention seamlessly in the middle of her sentence.


Another thing that’s very worthy of mention is the end of Air Lock, which was missing the last twenty-seven seconds (plus the end credits) when the film recording was unearthed. Credits are remade as standard for the DVDs anyway, to improve the quality, but the missing footage from the episode itself required some ingenuity. At the point the film recording ends in the middle of a line of dialogue from Steven, the audio source changes from the film to an off-air copy. As for the visuals, various shots from elsewhere in the episode are reused to recreate the ending. This has been done very cleverly. The only shot where the reuse of earlier material might be more noticeable is the final shot of Steven, but I don’t have a problem with it as it conveys the final moments of the episode superbly.


Perhaps Galaxy 4 will go up in fandom’s collective estimation now that we actually have a complete episode to watch. There are certainly plenty of things revealed that we didn’t know about, and while some are open to light-hearted mockery, most are brilliant surprises. It’s a shame there isn’t more Rill action in Air Lock, but the performances of Hartnell and Bidmead in particular make it a delight to watch. The use of the cut-down reconstruction to give context to the episode is a very wise move by BBC Worldwide, and it’s highly fortuitous that the reconstruction cancelled from the DVD of The Time Meddler was of the story that has now had an episode returned to the archive. Otherwise, the reconstruction would probably have remained sitting on a shelf unused forever, which would have been tragic because it’s very well-made indeed. I would have liked to see production subtitles and a commentary for Air Lock (though I’d give higher priority to the former if it was impossible to have both), and the lack of these is my only real complaint with how the episode has been presented here. Nevertheless, the discovery of Air Lock and The Underwater Menace Episode 2 in 2011 was the first experience I have ever had of a missing episode recovery (who would have thought that two would come back at once, seven years after the last find in 2004?), and it’s great to see the former on DVD. The latter, though, is still to come…

The commentary on this DVD is the same as that on the original 2002 DVD, with William Russell, Carole Ann Ford and Verity Lambert. But the issue with this commentary is that while it’s enjoyable when there’s a discussion going on, there are plenty of sections where no-one is speaking at all. It is as a result of this that moderated commentaries began, to focus and sustain the conversation, and it really is a shame that a new commentary wasn’t recorded for this Special Edition. Lambert is no longer with us, so it’s great that she recorded her thoughts on the story for the original DVD, but a new moderated commentary would have been hugely appreciated here, especially as Ian Cullen was hoping to record one. Despite this, there are some nice moments in the commentary, such as the contributors’ praise for the set designs.


Remembering the Aztecs is a making-of which also featured on the original DVD, featuring John Ringham, Ian Cullen and Walter Randall (Tonila). This has never been among my favourite making-of items, purely because the approach they take these days is more to my personal taste, but I can see that there are some benefits to the style taken by Remembering the Aztecs. The looser, less intercut nature of it means that there is more of a conversational element to it than many of the documentaries these days, evident in the exchange between Ringham and Randall. A highlight is Ringham’s fond memories of director John Crockett. Again, as Ringham and Randall are no longer with us, it’s lovely that their memories are preserved in this documentary.


Another feature from the original DVD is Designing the Aztecs, in which Barry Newbery recalls in detail his work on the sets. For me, this exhibits a similar issue to Remembering the Aztecs: although Newbery’s recollections are fascinating, the finished featurette isn’t quite focused enough for my liking – it could have done with an on-camera interviewer to guide things along. It’s a bit too long considering there’s only one person involved, and it once again reminded me how much I would have liked a new commentary on this DVD, which would have provided the opportunity to have Newbery interviewed by a moderator.


Cortez and Montezuma is an extract from a 1970 edition of Blue Peter. Presented by Valerie Singleton on location in Mexico, it briefly summarises the meeting between the leader of the conquistadors and the ruler of the Aztecs. It’s enjoyable and engaging, although the edition of Chronicle which features on this DVD is far more in-depth…


Restoring the Aztecs is a feature made for the 2002 DVD to demonstrate before-and-after examples of the story’s restoration. I’ve always loved these features, and while it’s a shame a new one couldn’t be produced to reflect the new restoration, the existing one is still very enjoyable. The difference between the raw source materials and the 2002 DVD is remarkable, and there is another increase in quality for this new edition. The original DVD of The Aztecs was the first to be fully VidFIREd – a technique used to restore the interlaced video look to the existing film recordings – and so a section of this demonstration is devoted to VidFIRE technology. What’s also interesting is that clips from Terror of the Autons and The Krotons appear, to provide a further discussion of Doctor Who restoration beyond The Aztecs, which is most welcome. There are also explanatory subtitles available, which can be enabled via the subtitle button on your remote.


