Kenshuui Tendo Dokuta Import Hands-On

We don our scrubs and check out Spike's strange hospital adventure game on Nintendo's new handheld.

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One of the things that you wouldn't expect to see on a new handheld's launch is a fully featured adventure game, which is exactly what Spike's new DS game Tendou Dokuta is. We checked out the import to see how this hospital adventure game plays.

When you turn on Tendou Dokuta for the first time, the game puts you in the shoes of the main character of the same name without providing much explanation. Tendou is a newbie intern who just graduated from one of the worst medical schools in Japan, Yabu-i-dai (or Quack University). However, for some odd reason, he finds himself invited to work in one of the country's best hospitals by its chief surgeon, who's also one of the world's best-known doctors when it comes to immunology.

The game begins as you set foot into your new hospital for the first time, and a nurse, who's extremely clumsy (but possibly cute if you like the game's distinct art style), comes to you, crying that a patient is in dire need. You get escorted to an old lady who's complaining that her knee is hurting, and you check her body to see what's wrong. Here, you're taught about the basic controls, and then you're off to use your newfound knowledge to help out a patient that needs surgery in a serious way.

Tendou Dokuta is basically divided into three parts. Since this is an adventure game, most of it is played by walking around different areas of the hospital, meeting people, and asking questions to get new information. The way you ask questions or use items during events is almost identical to the item system from Capcom's Gyakuten Saiban series. There's an item menu that you can open up with the X button, and you can slide the menu left and right to select the object you want to use or ask questions about. Hitting the R button while you're in the item menu will allow you to switch to a list of character dossiers, which you can similarly use when you want to ask questions about that person, or call out for that person when he or she is nearby. For example, if you want to ask a doctor questions about a patient, you'd open up the dossier and use it while the doctor's in front of you. Or, if you're in the middle of surgery and you want to see if the patient's doing well under anesthesia, you'd select the anesthesiologist's dossier to talk to him.

Before you operate, you need to figure out what's wrong with the patient. To do this, you start off by asking questions in the method that's mentioned above. Asking the patient questions might solve the problem by itself, which was the case when we saw the old lady. But for patients with more serious cases, you might need to talk to other doctors for advice or to enlist their skills. Another thing you have to do in order to figure out what's wrong with the patient is to check the patient's body, which can be done by using your stylus and poking at the area that your patient is complaining about until you've pinpointed the problem.

When you've figured out the problem with your patient, and if he or she needs an operation, you use your stylus to select the area that you'll perform surgery on. You'll draw a circle around the patient's affected body part, but the detection in the game is pretty picky and you'll probably need a couple of tries before you can successfully mark the right spot. What makes the surgery additionally difficult is that the game only gives you some rough hints about where you should mark the circle. Although you're told how close you are to circling the correct area by a percentage indication when you miss the target, it's not all that reliable because that percentage amount really fluctuates.

One thing that should be mentioned is that most parts of Tendou Dokuta are easier to play by using the classic control of the D pad and buttons. You can use the stylus to play though the game as well, but, for example, it doesn't give you the convenience of fast forwarding through the messages like you can do by holding the B button. However, checking the patient's body and performing surgery are two parts of the game where the use of the stylus is mandatory.

Another thing that should be mentioned about Tendou Dokuta is that there have been absolutely no graphic scenes up to where we've played so far. There are no warnings about blood on the game's packaging or manual either, so you probably have no reason to worry about fainting while you're playing the game.

Tendou Dokuta, despite being a game that's about surgery, attempts to be humorous with its odd-looking characters with their strong personalities. It's up to the player whether the game's storyline actually is funny, but we noticed in particular that the game took a stab at parodying a famous scene from the hit Japanese TV series Shiroi Kyotou, a nationally broadcasted show about a hospital that aired about a year ago. Tendou Dokuta looks like a pretty solid adventure game, but you'll definitely need knowledge of Japanese if you're thinking of picking up the import, and having some knowledge of the country's modern culture will help further your enjoyment of the game as well.

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