Welcome to Bring it Back the place where I take a look at some of the games (and series and franchises) I want remastered, reimagined, rebooted, updated, upgraded, a long overdue sequel/prequel, or dare I say it – a remake. I’m not really fussy which one it is (well OK please not a remake), I just want it back somehow.
This week we are sticking with PlayStation classics and it is the turn of Theme Hospital.
First off, yes I’m aware that this game is available on EA Origin and GOG, I was lucky enough to grab a copy of it on Origin when it was the On the House game (which is honestly a great feature on Origin), however I’m greedy and that’s not enough. From playing it again on Origin I want more. I want to see it brought back some more.
A you can probably work out from the title the game has something to do with hospitals, not normally a place known for fun and games.
The game had you take charge of various hospitals in which you had to build various facilities to diagnose and treat patients, research new cures and equipment, and satisfy the needs of both staff and patients to ensure that your hospital was more attractive than rivalling ones and to prevent your staff getting burnt out.
This presented several challenges to the game such as maximising the layout of your buildings as each hospital had a set plan, handling staff to keep an efficiently run hospital while avoiding burning out your staff or hiring too much staff, keeping a clean and well liked hospital, and of course managing money. The game would also present various other challenges in the form of emergencies where, if you accepted, you had to cure a certain number of people within a certain time to receive a bonus (cash, reputation boost etc) but if you fail you take a punishment so make sure you are well equipped to deal with it.
So far you may not be impressed, what’s the big deal about a game where you have to design and run a hospital you might be thinking. Is partly nostalgia on my part because I got this game at the same time I got my Playstation? Maybe. Or is it because of the humour, which gets pretty dark at times, in this game? Yes, yes it is.
This game had some of the funniest and silliest medical conditions going, medical conditions such as bloaty head which the game says was caused by sniffing cheese and required a doctor to pop the patients head and inflate it to a normal size, the best part was you’d actually see people with giant heads walking around your hospital before treatment. There was also people suffering invisibility caused by being bitten by a radioactive and invisible ant that just required a drug from the pharmacy to cure. Or how about a case of King Complex where people actually they were The King (after his spirit entered their mind and took over) and would require the help of a psychiatrist to cure. The receptionist, who would occasionally make announcements would also chip in with some humorous lines.
Theme Hospital was a fun and challenging game (it certainly got a lot more challenging as you progressed to the higher level hospitals and had more illnesses to worry about) that didn’t take itself to seriously and had some of the funniest and silliest illnesses that I can still remember all these years later (almost 20 of them which is terrifying). Yes there have been a couple of Theme Hospital clones but none have lived up to the original and it is for all these reasons that I would like to see it brought back.