Review: Trauma Centre: Under The Knife

DS Review

It's time to put on those doctors gloves and rejoice because the first wave of quirky DS games is finally hitting U.S soil.

Trauma Center puts you in the shoes of an anime spiky haired hero Derek Stiles, a young surgeon who works at Hope Hospital. Dr. Stiles is quite a carefree character whose carelessness nearly costs a patients life. After this incident he decides to quit his profession, until something drastic happens and causes him to finally awaken and reveal his super human powers, the Healing Touch, a power that basically slows down time and allows him to react super quick in operations.

The story is presented on the top screen, where anime style characters speak to each other through stills and text. There isn't any voiceovers as such, just random words like "Doctor!" "Look!" etc. The story is reasonably interesting, you'll start by encountering your normal hospital nuisances but as you travel deeper into the story you'll encounter some crazy problems. I won't spoil much but global medical terrorism and guilt will be a big thing you'll come across.

All of the games operational action is done on the bottom screen with touch screen abilities. The game offers the user ten different surgical instruments at your disposal, so you will be slicing and dicing patients with your scalpel, picking out foreign objects with forceps and sucking up blood like a starving vampire with your drainage device. You are introduced to all these medical instruments while you are working on your patients. The Surgical Assistant, Mary Fulton will talk you over what to do while you operate. This happens throughout the game but don't assume that because she tells you what to do that the game will be easy. As you progress through the story you'll witness that the game gets increasingly tricky, the operations don't feel impossible, but you do get the feeling that someone has just kicked you in the face, multiple times.

Trauma Center won't be getting you a degree in medical science or be teaching you to actually do real life operations; the game doesn't try to be too complex or deep. You basically just click on one of the ten instruments and then do the required motion to use the item on your patient, do it wrong and your patient's vitals will drop. The patient has an electrocardiogram reading at the top of the bottom screen, this alerts the user on how well the patient is doing, reach zero or run out of time and you can say goodbye to your career.

The patients you operate on are all fully displayed in 3D, while the graphics aren't incredible they do get the job done, and you can easily see what the models are trying to represent. Since Trauma Center is an operation game, you would expect to see some of the red stuff, and you'll be pleased to hear that it's included. It isn't over the top so you won't be getting zombie B-movie style blood spewing out of the patients like a fountain, it's just a simple cloud of blood that appears above a wound and requires to be drained. The opposite could be said for the audio though, whilst operating you'll get to hear all the squishy squashy gooey noises that the game happily presents to you.


There isn't much audio included in the game. The score for the operations does its job well by setting the mood, if something goes wrong it will speed up and try and get your heart pounding. This merges exceptionally well into the gameplay; the frantic pace action along with the music makes you get into the tempo, you actually feel like you are trying to save someone's life, even though somewhere deep within you know it's just a videogame.

Story mode will probably last a gamer around 7-9 hours. It isn't the only mode in the game either as once you've healed patients in the story you then have the function of playing them again in challenge mode. This mode is basically the same as the story mode, but without a story confusingly enough. You'll be challenging the same patients but are trying to improve your scores. Trying to get that S rank is tricky, it's all about speed, accuracy and technique.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife is one of those games that would only play so well on the Nintendo DS. The touch screen helps the player take in the fast paced action of the game. Some slight problems arise when you are trying to touch things that appear right at the top of the screen, it seems not to function as well but it's only a minor blooper and it appears only on the operations where you have to zoom in (just moving the zoom sorts the problem out).

Atlus have supplied an incredibly enjoyable game that feels like a mix of an adventure puzzler. The idea may not be totally new but the way it is implemented with the touch screen makes it feel like a fresh experience that you won't be able to feel on another system. Go on, save someone's life.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Atlus have brought a pleasurable gaming experience to the DS with a game that isn't too complex so that anyone can pick it up and have some fun.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals3
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Feels Fresh and unique
Fast Paced Action


Pretty challenging
Lack of variety in music
May be repetitive to some

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