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Trauma Center: Second Opinion Review

By Brian Beck, 12/14/2006

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Does anyone remember playing Operation when they were a little kid? You know, the game with the big red board that you put D batteries into. You put these little pieces of plastic into holes and the plastic represented stuff like butterflies in the stomach. Then you’d draw a card and go to get them out with a tiny pair of tweezers but had to avoid the sides of the little hole – if you didn’t, there was a loud buzz and you didn’t get to keep going. The game was really fun but man, that buzzing really got to me. I’d often play the game without the buzz on because I really didn’t have steady hands or was out of working D-cell batteries. Those things definitely weren’t cheap and they didn’t last long in the game.

So, when the original Trauma Center game came out on the DS, I was really excited. A game where I could do operations without having to worry about any sort of loud and obnoxious buzzing if I messed up? I’m so there. I bought the game shortly after release (thankfully, it evidently became really hard to find for awhile) and played it a lot. I had a ton of fun with it and hoped that I’d get to see a sequel of some sorts to it. So, when I heard that the Wii was getting a Trauma Center game, I was excited. When I found out it would be a remake of the DS game, I wasn’t quite as excited, though the new “missions” helped it out some.

Trauma Center: Second Opinion is a very pretty remake of the Nintendo DS’s Trauma Center: Under the Knife. In the game, you take on the role of surgeon Derek Stiles and perform various operations. At first, the game starts you off easy – you’ll heal cuts and do some suturing. Later on, things get much more complicated and require the usage of your “healing touch”, an ability that can slow down time in the game. The difficulty level ramps up nicely and, at the end, will present an incredible challenge to many gamers. It never gets to the point where it isn’t fun, though, which I really liked.


So, then, the main focus of Trauma Center: Second Opinion on the Wii are the controls. For anyone that has played the DS version, you’ll be familiar with all of the tools offered here. Most of them work the same, except that they are controlled by the Wiimote and chosen with the Nunchuk. The forceps are operated by “pinching” the A and B buttons like a real pair of forceps – that change in operation of an instrument is probably the biggest.

There are a few new medical instruments in the game. The first and largest of these is the defibrillator. Instead of massaging a heart to get it started again, you now have to break out the defibrillator. To use it, you motion forward with the Wiimote and Nunchuk, hold them there then stop the meter in the green portion (which is pretty darn small). The motion works pretty well and it adds another interesting element to the Wii’s gameplay. You’ll also get to mess with a penlight and camera’s flash during some of the new missions that were added, but these didn’t feel as different as the defibrillator did.


There are quite a few levels added in to the game this time around. While you’ll still get all the ones that were in the DS version of the game, there are some new ones to play through featuring a second doctor, Nozomi Weaver. Additionally, there are some missions where you get to play as both Weaver and Stiles. Finally, for those that have played the really hard X missions in Under the Knife, they’re back and harder than ever in Second Opinion. There’s a ton here even if you’ve beaten the DS version – the different style of gameplay with the new missions amount to an entirely new experience.

The graphics are also redone pretty nicely. While they looked pretty good for what they were on the DS, they look really great on a TV. If you have an HD set, make sure you buy some component cables if you can find them to help the game look even better – it is well worth it. The game’s style is the same, “cutscenes” are done in a fairly typical style where one character’s image comes on the screen, they talk, the other character’s picture comes on the screen and this continues on. It is effective at getting the story across and fits with the game’s overall feel – there don’t need to be animated scenes or anything here. The sounds and voices are fine and serve their purpose but aren’t anything extraordinary. There are more voices in this version though, due to the much larger size of the Wii disc vs the DS cartridge.

Overall, Trauma Center: Second Opinion is a very fun game that takes advantage of the unique control scheme on the Wii. While many of the levels are recycled from the DS version, there are still many new ones that are just as fun if not more so than the original ones. Whether you just play the missions to get through them for the story or want to beat them all with an S-ranking, there is tons of fun to be had in this game. It also does a great job of showing off just how the Wii’s controls can make for an experience that you can’t get on any other home console.

Overall: 92%

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