Making Cocoa is a very bizarre little item from the original DVD, but one which is very amusing. Animated in the style of South Park, it explains how to make cocoa the Aztec way, with John Ringham and Walter Randall (both no longer with us) providing their vocal talents. This is one of the strangest things ever to appear on a Doctor Who DVD, but it’s massively entertaining.


TARDIS-Cam No. 3 is part of a series of short features produced for the BBC’s Doctor Who website (before the show’s 2005 comeback), demonstrating what a modern incarnation of the series could look like. This episode is rather similar in style and editing to that which appeared on the previous DVD, The Ark in Space Special Edition, but it certainly shares its impressive and atmospheric visuals.


As mentioned above, an entire 1969 documentary is included on this Special Edition. Chronicle – The Realms of Gold is presented by John Julius Norwich, and tells the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Fundamentally, then, the subject matter is the same as the Blue Peter feature from the following year, but the Chronicle documentary is, in my opinion, massively better. The way in which the story is told is mesmerising. Hand-drawn art depicts the people, architecture and battles of the time, and Norwich’s narration and in-vision links are comprehensive and compelling viewing. The documentary chronologically recounts the journey taken by Cortez and his conquistadors into Mexico and the eventual takeover of the Aztec civilization they found there. The music in the documentary was created by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and to top it all off, the cinematography of the documentary (shot on-location in Mexico) is breath-taking. I can’t recommend this feature enough – the inclusion of an entire archive documentary of this nature is unusual for the DVD range, but I appreciate it hugely.


Dr Forever! – The Celestial Toyroom is the second in the series by James Goss, looking at Doctor Who merchandise. As the title suggests, this episode looks at Doctor Who toys, and it’s every bit as enjoyable as the previous episode about the book range. Of course, the subject of this episode provides the opportunity for the interviewees to get hands-on with their favourite toys, and it is this which makes some of the more entertaining moments. Ian McNiece (Winston Churchill) shows us the action figure of himself, AudioGO editor Michael Stevens gets out his favourite police box toy (which now has nothing on the inside), and Russell T Davies (Doctor Who’s executive producer from 2005-2010) reveals how he once intended to purchase every single toy produced during his time on the show. When I reviewed the last episode, I said that I wasn’t too keen on Ayesha Antoine’s presenting, or the fact that there was an in-vision presenter at all. This time around, things have improved. The presence of a presenter is justified, as Antoine demonstrates some Doctor Who toys herself and interviews McNiece on-camera, and Antoine herself has improved – her sections feel more polished. Overall, then, this is a faultless documentary.


It's a Square World is the earliest known Doctor Who skit from 1963, starring the late Clive Dunn (best remembered for his role in Dad’s Army). It’s certainly entertaining – Dunn wears the full First Doctor outfit and demonstrates his space rocket to Michael Bentine. The dialogue between the two is funny, and in a sense it shows some character traits of later Doctors before their time. But things really take off when the rocket is accidentally activated, launching BBC Television Centre into space! The ensuing chaos is hilarious, and we’re even treated to cameos from Patrick Moore and Albert Steptoe.


Air Lock isn’t the only recovered item to appear on this DVD. Recently, a film recording of an episode of A Whole Scene Going appeared for sale on eBay, although it was eventually pulled from auction and a deal was made privately by a group called Kaleidoscope to ensure its safe return to the BBC. An extract is presented here, covering the making of Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 AD, the second of the two Peter Cushing Dalek movies. As with the behind-the-scenes footage from the first film which showed up on the DVD release of Death to the Daleks, the footage we see here is joyous and fascinating, such as the filming of stunts. The highlight, though, is an interview with director Gordon Flemyng, about the filmmaking process and the industry in general.

There is an optional Arabic soundtrack available for the fourth episode, which is interesting as a rare curiosity. As usual, Radio Times listings for The Aztecs are included in PDF format.

