Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dark Cut

Are you tired of all those medical dramas with all of their fancy-shmancy technology? Do you long for a return to the days when bonesaws and leeches were principal players in the medical practitioner's toolkit? Well, if that's the case, then Dark Cut is the game for you. Here, you have to heal three patients using the best medicine the 14th century has to offer.

The game itself is very straightforward -- it tells you what you need to do at each step; most tasks are very simple timing or precision positioning tasks, and it's generally pretty clear how to reach your objective (there are a couple exceptions -- it's not at all clear during the sawing that you don't want the saw to go too far either way, for instance). The procedures themselves feel at least somewhat realistic, though I'm sure a liberal amount of poetic license has been applied, until you reach the third patient, which is a vampire that you have to kill (so much for the Hippocratic Oath, I guess).

This game is a jmtb02 production, which means the usual high production values (and stars!), but it's definitely, well, much darker than the typical jmtb02 game. There's plenty of blood and gore, so this game is certainly not for the squeamish; there aren't any sound effects (which is probably for the better, all things considered), but the background music is very ominous and foreboding. Overall, I felt a little queasy playing through this game the first time, thanks to the combination of the graphicness of the operating table and the spooky music.

The most frustrating thing about the game is that if you should fail, you have to go all the way back to the beginning, which is no fun, especially if you fail on the third and final patient. Other than that, it's definitely a very creative game, but the core gameplay principles are pretty basic, so it doesn't require any particularly creative thinking, just exacting execution. Overall, I would say this is a solid game, but not necessarily one you'll have fun playing, simply because it can be so unpleasant at times.

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