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Emergency Room: Code Red

Score: 30%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Legacy Interactive
Developer: EA Games
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

For those of you who don't know, Macromedia Flash is a graphics tool usually used for web sites. There are two reasons for me telling you this. The first is for you to get a good understanding of what these graphics are like, if you don't know about them already. The second, as you may already have guessed, is because that is what the graphics in Emergency Room: Code Red are made with. Using real pictures and Flash animations, the hospital workplace hardly comes alive in this game. The FMV cut scenes they threw in were a feeble attempt to try and save this game. Too little, too late.

The sound effects also sound like something you'd find off a web site. Uninspired and infrequent, the sound does more hurt than help. The music is also pathetically ordinary. It tries to add a bit of drama to the game, but falls all too short.


Let it be said that becoming a doctor is far from the easiest thing in the world. Many people try, and many fail. It requires years of study, and years more to master. Now, with that tidbit of info, you may wonder why anyone would try to make a game on this subject. As with the other unanswerable questions of the universe, this one may never be solved. Emergency Room: Code Red certainly does not help to reach that goal.

Once in the game, a nurse will run you through the steps on what to do. Upon completing your tour of the hospital and it's functions, you're thrown into the fray. Pick your patients and help them with their needs. Patients range from abused old ladies to suicidal housewives (my favorite). An interesting bunch of misfits will cross the examining table before you're finished with this game.

Working on a patient requires you to use an assortment of instruments. Some you may have seen, and some you may have never seen. After poking and prodding and figuring out what exactly is wrong with the ailing individual, you have to diagnose them and sign them out. It may sound easy enough, but you're not exactly making a cheeseburger here. These are real live people you're working with here. OK, maybe not live people, but they look alive. Alright, they might not even look alive. Just use your imagination.

If the idea of being a doctor sounds strange to you, you can check out the handy dandy glossary of medical terms. It's long, uses big words, and is a great read if you want your eyes to start bleeding. I wonder if the makers of this game actually thought anybody would read this. For you trivia nuts out there, there's a trivia game about, you guessed it, doctor stuff. This might have been fun, if you didn't have to read that glossary beforehand in order to answer any of the questions.

My last complaint about the game is that it doesn't take all that much skill to win. Sure, you have to know a thing or two about doctoring, but the key to winning the game is to do certain steps in the right order. The closer you get to what the designers wanted, the better score you get. Eventually, it will come down to guess and check.


Though a game based on an extremely difficult profession, ER: Code Red isn't hard because of that particular reason. The difficulty settings only affect how material is presented to you. The harder the setting, the more cryptic the information will be. The real difficulty comes from the procedures you perform. As I said before, it all depends on what order you do things in. Guess and check is the only way to perfection here.

Game Mechanics:

Aside from performing actions on your patients, there really isn't any control in this game. Unlike in a real hospital, sticking people with needles or inserting catheters doesn't require a keen eye or steady hand. All you're required to do is navigate around the human body via the mouse, and the hardest part is trying to center your cursor on the smaller parts of the body, i.e. the eyeball.

In the future, good hospital games might be made. Apparently, that future is a long way away. The only entertainment to be gotten from this game is to rip everyone's chest open with the rib spreader, and even that gets old. Bad graphics, bad sound, far from fun, and seemingly pointless gameplay, ER: CR should be put back in it's box where it can't hurt anyone else.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 95/98/2K, 266 MHz processor, 32 MB RAM, 2 MB video card, 16X CD-ROM, sound card

Test System:

Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card

Windows Earth and Beyond Windows Etherlords II

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated