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Video Game / Amateur Surgeon

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Amateur Surgeon is a series of medical based action puzzle games developed by MediaTonic and published by AdultSwim for Flash and mobile ports (or to put it simply, Trauma Center with idiots). The series is mainly centered around former pizza deliverer Alan Probe and his life after entering his dream job world of surgery, with latter installments introducing his disciples and successors. The games provide plenty of examples of Black Comedy and gross-out humor with an unique difficulty curve, easily seen with Alan's arsenal of improvised medical tools. The most iconic is a pizza cutter, which he and other playable characters in the games use as a scalpel.

The first game, Amateur Surgeon (available on Flash here), was released in May 4, 2008, and involves Alan starting his surgeon career after treating his later mentor Dr. Ignacious Bleed, whom he accidentally ran over in a pizza delivery van, with household objects as surgery tools. With Bleed's help, he treats a number of other people (mostly criminals) on the streets, many of whom were injured in rather unusual traumatic events.

The game led to a number of follow-ups in the series:

  • Amateur Surgeon: Christmas Edition (December 2008): A pack of additional Christmas-themed levels for the first game. Taking place about 10 years after the first game, Alan has become an infamous surgeon, and conceived the tools he had used before as a new innovative form of surgery (referred to in later games as "Improvised Surgery"). When he accidentally crashes against Santa Claus on a private jet, he has to treat him and several others to save Christmas.
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  • Amateur Surgeon 2 (June 2010): 41 years after Amateur Surgeon: Christmas Edition, Alan retires after Improvised Surgery was banned in his home country of the United States. An aide to the US president, Bradley, wants to help him bring Improvised Surgery back, but Alan soon finds out that the overall context of this is a lot deeper than that.
  • Amateur Surgeon 3: Tag Team Trauma (August 8, 2013): The first game to be released exclusively for mobile devices (the previous two main games were released simultaneously for Flash and mobile). Taking place around the same time as Amateur Surgeon: Christmas Edition, the game deals with Alan's first known student, Ophelia Payne, who's tasked to treat people in surreal places around the world.
  • Amateur Surgeon 4: Regenerations (December 1, 2016): In this game, you play as Dr. Ignacious Bleed II, a clone of Bleed created after the events of Amateur Surgeon 2 who has to reintroduce Improvised Surgery to the rest of the world and cure "Clone Disease".
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  • There's also a Facebook spin-off game titled Amateur Surgeon Hospital, which focuses on running one of Alan's "Bleed Everywhere" clinics.

The series has only focused on Amateur Surgeon 4: Regenerations since 2016. Said game has been constantly updated with the addition of several side storylines to play alongside the main one and the hosting of in-game events (including a crossover event with Rick and Morty).

This series provides examples of:

