Life & Death

aka: Life & Death: You are the Surgeon!, Life and Death
Moby ID: 109
DOS Specs
Included in

Description official description

Life & Death is a game which casts you as a doctor in a hospital. Your job is to diagnose patients and administer appropriate therapies, or even perform surgery when necessary.

The game was created in conjunction with by Myo Thant, a Hematologist.

To diagnose a patient, you have to press on his or her abdomen, to see which portions of the stomach cause pain. Based on triaging the patient (observation, medication or referring to another specialist), administering a X-Ray or ultrasound scan, you have to make a decision about the care, including surgery or medication.

In some cases, surgery will be necessary. You're the surgeon and you have to perform the operation very carefully, adhering strictly to the procedures, preserving hygiene, and maintaining care when cutting up the patient.

Should you mistakenly administer the wrong therapy, or kill your patient at the operating table, you're kicked into the medical school, where you're given hints as to what you've done wrong.


  • ライフ デス - Japanese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

Project Manager



Average score: 76% (based on 17 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 24 ratings with 1 reviews)

The game that started it all, for me that is...

The Good
I remember seeing this game when I was but a freshman in high school, and I knew I had to get this game. Yet, I was dismayed that I could not run it on my lowly Apple IIc. Through deceit and manipulation I got my mom to buy this game for me, and clandestinely tried to run it on my uncle's PC. Boy did I get in trouble, but the trouble was worth it. It got me my first IBM PC a hotrod 286 with 640k of RAM. Back then this game was amazing compared to what I've played on the Apple. But it's difficulty level was a bit much for my teen-years impetuousness. Having recently reacquired it I have to say that this game is a lost classic, and one of the only games of its kind to really do what it intended to do. That is, to be educational and entertaining at the same time. Even by today's standards the CGA graphics are admirable, especially in the operating theater.

The Bad
It was too short. There were only two operations in the game. An appendectomy and an Aortic grafting. Once these were completed successfully, the game was over and your name was placed on a High Score list. Perhaps a little more variety and a continuous medical career would have been nice.

The Bottom Line
For the newer generations of game players this game would be dated, especially in the graphics department, but if you want a game that puts a scalpel in your hand than this is and its sequel are the only games to give you that gritty sweat-on-the-upper-lip-nurse-we-need-5mms-of-Atropine-Stat! feeling. Don't miss out on a great game.

DOS · by Anonymous Gamer (161) · 2003


Cover art

One of the surgeons on the cover is Glenn Wichman.

Game Package

The game came with extremely realistic materials. It included an internal memo and pathology course, both typed with a dactylo, photocopied and then stapled by hand. And if you looked under the bottom cardboard in the box, you could find a real pair of surgical gloves and a surgery mask!

References to the Game

At the end of the fourth episode in the anime about otaku lifestyle Genshiken (1st season, 2004), when Saki asks her boyfriend Kousaka "What was your first time like?", he misunderstands the question and, being an otaku, starts naming the first anime series and games he tried. Among the games he first played, Life & Death is mentioned, alongside Ultima (without specifying which one) and The Manhole. Regarding Life & Death Kousaka adds: "I don't even know how many people I killed in that". Usually however, both in the anime and the original manga, all the titles of popular entertainment products are altered to avoid copyright problems (e.g. The Chanp of Fighters 95 instead of The King of Fighters '95, Berserker instead of the popular manga Berserk). Other notable exceptions to this are the Puyo Puyo and Guilty Gear game series.


The simulation is actually quite strict: Deviate a hair too much from the proper incision technique, and you'll find your license revoked or your physician alter-ego kicked back to medical school. This was done intentionally to emphasize the importance of the topic.


This game had a few digital sounds that came out of the PC Speaker, which was quite uncommon back then, and led to compatibility problems on certain machines.


  • ST Format
    • 1992 (Issue #5) - #4 Most Weird and Stupid Plots of All Time (Atari ST games) (Comment: "Thankfully, the game only includes those two operations, otherwise SD would be somewhere in the 700s. But where's Life and Death 2: The Brain? Think of the possibilities.")


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  • MobyGames ID: 109
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Olivier Masse.

Sharp X68000 added by Infernos. Amiga added by Martin Smith. Macintosh added by ZenicReverie. Atari ST added by Echidna Boy. FM Towns, Apple IIgs, PC-98 added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: formercontrib, CalaisianMindthief, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, Kayburt.

Game added May 6, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.