An Enjoyable and Unique Surgery Simulator.
What struck me the most about Microsurgeon is the level of detail for such an early game. The game makes full use of the Intellivision keypad with a diversity of means to fight infection and diseases, and allows for full travel throughout the body. The keypad itself allows for easy movement around the patient's bloodstream and other pathways.
Obviously, games of the time could not capture the full level of detail in the human body due to the blocky graphics, but there is a large amount of diversity for the paths that the probe must travel, and everything is laid out well in terms of comparison to the human body and for gameplay issues. You can make no mistake that your probe is traveling a human body. The updates statistics also kept the player on course for what needed to be taken care of.
The sound also has an otherworldly feel to it, with haunting echoes of the various cures being launched from the probe, the sound of life support, and the heartbeat. It's a somewhat quiet game, but the sounds make for great atmosphere.
It's not a fast-paced game. The probe itself can be slow, and while there are large patches of infection to be cleared up, there are some moments where the player does little more than travel the pathways of the body, or if you get off course, it takes even longer.
My only real complaint is that I would have liked to have seen more animation in the body itself. The diseases and viruses move about, and there is some movement in the body, but I would have liked to have seen a little more going on. Then again, this was an early game, and impressive for what it did offer.
The Bottom Line
Of all of the Intellivision games, this title always stuck out to me for being so different. It really seemed like a "cult classic", as Imagic had a tendency to release more of its unique titles for the Intellivision (such as Dracula, my other favorite), so this would be lost to the Atari 2600 crowd.
In an age of constantly released space shooters and maze crawlers, this was such a stand-out title that I found interesting even then as a kid, but appreciate more as an adult. The game style was such a unique concept at the time, that I could recommend it to anyone who wanted to see a work that went against the norm of the "normal" genres of '80's console gaming, and wouldn't be recreated until years later.
A classic. And one I wish would be re-released in some format.