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When my dad got a new computer in the late 90's, we received a few free games with it on separate discs. One of these freebies was Theme Hospital and little did I know how much fun and time I would spend on a free game!
Story: There is no story. Your put in charge of a hospital at the beginning and have to build up a fully working hospital. With various machines, consultation and treatment rooms and employ various members of staff. When you meet the targets for that level, you move on to the next level with a new hospital and a new challenge to beat. Every time you start with an empty hospital building and in the latter levels, you can buy other hospital buildings to build the various rooms and offices in.
Monitoring staff performance is key, otherwise the handymen will not do their job if tired and therefore the vomit and litter will build up in the corridors! Not good if the Minister for Health is visiting, or indeed any of the 'Special VIPs' who will come to visit to see!
Gameplay:To start with, patients will arrive at the reception desk to be shown the way to the GP's office. Once seen by a Doc, they will head to other diagnosis rooms to help determine what is wrong with the patient. These diagnosis rooms are made up of:
General diagnosis, Cardiogram, Scanner, X-ray, Ultrascan and Blood machine.
Once diagnosis has been made, patients will then be sent off to the treatment room which suits their condition. These treatment rooms include:
Inflation - This will literally blow your mind! (Well head at least) When diagnosed with bloatyhead, a Doctor will pump air into your head to make it even bigger, before popping your head, which results in a normal in proportional head to body ratio. Doctor only treatment.
Slack Tongue Clinic - The patients you see walking around with excess tongue hanging out will report to here to have it stretched before having the excess cut off. Doctor only treatment.
Hair Restoration - Kind of explains itself! The bald patients will be sent here to get some 'hairy' treatment! Doctor only treatment.
Decontamination - Patients diagnosed with radioactivity will be sent here to get 'clean'. Doctor only treatment.
Electrolysis - Kind of the opposite to what the bald guys get treated for! The patients look like furry aliens and head to electrolysis to have all the hair 'zapped' off. Doctor only treatment.
Jelly Vat - Sufferers of 'Jellyitis' will seek treatment here to cure there wibbly wobbley-ness. Doctor only treatment.
There are several treatment rooms that can only be used by specialist doctors. This includes:
Psychiatric - With various conditions to treat, including the 'King complex', all those Elvis wannabes you see walking around the hospital. They will head to psychiatry to be cured. Only a Doctor with a psychiatry degree can work here.
Operating theatre - Have a broken heart? Then off you trot to get that fixed under the knife! Don't worry, you will be anaesthetized first! Doctors with surgeons degree only.
DNA Fixer - Are you an alien?! Then head to this room to become human again! Doctors with research degree only.
There are three rooms which are only allowed to be used by Nurses. These are:
Ward - Needed for diagnosis, rest and pre op. Make sure you stay in bed now.
Pharmacy - You know some days when you just feel like no one can see you? Well this illness can be treated with a sip of some medicine! Head to see the Nurse and she will be able to see you back!
Fracture clinic - Jump into the machine and watch as the cast comes off. As good as new your bones.
If a treatment is not available at the hospital, the patient will be sent to the research lab. Only Doctors with a research degree can work here. This is where various treatments and machines will be created to help combat the illnesses.
With all these machines, you need handymen to keep them in tip top condition! If you don't keep on top of maintenance, your equipment will degrade enough to the point of explosion. So if you see them smoking, send the handymen there straight away, can't do with blowing up patients after all! There are also earthquakes prevalent in the area. So keep the handymen ready at all times!
Unless you have a reception desk with a receptionist, your hospital won't open. So place a reception desk near the entrances, hire a receptionist and watch the hoards line up, waiting to be treated. Make sure your hospital is welcoming. Placing plants, radiators, drinks machines and lots of seating will keep the patients happy. Don't forget the toilets though! The staff need a room to relax and restore energy, so placing a staff room, with sofas, pool table, TV and arcade games will help them regain energy and ready them for the patients. Building rooms with windows a making them a decent size, will make the Doctors and Nurses more happy.
Doctors have three stages of ability; Junior Doctor, Doctor and Consultant. You can build a training room which can only be used by Consultants to teach Junior Doctors and Doctors. So if you need another Surgeon, you send your Surgeon to go and teach there. Same for physchiatrist and research degrees. To check to see how far off the Doctors are from qualifying, you can follow there progress on the staff menu screen.
There are various challenges that come up and its up to you if you want to take it on. You are rewarded depending how well you do in each challenge. The challenges are to do with treating a certain amount of people with the same illness in a certain amount of time give. There are also pandemics which you either have to let the Department of Health know and get fined, or try and cure it yourself at the risk of not eradicating it and word getting to the Depart of Health. Now that is bad.
Audio: The jukebox that plays as your playing is filled with fun tunes. You can opt to miss some tunes if you don't like any and depending how long you play in one stint, you may become a little bored with the constant repeating tunes! However, to this day, I can still remember certain tunes from this game.
Conclusion: I first played this game in 1997 on my dads old computer. Since then I have installed it on every computer I have been able to use, which is 4 computers, including the one I'm on now. This game is over 15years old now, which seems crazy! Some games I play a couple of times and then get put back in the cupboard and left. This game, this game my dad received free has probably bought me the most joy over such a long length in time. 15years of playing Theme hospital on and off. We actually lost this disc a few years back and it got forgotten. As soon as it was found, I installed it on this computer and it's been there ever since. You do have to run it in a compatibility mode to get it to work on newer systems. But even to this day I still laugh at the darkish type of humour you hear on the in game tannoys.
I normally go on about amazing graphics but being 15years old it doesn't have that and to be honest, if it did have a more modern look to it, it would probably lose that humour and welcoming feel. This isn't a serious game, this is a game to relax you and make you laugh. 15years this game has been in some way in my life and I expect it to be there for the next 15years. Ready for whenever I want to play. This game never grows old. If you have never played this game, your life is not complete! For a measley £2.99, you can buy a copy from GAME. This is more than a bargain, it's literally stealing! Buy this and play a fun filled game created by Bullfrog Productions.
Theme Hospital is another fine Bullfrog release. Bullfrog are a game development/production team who's focus was on quirky simulations with a slightly dark sense of humour. Theme Hospital fitted the bill perfectly.
A few other games in the franchise are Dungeon Keeper 1+2, Populous, Magic Carpet and also, the ever popular Theme Park series.
Theme Hospital was released in 1997 and is one of its kind, I have never seen a similar release.
