Reply To: First impressions

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Good luck! I imagine that coming to this cold will be tough going at first.

I bought this one new back in 89. My first impression going back was just how much stuff is crammed in the box. There were 4 manuals, David’s link is a combination of the only 2 that will actually help you out. There was a history of surgery to set the scene, rubber gloves and surgeons mask just in case you fancy dressing the part while playing, the game on both floppy sizes, a paper pager for copy protection and about a dozen leaflets trying to sell you things. It’s a far cry from the Speccy games on cassette I was used to at the time.

I just about remember playing this back then. I was definitely impressed with it graphically – CGA was all I had and this makes extremely good use of that palette with lots of gory detail in the ops. I do remember it being a very short lived experience. Once you can perform the two operations, the game is over and there isn’t a whole lot of point to going back to it. Doing exactly that 30 years later, I’d forgotten a lot of it but I’ve still made it through in a couple of hours. I definitely still knew a lot of the basics and all the diagnosis steps.

The classroom material is very well done pointing out any mistakes and how to correct them. The game is very much trial and error though. I got slightly further in each surgery before having to guess again, usually getting it wrong and being told what I should have done. There is nowhere near enough info in the manual. Teaching surgery in Toolworks General is akin to learning how to beat Dragons Lair.

A couple of tips for newbies. Remember the keyboard shortcuts for Atropine and Lidocaine (A & L). It’s way easier and quicker to correct heart beat irregularities.

On similar lines, the best way to make a nice neat cut is to use the number pad. Straight lines every time. Also when you are stitching back up, you can just hold down a direction and tap away at 5 to get them sewn up in no time.

I’m giving the sequel a go which I’ve never played before but involves brain surgery instead. I’ve absolutely no idea what I’m doing and the patients are dropping like flies. I expect this is very much the same experience for anyone playing the original for the first time. Learning brain surgery by guesswork has to be one of the most morbid things I’ve done in gaming. It’s only being emphasized by a screenshot of doctors chatting about my mistakes while eating a pizza off the corpse.