Product Type: SoldOut PC games
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One of the best classic strategy games!
Theme Hospital (PC)
Member Name: k444tmc
Theme Hospital (PC)
Advantages: So addictive! Very cheap now!
Disadvantages: can be tempermental at loading saved games
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!
Summary: great strategy building game!