House M.D.

Posted by Anand Vedula.
First posted on 01 April 2013. Last updated on 01 April 2013.
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House M.D.
House is a brilliant doctor with poor bedside manner.
House M.D.
The whiteboard is used to record the differential diagnosis made by the team.
House M.D.
Examining the patient provides important clues to discovering the correct diagnosis.
House M.D.
Blood samples are processed by adjusting the valves and motors in the analyzer.
House M.D.
Some medical procedures are simulated as part of the diagnostic testing.

The game is available at GamersGate.

The game House M.D. is based on the popular American television show of the same name. It is a point-and-click casual adventure and puzzle game that closely follows the format of the television show. The game features Gregory House as the main protagonist and includes all the same major characters from the television show, including Allison Cameron, Robert Chase, Lisa Cuddy, Eric Foreman, Remy "Thirteen" Hadley, Chris Taub, and James Wilson.

The game is divided into 5 episodes. Each episode features a separate case to solve:

Episode 1—Globetrotting: An aging television host becomes sick while being on air. He cares more about his fame than his health.

Episode 2—Blue Meanie: An abrasive chef falls violently ill at work. Her whole body turns blue.

Episode 3—Skull and Bones: A college kid suddenly loses feeling in his arms when a fraternity hazing goes awry.

Episode 4—Crashed: A teenage gymnast, who is recently involved in a car crash, is found to have uncontrollable bleeding. The cause of the blood disorder appears to be more than just a vitamin deficiency.

Episode 5—Under the big top: A middle-aged circus manager is strangled by a horse after he collapses unexpectedly at work.

Like the television show, the game begins with a prologue introducing the patient from each case to House and his team at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. House agrees to take up the case, after making some remarks about strange or interesting findings in the patient. He writes a differential diagnosis on the whiteboard and listens to the team for additional ideas which he is always quick to ridicule. The bantering goes on until he and the team agree on a tentative diagnosis and the team leaves to perform the necessary tests. Whenever the initial treatment fails to work (which happens too frequently), House may order the team to search the patient's home or workplace and to interview the patient's relatives or friends for clues. Eventually, in some unrelated but convenient moment, House discovers the cause of the illness, administers the proper treatment, and cures the patient. In between, House also needs to fulfill his clinic duties which he dreads.

Gameplay in each case is made up of a series of mini-games. It ranges from mini-games for examining the patient to running different tests (such as extracting and analyzing blood samples, recording electrocardiograms, performing biopsies, and sorting microbes) to performing emergency procedures (such as tracheal intubation). There is even a mini-game for delivering the correct dosages of medication. All of the mini-games are very simple and straightforward, though a help button exists to provide detailed instructions if needed. A couple of mini-games are a bit more interesting than the rest: there is a mini-game in which the player is tasked to steal a sandwich and bring it to House without getting caught by the hospital's staff, and there is a mini-game in which the player is tasked to remove the contents of a purse and then put it back in their original order. For the hidden object mini-games, the player can pan around the screen to locate each object that becomes highlighted when it is found.

To make a differential diagnosis, the player has to select the name of a disease from the list of different diseases that move randomly on screen in order to fill in the correct blanks hiding the diagnosis of interest. Once the blanks are filled, House either ridicules the diagnosis until it is struck off the list or asks the team to run the tests to prove or disprove it.

Unfortunately, most of the mini-games are very repetitive and get boring very quickly. Some mini-games, such as analyzing blood samples, are burdened by rudimentary tutorials that cannot be skipped. The mini-game wherein the player must intubate the patient does not have the sense of urgency that befits the life or death situation. The most irritating mini-game is the mini-game in which the player has to keep the centrifuge spinning to run the test.

To examine a patient, the player simply clicks on a part of the patient's body. Icons (with exclamation marks) are displayed on the body to show the areas of interest. The player can then choose to use either a glove, a light, a magnifying glass, or a stethoscope to click on each area to investigate further. To interview a patient, a relative, or a friend, the player just clicks on the options displayed on screen until the right answer is selected.

Not surprisingly, compared to the television show, the dialog for the game is not as well written. It is filled with too many one-liners that sound more insulting than sarcastic. Still, some of the bantering is genuinely quite funny.

The graphics adopt a comic book style that is intended to be cartoonish looking. The characters from the television show are easily recognizable.

The background music is good, but the sounds effects are poor. There are no voiceovers for the characters.

The cases featured in the game are just as bizarre as those featured in the television show. However, the game lacks the euphoric moment of the television show when House finally discovers the cause of the patient's illness and cures the patient. Unlike the television show that keeps the viewer guessing about the diagnosis, the game is unable to keep the player puzzled to the same degree. As well, unlike the television show in which the team is seen fighting at every moment to save the patient from dying, the player never experiences the urgency to save the patient. In all, the game simply lacks the brisk pacing of the television show.

The game allows the player to create a profile to track the overall progress which the player makes on the cases. The save feature permits saving even in mid of a case. However, if the game is saved while solving a puzzle or playing a mini-game, the game will return to the beginning of the puzzle or the mini-game when it is restored. After finishing all the cases, the player can return to select any case to play it again. Unfortunately, there is really no replay value to the game once all of the cases have been solved.

For gamers who are fans of the television show, House M.D. is sadly a disappointment. For those who are not fans of the television show, the game offers simply too little to be worth playing.

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