Monday, 1 December 2014

Theme Hospital: Living in the good old days.

When I was young one of my earliest PC gaming memories was entering a competition to win a new game that had just been released. The premise was awesome; design and run your own hospital, but an environment laced with humour. I didn’t win a copy of Theme Hospital, but I still got it as a birthday present or similar. This left me with two long standing memories, the fun of playing the game and the knowledge that I never completed it. As technology moved on I would occasionally pop back and play it on my subsequent PCs until the time that it would no longer install let alone run. There the dream would have died were it not for my girlfriend and Corsix.

Just like the real NHS you can try to make the working conditions as crampt as possible.

Having finally completed Tropico 5 we were looking for our next game to play together and discuss whether layout or functionality were more important (seriously not everyone needs to live in a posh house!). I had recently found my old Theme Hospital disc and we had lamented the fact that it would no longer run, so I decided to explore CorsixTH which I had heard would allow me to run Theme Hospital on a modern system. After a relatively simple install we were ready to face vomit waves, VIP visits and to be reminded that ‘patients are not to die in the corridors!’

The first level eased us back in quite nicely, curing a few people of the squits before they redecorated the carpet and reminding us that all the staff needing a break at the same time is a bad thing. I had forgotten some of the interesting diseases that your patients could come in with and was pleased to see someone in full Elvis get-up ready to be cured of the King Complex.

From these humbled beginnings our hospital management skills have flourished as we have needed to build research departments, operating theatres and training rooms. We have dealt with outbreaks of heaped piles, slack tongue and bloaty head. We have laughed at the brilliant cures for some of the diseases (the popping and re-inflation of a bloaty head being a particular highlight!). This game is everything we remembered it to be and we are well on the road to completing it.

I spot a King Complex sufferer!

That being said the game has obviously aged (being near 20 years old!) and the Corsix mod has had to make some sacrifices (the loading screens are all gone and there are no rats at present). Also for all it’s fun there often comes a point in the level where you have met all the objectives except numbers of patients cured. This results in setting the game to its fastest speed and waiting for the number of cures to be reached. That being said, the process of reaching this point more than makes up for the eventual wait.

If you are interested in trying this out the game can be bought from Good Old Games and the Corsix mod can be found here. In the mean time I have to sort out an incoming slack tongue emergency!