Ever wondered what it feels like to stand over a pale, helpless anaesthetised body, with a mask over your face and a gleaming surgical scalpel in your hands? Well, thanks to an unforeseen vacancy at Toolworks General, you've won the opportunity to become a surgical resident in the Department of Abdominal Surgery.
There are no academic requirements. All you need to do is decide whether to enter at Novice, Intermediate or Advanced level and swot up on the relevant chapter of Anatomy and Surgical Technique: then you too can experience what it feels like to tremble at the thrill of the surgeon's knife, cheat death with the point of a syringe and hold life to ransom with nothing but a bag of blood and a pair of plastic gloves.
The idea of a game that actually lets you handle the surgeon's knie is just too attractive to resist - your imagination runs riot with images of brain surgery, cardiac arrests and complicated kidney transplants.
That's why, despite its outstanding originality, Life And Death comes as a bit of a disappointment. You only get to wet your scalpel on one sort of operation - appendectomy - and there are only two or three non-surgical treatments which it's very easy to get the hang of.
That's not to say the surgery itself isn't absorbing. Making accurate incisions, watching the ECG and administering the right drugs takes plenty of practice and leaves lots of room for improving your technique.
What's ultimately lacking though, is variety. A bigger choice of operations would definitely improve long-term playability and reduce the sense of routine.
The graphics are limited to CGA and become slightly indistinguishable on the operating table - subject matter like this would definitely benefit from the additional colours of EGA, especially when accurate procedures like clamping and cutting in exactly the right spot are so important.
What little sound there is is helpful as an aural guide during cutting. For the curiosity value alone, this is one package you have just got to see - and if you value originality more than variety you may end up buying it too.
|Value For Money||65%|