***What is Theme Hospital?***
Theme Hospital is a hospital simulator which takes place over 13 levels of increasing difficulty and also includes a few bonus levels which involve humorously dealing with vermin problems.
The game revolves around placing buildings and rooms of different designations in order to cure illnesses. Once you have cured a certain amount of patients, maintained a reputation and a certain amount of cash, you have passed the level and the next level will certainly have higher targets to reach.
When you start the game, you are given an empty hospital and a budget, with this money you will buy all the buildings required and hire staff for each building. Certain buildings require different staff for instance;
Psychiatric ward - Here you will need to recruit one doctor who also has psychiatric training, placing a doctor without this training will result in nothing happening
Surgery - In the surgery you need TWO doctors with training in surgery. I find surgeons are the most sought after member of the hospital as they are quite hard to hire.
Research department - The research department is where you will discover new medicine, new buildings and also improve old treatment methods, here you will need a doctor with ample research training.
As soon as the game begins, it begins paused so that you can do some building and hiring before all of the patients come in and give you lots of grief. Aside from buying buildings during this period, you also recruit receptionists to book in the customers and drinks machines, radiators and plants to give your customers a better mood.
When customers have a better mood, you get a better reputation and this means more customers which means more money which means a better hospital which means more customers which means you finish the level!
***Who is the game not for?***
This game is not an action game and sometimes it is not particularly fast paced. If you are a gamer that likes to sit back and watch the game develop without your input all of the time then this is the game for you.
Rather contradictory to the above statement, the game often requires a large amount of your attention. There are times where you will have turn the heating down in order to finance your hospital for the upcoming year, take loans out for better equipment and employ cleaners to clean the hospital up and water your plants. The entire game is not focused around curing patients but rather has a centric focus on managing the hospital as a whole.
If this level of detail is putting you off slightly, don't be alarmed!
The first levels are user friendly and keen players who enjoy management WILL enjoy Theme Hospital.
I've tried to find a fault in Theme Hospital I really have. I have a few small things which might put off some players.
Tasteless - The game CAN be tasteless, you will see people physically vomit all over your floors and the description of illnesses is sometimes rather crude, as an example;
The illness - The Squits
The cause - Eating pizza found under the cooker
Whilst I myself find these funny, I can imagine some of the more mature players may not take as much of a shine to it.
The other fault I found (and this one is much more universally agreed) was with the menu system in the game itself. For a new player it may be a bit confusing to try and even quit the game. The menu hides away until your mouse happens to hover over the top of the screen. Again, this is a bit annoying as there is no mention of this, but even so, after 5 minutes of play that quibble is over.
In short: I love Theme Hospital and you should definitely buy it, it is cheap and hours of entertainment.
This game was always a favourite in my family growing up and I recently found my copy and decided to give it another go. My PC disc says it is suitable for Windows 9, 98, XP and Me, it also works on Windows Vista.
This game was originally released in 1997 by Bullfrog Productions. There have been various versions released for different PC operating systems and it is also now available to download.
The game is available for around £5 on Amazon with delivery and is about the same price to download.
What Is Theme Hospital?
Well you may have guessed your job is to run and improve various hospitals over various levels. You will need to build various rooms and place equipment and machinery to achieve your goals. You will also need to monitor the performance of your staff and deal with epidemics and emergencies to run a successful hospital.
The goals may require you to earn a set amount of cash, cure a number of patients, a percentage of patients and increase the value of your hospitals.
Illnesses and Rooms
Each hospital will need a reception desk. Every patient that walks through the doors will need to visit reception before being sent to a GP's office for a diagnosis.
In the first levels you will only need a couple of rooms, in the later levels you will be required to build more. Some will be already in the build menu to select, others you will need to research by building a Research Department.
The staff will get moody and quit if they don't get their rest so you will also need a Staff Room.
The patients will also need you to build a Toilet.
Some rooms can only have staff with specific qualifications to operate the equipment, if you don't have a member of staff you can train them by building a Training Room.
In some cases the GP will diagnose the ailments and send them straight to a treatment room to be cured, in other cases they may need more diagnosis rooms before determining what is wrong with the patient. Other diagnosis rooms are:
Once a diagnosis has been made you will need other rooms to treat the various amusing ailments.
Only psychiatrists can work in this room. This room is used to treat various conditions such as 'King Complex' which causes patients to look like Elvis Presley, 'Sweaty Palms' and 'Infectious Laughter'.
Only nurses can work in the pharmacy. Treats illnesses such as 'The Squits' which causes patients to cross their legs and hold their stomachs while hopping around, also treats 'Gut Rot', 'Discrete Itching', 'Heaped Piles', 'Uncommon Cold', 'Invisibility' and more.
Staffed by a nurse, this room is used for diagnosis, rest and also before going to the operating theatre.
You must have a ward before building an operating theatre as the patients must visit the ward first. You will need 2 surgeons to work in the operating theatre.
Operations take place to cure such ailments as 'Broken Heart', 'Kidney Beans', 'Golf Stones' and 'Iron Lungs'.
My favourite room, any doctor can operate the inflator which is used to treat 'Bloaty Head' which is a terrible illness where the patient comes in with a swollen head, the inflator then pumps lots of air into the head, making it blow up even bigger like a huge balloon until the doctor sticks a big long needle in and pops it, curing the illness and resulting in the patient having a head in proportion to their body.
Nurses work in the fracture clinic, which involves a patient with a cast sitting in a machine which removes the cast. This is used to treat 'Fractured Bones'.
-Slack Tongue Clinic
This room treats patients with 'Slack Tongue' who wander around the hospital with their tongues hanging out. The excess tongue is stretched and cut off in here using the slicer machine. This can be used by any doctor.
This room needs a doctor with a research qualification and treats 'Alien DNA' by transforming aliens into human form.
Required to replace the hair of patients with 'Baldness', this machine can be operated by and doctor.
Cures the wibbly wobbly patients who suffer from 'Jellyitis', this machine can also be used by any doctor.
This can also be used by any doctor and cures 'Hairyitis', a disease which makes the patient look a bit like a shaggy monkey.
All doctors can use this to decontaminate the patients who have 'Radioactivity'.
You have access to a list of staff who are available to hire. The list will tell you a little bit of important information on the staff such as one doctor "smells faintly of cabbage". Some doctors may require higher wages than others, depending on their qualifications and how good they are. A cheap doctor may want to take breaks more often.
