by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
If you steal, better do it well...
The game's controls are a bit awkward. All the buttons that you need seem to work counter-intuitively and in an old-fashioned manner. Rotating items before you place them is done with the space-bar, for instance, and where Theme Hospital would let you draw out a room and thus choose its size, Hospital Tycoon uses pre-defined rooms. This gets old pretty soon because every hospital looks totally generic, no matter what you do to liven up the place.
So, if the graphics won't make you think of a decade old game, the controls will.
Come to think of it, so will the gameplay. You can't pick up your staff to place them in the room you want them to be in although you can give them some basic commands. But the click-path to get them where you want is awkward at best. Staff rarely tires so the staff room serves very little purpose, removing a very challenging aspect of the original game. There's a training room but I can't, for the love of me, figure out how to use it and, even if I could, skill levels are there just for show: No matter how lowly in level, every staff member can perform every task within his specialty.
As mentioned before, the Story Mode offers 'episodes' in which you are asked to complete missions. You are given a hospital to run and for a while you feel a sense of being in control as you perform the tasks at hand. But, you lose that feeling the moment you go to the next episode and see that the rooms you placed have been removed, the 'map' has been reset and set up the way the developers felt was safer for them to plan the next episode around. Jeez, how lame is that?
In the sandbox mode, nothing will happen. Ever. In four or five days you will have a fully equipped hospital that basically runs itself. Occasionally, someone will become unhappy and leave your team but you can simply rehire him once he's cooled off and willing to listen to reason. There is not a whole lot you can do about staff members becoming unhappy, there's not even a way to raise a person's wages.
This patient is dying...
There are no emergencies that require your team to step up to the plate and perform minor miracles, there's only a steady stream of patients that will have one of maybe 10 diseases that you will have fully researched in those same four to five days. Pretty shallow if you ask me.
So what is the point of Hospital Tycoon? There is none. It's dull. Any other questions?
And that word, shallow, pretty much describes the entire game. A decade ago, this game would have been absolutely brilliant. In this day and age it looks like a quick&dirty ripoff of two old classics and will make anyone who knows them wonder what the heck possessed Codemasters to slap their name on it. Pass.
No Pros and Cons at this time