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Trauma Team: Doctors!

Company: Atlus

Past looks at Trauma Team have focused on the six play modes - Surgery, EMT, Orthopedics, Endoscopy, Diagnostics, Forensics - but little has been shown of the game's multiplayer side. Single-player sections are, in a word, intense. Even early-level operations are enough to make you put the controller down and take a few deep breaths. Adding a second player takes some of the edge off, but adds a completely new sense of wonderful panic.

Only a few modes feature co-op play and at first glance, it comes off as an afterthought. Surgery is the same style of play found in previous games. During co-op games, each player is charged with half the radial tool dial, placing each in charge of specific tasks. The set-up feels clumsy; trying to keep the patient alive with only half your tools is frustrating. You know what to do, but have to rely on the other surgeon to use certain tools. About halfway through your first procedure, it clicks. Players can perform tasks at the same times, so rather than focusing on one part of the operation, each surgeon can go about their tasks, asking for help when you need a tool not under your control. Even with expert communication, it's tricky, but it's every bit as intense as the single-player game.

EMT builds on the Surgery system, but with a much quicker pace. Tasks aren't as complicated as those found in Surgery, but instead of worrying about one patient, you're charged with a never-ending patient load. It's exciting, but in a frantic way. Every patient comes with a different set of injuries, requiring you to first assess the situation and then treat it before the patient flatlines. You're out of the controlled hospital environment, so patients take a plunge quicker. Just to complicate things, you're usually tasked with keeping tabs on 2 - 3 patients (none of whom have the courtesy to crash at a manageable pace) and every stabilized patient is usually replaced with another 2 - 3. Whew!

In single-player, EMT is a one of Trauma Team's harder modes, and only gets harder in co-op. Rather than perform tasks on the same patient, each player is charged with a different patient in the workload. In single-player, you can quickly switch between patients, but in co-op, you need to wrap up your patient as quickly as possible before your fellow EMT can move on to theirs. As you'd expect, this leads to a lot "encouragement" between players; you're not just racing against you're patient's clock, but your partner's as well.

Hearing someone say Trauma Team offers a lot of gameplay is one thing, but getting a chance to experience it is something different. As a long-time fan of the series, I can already say Trauma Team is shaping up as my favorite entry in the series. We'll have a full review later this week.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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