Way cheaper than medical school.
Surgery is so easy that it can be done with one hand. Your left hand. Surgeon Simulator 2013 puts you in the scrubs of Nigel the one-handed surgeon whose best customer, Bob, just can’t get enough of those organ transplants. If you haven’t heard of the game already, then you have most certainly been living underneath a rock because Surgeon Simulator 2013, made in only 48 hours and released for free, absolutely exploded onto the internet – prompting numerous hilarious YouTube gameplay demonstrations. It has since been Greenlit on Steam, and is now available for purchase (now as a full game) as of 20th April in the UK. The buttons; A, W, E, and R control the fingers, (pinkie on A, ring-finger on W, etc.), and the space bar controls the thumb, which is where your fingers comfortably rest on the keyboard. Pressing all at the same time makes the on-screen hand grip. The mouse controls the position of the arm. LMB controls the hand’s height, RMB controls the wrist turn. It is surprising how fast you can get used to the controls, considering how awkward you will find it at first.
nobody is good at this game
The main menu screen alone is a lot of fun. Options, settings and levels can be accessed via a clipboard on Nigel’s desk. Your control is, as always, your hand. Not only do you get to navigate to your clipboard menu, but you can interact with almost every item on the desk. The telephone will ring and can be answered; the floppy disk in the computer can be changed to show different instructions; the notepad can even be written on when the player picks up a pen. I must admit that my main complaint about this game is its sheer difficulty in that discovering what to do next can sometimes leave the player absolutely baffled, resulting in uncertainty of how next to proceed, however the discovery of the next step can be exceedingly satisfying for the player. A time limit is not, as such, featured – the amount of time taken to complete the surgery is recorded, but the real decider is the amount of blood the patient has. The level begins with 5600ml of blood. At a conversion of about 9.9 pints, that’s about accurate. As the surgery proceeds, actions the player makes will cause Bob to bleed. If too much damage is done, Bob will bleed out faster and faster at X ml/sec. When he hits zero, the surgery is deemed a failure. Anybody who has tried out the free version and has any iota of a clue about British television will recall the radio in the operating room playing the Casualty theme tune. For what is more than likely legal reasons, this was removed, but was replaced by a new soundtrack that is considerably less annoying when played over a significant period of time. While on the subject of audio, I would indeed like to express how interesting the use of sound is in this game. There are some vital cues that can be obtained by listening. For example, a big part of the game is grabbing onto organs and pulling them out of Bob’s open carcass, but because you are only provided with one viewing angle, it can be very difficult to see whether or not one has a grip on it. Listening out for a squelching sound tells the player they have a grip. Similarly, detaching the heart from the ventricles in the first level can be tricky. That would be why the thud of the pulse can be heard until it is successfully detached. Being now Steam-based, SS2013 features 48 Steam achievements, including things such as ‘Don’t be such a baby, ribs grow back!‘ for destroying the entire rib-cage, a throwback to TF2’s Meet The Medic short, and humorous additions such as ‘Flippin’ the Bird’ for, well… flipping the bird at Bob. The biggest appeal about SS2013 is possibly that it’s virtually impossible to be good at this game, nobody is good at this game and losing at it is fun. No matter how much control you think you have over that scalpel or that bonesaw, something can always happen to turn the entire surgical procedure against you. Like drugs. The new, extended release of SS2013 features extra items, such as syringes. One syringe, filled with a surgical-scrub-green substance, will decrease the amount of Bob’s bleeding. The other, filled with a psychedelic blue-purple mixture does the opposite, and if Nigel pricks his finger on it, he immediately becomes the last person you want operating on you, because his vision becomes doubled and colourful. The syringe effects do not wear off until the surgery is completed or restarted, which can indeed nullify several minutes of progress, but it is hard to believe there is anybody out there who takes this game seriously enough to care. Aesthetically, SS2013 is a pretty game. We aren’t talking next-gen graphics here, but the entire game looks so clean, (until it gets splattered with blood, of course), and is just pleasant to look at. The developers even took to adding extras such as clocks that tell the correct time. All in all, Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a lot of fun, features a handful of Easter eggs and at least three different surgery locations at not too bad a price. Bossa certainly outdid themselves in this gem and it is a game everybody should try at least once.