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PC Game Review: Theme Hospital

Theme Hospital

Having a lot of free time and precisely zero motivation to do anything even remotely productive, I have been playing a lot of my old computer games.

Most recently I have completed Theme Hospital.

Many, many hours of my life had already been wasted on this 1998 classic and after digging it out, I wasted many, many more. Most of that was just getting the thing to run on Windows 7! Finally, DOSBox provided the answer, through that I was unable to get the sound, not that that was particularly bothersome.

Despite being 15 years old it is still an excellent game. One of the main characteristics of the Theme series is the sense of good fun and the silliness underlying everything. Time has not changed this at all. The humour is good natured and the diseases and cures are still outlandishly hilarious.

The gameplay is still challenging, with the difficulty coming not so much from the complexity of the challenges, but trying to make sure all the simple things don’t fall apart. Every time you get an earthquake which destroys the inflator room (and it’s always the inflator room!) or a ridiculously widespread infection which you’re trying (and failing) to cover up, it can spark a rage fit.

Even with prodigious cheating saving it was still a challenge, even on the easiest setting. I daren’t try it at a higher level. The last three levels really reminded me why I quit without completing it all those years ago.

It still looks great. Perhaps it’s nostalgia for that kind of animation when I was growing up, but I think it looks better than a lot of other games that tried to increase the look of games without having the ability to back it up. The cartoon setting really compliments the gameplay.

It is still dangerously addictive and is a testament to every aspect of the game.

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