Theme Hospital (PC) review
"Theme Hospital is the kind of game one could own their entire life and never complete. In fact, Iíve restarted this sim almost every year since its release and have yet finished. The creativity alone keeps me coming back for seconds, but, regrettably, I always rediscover what turned me away in the first place. This is a title that could be installed, uninstalled, and even reinstalled, but the concluding level would forever remain elusive. "
Theme Hospital is the kind of game one could own their entire life and never complete. In fact, Iíve restarted this sim almost every year since its release and have yet finished. The creativity alone keeps me coming back for seconds, but, regrettably, I always rediscover what turned me away in the first place. This is a title that could be installed, uninstalled, and even reinstalled, but the concluding level would forever remain elusive.
How could this be? The game certainly isnít going to change from replay to replay. Why would anyone restart from the beginning when they know they donít have the desire to finish? Stated above, Theme Hospitalís charm is the simplest answer. The ailments are the greatest example of the designerís wit with such diseases as Gastric Ejections, Hairyitis, Kidney Beans, and King Complex. The later of which is cutest as patients come in as Las Vegas Elvis impersonators. Just as imaginative are the cures for these illnesses. Bloaty Head Syndrome victims arenít just sent to the operating room; Instead, the inflator is used to pop and inflate the infected personís head back to normal.
Unfortunately, a joke or gimmick such as this can only last so long. The quirky amusements that were fun at the beginning are quickly exposed as a cover up for the meticulous problems that plague Theme Hospital - mainly the incompetent staff. In particular, the janitors seem hardly qualified for their job as they constantly walk past the banana peels and the vomit that litters the floor. Doctors who qualify to be surgeons seem to volunteer for diagnosis duty while patients are dieing from Spare Ribs because there isnít anyone to run the operating theater. The same level of neglect can be found in doctors who have research and psychiatry degrees. All these problems lead to the necessary micromanagement of the entire staff Ė a process that could have been far less painful if the player didnít have to click on individual workers to find their qualifications.
With these extremes out of the way, Theme Hospital is just a typical tycoon-type simulation where the player designs a hospital, hires staff, keeps the staff happy, and cures patients to make money. Keeping with the tycoon style, the game requires researching many of the same technologies each and every level - a premise Iíve never truly understood. The end product is the same repetitive slop designers have been throwing at gamers for years, but somehow, every so often, I forget this fact. I place the CD back into the drive remembering the zany antics I once loved. However, the delusion soon fades as the sick croak from not being treated and epidemics spread because patients must trudge knee deep in trash and organic waste. Someday I wonít be blinded by this creativity. Until then, Iíll see you next year Theme Hospital.
Community review by evilpoptart937 (December 31, 2005)
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