Trauma Center: Under the Knife
Review by Galactus21
"Restricted Area - Keep Out"
I don't know about you, but as a child I was afraid to go to the doctors. Sticking you with long, pointy needles that pierce your skin is not a pleasant thought. The nuances involved with each doctor visit are no dream either. During your visits, the doctor always finds him or herself asking many questions. And in your mind, you just want them to zip it and tell you what's wrong, so you can get on with your day. These situations are made worse when you are a rookie doctor. Starting out in Trauma Center, you are a rookie that is fresh out of medical school. You're going to take your bumps and bruises, along with your ridicules and critique from fellow doctors, and even nurses. What's worse, is a snotty little nurse acts like she knows more than you. I mean you're doctor, are you not? The story revolves around doctors and nurses (no surprise there) with their petty bickering and how it's crucial to save the life of every patient.
Fresh off of watching Scrubs, a television comedy based on doctors, I was really excited to play Trauma Center. After all, watching Scrubs brought about an eruption that saw an affection towards anything related to the term medical. God, I still can't get Dr. Elliot Reid's hotness out of my mind. And with that said, it's a damn shame you can't play as a woman doctor because we all know woman doctors are so sexy. Yeah, as you would guess, I was pretty enthusiastic to be picking up the knife and going in for surgery. But all things considered, Trauma Center is a fairly disappointing game. While it does bring about a fresh perspective on how we play games, the game's repetitive usage of the same material got boring after a while.
Being some sort of prodigy, the doctor that you play has the ability of the healing touch. It's some sort of miracle heal that can clear incurable diseases or let you perform wonders where regular doctors could not. As you play through it, you begin to realize you're capable of such an act. I guess you aren't quite the scrub that the nurses believe you are. In this situation, time slows down in essence, and you have a unique ability to work wonders on your patient. Pretty cool huh?
The concept of the game revolves around opening up a person in surgery, finding the issue, fix them up, and sow them back up. Despite the different injuries or problems these patients have, in the end, most of the surgeries feel like a repetition. First, you open your patient up along the dotted line, and then it's time to use different tools to find the problem of the operation. When you have figured it out, you'll be hasted to fix the problem, by either cutting it out, or various other techniques. If your patient's line is flattening, then you have to pump them with this formula that raises their heart rate. Even though it may seem like second natured, the game is actually quite difficult. In many instances, there is not enough time to work, and in others, the patient's body simply can't take it. And in this case, a ramped up difficulty isn't necessarily a good thing. For instance, it just adds more to the repetition by having to do the surgery over again, but hopefully this time you can end it as quickly as possible, without having to go at it for another round.
Ewww The Blood
There will be plenty of cutting, suturing, and blood gushing out. While the graphics are more in tone with those of animated graphics, the game is still not for the fainted heart. It's not so bad to a point where it feels like a survival horror game, where blood is splattering everywhere, but more on the lines of having that feeling of losing somebody by seeing the amount of blood. This would have been a perfect simulation, had the developers taken into consideration the attachment of the patients. Not once did I feel bad for my patient. I didn't really care if they lived or died. If more back story was given, then perhaps I would have gave a darn. But aside from that, the character models look slick. The animation for the most part also holds up quite well.
Though the game may seem to have many operations during your time spent with the game, the reality is the game is quite short. With limited back story on the characters going into surgery, a lifeless crew of doctors and nurses, along with the feeling of repetition, Trauma Center is a forgettable experience. Though on its own merits, it still feels like a unique title that is only capable of such feat on the Nintendo DS. However, the execution just didn't captivate like I thought it would. Perhaps, playing doctor just doesn't translate well into a game. But even with that said, the game is over quickly, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing, when the content of the game feels continually recycled.
Glad I'm not a med student
Trauma Center does have a few things going for it. For one, the stylus is implemented with great effect. Using the stylus, you can use it as your knife or a needle. Simply put, this unique approach is enough to keep this game from totally failing. But even with that said, there simply isn't enough variety to make this game a serious contender in the DS' all-star filled lineup. It may be worth it to give it a rent and play around with it a bit, but in the end, it starts getting repetitive. There are certainly better games on the Nintendo DS, and unless you have a huge craving to cut something up, then I suggest passing on the 29.99 price tag (34.99 in some places). Unless of course, you just got done with Scrubs and dying to play the role of doctor. But who could blame you? It's an awesome show. Wish I could say the same about Trauma Center
+ Good use of the stylus
+ Solid graphics
+ The uniqueness makes it fun at first
+ Healing touch is a nice concept
- Fairly short
- Lack of back story
- Lifeless characters
- Repetitive gameplay mechanics
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 06/05/06
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