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Life & Death II: The Brain (DOS)

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3.5
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Written by  :  Feem (45)
Written on  :  Apr 21, 2005
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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Summary

It's brain surgery... And poking people with needles.

The Good

This game is great because it is so open ended. You're a doctor and you can receive patients whenever you like. AND you can do whatever you want and only get a slap on the wrist (plus a poor patient survival rate). When I had this game as a kid, my Dr. was named Dr. Death, and he had 2 successes and 52 deaths. The educational value of the game is a bit suspect, but it is enlightening in some respects (i know now that you can get a subdural hematoma by suffering a head injury and as long as Dr. Death isn't in control, it's operable). Also, it's funny how lots of the people that come in are cocaine addicts (though it's frightening how accurate that might be).

The Bad

The actual brain surgery part of this game is very hard. I myself have never succeeded in a surgery, although I've owned the game since I was 8 or 9 years old, I think. It does get repetitive after a while, since there are only so many things the patients can have (then again, maybe that's the way it is for real brain surgeons). It's also a frightening game for those of you who are squeamish. I recently played this game for the first time in a long time in the middle of the night and it gave me a bad case of the willies. Something about pulling up the MRI scan and seeing this terrible spider-like blob instead of a brain... It's hard to convey this game's power to send shivers down your spine (just botch an operation and see the following cutscene of hospital employees eating pizza on top of the corpse and talking about what a poor doctor you are and you might know what I mean).

The Bottom Line

This game is a strange one. It's sort of a serious/comical take on a neurologist simulator. The cases are made to seem very real and frightening (the patients look rather scary themselves), but at the same time, when you poke them in the eye, the head doctor of the hospital only tells you to cut the Freddy Krueger impersonation and to report to class. Here are some serious brain maladies that the game tries to replicate with lifelike cat scans, MRIs, angiograms, and x-rays, but from your perspective as a doctor amongst a seemingly aloof and insensitive hospital staff, the patients seem like pieces of meat as they keep coming endlessly with the same problems over and over. It's a lot to swallow for those of us who think and feel, but a good time for that sick 10 year old in all of us that delights in squishing ants.