  • Assist Character: The third game onward features Tag Team Partners, who can grant various abilities, such as healing the patient for a set amount of health, stopping time and even bringing the patient back to life with voodoo magic.
  • Ascended Fanboy: A Let's Play YouTube channel that made videos for the whole series, Waffle Bros (then known as Spicywaffle), was given a cameo in the fourth game. In a side story surgery on Iron Wang, you have to extract a waffle with chili peppers on it, which is a reference to Waffle Bros' icon.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • Just somehow the patient will always survive your Meat Grinder Surgery (if you beat the stage that is), and always turn out completely healthy and good-as-new afterwards, no matter how serious their injuries were.
    • There are two levels in the series where you give patients "body modifications". The first one is Donny Debonair from the first game (act 2, patient 5), where you saw off a large piece of flesh tissue from him and insert a golden plaque there. The second is Miss Distress from the second game (act 1, patient 6), which involves sticking large piercings into her lungs and heart. Neither cases harm them in the slightest.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Let's see... you use a pizza cutter to cut into organs, a stapler to stitch a wound together, a chainsaw to cut out bones and organs, and a syringe to suck out poison. You can also perform transplants on vital organs such as hearts, brains, and stomachs and fasten bones together using nothing but a chainsaw, lighter, and some healing gel. Some surgeries even involve using a car battery, and it won't harm the patient at all as long as you aim it correctly. Basically, any injury that would otherwise require more serious medical attention in real life can be fixed in this game with simple household objects with no ill-effects. Granted, if the games were realistic, then they wouldn't be fun.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: The premise for the whole shebang. And we should also mention Back Warehouse Doctor, Back Old Folks Home Bathroom Doctor, Back Chicken Coop Doctor, Back North Pole Doctor... the one time Alan performs onscreen in a hospital, it's in an Abandoned Hospital! After the events of the first game, Alan started opening back alley clinics.
  • Big Bad:
    • Dwayne Pipe, responsible, directly or indirectly, for most of the bad things that happen to Alan and his allies.
    • Hubris D'Obscene, Dwayne's clone, takes his place in the third game. He eventually made a Heel–Face Turn at some point before the fourth game, where he's Promoted to Playable in one surgery.
    • Averted in the fourth game, where there is No Antagonist.
  • Body Horror: A lot of the injuries are this. Anthills, barnacles, and boils filled with poison formed on the body, animals and bugs burrowing into organs (including one Partner Special that has earthworms protruding from the patient’s heart), and large foreign objects puncturing the flesh including some hidden beneath the skin that you have to cut to get out.
  • Bonus Boss: The first two games have hidden operations only unlocked by fulfilling certain conditions. These surgeries are also extremely unorthodox, playing out in ways that are unique to those operations alone.
    • The first game has Stuporman (unlocked by reaching the maximum level on Donny Debonair's "pimp meter" in Act 2), the B.U.M. (unlocked by amassing a total score of 1 million points throughout the game), and the DeLerium (unlocked after finishing the last surgery).
    • The second game dials back on the Guide Dang It! unlock requirements, but do still require you to achieve a perfect "A" rating for all surgeries in both acts, a challenge in-and-of itself. For Act 1, you unlock Vladimir Ampire, and for Act 2, you unlock Dr. Bleed's corpse.
  • Born as an Adult: As seen in the intro of the fourth game with Bleed II, the clones are processed and created like adult humans. Although, they're able to age just as normally, making them Younger than They Look.
  • Captain Ersatz: It is probably not a coincidence that Reverend Robot Apocalypse from Tag Team Trauma, with his slicked white hair, obnoxiously-bright yellow coat, and pink Round Hippie Shades, bears a passing resemblance to Damon Gant.
  • Chainsaw Good: Good for getting past that pesky rib cage, anyway. And removing organs for transplants.
  • Chekhov's Skill: More like Chekhov's Lack Of Skill in this case. Alan ends up removing a bug infestation from Dwayne Pipe early in the game without Dr. Bleed there to overlook the surgery, only to find out that he accidentally overlooked the worst one... which ends up incapacitating the guy when he tries to make his escape at the end of the first game.
    • The same thing happens in the second game: After infiltrating the presidential elections and becoming president, Dwayne threatens the life of both Alan and his grandson, but it turns out that Alan has again forgotten to deal with the worst bug in his system, which he uses to blackmail Dwayne into giving up the vendetta.
  • Compilation Rerelease: The fourth game contains most surgeries from the previous games (except the ones from Christmas Edition), with the justification that you're a clone of Dr. Bleed viewing Alan's memories so that you can get yourself back up to speed.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After being put through decades of misery by Dwayne Pipe, Alan's manages to rebuild his reputation and reconnects with his family.
  • Enemy Mine: Occurs early on in the fourth game, where Bleed II and Faker Hubris (a clone of Hubris) must find a cure for "Clone Disease".
  • Exact Time to Failure: If the clock hits 0:00, the patient dies immediately. Doesn't matter what their vitals looked like at 0:01.
