When it arrived on our TV screens more than a decade ago, it was a breath of fresh air. It combined a great show, brilliant stories and intense Action to give us something we hadn’t really seen before. Everyone who was used to the British drama “Casualty” was struck by the scale of the Set-Pieces in the show, barely a week went by without a terrible pile of cars or a huge blazing hell – far from the stubble toes and shards of thumbs that shocked viewers in British medical dramas (perhaps a slight exaggeration).
A game based on the ER license then has a chance to be great. You would play a doctor of any Action who steps on a limb and risks his own life to save his patients. Levels can be set anywhere in the world, with sections as helpers in a war-torn country and a series of levels playing as paramedics in the army. It could have been the best video game around doctors ever created. But unfortunately, this is not the matter. The developers Legacy Interactive did this by making the game a kind of clone “Sims” (although more in appearance than in Gameplay) and forgetting what it is.
When you start the game, You are an intern and your first task is to create your character and choose his medical skills. It’s pretty simple, with none of the tweaks you’d expect from larger budget titles. You can choose your basic Look, including the color of your scrubs and lab blouses, but if you don’t look like a Generic video game character, you can’t create your own face. Your personality and medical fitness statistics are more important.
Your personality is divided into intelligence, constitution, dexterity and Charm, which influence your medical strengths and weaknesses. You should also choose your skills in Neurology, toxicology, pediatrics, orthopedics, cardiology and gene surgery. You may not be good in all areas, but your first choice determines how quickly you progress in those areas during the game.
Working in the emergency room is not as exciting as the TV show suggests. After training in the workplace, they are released to treat patients, and this is where the real problems arise. You will receive different missions based on the treatment of patients (as expected), but the treatment is the biggest disappointment of the game. By clicking on a patient, you can diagnose their problem and then choose where to send them for treatment. This is the only really difficult decision you have to make in the game, because you don’t really want to send critical patients to the exam room and ankle sprains for trauma, which puts your treatment at risk.
Once you are in a bed, treat them simply by clicking on them with the left mouse button. You will continue to dance around the patient (there is no body interaction with the patient) while a video is displayed on the screen. This shows the health of the patient. You often can not treat serious health-issue yourself, so you can seek help from other doctors. This is about all it takes to treat patients. This is very disappointing, because the skills of ER doctors are one of the most exciting aspects of the TV show.
To make matters worse, your performance is influenced by your hygiene, energy and serenity. Because of this, some assignments become very difficult, because frequent hand washing, showering, sleeping, exercising and conversations with other employees get in the way of your work. The camera is also quite bulky and rarely allows you to get the view you are looking for. This, combined with the fact that you have to be a few meters from a patient to select them, creates a level of hassle that was not necessary.
Special skills can be acquired and used to help you get out of difficult situations, as well as “benefits”. You can wear up to four of them at once and they are used to improve certain stats or improve other characters’ opinion of you. Even with the different abilities of your character and the “advantages”, the leeway you have to act the way you want is rather limited. You can’t choose to be a ruthless but brilliant doctor, and you can’t choose to be mean either (Well, you can just ignore patients, but that won’t get you anywhere in the game).