GAMES - Review
15:14 - 9th April 2013, by Rob Burman

Trauma Centre: Under the Knife

Playing doctors and nurses may normally be something associated with kids (or the kinky) but in Trauma Centre it's a compelling and challenging concept. "Give me the review... stat!"

You play as Dr. Stiles, a rookie doctor who is unfortunately not very good at bedside etiquette, turning up on time or paperwork. Luckily you don't have to do all Dr. Stiles' paperwork; instead you concentrate on performing operations. And, brilliantly, the use of the touch screen is one of the most intuitive and original we've seen so far on DS.

The touch screen is used for everything in Trauma Centre. Your first operation sees you carefully picking pieces of glass out of a victim's arm by slowly dragging the stylus across the screen. In other operations you'll have to use the stylus to stitch up patients, slice them open ready for the operation, suck up blood and anaesthetise ulcers. Unfortunately the number of potential operations is limited and you'll see some more than once.

Although you may perform similar actions again and again, the difficulty escalates at an almost insane level. At first your nurse holds your hand in the operating room, telling you exactly what to do and when to do it. But as you progress the help will decrease and its up to you to concentrate on both the operation on the bottom screen and the patient's vital signs on the top. You also have to challenge yourself to perform the operation well and get a high score. No one wants to be a rookie, so go for the pro rating.

Before each operation you'll learn about the patient and Dr. Stiles through some manga-style cut scenes. The story itself is dramatically over-the-top with lots of people shouting and pointing but that's part of the charm of the game. Admittedly it's unlikely you'll complete the game in one sitting because it is tough and, at times, it can be boring you're doing similar procedures. But the tense story and the revelations about a mysterious disease will have you hooked.

IT'S GREAT TO OPERATE In Japan DS doctor games have really started to take off and the Tendo Dokuta series has already spawned two games. They're part of the continuing trend in Japan to translate seemingly mundane day-to-day jobs into something truly special on DS. Recently Japanese gamers have been treated to Cooking Mama, in which you create sushi on DS. Yum!
SCORE: 4/5
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