|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Torus Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 23, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Coming up with a correct diagnosis requires you to run a battery of different tests on the creature. You can check its pulse, weight, respiratory rate, and temperature, x-ray body parts, magnify different areas, and use a microscope to check blood, skin, and hair. In each case you'll use the touch screen to drag the icon onto the specific area of the creature you wish to check.
Once a reading is gained, you're given the option to operate. Before slicing and dicing willy-nilly you must compare its vitals to the baseline information contained in DOCC (Doctor's Observational Computerized Clipboard). If something seems abnormal, then you can indicate an operation is necessary. Players will often have to run more tests to locate numerous problems before they can actually begin to operate on the animal. If you make a mistake during the examination, Aunt Lucy will gently scold you and take the animal away, forcing you to start all over again. When you do arrive at a proper diagnosis you'll move on to the treatment phase which incorporates a wide range of short operation mini-games.
Player will engage in operations ranging from dentistry, shaving hotspots, injecting antibiotics, repairing broken bones, and extraction of foreign objects, among others. The accompanying touch screen mini-games will have you doing things like removing forks from maze-like stomachs, battling blood diseases by wiping out the diseased cells with the stylus, and suturing bite wounds. Sometimes an animal will not require an invasive operation, and it's left to heal on its own. Other times it just needs some gentle petting to be calmed down. The mini-games look good, but they're short and sweet. Think of them as extremely simplified, kid-friendly style operations similar to those found in Trauma Center. Players are given a grade based on how well you (they rather than you) did with each operation. As you continue to successfully treat different species , the game gives you medals and awards for your efforts, and collecting these trophies is the only discernable objective - aside from making the animal feel better.
There must be something horribly wrong with the drinking water at this zoo since it seems animals are prone to becoming sick at a rapid pace. As soon as you cure one creature another falls ill. After the initial thrill of diagnosis and treatments wears off, the game quickly steers into a rut of repetition. You'll be curing the same creatures of slightly different ailments again and again with little new in the way of variation. Once you've played all the mini-games a few times each , there's not much else to look forward to.
The addition of more zoo locations, perhaps an actual plot with real story twists, or really just anything thrown in to break up the monotony that sets in after an hour or so of play would greatly extend the life of this title and push it closer to being a hit. A meager multi-player option lets you cooperate with a friend during operations: one of you will do the dirty work while the other pets the animal to keep it calm. Occasionally good graphics, somewhat interesting mini-games, and a good game concept fail to save Zoo Hospital in light of the fact so much more could have been done to make the game feel more complete. There was a lot of potential for greatness here, so hopefully next time around the developers take the extra time to go the distance.
CCC Freelance Writer