If the staff member you require is not on the list you will either have to train up your current doctors or wait as the list changes every few minutes.
You will need a receptionist for your reception desk.
A Handyman maintains the machines which break down after so many uses or in the case of an Earthquake! Some equipment may eventually break down beyond repair and therefore a new room will have to be built.These handymen also sweep the floors and water plants.
Nurses will be required for your pharmacy, fracture clinic and ward.
Doctors are available as junior doctors, doctors and consultants. A consultant can be used to train other doctors into Surgeons, Research doctors and Phsyciatrists.
You will need to place windows to keep your staff happy, radiators to keep staff and patients warm, plants and paintings to keep people happy. Drinks machines can bring in money and also create litter so you will also need to place litter bins to save your handymen having to sweep it up. Fire extinguishers in rooms with equipment are there to reduce the chances of machines breaking down.
Other events may occur in the hospital, sometimes the doctors won't be able to reach a diagnosis and will give you a percentage diagnosis. You have the choice to send the patient home, take a chance and guess at the diagnosis or send them to the research room which discretely 'get's rid' of your patients. If the public uncover your research facility your hospital's reputation will be affected.
If you get a diagnosis wrong, or a patient isn't treated fast enough then unfortunately they will die. When this is about to happen a skull will appear over their heads, in some cases you can move his person to the front of a queue to try and get them treated, in other cases you just won't have time. If the patient dies the grim reaper will appear beside them, the floor will open up and they will disappear into flames in the ground before floating off into the sky.
Epidemics occur too, you must treat all patients with the epidemic as soon as possible by zapping them and moving them to the front of queues, if you treat all patients with the epidemic before your time runs out you will be given a reward.
Emergencys, you will receive a fax notifying you of an emergency, if you have the staff and equipment to treat the illness you will have to treat these patients in a time limit. The patients will arrive by helicopter and go straight to the treatment room without diagnosis, if you treat them all in time you will get a bonus.
If you don't have the facilities to treat the emergency you can decline to accept the emergency.
A VIP may also visit, you will get a little bit of warning about their visit. You must make sure your hospital is running smoothly and is clean while the VIP is there. If they are impressed with your hospital they will give you a cash reward.
Throughout the game the receptionist makes announcements over a tannoy system which are very funny so I like to play this game with the volume turned up. Some of my favourites are:
"Patient's are reminded not to die in the corridors"
"Morgue Patients are asked to be as quiet as possible"
In comparison with some of the more recent games for PC, the graphics for this game seem pretty poor. This does not in any way take away from the fun of the game though. The levels increase in difficulty, making them challenging but not nearly impossible as with some games.
Using the fax machine you can put in a number to activate cheats, you can cheat by speeding up the year or increasing your cash but I don't think there is any need to cheat in this game and think it takes away from the fun of it.
Every member of my family has played this at some stage, I think it's suitable for all ages and definitely one worth buying as it will provide hours and hours of fun. This remains one of my all time favourite games.
Theme Hospital was first released in 1997, which I will point out would have made me a very sweet, innocent and cute nine year old at the time. Now stop sniggering; I was bright eyed and bushy tailed once you know. We acquired the game not too long after it's release, probably 1998 or 1999 which in turn would have made me ten or eleven at the time. I can distinctly recall being completely hooked on the game, me and my brother would barricade ourselves in the spare bedroom (the only place where there was a computer back in the day) and play until our eyes were square, then play some more. So, it was with fond memories that I turned back to the game that occupied so much of my childhood time as an adult, but also fully aware that as is the way of the world many things don't stand the test of time. And computer games are more prone to this than many things. So, could a fourteen year old game still manage to snare me in? And the answer is simple, yes.
The basic idea behind the game is that you are more or less a God like figure running a series of hospitals. It starts simple with a manageable tutorial but as you progress through the levels the hospitals get more complicated, the diseases get wackier, you have to buy more equipment, do more research, hire more staff and above all try not to kill your patients who are stampeding through the door in epidemics.
Theme Hospital was what could be called the predecessor to many of the medical games on the market now; Hospital Tycoon, Trauma Centre and the like. But the management aspect of the game is vital because not only do you have to keep your patients alive and send them out the door happy, you also have to manage your finances and buildings. To have a good hospital you need a mixture of diagnostic rooms and tools (GP's office, cardiovascular equipment, Xray machine), treatment rooms (pharmacy, inflator room, fracture clinic), and of course facilities such as the staff room and toilets.
The game is very simple to get the knack of; you have a series of buttons on the lower section of your screen that allow you to build new rooms, hire new staff and check your finances, buildings and staff management etc. Once you've clicked on the 'Build' button you will be met with a list of the possibilities in treatment, diagnosis, research and facilities and you can then chose the size of your room, how many windows you want it to have and how you want it to be decorated. The same kind of thing goes for hiring your staff; you are met with a list of portfolios meaning you can hire the useless slob who won't do much work but is to be fair very cheap, or the high flying surgeon. As the game progresses you also get the chance to train your own staff.
The game is very much based on micromanagement; you hire doctors, nurses and janitors, build the rooms in which they work and then have to furnish the hospital with radiators, plants, benches and coke machines to keep everyone happy. You have complete control over how much you charge for each cure, how much you pay each doctor, how skilled the members of staff you are going to employ are and how much rest time they get. Although you have no external control over the patients you can pick the members of staff up to get them from room to room and you have to keep a very close eye on where the patients might have vomited and manoeuvre your janitor over there. You even set the priorities of your handymen as they clean, water plants and mend machines. There is a lot to keep an eye on and a fair amount of concentration is needed.
For each level you are on you are given set targets which will include how many patients you need to cure, how much money you need to make, how much your hospital needs to be worth and how much reputation you have. All the time you are competing with other local hospitals who are trying to steal your hard earned patients away from you. Then you are given the honour of starting afresh in a new hospital, with new patients and new problems. Every so often you'll get an epidemic an emergency or a VIP inspection which means you have to cure patients quickly in order to get reputation and cash bonuses.
But if that was it to the game it would probably get very stale, very quickly. There's only so many times you can build the same diagnostic rooms, hire more doctors and then deal with both patients and doctors whining at you that you either don't pay them enough, charge them too much or keep the hospital too cold. So what's special about this game that enables it to keep a place in my imagination? And the answer must come down to the patients and the illnesses, because you're not dealing with tonsillitis or pneumonia here. No, you are dealing with patients with Bloaty Head syndrome which means there head needs to be popped and re-inflated, the Uncommon cold, Invisibility, Hairyitis and oh so many others. This is the weird and wonderful world of Theme Hospital, and it is your job to try to figure out how to cure them before Death (quite literally) comes to collect.
