I would like to introduce another 'sequel' of one of the greatest classics of past kids games today. The critical question is whether Theme Hospital can match the 'desease potential' of Theme Park which may very well be one of the more popular games of its times, or whether this is another sequel successfully ruined. Well, this is what you will always learn at the very end
As the name suggests, Theme Hospital is a mixture of BIING! and Theme Park. We begin the game by choosing a name and setting a few options. Then off we go and we receive an empty hospital building which we may fill with some rooms. Only the reception (stupid name, but that won't deter us) doesn't need walls, but it's rather placed as a simple counter close to the entrance, where a never tiring receptionist (Barf! This isn't a hotel simulation) does her duty. Then we of course need a doctor who takes care of the introductory interviews in the GP office and a janitor who removes the garbage, waters the plants and fixes machines. After a short while, we will already need the first nurse, because every room required 1-2 doctors and/or a nurse to examine patients or treat them. The game's mechanics are child's play and almost completely intuitive.
A few nice details can be configured in the settings. For example, do you want a bulletproof 100% sure diagnosis or is it sufficient to 'guess' the illness automatically at 80%? This is not a must, however, and it will usually not endanger your career. You will automatically play a campaign and from level to level, the difficulty will gradually progress. On top of that, new illnesses are discovered in each level, like uncontrolled hairiness, radiation or plastered body parts. For each illness, there is a special treatment room and to reach the next level, you always have to meet certain goals (money on your account, positive image or number of treated patients). Unfortunately, I have not managed to play through all levels, but there are so many and there is always something different or new so that it keeps you playing.
The first levels are actually so still insanely easy that it almost kills motivation, but step by step it becomes harder and the levels in which you have to clean out rat infested hospitals with machine guns and bombs spice things up even further. The longer you play, the more things you have to take care of to not put a premature end to your career. Still, I have to say there there are a couple of small downsides: the difficulty level is not adjustable, so the game is too easy for me on the whole and a multiplayer option via LAN could have been quite fun. Also, the repeated start from scratch with a new hospital is hardly ideal.
Graphically, it is funny to watch people's inflated heads bursting, transparent persons receiving colour again and all of this is accompanied by appropriate sounds.
Conclusion: an economic simulation for the kids, essential to install and only to be played under the supervision of a registered Theme Hospital doctor to avoid addiction! For grown-ups, it is a fun waste of time as well and therefore recommendable to everyone.
Translated by Mr Creosote