Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward Review

By Nelson on July 14, 2009

Hysteria Hospital, the name itself conjures up a rather manic picture alone. Oxygen games have certainly hit that nail right on the head. It wouldn't be unusual to see the more wacky style of game on the Wii and we all know it has its odd ball titles. Some are rather good others less so.

So along comes Hysteria Hospital not exactly the most advertised title to come the Wii's way and somewhat slipped under the radar. The immediate conclusion to draw would be that the game encroaches on the idea that made Theme Hospital successful. The idea of trying to balance a working hospital around all the crazy diseases and problems that come in. Hysteria Hospital obviously isn't the same kettle of fish, but it's clear that some of its ideas were definitely brought about from Theme Hospital. However, is it going to be any where near successful, or will it be due to flat line?

Hysteria Hospital essentially has two modes: Story and Endless Mode. The Story Mode starts players off with a short narrative, which focuses on a graduate that's trying to become a nurse. She doesn't have much luck however, until she finally manages to secure a job. The game then does an excellent job at easing you into the game, explaining clearly and slowly adding the different tasks to the mix for running the hospital and managing the patients.

Everything is done by pointing at objects with the Wii Remote and selecting them with the A Button. Patients mainly move around the hospital at the whim of the player, as they have to be dragged and dropped into various diagnosis and treatment facilities. Thought bubbles above the patient show what they require and everytime they require treatment a prescription is requested. This is where the nurse factors into the gameplay, as they must take the prescription to the respective patient so the treatment can then commence. As the game progresses the nurse's tasks increase to repairing broken equipment, tidying up sheets and bandages, delivering medicine and more.

After nine days at a hospital, the player is then transferred to a new hospital and the process continues. There are seven hospital in all, and each one offers a new set of challenges. The game may seem very simple at first, but later on numerous treatments are added, as well as multiple floors. These can be accessed by pressing the + and - buttons on the Wii Remote, but patients have to be sent up and down levels by being dropped onto the elevator.There's one really blatant problem which is noticeable right from the start and that's simply the fact that the Wii Remote has to be dead centre on whatever object the player wants to interact with. If it isn't clicked with precision it won't be recognised and this can become exceedingly frustrating, especially when time is so important. Another problem that occurs later on is that while patients are numbered and medicine is numbered, prescriptions are not. When there are 4-5 patients all being treated at the same time, the nurse is only capable of holding two prescriptions at any moment and it is absolutely impossible to remember which order they came in. Now this isn't so much of a problem for the first four hospitals as beating the goal is more than easy enough, and beating the optional expert goal as well is perfectly doable. However, as soon as the later hospitals are ventured into everything starts to go horribly wrong and it's all too apparent that this game rightly deserves to have the word hysteria in its title.

The design of the hospital is given to the player. Although the addition of more floors later on does up the amount of space to work with, it's still rather miniscule. The actual layout remains the same for each of the hospitals, with only the colour scheme changing. Most of the objects are already in play upon starting a level, and the majority of added equipment per day doesn't give many options on where you wish to place it. Of course it is possible to just sell everything and organise it a bit differently, but it doesn't really have that much of an impact on efficiency. Expenses are added later, such as the ability to pay the staff/maintanence, but it's exceedingly cheap. This highlights a flaw in the system as its nearly impossible to run out of money, even if everything is purchased. Money also stacks up between levels, and there is nothing to spend it on.

Graphically the game isn't that amazing to look at. It's pretty cartoon like and some of the animations for treatments are slightly amusing initially. However, the actual appearance of illnesses and diseases affecting patients is really bland and it's hardly noticeable. Each patient will also respond to interactions with them by making some kind of comment, all of which are very stereotypical. The hospital announcer also cracks jokes, some of which are rather funny the first couple of times, but once they've been heard for the 20th time they start to become very stale. The music changes for each hospital but it has one of those nasty tendencies to not only get on your nerves after a while, but stick in your head throughout the day.

In terms of replayability, there essentially isn't any. Endless Mode is available, and it's essentially the story mode with an unlimited amount of time. Difficulties are unlocked by progressing through the story mode to make it even more challenging, and the objective is just to keep going as long as possible before patients completely overwhelm the player, and the hospital's reputation disappears.

Final Thoughts

The concept and the idea are far from bad, but it hasn't been executed well enough. The game seems fun to start off with as difficulty starts out rather comfortable, but the sudden leap half way through stage 5 will have players quite literally stressed. Most of the ideas and use of funding don't really seem to have any bearing on the actual game, as if it wasn't really implemented fully. It can give a sense of achievement when a really hard level is completed, but when the same methods are used and eveything goes completely wrong the experience leaves a feeling of nothing less than frustration.

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