Trying Your Patients....
Theme Park is one of the biggest selling games of all time -
nearly a million copies sold, still in
the charts, and nearly two years since it was released. Difficult to top?
Not for Bullfrog...
While Theme Park detailed the day-to-day running of an amusement
park, mixing cute,
colourful graphics with a fully operational economic simulator, Bullfrog
is soon to produce Theme
Hospital, applying Theme Parks fantastic gameplay to the everyday running
of your very own
Just as in real life, you have to make your hospital function, carefully
using your resources to
good effect, healing and repairing the sick and injured and giving
yourself a warm feeling inside.
Of course, things can go wrong and, when youre facing a psychiatric ward
full of Elvis
impersonators or a bunch of people in Out Patients with Hairy-itis (an
affliction which causes all-
over body hair, for which you dont have a cure), youll think that youre
the one whos going to
need to lie down on a couch.
While the attraction of Casualty-style blood and guts is
obviously there, the development
team is keen to keep it to a minimum.
"There really isn't that much blood to be seen in the game," says
Gary Carr, lead artist
for Theme Hospital. We've tried to lean more towards humour, rather than
the shock value of
guts and entrails. I mean, there are gory bits in there, but we've tried
to make it as fun to play for
everybody as possible. Id like to get a squeamish reaction from players
without using much
blood kind of a Tom and Jerry thing.
From the screens, you should see there's a marked difference between this
and Theme Park -
the sprites are bigger, and the graphics are hi-res only, meaning youll
need an SVGA video card
to run it; but were sure that youll agree the results are worth it.
The most important detail feature that you can't see, though, is
how the characters
interact with each other and with objects. If a doctor walks over to his
filing cabinet, he opens an
individual drawer and gets out a file, closes the drawer again, and he
will then carry the file over
to his desk, say, and place it down in front of his computer. All
movements and animations are
fluid; everything is moved correctly as it would be in real-life - and
man, does it look realistic!
To add to the realism, other computer players are playing against
you, creating and
running their own hospitals and, if youve access to a network of PCs, up
to three other players
can take their place. The network game is all-out war poaching staff
from the other hospitals,
balancing budgets, attracting your competitors patients, researching new
cures and machines
Just like a real hospital, youre right in the thick of it, and theres no
time for stress.
And to cap it all, you might even see a few Theme Park characters
appearances maybe in the Childrens Ward, maybe in Accident and Emergency.
Theme Hospital will be
for the PC and Sony Playstation, with a Sega Saturn version to follow.
Comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org