Retro – Theme Hospital

Retro – Theme Hospital
24 Aug 17

I was left on my tod today so I thought I would get some serious gaming in. I did spend a while on my Xbox One S but the novelty wore off quite quickly so I thought I’d have a look at what else I had. Now I have a plethora of retro consoles but couldn’t be arsed to hook them up so I settled on looking at my PC game library (I say PC, I mean Parallels on my Mac) and had a look at my Good Old Games library and in there I found a classic, Theme Hospital.

Released back in 1997 by Bullfrog Productions it was pretty much in the same mould as many of the sim games of its time but this was my fave.

The theory is pretty basic. You are given an empty shell of a hospital and you need to start building the various diagnosis and treatment rooms required to cure your patients. As well as that you need to hire receptionists, doctors, nurses and handymen (some requiring more advanced skills than others depending on the rooms you build). Once you have built enough of your hospital such as GP offices, general diagnosis rooms and a pharmacy your hospital opens to the public and they really need your help!

All of the illnesses are hilarious such as bloaty head and slack tongue (nothing grim here apart from when they puke in the corridors). You need to make sure that your patients are able to get an initial diagnosis from a GP and then escalated to other parts of the establishment such as psychiatry, wards and the like. Once you know what you need to do with them they need to be sent to specialised treatment units and once cured you get paid. But be careful if you do not have the correct facilities and choose to try a cure they can die and thus put a black mark against you.

Now you can’t simply cure everyone who comes through the door as the symptoms get weirder and weirder as time goes on so you need to open a research unit to work out how to treat them. The more you research the more facilities become available to you so you need to keep on top of them.

At the same time you to make sure that your patients are happy as they transition from department to department. So make sure that you have plenty of seating areas, vending machines, bins, fire extinguishers and most importantly, loos. Your handymen will make sure that these are kept to the highest standards but keep an eye on them as they tend to slack off.

While all of this is going on various things happen such as nearby competing hospitals stealing your punters and VIP visitors who can make or break you. There is also unrest amongst the staff as they frequently ask for pay rises so you need to decide whether to cough up or show them the door. You also need to make sure that everyone is warm enough and even provide a staff room with all the mod cons to keep your troops working efficiently.

Obviously as you progress through the game it gets much harder and the range of illnesses increases so you can’y just sit back and watch, you have to be on it the entire time. You can also buy more land to expand your hospital when you run our of room.

When you have cured enough people and have made enough money you can move up to bigger and better hospitals. I played through three levels today and it was a blast. I will continue tomorrow.

I am sure that many of you have played it in the past, I just thought it would be nice to revisit once more. If you would like to give it another go it is currently available on Good Old Games for 4.69.


Paul Wright


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