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Hospital Tycoon
(hx) 04:48 PM EDT - Jun,17 2007

Developed by Deep Red Games, Hospital Tycoon is a medical-themed simulation game in which you manage a hospital from a god view. Each different hospital is staffed by medical teams and is packed with ill patients. You need to manage the staff, ensure patients are cared for and have the correct treatment facilities. As time progresses, new equipment will need to be built in order to cope with incoming patients. You build rooms, buy a variety of crazy medical devices, hire doctors and nurses, janitors and receptionists, and generally try to keep things running smoothly so that patients don't die on you. Equipment and salaries cost you money, while curing patients brings it in. This is delivered episodically, with three different hospitals split into chapters of story, each with specific tasks. But it takes 'episodic' literally, presented as a hospital soap opera, with key cast members and strange events.

Sounds like Theme Hospital to you? Yeah, it's really a carbon-copy of Theme Hospital. While the basic functionality remains the same, you now have far less control over the hospital-running aspects of the game. Doctors essentially do their own thing, and while you can tell them to walk somewhere, you cannot tell them to treat a specific patient who's near death at the end of the queue, or work in a certain room. Instead, the control focus is on having staff interact (The Sims like) with other staff - you can make them fight, tell jokes, fall in love, etc. This feature could have deepened gameplay but there is no apparent effect at all when two staff members love/hate each other. So, what's the point of this feature? It is almost as if it was meant go deeper but was cut for some reason...
Unlike the Theme Hospital, the levels themselves are short and simply too easy. All you have to do, generally, is build a couple of rooms, and leave the game to run itself. Unlike 'Theme Hospital' the level of interaction is poor, leaving you to basically only build rooms. You can 'customize' objects and such, but this is just a time-wasting feature that adds nothing to the game. There are no options that allow you to manage the economy of your hospital, nor to set the direction of your research. The story itself is pathetic, making me cringe because of the clichd lines and the horrible writing capabilities. Where the game differs most is that it doesn't succeed at being humorous, the graphics may be 3D but the in-game characters look less comical and the fantastically sarcastic voice-over of Theme Hospital has been replaced with Simlish :-( However with incredibly limited voice samples, you'll hear the same thing constantly.

The story mode is weak, uninteresting, and does not impact on the gameplay. For all the effort put into making staff with individual personalities and customizable hospital rooms, you lose any changes you made to these characters and rooms after each level, with the next starting with a default set-up. So, if you are a tycoon lover you may get some fun, but you will be disappointed if you are a lover of Theme Hospital.

For anyone considering buying this game, it may interest you to know that Codemasters have stated implicitly on their official forum that they do NOT plan to support the game: "There are currently no plans for a patch, I'm afraid. If an issue or bug is discovered in the game that affects a lot of users we will address this and if this needs a patch to resolve the issue then we will create one. There will be no updates that change the current design or features of the game, however."

related links: homepage, official forum, cheats, trainer +1.

System requirements:
Minimum: Windows XP, DirectX 9.0c, Pentium 4 @ 1.6 GHz or Athlon 1600+, 512 MB RAM, GeForce 3 / Radeon 8500 or above*, DirectX Compatable Sound Card, 2x DVD-ROM Drive, 750 MB Hard Drive Space
Recommended: Windows XP/Vista, DirectX 9.0c, Pentium 4 @ 2.8 GHz or Athlon 2800+, 1GB RAM, GeForce 6600 / Radeon X1300 or above, DirectX Compatable Sound Card, 2x DVD-ROM Drive, 1.5GB Hard Drive Space

Supported Graphics Cards:
- ATi Radeon 8500, 9000, 9100, 9200, 9500, 9600, 9700, 9800, X300, X600, X700, X800, X1300, X1600, X1800, X1900, X1950.
- nVidia Geforce 3-series, 4-series (Not MX), FX5200, FX5600 FX5700, FX5950, 6600, 6800, 7100, 7300, 7600, 7800, 7900, 7950, 8800.
- Not compatible with all integrated sound/graphics solutions (inc. Laptops).


snd: 2/5 - not much, sarcastic voice-over of Theme Hospital has been replaced with Simlish
gfx: 3/5 - simple cartoon style, fit very well with the mood of the game, big heads and exaggerated animations, sparkly animated effects on patients, annoying camera, shoddy animation, clipping errors
playability: 3/5 - easy to learn + whole game feels more like a tutorial/demo, a few humorous patient cases, sandbox mode, rather lame storylines, very limited management options, poor AI, bugs
genre: medical-themed sim
platform: PC
release: June 2007
developer: Deep Red Games
publisher: Codemasters
Good
Overall: 50%


last 10 comments:

huldu(05:43 PM EDT - Jun,26 2007 )
I totally agree with the review. I wouldnt have given it at a 50% its not that good sadly. Back in the days i played Theme Hospital alot and it was quite amazing. This game just lacks everything. The voice effects really annoyed me and that like the reviewer said that everything resets every level. The levels are just far too short.

One thing i really liked with the old hospital was that you started out with a clean level to build a working hospital from scratch. You cant do that in hospital tycoon. The same thing with the research, you have no control of it. Basicly its all about building rooms, nothing more.

Personally id rather have seen a "remake" of Theme Hospital. Modern graphics, etc, might been something. This, this is just a shame and drags the name in the mud.

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