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Your chance to play doctors and nurses...

Life and Death logo

Distributor: Mindscape Price: £25.99


The surgery part of Life and Death comes into its own as far as gameplay goes. There is so much to do it must be like the real thing. For added realism I suppose you would have to play the game for 72 hours at a time just like the real junior doctors do. Plain diagnosis can get a little boring after a while but the blood and guts of the surgery makes up for it.


There isn't much in the game soundwise. You hear the doors opening and closing as you enter rooms. One very nice touch is the moans and groans of patients as you prod them to see where it hurts. Apart from this there is very little, but then who needs it in a game like this?


The graphics just can't be faulted. Very clear and detailed around the hospital, and as for the surgery, well let's just say it can be very bloodthirsty and Mindscape certainly haven't pulled back from letting you see everything. If ever a game had near-perfect graphics, this is it.


Life and Death M any computer games are about saving people, but most of them have you slaughtering armies single-handed to save the woman or whoever. Well, things have changed a little now. Mindscape gives the chance to play doctors and nurses from the comfort of your own operating theatre... er, I mean the comfort of your own home. No more mowing down hundreds of men with a machine gun – now it is up to you to cure people of various ailments from kidney stones to full-blown arthritis.

You are a trainee doctor who is learning the profession in the newly opened Toolworks General Hospital. (Now you can tell its is only a game – whoever heard of a hospital opening lately?). The authorities have decided that the best way for you to learn is by hands-on experience. Yep, it's in the deep end for you.

On entering the hospital the first thing you have to do is sign in so the hospital knows who exactly is doing the damage to its reputation. From here on in, the innocent patients are at your mercy as you attempt to show just how good a doctor you are.

The receptionist tells you where your next patient is so that you don't keep them hanging around too long – after all, some of them don't have too long to hang around. On entering patients' rooms you see them lying in bed looking all sorry for themselves.
The first thing you have to do is look at the clipboard at the bottom of the bed to see what the patient is complaining of. From the clipboard you can order any test to be done, refer the patient to a specialist or you can decide to operate yourself.

Before you complete your diagnosis, however, you must physically examine your patient. This entails prodding them in the stomach to see whether it hurts or not. Correct diagnosis is essential if you want to further your career. After all, giving someone open heart surgery for indigestion is not exactly what you would call good doctoring is it?

If your diagnosis leads to surgery you had better prepare yourself for some of the most complex gameplay you are ever likely to see. You see, surgery is not just a case of opening your patient up with a quick slash of a scalpel, ripping out the problem and then a quick stitch to finish up.
First up you have to select the right surgical team. Some team members won't work well with certain others, so you have to get the balancing act just right. Then you have to prepare yourself, although this involves nothing more than making sure you are wearing gloves.

The fun starts as you prep the patient. The first time you operate I can guarantee that the patient will be dead in under a minute. There is so much to do to ensure longevity that you just won't think about some of what you have to do. Remember you have to anaesthetise your patient, sterilise the work area, inject certain drugs, the list just goes on and on.

The scene is just as gruesome and bloody as the real thing. In one of my ops there was so much blood all over the place I couldn't see what I was supposed to be cutting and this lead to the inevitable result – death for the patient. In fact, until you get the hang of all the aspects of the game you will probably end up killing lots of people. Fortunately, the game doesn't end when you kill someone, you just get a reprimand from the head surgeon.

For those who prefer to learn as they play there is a classroom you will be called to after each treatment to learn where you went wrong and what to do in the future. Other doctors will page you from time to time to offer advice and information on the patients and their conditions but it is down to you to decide what to do and when.

Life and Death has been a long time coming – it has been on the cards for over a year now. Already a sequel, subtitled The Brain, has been released on the PC which promotes you to the role of a brain surgeon. Sounds gross!
Anyway Life and Death is a very nice looking game. Gross but nice. To sum up, it may be a little repetitive if you keep getting your diagnoses wrong, but that should act as an incentive to do better.
Ben Mears

"Game Zone", Amiga Computing, Issue 40, September 1991, p.p.56-57

Life and Death logo

Lust auf Dokterspiele mit der "Freundin"? Und zwar nicht bloß so oberflächliche mit 'nem bisschen Fummeln, sondern gleich richtig : Betäuben – Aufschneiden – Rumwühlen! Ja?

Life and Death Der Halbgott in Weiß braucht hier kein Medizinstudium, das einzige, was er studiert haben sollte, ist die deutsche Anleitung. Life & Death ist nämlich weniger ein Spiel als ein unterhaltsamer Einführungskursus in die schneidige Kunst der Chirurgie. Daher wird auch nicht gleich drauflosgeschnippelt – vor dem Operationsvergnügen kommt erst mal die harte Arbeit der Diagnose!

Man fängt als junger Stationsarzt in der Abteilung für Unterleibchirurgie des Toolworks General Hospital an. Nach ein paar guten Ratschlägen vom Chef in der angeschlossenen Medizinschule schickt uns Schwester Monika zum ersten Patienten. Der wird ein bißchen abgetastet, um die Herkunft der Schmerzen genauer zu lokalisieren, dann liest man sich auf dem Krankenblatt die vorhandenen Symptome durch. Tja, und schon schreiten wir zur Therapie: Handelt es sich nur um ordinäre Blähungen, läßt man sein Opfer einfach ein paar Tage beobachten, bei Verdacht auf Nierensteine ordnet man eine Röntgenaufnahme an und überweist den Patienten anschließend an einen Kollegen, vermutet man dagegen eine bakterielle Infektion, wird medikamentös behandelt. Sollte es sicher aber um handeln, folgt endlich die Stunde der Bewährung – es darf operiert werden!