With each level you move into the hospital gets bigger, and new diseases start to crop up which you don't have the resources to deal with. This is why in the later levels you are reliant on your research staff to come up with new diagnostic procedures so you know what you're up against and then new curative measures so you can actually solve the problem. It's somewhat a game of juggling; you are juggling your staff, your patients, your finances and your hospital and trying to keep them all in the air at the same time can become a bit of a struggle. Particularly when the emergency lands on your door at the same time so you have a timer and fifteen patients to cure...quickly. Particularly in the later levels you are trying to do six or seven things at the same time and it gets more than a little bit hectic.
I will repeat here that the game is fourteen years old; needless to say graphics and computers have moved on a long way since then. However this is somewhat annulled by the fact that the graphics were never intended to be realistic, instead they are cartoony and cute which means that they do actually manage to stand the test of time. All of the various little characters have animations and they all of the various patients with random ailments are animated differently and rather amusingly, including the people with huge tongues and the ridiculously large heads. The machinery is well done as well, even looking on it now you get the impression that they could do you serious bodily harm!
Most of the sound stays in the background; which is just how I like it. There's nothing there that will assault your ears overly much. What makes the sound, and adds a large amount of humour to the game is the announcer over the top who periodically comes out with amusing sayings like; 'Would patients refrain from dying in the corridors please'. It adds somewhat of a giggle factor to the game in addition to some of the ridiculous patients.
The only real niggle providing you overlook the age of the game is the stupidity of the doctors who unless you set the game to the highest level of strictness will end up wandering aimlessly around in the corridors while the patients die in the corridors. This is because the announcer will make it clear when a room is in need of a doctor, so a doctor will leave his office and go there. This is good in theory, but in practice you put your skilled doctors where you want them so it's highly irritating when they start wandering. Particularly as then the tannoy will come back on to announce that the room he's just left needs a doctor, so he'll get to the room he was walking to and then turn around and go back. It just goes around in ever decreasing circles. As I said, I got around this by making sure that on the settings screen I have the free will of the doctors completely and utterly removed.
Many years on and I still found this game as addictive, as frustrating, as challenging and as amusing as when I first played it. I can get much further on it now as an adult than I could ever get as a child. This is without a doubt a fantastically made game, and even now it stands the test of time. You can quite happily waste hours playing it without even looking at the clock, and you'll feel your heart start to race when you begin to drop the balls you've been so carefully juggling in order to keep the hospital running. Without a doubt it can be infuriating, largely when you've spent a lot of time building up a hospital only to go bust or kill too many patients and so have to start all over again. But Bullfrog really did get this game perfect.
Let's be honest, there are not many computer games you can pick up thirteen odd years after you bought them and still be as enthralled as you were when you got it. This is a cracking good game, and whilst it may not have the realism of many doctor games it's got the challenge, it's got the humour, it's got the variety, the charm and the sheer fun in it to make it compulsive playing. Every time you play a level you will never get the same results, things will always be different and different challenges will arise as you play, which in turn means that there is almost infinite replay value to the game. They even managed to get the learning curve right with the first level being a breeze and then gradually building up until the last level is seemingly impassable. It can still be played on newer laptops and PC's (or at least it works on mine and I'm on Vista) so there is absolutely no excuse not to give it a go.
It's not as flashy or perhaps as clever as many modern games. You won't find wonderful cut scenes or perfect voice acting. But what you will find is an addictive, compulsive game that I will eat my hat if you don't love. Some critics have come down rather hard on it in the past, but this is one of those games where the critics and the Average Joe have opposing views with the average player rating being 9/10. I know which side I'm on.
I was nervous when I originally booted this up on my laptop because I really didn't want to mar the memories of the game I already had. There was no need. This is still an absolute cracker of a game which still allows you to fully immerse yourself in the slightly crazy world that Bullfrog have created. Currently available at £1.75 from Amazon you really haven't got a lot to lose buying this classic. I'll leave you with these words from the producer of Theme Hospital:
"Every conceivable aspect of building, designing and maintaining a hospital was meticulously researched by the Theme Hospital development team. That part of the game is quite realistic. However, in order to keep the game from being realistic, to the point of being offensive, we made up an entire list of afflictions, paying careful attention to probing the funny bone."
Back in my younger day when I was around 7 years old, my dad gave me the Theme Park game for PC - in which you build your own theme park and can be entertained for hours building rollercoasters, making children go flying off rides (evil, yes I know) and plotting things where you wanted ect. I was a bit of a geek I loved Building Strategy games - and still do now!
Now when I heard Theme Hospital was coming out a few years later I nearly piddled myself with excitement at the fact I now get to build a hospital rather than a theme park! The first time I saw it in a shop, I bought it straight away... Unsure of the price I paid then but considering it was released around 15 years ago you can pick the game up very cheap these days...
About the game
The game was made by Bullfrog Productions and published by the huge well known company - Electronic Arts in 2007. To date the game has sold over 4 million copies.
For those of you who played the original Theme Park years and years ago will know that the game didn't really have much of a purpose apart from you go do different levels and build theme parks in different locations around the world... A bit boring as each site looked the same only different weather depending where you were... All this changed when Theme Hospital was born.
Theme Hospital is a hospital building strategy game in which you build a hospital up from the ground, turn over big profits, keep the patients happy, keep the patients alive, keep the staff happy, make sure the hospital is maintained and then you get letters offering promotions to other hospitals / higher levels when you have done enough to meet the criteria. Sound easy enough? There is a few things that can slow you down... Like in Theme Park where bits of your rollercoaster tracks can break and send people flying everywhere causing upset customers , in Theme Hospital you have disasters like earthquakes which can damage your hospital equipment, vomitting bugs which can make your hospital dirty and lose you points and you can also get mice infesting your hospital.
