Theme Hospital

Theme_Hospital.front_coverDo you remember the guys from Bullfrog? No? What a shame! They created one of the most popular game from the “tycoon” games. Its name is Theme Hospital and it made me almost addict :)

It was released in 1997 and the graphics is outdated nowadays, but not the pleasure of playing. And that is what the games should be about. This game is the business simulation genre and your task is to design and operate a hospital. But it is not an ordinary hospital. It has a lot of sometimes sick humour in it ;) You need to get patients to your hospital to earn money. You have to design rooms, buy equipment, hire employees – nurses, doctors, receptionist. And you need to make the patients do in your hospital what you want to do without direct control over them. They can wander your hospital as they want. And they will had the DISEASES. Have you ever heard about Broken Heart, Slack Tongue, Bloaty head, Golf Stones? Well, it is your task to treat them for a fair price, so they will be coming back to your hospital. And you need to have a reputation, or you will have no patients.

Another thing is that you need the well trained doctors, nurses, handyman…. Why? Because you need to do research, you need to doctors to lecture other doctors with lower qualification. And you need your hospital clean and you plants watered, machinery running and that is why you need handyman.

What you also need to do is to properly equip your rooms with furniture, make the environment comfortable – not too cold, not too hot, you need benches for people.

So it is not so easy you thought? Interested? Let me tell you where you can get it and what you can play on. Initially it was released for PC, 1 year later also the Playstation version was released. In 2010 it was ported for Playstation 3 and is available on PSN network. For the windows and MAC it is available from gog.com for around 6 usd (valued from 22/10/2014). Also I was lucky and I was able to make it run on linux using playonlinux with all features working including the save option. There are some open source clones, like openTH, which is dead and its successor CorsixTH, which should be working with original data files from Theme Hospital. Believe it or not, but you can even play Theme Hospital on android phone or tablet. There are two versions – free, but you need to google it and download from the web page or paid, which is the same, but one guy took the code and is selling the same coded game on Android Play Store for money – why? because the licence allows him to do so. UPDATE: today I searched the Play store for CorsixTH and what a surprise – is there and for free. The installer even allows you to download demo, so you can play around before getting the original data files. Very handy!

Here I prepared some screenshots for you to get you in the picture:

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Well, as I said the outdated graphics is compensated with the lot of pleasure and fun. And you can have it for few dollars and get more fun than from the game of 50 dollars. So have a fun!

System Shock 2

Are you sick of today’s games, which are too easy, too predictable, too expensive or without an horror atmosphere? I have something for you, it is an older game, I played back in 1999 and this game altered my perception of games. Let me present you in this small review, the Lost legend – System shock 2:

Systemshock2So let’s start with a story. It will sound to you like a cliché, but don’t forget we are back in 1999. After joining army, picking up the training (you can choose the specialization and the skills, which will affect how you will play the game, eg. as engineer you will not be able to shoot everything in sight as you do not have skill to manipulate with larger weapons;but as a soldier you can shoot everything, but you do not know how to repair the weapons). You are on your first mission aboard the new and experimental ship with FTL drive called Von Braun. Off course you are in cryogenic state, but you are awakening in a cold room, kind of a storage, with amnesia and no idea what happened. And it is up to you to find out what happened and how to get alive. There will be some help, like from Dr. Polito, but it is just an guidance. The rest of story I will not reveal, it is up to you to find out yourself. Just I can tell you I never played System shock 1, just read some articles to be in the story, as there are some references to the story of original System shock. Their story is 42 years old now.

To the gameplay. As I write above, you can choose your path, your skills. And this is totally essential as it will define the way you play the game. And believe me, you will play this as soldier, engineer and other just to play it once again and totally different. There are stats in System shock 2: Strength, Endurance, Psionics, Agility, and Cybernetic Affinity. There are credits you can use to buy stuff at replicators, there are cybernetic modules, which you use to upgrade yourself at upgrade machines to improve your stats and skills. Want to have something for less credits? No problem hack it. Hack failed? You have a problem. You lost a credits and alarm can be set on and you are totally in …. You will be checking the various enemies – degenerated humans, robots, exotic creatures and many more. There is no single tactics you can use at them. They are vulnerable to something else. You will do the research. You will also need a map. You can’t exist without it on that size ship. In fact there are two ship. The next one is without FTL, so it is linked to Von Braun. It belongs to UNN and the name is: Rickenbacker. You will get there too. Also the environment is fantastic, you will get to Engineering, MedSci, Hydroponics, Operations, Recreational, Command and Rickenbacker. The story behind and the destiny of people in there are told you by finding the kind of audio logs.

Recommendations: save after each hack, each camera destroys, each enemy destroyed, in 5 minutes interval. Get use to use load, you will need it a lot :) There are not much resources, use them with caution, don’t use ammo if you don’t have to. And the last one – DO NOT PLAY IT DURING NIGHT. It’s horror, yes really it is. Music and audio is freaky. I almost fell out of the chair when suddenly the human attacked me from behind with roar. I was not expecting him. You will not too. And you can’t know everything and carry everything. So stick to what is best for your gameplay.

How it looks like – one screenshot for you:

 

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Where to get it and what is the price: It was a real problem to get it legally in the past few years due to rights sold to some lawyer company, which had no intentions to help get it back on market and have some money from it, they wanted lot of money, but now the situation is changed. You can get it on steam for 9.99 or on gog.com for 9.99 too *prices are from 20.10.2014. It work for today’s windows, so no worries about support.

Conclusion: if you want an old schooled game, from the times when the game had to be for a real gamer, if you want an 1st person shooter with lot of RPG elements, and if you have a lot of time, get one copy and play! Good luck to you and my regards to Xerxes.