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DS  header logo

Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward

For: DS

Do not resuscitate

Product: Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward | Publisher: Oxygen Interactive | Format: DS | Genre: Casual, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward DS, thumbnail 1
No matter how much people berate the UK National Health Service for its huge waiting lists and wards swimming in bacteria, it could be much worse.

You could work there.

Being a nurse is a time-consuming, badly paid and unrewarding occupation, with the only satisfaction gained being the knowledge that you may have helped cure an injured soul.

For those still scoffing at hard-working medical staff, they might want to have a quick try on Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward. Then they can see how they would cope with a constant stream of demanding patients.

As a recently qualified nurse from the University of California (you choose to be can be male or female), you find yourself in a small ward in Maryville. The Sister has hired you on the spot, and you soon find out why. You're the only nurse on duty.

A quick tutorial explains the game mechanics. In-patients are taken to triage to be diagnosed, and then depending on condition, different treatments will be given using your plucky DS stylus.

Of course, some patients require much more attention than others, and your limited equipment in comparison to the number of patients means you will have to balance treatment, prescriptions and clean-up. An unchanged Quick Treatment bed means no other patients can use it, which can soon lead to a mass backlog of angry citizens. And if too many leave in a huff, then your days in medical employment are numbered.

So to work....

Just like any real-life job, playing Hysteria Hospital makes an initially engaging experience quickly turn into a headache. This is a game that's enjoyable in short bursts, but prolonged plays quickly leads to a severe case of boredom.

Still, it retains the casual atmosphere of games such as Diner Dash and Sally's Salon, and this is also reflected in the level of content and customisation available.

You can add new pieces of medical equipment to increase the number of patients you can treat. For example, non-treatable ones can be sent off into an ambulance. You can also buy items to keep prospective patients happier for longer.

However, there isn't really much beyond this, and in the later levels you'll find yourself plonking down as much as you can afford in order to satisfy the broadest range of sickies.

The option to change the colour of your nurses' overalls seems like a bit of a petty insult, too, given as that's all you can do to individualise your character, save gender choice.

Continuing the basic theme, the graphics are simple, although not ugly, but the design of the patients is limited, with variation provided by almost imperceptible injuries tacked on in different body locations.

Some of the character and treatment animations are interesting, but after the thirtieth time of witnessing a steam machine at work, you tend to ignore it. Sadly, the sound effects are more irritating, with whiny patients and nonsensical grunts meaning I quickly turned my volume down.

So, maybe like many national health services, Hysteria Hospital is a game that feels half-finished.

It sometimes has the ability to hold your focus during a manic rush but, as soon as that frenzy fades, all you are left with is a series of menus that lead to the next rush.

And due to the scatterbrained difficulty curve, some days are empty of patients and some are bed-based bedlam. Some of my most challenging days were in the first hospital, which seems strange when compared to the multi-floored behemoths you eventually end up working in.

Maybe for the sequel, Oxygen Games and Game Invest will take the opportunity to create a deeper and more customisable experience that will match the hectic gameplay, but when it comes to serious action, Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward feels a bit more like a grazed knee than a cardiac arrest.
Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward
Reviewer photo
Sean Bamberger  | 13 August 2009
Hysteria Hospital is a game that's enjoyable in short bursts, but any prolonged plays quickly leads to a severe case of boredom
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