Title Life and Death Game Type Miscellaneous Players 1 Compatibility All Amigas Company Software Toolworks HD Installable No Submission Seppo Typpö (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review Let's start this with personal confession - a long time ago I used to dream of becoming a doctor. Wearing my white coat and shining stethoscope I would have walked among the patients, listening to their troubles and trying my best to cure them. I never passed the entrance examinations to the med school, which was probably good - since if my performance in Software Toolworks' medical simulator "Life and Death" is anything to go by I would have sucked as a doctor, badly. "Life and Death" puts the player into the role of the glamorous profession of general surgeon. In this role it is up to the player to work in a hospital, diagnose patients and make the vital decision how to identify and cure their possible health problems. This means using suitable tools for examinations (like X-ray or ultra-sound) and then selecting the right treatment. Ultimately this means the player has to do some serious medical operations like surgery in order to save the patient's life. All this is not easy though. The player starts the game in hospital and once registered is given his (or her) first patient. Now, in real life doctors spend several years in med school before they are unleashed on the unsuspecting patients, but here for the player there are just couple of manuals to study and explore. I strongly recommend that players do that before starting the game. There's a neat in-built med school in the game but it won't give you help until you have run into some serious trouble which could have meant the death of somebody. So if you want to succeed in this game, in a proper way, read that manual and try to understand what you have to do (especially before entering the operation room). "Life and Death" is beautifully simple to play - pretty much everything is controlled with the mouse. There are several screens the player can enter - the patient rooms (where you diagnose the patient), the staff room (where you select your operation team), the aforementioned medical school and the actual operation room. Moving around in the hospital and selecting actions is easy as the game controls work in an intuitive fashion. While playing the game is easy, succeeding in it is more challenging - which means there plenty to learn for the budding doctor Kildares out there. My first gaming session was quite depressing - mainly because I did not read the manual properly and ended up killing my first patient after five minutes of play - because of a wrong diagnosis. My second victim was a patient who I had to operate on - a few seconds of hesitation at a critical moment during the operation sent the newborn "Doctor Death" back to the medical school. After some time I became quite proficient in diagnosing people - this was helped by the fact that there is not much variation in patients and their diseases, at least in the easy level I played. Usually a simple examination and possibly X-rays solved 99% of cases and I usually did not have to pick up the scalpel at all. "Life and Death" concentrates only on standard medical problems in your body (torso) but there are no really radical things like heart transplant surgery in this game. This is propably good since the typical player will have enough of a challenge completing a standard appendix removal jobbie. The surgery part of the game is very tricky. The Player has to learn proper procedures and also locate and identify all the tools he (or she) needs to use. One of the few failing points of the game is the sometimes poor description of objects - it is quite easy to waste valuable time trying to locate some tools if you have little understanding where and what you are looking for. The player also has to learn to respond to emergencies like dropping blood pressure, heart problems etc - the operation team is usually quick to point out any problems but it is up to the player to decide how to deal with them. In the operation room your team (if you choose the right people) offer invaluable advice but leave the decision to you - something I believe would happen in real life too. In its simple way the game actually teaches the player how hospitals and their highly specialised staff work and also about the responsibilites each 'team member' has. The game has some neat touches - like during an abdominal exam (that's poking somebody's belly with your fingers in layman's terms) the sore points are highlighted by sampled patient voices. The game package also contains some nice extras like a pair of rubber gloves and a face mask for that 'more authentic feel'. Graphically and aurally the game is only adequate - which is not a surprise since the game was released 1988. Still the faint hearted should steer clear - some of the graphical material the game sports could shock you even after all these years. It should also be noted that while the game could be installed to hard disk it had problems running with a 68060 card - this minor glitch will hopefully be removed by the Patchers in near future. "Life and Death" is a simulator which gives players a chance to peek into the mystical world of modern medicine from the safety of their own comfy chair. If given enough time and preparation (like properly studying the manual) the game is highly entertaining - it rewards the player with an experience which cannot be found in the latest beat'em up or other action game. It certainly is not for everyone - but if you ever had dreams of becoming 'the man with the white coat' (no, I do not mean a butcher here!), you could do worse than trying out this game.