You start each level with an empty shell of a hospital, it is then your duty to build treatment and diognosis rooms within the hospital. You also need to hire staff to start with. You get four types of staff to hire in the hospital which are:
* Doctor - who would generally be required to run most of the rooms and machines in the hospital
* Nurse - who would generally be used for pharmacys, wards and certain clinics
* Receptionist - to work behind the reception and be patients first point of call
* Caretaker - are left to water plants, repair machines when damaged and clean up litter and vomit
As well as day to day running of a general busy hospital where you need to make sure you don't bankrupt yourself and keep yourself away from general disasters, they have to throw in more difficulties for you... Such as unhappy staff who threaten to resign and emergency patients who are flown in by helicopter, you then need to save all of them or the hospital reputation will be damaged.
Bullfrog productions are kind of laughable cruel in my opinion - they had a warped humor in Theme Park with allowing option of sending people flying off the rides... In this game it does show patients dying... really comically where they grow wings and fly up to heaven with high pitched church kind of music in the background!
Another comical aspect of the game would be the patients illnesses... Not normal at all... Two to name would be Bloated Head and Slack Tongue - and many other strange ones as you go through the game.
You can also play the game in 3 difficulty modes - Easy, Medium and Hard - difference being the easier the game you set up the more money you start with in the bank. If you play this for the first time I would recommend playing on Easy mode - first few levels you will fly through but after this you will notice the difficulty even with the extra money. I have been playing on and off for around 15 years and still have not come close to completing the game... Grr...
The game can be a bit tempermental at saving... You have 8 save slots and I sometimes save a game, come back the next day and it will show all the save slots are empty and un-used. You can easily blame this to the age of the game rather than unreliablility - you never lose the game for good and I find if you close down the game and open again you do get your save slots again!
The only other bad thing I can point out would be how frustrating the game can get! It can be difficult at times and if you are like me playing for 15 years and not getting any further you do sometimes feel like putting a fist through the screen when you constantly have machines blowing up and people vomitting all over the game :-/ I am less than impressed...
However if you are a complete stresshead like me you can be a cheat if you want to - a quick search on google and you will have cheats for money, level skip and research skip at your finger tips.
What are the graphics like?
Jumping back to my opinion on Theme Park - although great classic strategy game the graphics were awful - imagine the biggest migapixels and that was exactly what the game was - nothing but awful graphics / huge megapixels... Theme Hospital was a huge improvement, game graphics did get a lot better by the time 1997 came around... By todays standards where some games look very life-like fair enough its rubbish but for its time the game graphics are pretty good.
What consoles can you play this on?
I have played this game on both PC and Playstation 3. I prefer to use the PC for this game as using a control pad with Theme Hospital is completly alien... You need to use a PC / Laptop for this in my opinion... The classic way!
Any system requirements?
Accoridng to the box you should have the following system spec or higher to play this game on PC / Laptop :
* Windows 98/XP/Vista
* Processor 75MHz
* Memory 16MB
* Hard drive 55MB
* Video Card DirectX 5 compatible
* Sound card DirectX 5 compatible
Awesome! I only really play strategy building games on the PC and this is up there amongst my favourites - I have been playing it on and off for 15 years, still have never completed the game yet I still keep going back! If you are into strategy comical building games this one is for you!
The only reason I have marked as a 4/5 rather than full mark is the opening saved game issue where it is sometimes tempermental!
Price & availability
Years and years ago I likely paid closer to the £20-£30 mark when the game was newer, but you can get a brand new copy of Theme Hospital from Amazon at the time of this review for £4.40 with free P+P. Absolute bargain!
Having not played this game for a few months, I reinstalled it a few weeks ago and haven't stopped playing since. Theme Hospital, despite it's age is still a highly addictive and fun game for all the family :)
The system requirements for this game are really low due to its age with no 3D cards needed and only about 25MB hard drive space, however don't let this fool you. The graphics despite being nothing special in this day and age are cute and the cartoony aspect to them add to the comical value and stop people getting to involved in the game! It should also be pointed out that this game still works on modern 64-bit systems running Windows XP or Windows 7, which is rare for an older game.
Sound quality on the other hand is very poor, which I guess is to be expected from such an old game. It's OK at the start of a level, but when things get slightly more hectic and you have built up a large hospital, the constant shout outs for doctors and epidemic warnings in a really high-pitched voice are just annoying. It's much better to find some good music and play this game on silent.
The general idea of Theme Hospital is to build up a hospital from scratch and manage its successful running. There is a very useful tutorial mode on the first play of the game giving a good overview of how to build and buy equipment. After the tutorial there is one game mode, which takes the form of a campaign, with each level becoming progressively harder with new features being introduced. At the start of each level, the objectives are set out and you are given a set amount of money ($20000 - $70000) and an outline of a building for you to construct your rooms in. In certain levels, further buildings can be purchased if and when they become necessary, and more money can be loaned from the bank if needed, at a price of course :)
So what is the basic strategy needed to play this game? Well, firstly a reception desk is required and a receptionist needs to be hired to man it. Each patient who enters the hospital checks in here first before heading off to the GP's office to be diagnosed. The basic level of diagnosis is a GP's office, which requires a doctor to run it. Then for more complex illnesses, further diagnoses rooms are required including a cardio and X-ray machine, but these need to be researched before they can be utilised.
There are 3 specialist skills that doctors can have, these are surgeon for use in the operating theatre, a researcher, to research further diagnosis machines and treatment rooms, as well as improving the success rate of drugs, and finally a psychiatrist who treats patients with mental illnesses. In addition nurses are required to work in the wards and pharmacies, and handymen required to clean up litter, maintain the machines, and finally and most importantly water the plants.
As each patient is cured you gain reputation points as well as making money, conversely if patients cannot be cured or die then reputation suffers. Basically the higher your reputation, the more patients come to your hospital and therefore the more money you make. Some patients who are suffering from less severe conditions will also get the hump and leave if you don't deal with them quickly enough, again impacting on reputation, and other factors such as heat and cleanliness will have an effect. The final way in which reputation can be gained (or lost) is via a visit from a VIP. They basically stroll around the hospital, and if they are happy, you get a boost. A bad visit however results in lower reputation and a struggle to make that all-important cash.
Now finally to the illnesses themselves and to be honest these have to be seen to be believed. Some of the weirder ones included bloaty head syndrome, which has a man walking around with a giant swollen head, and is cured by popping the head and re-inflating to the correct pressure. Another classic is slack tongue, where patients walk around with a floppy tongue like a dog! Each disease when discovered comes with an amusing list of symptoms and causes, and the wider variety of conditions you can treat, the better your hospital will do. None of the illnesses are real life conditions and this just adds to the humour and wackiness of the whole game.
