Saturday, January 10, 2009

Game Review: Alan Probe Amateur Surgeon

You take on a role of Alan Probe, a pizza delivery boy who dreams of becoming a master surgeon. The story begins with Alan, distracted by his medical magazines, crashing his delivery van into a solitary hobo. The guy then guides you through the whole operation where you have to put his rib cage back together. This part of the game is basically a tutorial and it introduces the tools you'll need in the beginning. The hobo (who turns out to be Dr. Bleed) will also assist you during the largest part of the first chapter, giving you tips about the surgical procedures as you go.

When I first saw the game title it brought back the memories of an old game called Life & Death. Fortunately, Alan Probe: Amateur Surgeon is far from it in terms of complexity. Its cartoonish graphics, black humor and unusual characters quickly suck you in. The first couple of patients are easy enough to operate on. At your disposal there's an array of various improvised surgical instruments such as your trusty pizza cutter, a cigarette lighter, a corkscrew, a car battery and even a chain-saw! You can access the instruments by clicking the icons or by pressing the appropriate number keys, which is much faster and soon becomes neccessary.

As you operate you have to pay attention to your patient's heart-rate and the timer. If the heart-rate drops too low or the time runs out, your patient dies and you have to restart the level. The same happens, if you do the wrong action too many times.

Overall gameplay is great and the game isn't too hard, except for a few patients, but it does become very repetitive over time. You will soon realize that most of the time you have to deal with closing wounds over and over again. This is made more difficult by the fact that sometimes the lighter and gel don't register properly. As a consequence it takes you longer to 'fix' cuts that are close together. On the other hand, most injuries are diverse and wacky enough to keep you interested throughout the game.

+ great gameplay
+ cartoonish graphics
+ plenty of levels
- sometimes hard to close wounds
- repetitiveness

Rating: 9/10


Christmas Edition: