I got off to an early start on Theme Hospital last night. I love most Bullfrog games but never got around to playing this one before.
It appears that this is one of those games where you glance at the time and wonder where the last 2 hours went. I was only going to have a quick look and ended up spending most of the evening playing through the first 4 levels. I can already see myself losing hours to it this month.
It brings back memories of Theme Park which I did play but it’s more refined and I like the nice clear goals with each new hospital rather than the game being merely a sandbox.
I think the theme of running a hospital was probably what put me off playing this before as it just doesn’t sound like all that much fun. The humour is brilliant though from the dark introduction to the absurd ailments that you have to cure. There is always something to be getting on with and it all feels so intuitive. I’m slowly learning all the little tricks just by playing the game.
I still haven’t read the manuals but it has a gentle enough introduction that I didn’t need to. The graphics and interface hold up ridiculously well. This honestly doesn’t feel like a game that’s over 20 years old.
In short, I’m loving it so far. Good choice whoever picked this one.
I thought this was going to be easy on first impressions but progress came to a grinding halt about level 5. I was always ending up with sickness bugs running rampant throughout the hospital which I gather are caused by not getting people through fast enough.
I’ve learned a few tricks since then like having multiple diagnosis rooms close together, building all your doctor rooms close to each other, and all your nurse rooms in another section. There are so many little things like this to figure out, it’s really quite difficult and frustrating. Having said that, when you get it right everything practically runs itself. When I did finally beat level 6, all I was having to do is pay a few bonuses to staff and watch the money roll in.
I’ve not made it past level 7 and I’m currently being distracted by modern games having bought my first new PC in over a decade so that may be it for this month. I’ll definitely return to Theme Hospital some time though. Strategy/sim games aren’t my favourite genre but it’s hard not to be sucked in by this game. I enjoy Dungeon Keeper/Magic Carpet more having said that with less micro management being required. X-COM is definitely a step too far for my tastes so I’ll be sitting out August. I remember all 5 of my housemates getting completely addicted to that game in my student days and I just couldn’t understand what they saw in it.