Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward is the latest treat from Oxygen Games for Wii and in a sense it truly does replicate how a hospital nurse must at times feel; overworked, frustrated and at times more than a little tired.
The game begins with the player deciding upon the gender and name of their freshly graduated nurse. The action then shifts to the lowly village medical centre which the player has been tasked with rejuvenating and improving on the mediocre services offered there. This is where the fun begins as the player is guided through a tutorial introducing the game’s goals, controls and the various ways in which a level can be successfully completed. At the start of each level the player is given a quota with the number of patients they are expected to cure and a tip which details the kinds of illnesses they can expect to encounter.
The game is played exclusively with the Wii remote and in theory conducting the games various tasks is very simple – simply clicking on a patient and dragging them to the appropriate equipment will treat them, the same method is used to collect prescriptions, clean and repair equipment and pretty much everything. This means that the game employs quite limited variety in the number of available tasks and indeed it can feel a little like a conveyor belt – drag patient from the waiting room to the treatment table, drag prescription to said table, drag patient to a bed, clean bed, drag dirty laundry to laundry basket. I’m sure you get the picture. On occasion it can be hard to click the desired target if the hospital ward is crowded with patients or equipment, things have to be hit pretty much dead on.
To reach the earlier mentioned quota the player is expected to cure as many patients as quickly as possible and if time remains another quota is opened to reach “expert” status for the level. There isn’t any reward for reaching expert, apart from personal satisfaction of course. As the game has rather sparse gameplay challenges it’s usually very easy to reach expert and at the very least it’s quite difficult to fail a level entirely, even in the harder stages. The overall difficulty of the game is quite hard to place as the game begins ridiculously easy and carries on this way for some time before becoming suddenly quite challenging without any in-between – still the game is far from a real challenge.
As the game progresses new hospitals are introduced which have multiple floors and new equipment to treat new illnesses. These add a temporary distraction from the otherwise non-progressive gameplay but each new piece of equipment doesn’t really add anything new to the game, only another way in which to treat patients. This is perhaps one of the main problems with Hysteria Hospital; it gets very old very quickly. The gameplay is so strikingly simple that it loses any introductory appeal very quickly and becomes rather chore like. Also, moving from floor to floor in the “more difficult” hospitals is more than a bit of a pain as there’s no way to keep track of what is happening on each floor.
The game visuals are pleasantly cartoonish though almost to a fault as some of the equipment animations are beyond basic and the main character and patients are quite shockingly under developed and lacking detail. This makes the game appear very cheap and gives it the feel of a truly budget title. The audio in the game is much the same; the music is a little repetitive and at times nauseating as it loops over and over. The humorous tanoid announcements are sometimes spot on with pop culture references to “Scrubs” and other such medical related media. Sometimes however the jokes are just a little too cringeworthy to bear.
To conclude, Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward is in essence just a little too cheap and nasty to meet the expectations of most gamers. The gameplay is not by any means bad but it is most certainly uninspired and after a while quite frankly boring. Players hoping for a simulation game along the lines of “Theme Hospital” should turn back now. The graphics while possibly crafted with good intentions come across as again cheap and lacking in effort. Overall Hysteria Hospital leaves a pretty bad taste and a craving for some morphine to make the painful gameplay disappear.