Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues Review

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Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues Publisher: Legacy Interactive
Developer: Legacy Interactive

Platform: DS
Reviewed on DS

As a newly-minted paramedic for Harbor City hospital, start your professional career with a brief refresher course on a training dummy, then move on to rescuing real victims around town, starting with minor lacerations and moving on to life-threatening injuries.

Kyle Ackerman

Emergency Room: Real Life RescuesLegacy Interactive has been making Emergency Room games for more than a decade. Finally, the long-running PC series has reached the DS in the form of Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues. It would be easy to dismiss this game as a Trauma Center knock-off were that claim not patently false. Not only have the Emergency Room games been around for a long time, they present an entirely different take on treatment. Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues simply takes the convenient touch-screen interface of the DS to make this game even more engaging.

Emergency Room: Real Life RescuesThis is not a game with magical gels that treat all infections and close minor wounds, or injections that treat all illnesses and inflammations. Nor is it a game where major organs are on the wrong side of the body. Instead, Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues relies on the real tools and techniques available to paramedics. And while some procedures are simplified for the sake of fun, the game is firmly grounded in reality. It can't compare with real medical training, but the game will give you a solid idea of how professionals cope with real emergencies, stabilize patients and get them to the hospital.

Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues provides a great balance of difficulty levels. Practicing any given treatment or diagnostic technique isn't necessarily hard, but remembering how to diagnose and stabilize difficult patients requires a bit of thought and fully absorbing past cases. Fortunately for those who just want to enjoy the drama, a friendly senior paramedic is always around to provide advice on next steps. For players more interested in perfecting their score, speed, accuracy and memory are more important. Taking a patient's vitals is always the first step to ensuring they arrive at the hospital.

Emergency Room: Real Life RescuesThe game also ramps up nicely in difficulty, starting with a simple basketball injury and working up to gunshot wounds. While the equipment isn't always strictly realistic, Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues achieves a nice level of abstraction. For example, precisely setting the level of an IV drip is done using a simple slider mini-game. Yes, it's an abstraction, but it's appropriate for those of us treating fictional patients on a DS screen.

I really enjoyed playing through Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues, and would have given the game a higher score if I didn't find the touch-screen interface to be a bit... well... touchy. With several of the patients, I knew exactly what to do (sometimes I was directly following the instructions of my partner), yet touching the highlighted area or line simply didn't work. I found these moments frustrating, pulling me from the drama, as I repeatedly tried to reselect the instrument (like the defibrillator) and touch the spot I knew should work. Any time I find myself hammering on the touch screen with the stylus, something is wrong. Beyond that, the characters are woodenly drawn and I found the soap opera plot more simplistic and juvenile than it should have been, but I fundamentally would have been able to overlook all the game's other flaws had the treatments simply worked as they should have.

Emergency Room: Real Life RescuesSave the interface issue, which will frustrate casual gamers even more than hardcore gamers, Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues is a great experience, drawing its drama from real life situations and relying more heavily on rational assessment and medical procedures than on lightning reflexes or gaming savvy. As such, it's a good choice for anyone with a penchant for medical drama.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on October 8, 2009 9:21 AM.

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