    • Somewhat justified, in that the longer it takes an operation to finish, particularly to fix a life-threatening problem, the less chance of survival. (Complications setting in, and all that.) But this justification is partly subverted, because in Real Life, there is no exact Point of No Return. Not time-based, anyhow.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Junkyard Guts from the first game. You have to remove a magnet from his stomach. And it draws out screws as well. In the last act, he even eats a bomb that was disguised as a sandwich using two pieces of bread.
  • The Faceless: One of the partners in the fourth game, Ted Rando, has never been seen without a mask and is reported to not know what his own face looks like.
  • Formally-Named Pet: Bug-Eater Peter's pet komodo dragon is known as "Mister Caruthers."
    • One of the partners in the fourth game, a cat, is called "Lord Meowington."
  • Framing Device: The third game's story is Ophelia and Alan narrating the events of the past few weeks.
    • The fourth game has most of the surgeries from the previous games. This is justified in that Bleed II is relieving Alan's and Ophelia's memories.
  • Giant Space Flea Out Of Nowhere: In the final mission of the main story of the fourth game, where you perform surgery on Alan Probe, you must extract a weird tentacled one-eyed psychic Eldritch Abomination from his brain. It's never quite explained what is it, how it got inside his head, nor there is any comment by anyone about it once it's destroyed.
  • The Gift: Alan Probe is a natural genius when it comes to trauma surgery, capable of even performing brain surgery using a lighter, a chainsaw, a pair of tongs, a corkscrew, and a bottle of liquid pain reliever.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The first game has several surgeries that cross into this territory:
      • Unless you know that you can shock the tapeworm more than once each time he pops his head out (and you have to shock it like five times), you are not going to beat Bleed's second surgery in the first game (the penultimate one overall), because the tapeworm's going to make just too many little bleeding cuts that will drop his heart rate really fast. You need to be careful, though, lest you miss and stop Bleed's heart instead. If that happens, you're basically screwed, unless you react quickly enough.note 
      • The final regular patient, Dwayne's second surgery, has a centipede crawling around inside him. It makes little bleeding cuts just like a tapeworm does, but it doesn't pop its head out. You have to chainsaw a little ahead of the last cut it makes, then you can deal with the bug queens and mooks it spawns in the various body cavities.
      • The Bio-Utility Mechanoid, or B.U.M., is the first Bonus Boss that you can unlock. To even get inside him, you have to apply gel to his red button.
    • In later games, you don't zap the Scorpions — you chainsaw them.
    • The fourth game tries its best to avert this by making all the revamped surgeries more straightforward; it even outright omits Napoleon Trotterski's surgery from the second game. The only surgeries that really require trial-and-error gameplay are those with bugs and poison.
  • Healing Shiv: In the third game, Officer Brutality is a partner whose ability is to beat injuries out the victims by whacking them with his police baton.
  • Heal It With Fire: One of Alan's tools is a lighter, a respectable cauterization method. Yet this also repairs bones, cuts in vital organs, and metal. The guy is a frickin' genius.
    • This also applies to the 4th game's partners Chad Burnem and Iron Wang, who respectively use a flamethrower and a clothes iron.
    • In the Christmas edition, it's a match and a can of aerosol spray. Very precise.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • In the first game, the penultimate patient from the second act is Animal the Cannibal. He gets another surgery in the fourth game.
    • The third game has the similar Sweetmeat Pete.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Ignacious Bleed II from the fourth game is essentially Dr. Bleed when he was younger, and boy, he got a magnificent beard and killer chest hair.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The fourth game casually says early on that Dwayne and Hubris were the Big Bads of the previous games.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the second game, Alan tells Bradley that they made a video game about him at the height of his fame. Bradley claims that he played it, but laments that he never got the hang of the corkscrew and hopes that if a sequel is ever made they replace it with "something less awful." Then they both wordlessly look at the player. This is followed almost immediately by the level that introduces the syringe, which replaces the corkscrew.
    • Fourth-Wall Observer: Alan becomes this in the third game, generally when it comes to the concept of DLC.
  • Luke, You Are My Father:
    • Midway through the second game's second act, Bradley reveals that he is Alan's grandson.
    • In the third game, Ophelia reveals herself to be Dr. Bleed's grandniece.
  • Mad Doctor:
    • Alan is pretty much a good guy version of this by the second game.
    • Played straight with Dwayne, who poisons his victims.
  • Medical Game: The series is a parody of Trauma Center, wherein your job is to perform increasingly harder surgeries on increasingly more gruesome patients.
  • Meta Sequel: Played with. While the first game's events are part of the canon timeline, it's mentioned in Christmas Edition and Amateur Surgeon 2 that the game itself was developed and released in-universe at some point afterwards.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Karl Puccino, a patient in the first and third games, suffers from this, which makes the requirements for beating his stages to Nintendo Hard levels. See No-Damage Run.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Old Hospital fiasco, in which many, many people died for Dr. Bleed. Turns out it wasn't his fault after all.
