Product Type: SoldOut PC games
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Don't take me here when I am sick!
Theme Hospital (PC)
Member Name: pumfster
Theme Hospital (PC)
Advantages: Addictive and funny. Still works on modern PC's
Disadvantages: Sound quality. Constant "events" on certain levels.
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.
Summary: A really good "old skool" classic, well worth having another look at.