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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Amateur Surgeon - Game of the Day

What is it?Amateur Surgeon (aka, Alan Probe: Amateur Surgeon) allows you to perform many crazy and often hilarious surgeries on a wild assortment of seedy characters. To add insult to injury (pun very much intended), you’re a pizza delivery boy, and not a doctor.

Who made it? – The game was developed by the evil geniuses at AdultSwim.

How does it play? – Anyone who’s ever played the board game called Operation will immediately understand the concept and gameplay, although folks who have played any of the Trauma Center games will have even more of a leg up.

Instead of a traditional suite of surgical implements, the pizza boy turned medicine man performs his duties using makeshift (and humorous) tools. A pizza cutter stands in for a scalpel, a stapler serves to replace stitches, and a cigarette lighter is used to cauterize wounds. Some tools have multiple uses, and you’ll need to follow specific procedures, depending on the medical problems you encounter.

You’ll need to save a variety of patients suffering from progressively more bizarre ailments, ranging from broken bones, to bullet wounds, to failing organs. In one of the stranger levels, you’ll need to remove a series of computer tracking chips from a repeat lawbreaker.

Presentation – With a cartoony visual style that’s like a twisted mash-up of South Park and Ren and Stimpy, Amateur Surgeon’s production values are excellent. If there’s a perfect middle-ground between funny, disgusting, and disturbing – without ever being stomach-churning – this game lives there.

PositivesAdult Swim produces some great Flash games, and Amateur Surgeon is no exception. The gameplay packs a lot of variety, serves up some pretty wicked challenges, and has a truly devious sense of humor. The mouse-driven controls are also very well implemented, and feel appropriately sensitive.

Negatives – Some of the patients are darn tough to cure. Not only are the levels timed, but you’ll also have to closely monitor your patient’s vital signs and make on-the-fly adjustments to prevent him from expiring. Casually-inclined gamers may be put off by a good deal of reflex-based gameplay.

Why you should play itAmateur Surgeon is awesome, disgusting fun. The game is fairly easy to learn, but packs enough challenge and variety to keep the experience entertaining throughout. If you’re looking for a game with more personality than a schizophrenic, and aren’t turned off by cartoonish gore, you should definitely check this one out.

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