House, M.D.


posted 12/27/2010 by Ben Berry
other articles by Ben Berry
One Page Platforms: PC
Once you investigate the whole area, you’re returned to the hospital with your samples to run tests. Tests consist of mini-puzzles that are far better suited to the Wii than a point and click PC game. It’s difficult to understand how working blood through a mousetrap like machine or “zapping” or collecting various bacteria as it moves across across microscope slide is anything like the work seen on the show. These tests are highly repetitive and offer almost nothing to the feel of the game. I understand they were looking to make it feel more medical and less like a CSI game set in a hospital, but they were way off track with this approach. Offering tests that required less interaction with machines and more with the patient may have a far better way to approach the game. An example would have been giving a patient a CT and having to identify the area of the brain experiencing problems based on what the patient has told them and what the game could provide in terms of medical knowledge.

The little bit of audio in the game is distracting as it comes mostly during the tests and feels incredibly fake in trying to provide drama to a scene where there is none. The background music in the show suits the mood of the case, not the drama of the tests being run, and the game could and should have picked up on that same usage.

The worst part of the game, the part that still makes me disappointed to think about was the attempt to replicate white board differential diagnosis sessions that are the centerpiece of every episode of House. Instead of perhaps providing a list of a few potential diagnoses of the illness along with cause and symptoms, and expanding and contracting that list based on the symptoms that the player has seen, they simply throw words at the player in a sort of moving word jumble that only requires the player to click on the diagnosis that properly fits the number of Hangman-style blanks at the top of the board. If I was say 10 years old, I still don’t think I would have seen this as the best way to re-create this part of the show.

There is so little right with the game, I wonder how much of the show the development team had actually seen. I mean they got the characters names right, and the faces drawn matched those names. But beyond that, there’s just so much wrong or bad here that it simply isn’t worth playing. And for a game that would mostly appeal to House, MD fans to begin with, their target audience is the group most likely to be disappointed and the least likely to be forgiving. House, M.D. the TV show is smart, funny, occasionally crass and often touching; House, M.D. is none of those things.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

This patient could be a zombie except that zombies have to have been alive once to come back to life after death. House, M.D. is D.O.A. and isn't even suitable as a time waster.

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