The Production Information Subtitles – new to this Special Edition – are written by Matthew Kilburn, and they are brilliant. I’ve said this before, but the historical adventures lend themselves perfectly to these subtitle tracks, as it is possible to take what the story itself tells us and go into further depth on that period of history. In this case, the subtitles are full of details about Aztec gods and civilisation. Of course, in addition to this, there is highly comprehensive coverage of the production of the story, and this all combines to make this set of subtitles one of the strongest of any Doctor Who DVD.


Rounding off this Special Edition, there is the usual Photo Gallery, although this is the one from the original DVD, produced by Derek Handley. The soundtrack gets very repetitive, but the shots themselves are interesting, especially those which give us the chance to see the costumes and sets in colour. A Coming Soon trailer by Gareth Randall teases the Patrick Troughton adventure The Ice Warriors, but this is not the next release due to a change to the release schedule. Instead, our next Doctor Who DVD will be a Special Edition of The Visitation, starring Peter Davison…

An Easter Egg is included somewhere on the menus of this release – a nice little item from the archive. It doesn’t relate directly to Doctor Who, but anyone who’s interested in the BBC’s history will love it.

AUDIO/VIDEO

The audio on the original DVD of The Aztecs was plagued by a lot of sibilance and other problems, but while there is still some sibilance evident on this new edition, there isn’t as much – the mono soundtrack is greatly improved thanks to Mark Ayres’ restoration.

The episodes are presented in black-and-white 4:3. The first episode of The Aztecs is the poorest visually; it seems quite smeary at times, but considering how bad the source material is (see the restoration feature from the 2002 DVD), the quality that’s been reached is still remarkable, especially in the opening minutes. The second episode is the best, with a great level of definition and stability in the transfer. The third episode is around the same as the second in terms of definition, but there is some horizontal instability burnt into the film recording from a dodgy videotape replay (this also afflicted the original DVD). But you get used to it very quickly, so it isn’t a major problem in the grand scheme of things. The final episode returns to a better level of stability, but isn’t as clear as the middle two episodes (but it isn’t as smeary as the first, either). The fact that the middle two episodes are the best in terms of technical quality could reflect the production's move to BBC Television Centre, which had state-of-the-art cameras compared to the antiques at Lime Grove. As for how the episodes compare with the original DVD, they are more defined with deeper blacks (and the remade credits are better than on the first DVD too). As mentioned above, the 2002 DVD was the first full application of VidFIRE on a DVD to restore the interlaced video look, and while the results back then were impressive, the process has improved significantly since. This new restoration has smoother motion with fewer artefacts.

The mono off-air audio for the first, second and fourth episodes of Galaxy 4 (as heard in the reconstruction) is astonishingly good quality considering it was made by placing a microphone in front of the television when the episodes were broadcast nearly fifty years ago, so this is again testament to the quality of Ayres’ work on the soundtrack. Air Lock does sound better than the surrounding episodes, which probably goes without saying, and there is an opportunity to directly compare that episode’s audio with the quality of an off-air recording when the reconstructed ending of Air Lock begins.

The lengthy clip from the first episode of Galaxy 4 isn’t VidFIREd unfortunately, and it shows some noise pumping. It’s not too bad though, and the quality of Air Lock is a lot better – in fact, in terms of the actual restoration, it’s amazing. It has been VidFIREd, and the stability and clarity of the image is brilliant. Unfortunately, there are some oddities with the encoding. Digital noise flickers across the very top of the image (you’ll only see this if you’re watching on a television with no overscan, like I was, or a computer), and there is some aliasing and banding evident. Perhaps this is a result of the episode being encoded within a feature which is such a mixed bag of still images, CG animation and clips. Whatever the reason, while it’s a shame, the underlying quality of the restoration is still superb.

SUMMARY

The Aztecs is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories, and so I’m thrilled that it has been given a Special Edition. It’s a shame there isn’t a new commentary, and that there’s no commentary or production subtitles for Air Lock, but what is here forms a very enjoyable package of special features. The 2002 making-of and Newbery features have things to enjoy, though I do prefer the more focused style of today’s extras, but the presence of Air Lock, the Galaxy 4 reconstruction, Dr Forever! – The Celestial Toyroom and Chronicle – The Realms of Gold are worth the price of admission. The enhanced audio/visual quality of The Aztecs adds to the above in making this a highly worthwhile upgrade.

7 OUT OF 10

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