  • No-Damage Run:
    • Required in Karl Puccino's surgery in the first game (specifically, once you get inside him). Karl is a coffee addict, and as a result, his heart rate gets faster as time passes, rather than slower. You have to remove the coffee beans and drain (and suction out) the poison to stabilize his heart rate, then heal all the cuts you had to make. Dr. Bleed warns that the slightest injury (that means any unnecessary damage) will kill Karl. He will also die if you let his heart rate get to 200. Add that to the fact that each patient is a Timed Mission anyway, and you've got yourself a Nintendo Hard level.
    • The later games feature "Sudden Death" versions of surgeries, where you must complete the stages without any mistakes whatsoever.
  • Nostalgia Level: Many of the stages in the fourth game are revamped versions of the ones from the first three games.
  • Only Sane Man: Ophelia in the third game. While Alan generally doesn't ask any questions and comes off as barely smarter than his patients, Ophelia is constantly shocked and amazed by the situations they get themselves into and is quick to call them out on their stupidity/insanity.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Alan is the only source for criminals to get medical care, ranging from lacerations to poisonings. With the occasional extreme body piercing and mechanical restoration.
  • Punny Name: Alan Probe, Ignacious Bleed, Lumbar Jack, Ophelia Payne... The list goes on with tons and tons of them. Not surprising, considering MediaTonic's track record.
  • The Reveal: Lampshaded with Alan's mystery patient at the end of the first act of the second game. After Alan leaves the room, the patient tells Bradley to turn the lights on before he leaves, so he can have his dramatic reveal.
    The President: DUN DUN DUN!
    • However, the actual reveal happens in the second act, where he finally reveals himself to be none other than Dwayne Pipe.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: In this case, vampire. Applying healing gel on Vladimir Ampire from the second game hurts him, but his heart rate is always zero, so it doesn't matter.
  • Roadside Surgery: Almost every level in the games takes place in an unconventional location to do surgery. Only a minority of them do take place in risky places to say the least.
  • Running Gag: Alan and his allies/successors seem to always have problems when it comes to dealing with exterminating bugs. Especially when it comes to Dwayne's bugs.
  • Save the Villain: Occurs with Dwayne's second surgery in the second game and Hubris' second surgery in the third. In the pre-operation dialogue of the latter case, Alan justifies it to Ophelia by claiming that saving everyone is one of Dr. Bleed's standards.
  • Saving Christmas: The plot of the Christmas Edition game. Alan goes to save Christmas after he utterly annihilated it! (see Turbine Blender below). After crashing his private jet into the North Pole Alan sets about pulling Christmas lights out of an elf, reanimating a reindeer carcass with candy canes and coat hangers, and patching up Santa with wrapping paper.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Alan, in both the first game and the Christmas Edition. Ironically, both situations happen to involve driving a vehicle and running someone over while reading a surgery magazine.
  • Shared Universe: With Spiritual Successor games Amateur Ninja and Gigolo Assassin.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Significant Anagram:
    • Flip the "lan" in Alan's name and you get... well, at least it's not called Amateur Proctologist.
    • Same case goes to Bradley's real name of Buttley Probe Jr. if you remove the "ley".
  • Suck Out the Poison: You do this with syringes, and it will automatically cure the person of their poisoning for some reason.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Ophelia and Alan deal with a woman that's stuck wearing a cursed chastity belt her overprotective dad forced her to wear:
    Ophelia: Alan, quick! I'm going to try to get inside her underwear!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Almost all of Alan's clientele fit into this category, with this trope being what got them to him in the first place.
  • Turbine Blender: In the introduction of the Christmas Edition (a send-up of the intro to the first game) Alan Probe, flying his private jet distractedly while reading an article about his rise to fame, collides with Santa's sleigh. One of the reindeer is sucked into the turbines and shredded, causing Alan's jet to crash into Santa's workshop.
  • Vigilante Man: The end of the 2nd part and most of the 3rd part of the first game have Alan patching up characters from earlier in the game, who this time are the victims of a rampaging vigilante whose parents turn out to be among the people who died in the Old Hospital fiasco.
  • Walking Spoiler: Insects. Any time they appear in a mystery character, it's guaranteed to be Dwayne or Hubris.
  • Warmup Boss: Dr. Bleed in the first game, Generic the Elf in the Christmas edition, Tommy Gracefuls in the second, and Mr. Giblets in the third.
  • Women Are Wiser: Ophelia is the only female protagonist of the series, and perhaps the only character in the series with anything resembling common sense.
  • Worst Aid: One of the missions the first game's second act involves separating the hemispheres of a woman's brain with a chainsaw, while using a dumpster as an operating table. And she survives... long enough to pay Alan, anyways.
    • You actually have to remove the brain temporarily, destroy some... things (Cancer growths? Warts? Mold?) to cure her mental disorder, then put the brain and skull pan back and heal them both with your lighter.