Hysteria Hospital: Emergency WardESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
After a long and frustrating job search as a recent graduate nurse from the University of California you finally stumble upon an opening for an unfamiliar hospital in Maryville that hires you on the spot. Unsure what to expect with little information to go on you find yourself thrust into the heart of a hospital immediately responsible for keeping all patients happy and possibly a few extra jobs on the side. This my friends is what Hysteria Hospital from O-Games offers. It is a simulation style game that at first glance has you wondering what exactly you have gotten yourself into but as you play you find yourself somewhat addicted.
The graphics of this game are standard and seem to lack some variety. There is not much change between each of the levels apart from a few slight interior design alterations to identify one hospital from the next and the addition of some extra floors, a few new pieces of equipment, and an elevator. All the actions of the patients, your nurse, and the treatment doctors are routine regardless of the level you are playing. The designers did add some unique equipment designs and actions though. Two examples are the steam machine, which is a kettle in where the patient literally burns up and needs to be doused down with the water creating steam, and the physiotherapy machine, which is a treadmill that catches the patient in its belt and continues to spin around taking the patient with it.
Overall it was a little disappointing that there were a set number of patient designs as this caused them to feel recycled. There is also not much detail on the patients or on your nurse. However, despite the lack of definition you can really tell when a patient is angry about their wait in your hospital as their eyes turn blood red and their fist pounds into the air in a fit of rage. In terms of customizing your nurse you are limited to selecting a male or female character and you can change the colour of their uniform at the beginning of each level. You can also customize your hospital by buying equipment and items to keep your patients content including a television, newspapers, a water cooler, or some decorative plants.
The background sound of the game is your basic instrumental score reminiscent of games from the 90’s, and I found it more annoying than catchy. There are your typical bell and whistle type sound effects when you tap on the patients or on objects on the screen. It seems as though a few sound effects were added to try to help you manage your time including a distinctive noise that you will hear to let you know a new patient has entered the hospital which in turn increases the tempo of the music as you approach the last quarter on the timer. There is also a very audible ticking of the timer to let you know when your time is almost up. All the equipment and treatments have their own sounds which accurately depict the actions taking place. The steam therapy sounds like a steam kettle, the dentist like a drill, the electrotherapy like static electricity, and so on. There is also some voice work in the form of the patients who make small comments including “Hey”, “I feel great”, “This is an outrage”, and “You call yourself a doctor?” The triage doctor will say “Hmmm” as he makes his diagnosis as well. Last but not least you can expect to hear the wail of an ambulance siren as you send patients off to other hospitals because you could not treat them. Overall, the audio was not as good or engaging as it could have been. That being said, I can honestly say that I have also heard a lot worse.
There are two game modes available in Hysteria Hospital. You can select “Play Mode” which is your typical story mode and includes seven hospitals containing nine levels. If that does not suit your fancy you can select “Endless Mode” which, as the name accurately describes, goes on forever providing you maintain some basic criteria. In Play Mode and in Endless Mode you control the motions of the game with your stylus by either tapping on a selected item or area on the screen or dragging and dropping a patient. In order to complete a level you must match or surpass two objectives, the number of patients to treat and the dollar amount collected from these treatments. These objectives are clearly outlined at the beginning of each level and will progressively become more difficult as you move through the levels and hospitals.
Both modes start as patients arrive and sit in the waiting area of your hospital. Each patient will have a heart above their head which will be filled to a certain degree to indicate their level of health. You must ensure that the heart does not become empty by treating the patient in a timely manner to prevent the patient from walking out of the hospital in anger which would cause the hospital to lose earnings from the patient’s treatment.
To begin you must drag and drop the patient to the triage desk where a doctor will analyze the patient to confirm what treatment is required. Once the patient has been diagnosed a message bubble will pop up above the patients head with an image of the treatment that is needed. You must then drag and drop your patient to the appropriate location and then pick up a prescription from the pharmacy to begin said treatment. Some patients will require multiple prescriptions before they are healed. For example, you may need to bring a patient to the X-ray or the steam machine and then to a bed, the quick treatment bed, or even physiotherapy to finish up the job.
The hospitals become larger as you progress through the game and they will have multiple floors. You can switch between floors by dragging your patient to the elevator. You then tap on the number of the floor you want with your stylus or press up or down on the directional pad to switch floors. As you are treating patients other patients will continue to come into the hospital. At times a patient who arrives at your hospital will be unable to be treated as you will lack the necessary equipment to help them. When this is the case you will need to send them to an alternate hospital by dragging and dropping them into the ambulance.
As the levels progress you will also be able to spend some of your earnings on new equipment in order to serve a greater variety of patients. Most hospitals contain your basic items such as beds, quick treatment beds and possibly one or two pieces of equipment. Some items that you could add include more beds, X-Ray Units, a Dentist, Steam Machine, Mechanical Cow, etc. It is a good idea to check what the hospital has in terms of equipment prior to purchasing, because if you find you have a duplicate item and need to sell it, you will only recover a portion of the original purchase price. You are also responsible for determining how much money is utilized in running your hospital. You are in control of spending in such areas as Energy, Maintenance, Salaries and Pharmacy. Basically the more money you put into each category the more efficient they become. For example, if you reduce the amount of money in maintenance you will notice that you must repair equipment more often which takes up time you would normally be helping patients and it also can delay treatment causing some patients to get angry.
Each level is played against the clock and you must keep in mind how efficient your hospital needs to be in order to reach your objectives. If you do not reach either of your objectives before the timer runs out you will need to re-start the level from the beginning. Once you complete the nine levels from one hospital you will be flown to the next one and the fun begins all over again.
On a side note, Endless Mode has three levels of difficulty: easy (hospital with 1 floor), medium (hospital with 2 floors) or hard (hospital with 3 floors) and this mode plays exactly like the story mode except for the fact that it never ends. The only way you can lose the game is if you allow nine patients to abandon the hospital in anger. The earnings you gather prior to losing become your high score and the game will keep a record of the top 10 high scores you have achieved per difficulty level. Surprisingly, this mode seemed much more challenging for me than the regular story mode.
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