Let’s get one thing out of the way now: I realize that this is a pretty strange game to review for Bricks of the Dead. It’s not zombie-related, nor does it have horror, survival, or action themes. Despite this, I think a lot of you, especially the older gamers who logged a lot of hours playing various simulators, would really enjoy Surgeon Simulator 2013. And I believe you’ll enjoy it not because it’s a well made, hardcore medical simulator, but because it’s a brilliant parody of the genre.
The humor in Surgeon Simulator comes from two places, the controls, and the disturbingly literal way it approaches mission objectives. Let’s start with the controls, since that’s what everyone is going to notice first. As we all know, surgery is a fairly precise business. Surgeons are known for having exceptionally steady hands and amazing motor control and coordination.
In Surgeon Simulator, your surgeon has exactly none of these advantages. You work only with your left hand, which you control using the mouse and keyboard. It’s big, slow, and hopelessly clumsy. The mouse controls the rotation, pitch, and placement of your hand in three dimensions, while the A. W. E. R. and Space keys control the individual fingers. This sounds easy enough in theory, but it practice its an absolute nightmare to try to accurately control.
In order to complete the surgery objectives, you need to use the various tools available in the operating theater. These range from tools you would expect to see, like scalpels and bone saws, to the completely bizarre, such as a clock radio or a claw hammer. Instead of working in a neat and orderly area, your tools are laid about haphazardly, and there are often various items in the way. This, along with intentionally difficult and unresponsive controls, combine to make even picking up the appropriate tool suitably challenging.
I’ve actually found that it makes more sense to me to spend a minute or so getting rid of the various junk in my way before actually starting the operation.
Speaking of the operations, let’s look at the second half of the parody now: the fact that your mission objectives are ludicrously literal. In the game’s first mission, for example, you’re tasked with performing a heart transplant. The success criteria are threefold: 1. Ensure the patient is alive. 2. Remove the old heart. 3. Add the new heart. Anything and everything else is secondary. That means that you can get to the existing heart through any means necessary. Want gain access to the chest cavity by smashing the rib cage to tiny bits with a hammer, then throwing the lungs on the operating room floor? That’s absolutely no problem in Surgeon Simulator 2013.
In fact, there aren’t really a whole lot of ways to successfully complete the operation without completely screwing the patient. I played through quite a few surgeries, and on the few that were actually successful – a tiny minority – the patient was left with only the replacement organ, and nothing else. Things like lungs, livers, intestines, and spleens all ended up discarded casually on the floor. Mission success!
Surgeon Simulator won’t appeal to anyone, especially to those who go in looking for a genuine medical experience. But if you like a healthy dose of humor in your games, you should really check it out. Its hilariously frustrating.
I disagree with your opening statement about this being unrelated to the BotD set of themes.
It is a horror theme if you were the patient, or anyone watching the surgery.
It is a survival theme to see if the patient actually makes it.
And action theme… well, hurling your keyboard and mouse due to frustration of using only a left hand with the skills of a six month old to try and perform delicate surgery seems pretty action orientated to me.
Thanks for the review, I might gives this game a whirl, you have gotten me intrigued 🙂
Hah, I like your thoughts here Mad..
I’d definitely check it out, but watch for a sale (it seems to go on sale a lot).