Trauma Center: Under the Knife
Atlus takes you into the operating room. Clear!
Preview by James Cunningham (Email)
August 13th 2005
The Basics: It's the drama of the operation room for Derek Stiles, the fresh new surgeon for the city hospital. Combining character interaction with precision surgery, Atlus' Trauma Center: Under the Knife shows just how exciting the life of an anime-style surgeon can be, especially when a mysterious plague sweeps the city, causing patients to pile up and the drama to flow free.
The meat of the game is the surgery, where multiple tools are available to do everything from cutting a patient open to siphoning off various fluids. Using the touch screen and stylus, bits and pieces of people best left on the inside are cut, sewn, massaged, anesthetised, and hopefully made to work properly again. There are tool bars on either side of the screen, so switching from anesthetic to scalpel should be fast and effient.
Post-surgery drama will involve talking to everyone from the blonde Nurse Angie and other colleagues to the families of the patients. Other than there being a plague in town, though, not much has been revealed about the story aspect and how deep it runs.
What do we think? Does the DS really need another game best described as "quirky"? Yes, please! This looks to be a clever, creative title with a lot of charm to go with all the disturbingly biological bits. I'm particularly hoping the story mode is well done, so that there's plenty of replay value in seeing how things might go if only I'd chosen otherwise.
The surgery mini-games look like a good time as well. We've seen other titles in the "mini-game" genre before, like Wario Ware Touched! and Feel the Magic, but the theme of Trauma Center looks different enough to really set it apart. Besides, it's not every day we get to play with people's internal organs.