In addition to all of this, events such as earthquakes, emergencies, and epidemics occur to give this game a much longer lifespan (pardon the pun!!!) and is a very addictive game which is well worth a go especially as you can now pick up the game as freeware on the internet from several sites if you don't own your own copy.
I would have given this game 5 stars, however there is a very small "but" to be pointed out, and that is some of the unexpected events can be a little tiresome after a while. On certain levels, you will find yourself subject to earthquake after earthquake, or epidemic after epidemic, which although a fun challenge now and again, rather take away from the running of the hospital when they occur constantly. In addition if a room blows up due to lack of maintenance or damage from an earthquake, you cannot bulldoze it and re-use the space, which is a major negative point of mine.
To sum this review up I would say that Theme Hospital is still one of the more playable games out there, and is well worth having another look at. It doesn't rely on amazing cut scenes, film quality graphics and music, but instead concentrates on superb, easy to master gameplay, which is why Theme Hospital has stood the test of time, and is still enjoyed today.
Thanks for reading this review and it also appears on Ciao under my same username.
Every so often I frequent games I loved as a child. For whatever reason, I became addicted to them. Whether it be something on one of the older Nintendo consoles, controlling lives (or destroying them) on The Sims, or as in this case, creating and controlling a hospital.
The follow-up to Bullfrog's highly successful Theme Park, Theme Hospital allows players to create their own hospital. As the game progresses, more bizarre ailments are thrown into the mix, and the player must work to adapt their hospital so that it can treat each illness. Good hospitals include all of the latest diagnostic tools, pharmacies, operating theatres, wards, a decent amount of reliable staff, and plenty of seating space for all those sickly patients.
The real challenge comes in the frantic pace of Theme Hospital. As more and more patients file into your hospital, it becomes harder to treat them all efficiently. Slip up, and you can find yourself confronted with a grimy hospital filled with piles of sick (lovely), overflowing bins and filthy toilets, broken down equipment, striking staff, and-if you have not treated your patients quick enough, Death himself.
The game progresses after you have healed enough patients, earned enough money and gained a satisfactory visit from a VIP visitor. Once the player has earned their praise, they'll be invited to take over a brand new hospital which will face tougher challenges than the previous one. The bizarre illnesses are for me, one of the stand-out moments in Theme Hospital. It is something of a joy discovering new ailments, such as "Bloaty Head", "Slack Tongue", and "Invisible Man Syndrome." Do not expect a serious game of Casualty here, you will not find it. Theme Hospital is light hearted, amusing and addictive fun.
The game definitely gets trickier as the player increases up the career ladder, but the overall concept is rather simple. Simplicity successfully works here though, as it helps to create a very addictive formula. For the most part, problems can be tackled quickly, such as simply raising your staffs salary if they threaten to strike (you tend to earn money quickly in this game, so it is not too much of an issue), and build more rooms if patients have nowhere to go.
However, there are some negative points in Theme Hospital that can make the whole gaming experience a little frustrating at times. The AI system is not always entirely successful. Place your staff down, and a lot of the time they will not walk to the area where problems are taking place. I find a lot of the time the handymen in particular do not tackle the mountains of waste that is forming in one wing of the hospital, but instead will walk aimlessly amongst a spotless part watering plants. In order to actually get staff tackling the problems before stress arises, sadly you cannot always rely on the AI doing it themselves-move the staff member to the problem and they will then work on it.
Overall, Theme Hospital carries great graphics (for it's time), some crisp voice acting, and plenty of humour. The voice acting and music start to get irritating after a while, but the overall experience is not soiled by this. The AI is not always reliable which can make Theme Hospital somewhat frustrating, but once directed to the problem, the game eases up again. Theme Hospital is simple to understand, with an underlying challenge in the higher levels, but it never stops being so damn addictive. If you are looking for a light-hearted, retro PC game to waste a few hours on, then I strongly recommend at least trying Theme Hospital out for a little while.
*This review is also on 8-BIT Girl http://8-bitgirl.blogspot.com/2011/08/retro-review-theme-hospital.html*
*Also on Ciao, under "MonsoonBaby88"*
Well most of you have probably heard of Theme Park, it was a widely distributed game, spanning several platforms, such as the Amiga, Playstation, SNES and PC. But fewer of you have probably heard of Theme Hospital.
The aim of the game is to build a successful hospital, you do so by hiring skilled staff, getting hold of new machines to deal with the latest medical emergencies, and expanding your hospital to care for the growing number of patients.
You start the game with an empty hospital, a decent sized place, for the time being. Generally you'll first build a GP's office and a reception desk. When people first enter, they'll head towards the reception desk who will tell them where to go, usually they'll sit down on benches whilst they wait for their appointment.
As the game progressing, new illnesses will begin to appear, which means you'll need more staff and newer machines to deal with the problem, these illnesses range from anything, from a bloated head, to invisibility. Humour (sometimes dark) often plays a role in this game, if (or should i say when) a patient dies in your hospital, Hades will appear and a hole will open in the ground, which the patient will fall through into 'hell'. Bloated heads are also cured by popping the existing head, and pumping up a new one using a machine.
Theme Hospital features a lengthy campaign, which gets progressively harder as you progress, whenever you finish a mission, you have the choice to continue onto the next, or carry on playing, which is useful for the last mission, as i believe its the only way to play a sandbox (or non-ending) game in single player.
To make the game more interesting, Theme Hospital has special events that prediodically occur, such as emergencies, VIP visits and so on. In emergencies there will usually be a large number of patients who need healing before a specified time, if you manage to heal them all, it means a rep/money boost, failure to do so will hit your reputation hard. The higher your rep, the more people will arrive.
You may have noticed before, that i said the only way to play a sandbox game in 'single player' is to play a mission. Naturally that means the game has a multiplayer mode. And indeed that's right. The game supports multiplayer via Dplay IPX, IPX, Modem and Serial, unfortunately that means Windows Vista and 7 users cannot play multiplayer via conventional means, as IPX protocols were removed after Windows XP. I am told Vista and 7 users can play multiplayer games using Hamachi, a virtual private network program, unsure on the exact method, but Hamachi has an IPX protocol for it, presumably activating this and then joining the same Hamachi network as the player you want to play with, will allow you to play a network game.
