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Trauma Center: Under the Knife (Nintendo DS)

Published by
Developed by
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Lawnmower Man (140)
Written on  :  Aug 08, 2010
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Easy as... Surgery

The Good

Trauma Center explores a very untapped genre in video games, putting players in the scrubs of surgeon whose objective is to save lives. The game itself goes almost hand and hand with the Nintendo DS's concept of touch screen gameplay, where players use their DS Stylus pen as a scalpel or other surgical instruments.

Players get to perform a variety of surgical tasks in order to save virtual lives, combined with good visuals that clearly indicate what is going on (along with some well drawn characters to go with them). What helps to draw the experience together though is soundtrack itself, drawing you in with its intensity and quick pace.

The Bad

Trauma Center is NOT an easy game, even in the beginning. While the initial two levels offer a solid walk through, later levels off almost no help at all, especially when it comes to brand new procedures. Several times when performing an operation while zoomed in, an objective (weather it be a tumor or a hemorrhage) will appear near the top of the screen or the bottom. This becomes a problem because the game has a hard time recognizing when you attempting to treat those areas, and often times you can't follow through with it unless you zoom out and zoom in on the area. This can lose you significant time and also cause the loss of a huge chunk of the patient's vitals, which can start to get very frustrating. In short, sometimes it feels like the game is asking perfection of you that you simply cannot provide with the tools you are given.

While the sound may immerse you deeper into the game help to up the stakes of a surgery, the characters and story on the other hand, don't. Often times the characters monologue to themselves about nonsensical gibberish and in no way attempt to make themselves more interesting or compelling. In most cases, unless it involves the vague but necessary medical briefings, 9 out of 10 times you will find yourself skipping over these cut scenes.

The Bottom Line

Trauma Center offers something very different from the typical DS Library, instead of a quirky puzzle game or a very casual game, Trauma Center is a nerve racking race against time in an attempt to save virtual lives. For many, the endless bouts of frustration and battling with the games controls will be too much of a turn off than what the very original ideas can counter with. As it stands, Trauma Center is more of an exhibition of what the Nintendo DS is capable of and a display of unique ideas rather than a fully enjoyable game. Consider playing it for its experimental ideas but be ready for some frustrating moments.