I’m fortunate enough to have never visited the hospital due to illness or injury. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a super human or just very lucky. What I do know is that if real hospitals are run like those featured in Hysteria Hospital for Wii then I don’t ever want to go into hospital. You take control of either a male or female nurse who has just graduated from medical school. After countless rejection letters a small but busy hospital is willing to take you on. The head nurse tells you that you can start the job on Monday and you do. On Monday morning you arrive and head Nurse gives you a quick rundown of the basics and then leaves you to get on with it, and here is where you get to pick up your Wii Remote and dive into the game for real.
Your job is to collect the patients from the waiting room and guide them through their entire stay at the hospital. You view the entire hospital floor with an isometric viewpoint in a similar fashion to the early Sims titles. As the first patient arrives you point your giant hovering pointer over their head and drag them kicking and screaming to the triage doctor who diagnoses them. Once he is finished a thought bubble appears over the patients head alerting you of where they should be taken next. So if we were to say that the first patient needs to go to a regular doctor you simply drag them over to the doctor’s work area on the hospital floor. At this point you then need to move your nurse with your pointer over to the pharmacy desk and collect the prescription for this patient, then take it back over to the doctor and patient who are waiting for it. At last the doctor can get treating the patient whilst you check the waiting room for anyone else in need of help, if there is you have a chance now to get them to the diagnosis counter before your first patient is ready to leave.
After he or she leaves it is your job to clean the area ready for the next person, you simply point and click on the dirty laundry and then take it to the washing basket. By this time your second patient has already been diagnosed and is waiting to be seen, there could even be a third or fourth patient in a queue waiting to be seen because you’ve not been quick enough. So you continue to see your patients through this repeating process again and again hoping to achieve it quick enough before any of the ones waiting run out of stamina. If they do they get up and leave the hospital and go to another (which means you don’t earn any money for that patient).
If you are (un)lucky enough to have played Diner Dash, a very popular web game that was ported to DS you may well see the similarities already because Hysteria Hospital is very similar in terms of its progressively manic micro management style gameplay.
Your hospital career takes place at 5 different hospitals each needing more expertise than the last. The very first hospital described above isn’t very busy and doesn’t require too many hospital beds or equipment and managing the small eco system isn’t too difficult and as such you should be able to complete this hospital with relative ease. Things do get more difficult at hospital two when you have to contend with new equipment and trickier patients. It could be mother and child patients who require twice the space in a small waiting room or an elderly patient who require two or more different medications from the pharmacy counter. Yes you can boost the performance of your staff by increasing their wages but in the end you’re still going to have more patients than staff to deal with, at this point you need to juggle like mad and even send some patients away in an ambulance just to free up waiting room space – it’s harsh but has to be done because if you fail treat patients then you will lose essential funds which are necessary to buy more advanced equipment such as: X-Ray Machines, CAT Scanners and even a Mechanical Cow Ride to relive stress.
To clear a level you need to successfully treat a minimum number of patients per day; if you fail you are forced to start that day over but on the plus side you do get to keep the money earned for the failed attempt, this is to help you purchase an extra Hospital Bed or Surgery Suite etc that you may have needed to complete the level comfortably in the first place. When you arrive at the third or fourth hospital (I can’t remember which) you are introduced to your first dual floor workload. Here you don’t just have to look after patients downstairs but also upstairs too. If you thought managing one floor was tough then two floors are certainly twice as bad. Sometimes you’ll have to treat the same patient on both floors which gets very complicated; after their diagnosis they may need an X-Ray downstairs but need to go upstairs for physiotherapy or surgery, if you’re unlucky they may also need to head back downstairs for a third bit of treatment – I assure you this can get very confusing and thankfully the presence of an extra pharmacy counter upstairs helps somewhat because carrying prescriptions or drugs between floors takes extra time you don’t have.
I actually failed to finish hospital five because it was so difficult, I don’t know how the target audience of younger gamers will cope but if they can manage to complete that tough hospital they deserve my job that’s for sure. If you are keen to see how far you can go then after the fourth hospital you unlock a special endless mode which is effectively a high score mode with no time limit, you simply have to keep treating patients until you fail to treat nine of them and then it’s game over.
For the most part I did enjoy Hysteria Hospital Emergency Ward for Wii; it’s not a classic game by any means but is a fun and addictive way to spend an hour or so. If I’m honest I think the lack of a multiplayer mode of any sort does shorten the lifespan a little; it would have been great fun to try that devious Hospital Five in a local 2 player coop mode – or even a head to head split screen battle. Sadly on several occasions on the first two hospitals I did encounter a looping bug which forced me to replay the final level over and over even though I had successfully treated enough patients. It appears that the game itself expects you to have certain equipment at certain times but without any notice I couldn’t see how I was meant to be aware of this. On the final level of hospital one I had purchased two X-Ray Machines but No Surgical beds and even though I treated enough patients’s to get a green tick all I got was the option to replay the level or quit. It wasn’t until I sold one of the X-ray machines and purchased a Surgical Bed that the game let me continue. I can’t understand how a bug this serious slipped through the QA testing, I’m sure many other people will fall into the same loop and not know what is wrong and give up in frustration (I even deleted my save file and started over). As it is Hysteria Hospital with its basic graphics and sound feels more like a WiiWare game than a fully fledged disc title. If this had been 1500 point in the WiiWare store I would have recommended it as quite good value but as a mid prices disc game it’s a little disappointing..
After deducting a point for the game breaking bug I award the initially promising Hysteria Hospital for Wii a lowly 4 out of 10.
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