Network games play similarly to single player ones, except there will usually be 7 or so lots of lands, which contain spaces for new hospitals, should players need to expand. If a player wants a lot of land, he must begin an auction for it, where other players may try to buy it themselves. All players play on the same map, so scrolling for a few seconds will mean that you can watch your opponents hospital. You can also view the network of paths in between all the hospitals, to see how many patients your opponents are getting. Networked games can be played by up to 2 players on Modem and Serial play, and up to 4 players via Dplay IPX and IPX/SPX.
I love this game, despite it being 14 years old now, it still is a fun game for me to play, the single player mode is entertaining, and as it gets challenging, it shouldn't leave you feeling bored for doing the same thing over and over again. The multiplayer mode adds so much replayability to the game, great if you have a few friends round.
Definitely worth the fiver that SoldOut copies sell for.
Theme Hospital is a PC game that has been popular for a number of years now, I don't think you can buy it new anymore but second hand copies are widely available on ebay and from game shops for a very reasonable price.
The basic principle of the game is that you are the administrator of a brand new hospital, and unlike the type we're used to in this country, this hospital will need to turn a profit! You choose the layout of your clinics and treatment room, you pick which staff to hire, you can research new technologies to bring the punters in, and if you do well you might just get a promotion and a whole new bigger and better hospital to play with!
Things aren't always rosy though, there are about seven or eight levels, and it gets harder and more complicated with each one. You will have to deal with epidemics, earthquakes, mass emergencies and visits from celebrities and health officials. You need to maintain a healthy bank balance as well as keeping your patients healthy and don't forget about your reputation and keeping a decent share of the market. If you mess it up too badly you'll get the sack and go back to square one.
Theme Hospital is very user friendly and completely addictive. I'm not usually a fan of computer gaming but I love this, I come back to it about once a year or so and get hooked all over again! The graphics are probably a bit dated by now but its still a really satisfying and amusing way to pass a few hours, or a whole week!
If you like games such as Sim City, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Football Manager and similar, you'll almost definitely love Theme Hospital too, I highly recommend it.
Oh, and if you have a mac rather than a PC you can download an application so that you can still play it!
Theme Hospital was developed by Bullfrog and released in 1997. You may be wondering why I am bothering to review a product which at 13 years old surely must be well out of date. But I truly believe Theme Hospital is STILL one of the best simulation games available.
As you would expect, the game is set in a hospital, and the players aims are to cure as many patients as possible, and to kill as few as possible. To cure the patients you have to build various different rooms, ranging from a GP office to an operating theatre. Staff then have to be hires and the hospital furnish to make the patients as comfortable as possible. During the campaign you have to meet certain criteria, such as, cure 150 patients or run the hospital for over 5 years with no deaths. The player has no control of the patients although most of the game resolves around manipulating them to some degree to help you achieve your goals, such as kicking them out of the hospital just before they die to preserve statistics, or forcing them to take a chance on a cure which isn't 100% certain. You can however pick up staff and move them from room to room making the game time a little quicker as you don't have to wait for them to aimlessly wander! The game can be played open ended although I don't find this quite as fulfilling as there are no goals as such. Infact I have never actually completed the campaign as it gets pretty difficult towards the end. Every aspect of the game has to be managed at this point - space management, staff training, research, money , emergency patients, rat infestations and VIP visitors to name just a few - which does turn it into a rather complex and compelling game.
The game has been built with a cruel sense of humour, with conditions such as TV Personality, Uncommon Cold and Baldness becoming the prevalent illness found. Also if a patient dies either an angle comes to collect them, or a big black hole opens up in the ground.
Of course with it now being 13 years old the graphics do look rather dated. It is all in 2D computer graphics, although I do not think this affects game play it rather increases the simulation management behind it as you have less to visually distract you and makes it simple to interact with as it doesn't over reach its capacity. The soundtrack behind the game is rather cute, but there is an option to turn it off so you can play whatever music you fancy, which is handy if you play for a few hours in one go, as it can become quite monochrome listening to it for the 5th time on loop! You interact with the game through a point click and drag system which is simple enough to interact with, even through a laptop track pad.
It is worth noting that as it is an older game it can have compatibility issues with new operating systems - particularly Vista as that seems to have backwards compatibility issues with almost everything. I have run this on Windows XP and Windows 7 with no problems though.
~*~ Theme Hospital ~*~
I've never really been a big fan of PC based computer games, my computer is far too slow to keep up with anything worth playing. However! My boyfriend recently came home with a battered copy of 'Theme Hospital' and I literally squealed with happiness, this was probably one of the first games I got for my first PC and remains one of my favourites now!
~*~ The concept of the game ~*~
Theme Hospital was the follow up game to Bullfrog's popular 'Theme Park'. The basic concept is you are in charge of creating an established and successful hospital. You are given certain challenges, which get harder as you advance through the levels, which include curing a certain number of patience, ensuring happiness of a percentage of these patients and establishing and maintaining the value of the hospital over a certain level.
~*~ The graphics ~*~
This game is definitely not one of the most advanced you will find on the market, but the graphics aren't too bad and like I mentioned before its an old game so you can't really expect wonders from it! It definitely has an old-school feel to it, but that's not such a bad thing is it?
~*~ The game ~*~
The game in itself I have found to be extremely addictive! It is quite challenging in that it needs constant attention to ensure that machines are working properly, patients are being cured and kept satisfied and the hospital is kept clean, but it can also be played mindlessly without too much effort. Perfect for killing an hour or two (or three or four or five...)
~*~ Buy it from... ~*~
My boyfriend picked up our copy of the game for just £3 from Asda which is definitely a bargain! Ebay are currently selling copies for around the same price including postage, sometimes as little as £2 - definitely worth purchasing at that price. There are also lots of free trials available to download on the internet via gaming sites if you want to try before you buy.
~*~ The verdict ~*~
If you liked Theme Park, then chances are you will be a fan of this. Don't expect amazing graphics or a challenging game - realistically the game could be completed in a matter of days - but it's a nice little game that doesn't require much effort or thought and can be played by all of the family.
Definitely worth a try, especially at the bargain price it is retailing for at the moment!
I can't help it, I have been tragically addicted to this game. And what is interesting is that this game has been around for years now and yet it still hasn't been updated or replaced by something similar. (There are other hospital games out there but they don't come close to Theme Hospital). Despite it being around for over 10 years, the gameplay and the graphics are still good enough to enjoy the game.
