Review by Mugen76
"Now this is what I call original!"
Ever since the DS came out in 2004, games that have been made for it were all about flaunting the DS's versatility, new features, and it's originality. Having had a PSP before trading it in to get the DS, I know what it feels like to be depraved of originality. I've had my DS for a week, and I've seen more original games that I've ever seen in my life. Trauma Center: Under the Knife is one of these games. I've seen games for the PC that use the same premise, but Trauma Center is the one game that really caught gamers' eyes, and it delivers with authority.
You normally wouldn't be able to see a surgeon game like this have a real good story, but Trauma Center is the exception to the rule. You play as Dr. Derek Stiles, a rookie surgeon who is pushed into the forefront on a lot of occasions. The year is 2018, and many serious illnesses, such as cancer and AIDS have been swept under the rug. However, a new disease pops up, and it's named GUILT (Gangilated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin). Not much is known about this disease, and it's driving doctors mad. Meanwhile, Dr. Stiles is all set to go at Hope Hospital, eager to become a full-time surgeon in honor of his father who died of an incurable disease.
The graphics are not even half as gory as I had anticipated. My initial fear was that the game would be so realistic, it would make me hurl, since I'm real squeamish about stuff like this (the one reason why I don't go into med school, lol). The graphics, instead, show just enough to give you tha feeling that you have to save the patient's life, and that you really are operating on something. Also, what I really liked about the graphics is that all the characters are in anime form, so that pleased me.
Not much to say about the music but it's perfect for this type of game, especially when you know you're losing your patient. The music has that real tense theme to it, all the time, every situation. Well, almost. Sound effects can't really be graded since there aren't too many.
As I said earlier, the game and the DS are all about originality, and the game takes full advantage of the DS's touch screen. The way the game is played is that all your tools are right there, but you use your stylus to perform various actions, including selecting any of your 10 tools at your disposal.
The laser is used for incinerating tumors and viruses and anything else too small to cut out; the antibiotic gel is used to treat small wounds and as a disinfectant; the drain is used to remove fluid around the operating area (primarily blood); the forceps are used to pick up delicate objects like synthetic membranes you'll use and for extraction of harmful materials; the scanner is used for ultrasounds; the scalpel, of course, is used to make incisions; the stitches are used to suture wounds shut, the syringe is used to administer meds; the bandages are used to finish operations, and the hand is used for heart massages and membrane application.
The whole gameplay system revolves around your proper use of the stylus as kinda like your hand or something like that. Don't worry, your lovely assistants are there to help you, and there are guidelines and occasional directions on what to do next from your lovely assistants. You can win sloppy, but you won't get a good surgeon grade. There are 3 ways to lose: go over the miss limit (hard to do), run out of surgery time (also hard to do unless you're real slow), or if your patient's vitals drop to zero, meaning he's dead, and you hear that dreaded flatline beep. The only real problem with gameplay is when you suture a patient up. A lot of times I've been slowed by my sutures not being good enough to register as the needed "OK."
All in all, Trauma Center: Under the Knife is a real winner and it should be in any DS owner's collection. Don't worry for all you people who are real squeamish, I garuntee the game is not graphic enough to make anybody toss their lunch.
FINAL GRADE: 40/40 = A+
For those who like to play doctor or those who are looking for a fresh idea, go and get this game, it's a real winner.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/08/05
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