Auch im OP muß man wieder absolut alles selbst machen, und das möglichst nach den Regeln der Kunst: Erstmal Hände waschen, Schutzhandschuhe überziehen, die vorgesehene Einschnittstelle desinfizieren, den Patienten betäuben (damit er sich nicht wehrt), den Herzschlag per EKG überwachen, schneiden, klammern, nähen usw.. Ist die Sache trotz aller Bemühung schiefgelaufen, gibt's ‚nen Rüffel vom Chef, und man muß noch mal in die Medizinschule. Halb so wil, der Patient findet sich schließlich in der Regel am Friedhof wieder…
Das Diagnostizieren wird zwar schnell langweilig, weil man die diversen Symptome samt den entsprechenden Therapien bald auswendig runterbeten kann, aber der Schwerpunkt der Angelegenheit liegt eh beim Operieren, und das ist schwer, sogar verdammt schwer. Wer's nicht glaubt, kann immer noch den Schwierigkeitsgrad höher stellen – es gibt drei Stufen plus einem speziellen „Nightmare"-Modus für ganz Hartgesottene.

Die Grafik sieht besser aus als bei der (Bereits 1988 verschienenen!) PC-Version, ist aber trotzdem nicht sonderlich berauschend: soundmäßig sind nur vereinzelte Schmerzensschreie und Türensschlagen zu hören. Die Maussteuerung klappt recht ordentlich, klickt man jedoch zu hastig herum, steigt das Programm manchmal aus. Schlußdiagnose: Eine ungewöhnliche Simulation wie man sie seit dem vorsintflutlichen „The Surgeon" nicht mehr am Amiga gesehen hat – nicht unbedingt hat – nicht unbedingt lustig, aber fesselnd! (mm)

Amiga Joker, September 1991, p.?

Der Amiga Joker meint:
"Life & Death – eine gelungene Opera… äh, Simulation!"

Amiga Joker
Life & Death
Grafik: 59%
Sound: 13%
Handhabung: 62%
Spielidee: 83%
Dauerspaß: 74%
Preis/Leistung: 72%

Red. Urteil: 71%
Preis: ca 69,- dm
Hersteller: Mindscape
Genre: Simulation

Spezialität: Mehr Optionen bei 1MB, Codewheel-Abfrage, Gummihandschuhe und Gesichtsmaske in der Packung.

Life and Death logo

Life and Death
Dr Merrett, armed with his HM Customs-approved rubber gloves, enters the clinically-white area of the Mindscape hospital. Ready for another average day, his hand some features sadly covered by his germ-proof protective mask, he may perform one or two miraculous life-saving operations without even breaking into a sweat. His cheery smile obscured by his facemask, Merrett raises his eyes at the buxom receptionist who, after giving him his rota for the day, swoons at his feet [and then he wakes up! - Ed].

Mindscape's Dr Kildare simulation, Life And Death, finally makes it to the Amiga in all its gory glory - with appendectomies and trapped wind galore. As a trainee Doctor, Mindscape set the player the unenviable task of diagnosing and subsequently curing a series of patients of their bodily anomalies. The premise for a game based on the world of operations and generally slicing open innocent people who've only come in with in-grown toe nails, is an extremely enjoyable one, but, of course, there are certain limitations to consider. As a novice surgeon, I would have really liked to be able to dive in with my series of scalpels and saws and dismember a few patients and, quite literally, show them what they're made of. However, before the player is allowed to start dicing up the specimens, a series of smaller, more mundane, sequences must be bypassed. Starting in the hospital reception area, the player must first enter medical school before they are shown their first patient.
From the school, the would-be Doctor is asked to give his opinion on the courses of prescription available to the assorted oddballs currently awaiting surgery. Initially, minor operations such as diagnosing wind and gallstones ease the player into the game, but later on there are some decent ops to be had.

The whole game is mouse controlled, with the pointer guiding the player into and out of class and theatre, and also used to collect and utilise the various implements during surgery. Using the customary point 'n' click system, the assortment of scalpels, sponges, and blood supplies can be selected and used - whenever relevant, of course. In addition, during the course of an operation, the surrounding surgeons assisting you will be on hand to give advice if you're making a pig's ear of things.

The main problem with Life And Death's gameplay is that it's too linear. I would have preferred to have had a variety of operations to experiment on, rather than be dropped straight in at the deep end. There's no doubting that the idea is a viable one, it's just that the computer picks you up on the tiniest mistakes and, whilst this probably is true of the real thing, it just doesn't make the game very enjoyable. The operations themselves - when you finally access them - are quite fun, but are still rather 'trial and error' and I seriously doubt the game's lasting appeal. However, the more patient and methodical among you may not have this problem. The next game in the series deals with the brain, personally I can't wait for Life and Death: The Post Mortem, when we can cut up some corpses without fear of reprisal.
Dr Merrett (Struck Off)

CU Amiga, July 1991, p.81


The second game in the Life And Death series will he based on the intricate subject of brain surgery. Allowing the player to carve a niche for themselves In this difficult career(!), The Brain offers a wide number of drills and bits with which to conduct exploratory surgery into an innocent patient's grey matter. Where the series will go after this, we aren't sure, but we've got a few suggestions First of all, we'd like to see Life And Death III: The Colostomy Bag, followed by Life And Death IV: Jimmy's. The latter of which invites the player to operate whilst looking at his or her best for the camera.

Like the local butcher at times, but great fun.