You start off with a small hospital. The basic shell has already been build and you can buy rooms, equipment and basics like reception, chairs, heaters and plants. On top of that you need to hire staff - doctors, nurses, receptionists and caretakers.
Each level has a goal - sometimes it's money, sometimes it's keeping your reputation above a certain amount. And each time you move up a level, the playing area gets bigger, the number of rooms available grows and generally it gives you a better chance to get more involved. But beware - if your hospital doesn't do well, your character is prone to jumping out of windows!
Your patients come with a variety of funny ailments and you need to make sure you treat them quickly before they die! They also don't like waiting, don't like being cold, don't like being too warm, don't like being too far from a toilet and have a tendency to vomit everywhere, specially when you have important visitors. (so pretty much like real life then!)
I think the only downside to the game is that there is no chance to pick and choose a random level to play. The only option is to work your way up each level. When you exit and go back into the game, it has saved your place. You can choose to save it yourself and return to that game, but otherwise you follow the levels upwards.
On the plus side, every time you play the game it's different and I have been playing it for 7 years now and not got bored!
"Theme Hospital" is a simulation video game. It was first released in 1997 as a PC CD-ROM title by Bullfrog Productions. In the European marketplace, the game received an age guidance rating which deemed it appropriate for ages three and above. The system requirements to run the title are minimal but include:
System: 486/66 or equivalent
RAM: 8 MB
Video Memory: 1 MB
Hard Drive Space: 25 MB
Following on from the popularity of "Theme Park", Theme Hospital allows players to construct a hospital from scratch in attempts to become a financially viable private health facility. The game begins with the basics including hiring a receptionist and a few GPs to become a community doctor's surgery, but as the player progresses he or she will implement high technology instruments such as a "DNA Fixer" which cures diseases such as "Alien DNA". It is a generally imaginative game with several comedic diseases which the player will provide the necessary tools to cure. At the heart of the game is a rigid financial simulation which requires the player to carefully monitor and hire health professionals, receptionists, custodians, and other maintenance individuals. Other necessities are at the control of the player as well. Items as menial as washrooms must be constructed by the player, and must be strategically placed to avoid patients and even staff vomiting in the hallways out of laziness or physical immobility. Running out of cash spells the bankruptcy of the player's hospital and returns the player to the main menu. Otherwise, the experience can carry on for an infinity with no necessary goal other than to remain financially viable or profitable.
I found the interface to be very similar to the popular "SimCity" series. Players may assign the size of GP's offices and within them may place instruments to benefit their practice such as computers, filing cabinets, a heat radiator, and tables. Each doctor also comes with a brief biography which presents their skill levels in comparison to cost. The level of difficulty could be described as moderate. Many times I found myself trying to keep up with the latest disease findings, but in doing so ruined my financial state and lost the game. A patient but persistent attitude is the key to success in Theme Hospital, and it is one which I developed over several hours and attempts in game.
The graphics are presented from an isometric view which looks down on the game in play. The hospital itself sports a colourful set of images with cartoon-like tools and facilities. Each patient and staff member walks with a sort of hopping strut which I found amusing to watch, and noted their swift fluid motion with no obvious choppiness or lag. The soundtrack is both hit and miss in its delivery. The game is accompanied by a softer but upbeat melody which I found pleasing on the ears. This is, however, soon interrupted by several annoying voice prompts similar to a typical hospital which request certain members of staff in certain areas; such as a doctor to the GP room.
Overall, Theme Hospital provides a fun and interactive financial simulation. While it is light hearted in nature, I found the management aspect to be a challenge and haven't grown bored of it to date. On modern operating systems such as Windows XP, the game disc prompts an error during installation but I have found it to be fully compatible with emulation software such as DOSBox. I would happily recommend it to prospective buyers.
Theme Hospital is one of the classics of the PC platform. It is absolutely unique and also insanely hilarious, seeing you trying to run a hospital against some rather strange, funny odds.
Although it may not stand up much now, the graphics were pretty good at the time and still don't look TOO bad due to the "half-3D" gimmick that a lot of sims started to employ around the late 90s. However, this is a game about gameplay, not graphics! That said, some of the sound effects are rather funny, and overal its aural design is very good.
You play the manager of a hospital, and if you're skilled enough, there's the chance to be "promoted" to a better hospital, but that requires that you are able to keep the lid on what is basically a loony animal house full of weird and wonderful characters. Like any good film, it is about satisfying your patients, and as the manager you'll have to deal with some truly peculiar illnesses. You will also have to deal with the Mayor visiting from time to time, so will have to ensure the hospital is especially clean during this period. There is also the depth of being able to experiment with new vaccines although, of course, there is the risk that this will kill your patients! While not much is there in the way of story, this is the same as most sim games, and so it doesn't really impact the gameplay in any discernible way.
Thanks to its inventive nature, this is a rather replayable outing, benefitting from a supreme level of depth and a very unique sense of humour that doesn't get old. I very much recommend this for one of the sure-fire classics of the PC heyday.
Bullfrog are the undisputed kings of the sim game and sim hospital is another great example of their work.
Theme hospital places the player in charge of an empty building and challenges them to turn it into a thriving, succesful hospital.
You start off designing the various rooms your doctors will be using and filling them with plants and radiators and bookcases which will all improve the doctors effectiveness. When your happy with the rooms you'll need expert staff to fill them, receptionists, nurses, doctors and even janitors to keep the corridors free of clutter. You are now ready to open your hospital to the public.
However, the game is far from over. You must now train new doctors, research new diagnosis and treatment techniques and make sure you aren't heading for bankruptcy.
You must fulfil various quotas such as a certain number of patients cured or a high enough hospital value, once these quotas have been met you will eventually receive a letter inviting you to become head of a bigger and better hospital, there are about fifteen hospitals to take charge of and as you progress through the game, more and more options become available to you, such as staff training facilities and so on.
This is one addictive game, it's hard to put down once you start playing. The graphics aren't fantastic but are fairly pleasing on the eye.
Bullfrog is known for it's humour in it's games and theme hospital is no exception. TH feels more like an interactive comic book, with it's cute graphics and light hearted feel.
There are a few negatives though, sometimes the game can feel a little bit frustrating, your hospital will become unpopular for seemingly no reason for example, but even with a few frustrations here and there, Bullfrog have managed to create a fun and addictive simulation that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Your objective is to create and manage a hospital that can handle a constant stream of patients including keeping the staff happy and making sure the hospital is well presented.