Trauma Center, known in Japan as , is a series of simulation/visual novel games in which players assume the role of a surgeon in a fictional hospital setting to strive to save their patients from a pathological condition such as disease or injury using surgical instruments, suturing and the "Healing Touch", a fictional superhuman ability which, according to Greek mythology, descended from Asclepius, the god of medicine. A recurring theme throughout the series is the protagonist's trials of treating bioterrorism victims. These games are designed to make use of the Nintendo DS' touch screen and the Wii's Motion sensing and pointing features. Respectively, the series hasn't been released on any other systems.
The first, second and fourth games feature much of the same characters. The third game, set ten years after the end of the first game, introduces new protagonists, Markus Vaughn and Valerie Blaylock, as well as other characters.
The game takes place in the vicinity of Angeles Bay, California, set in 2018 and later. In the first and second games, the main character is Derek Stiles. He was an amateur surgeon fresh who couldn't take his position seriously until Angela "Angie" Thompson is appointed as his assistant nurse at Hope Hospital. When Derek ends up having to perform almost impossible surgeries, a mysterious power starts to awaken inside him. He later learns that his power is said to be that of a descendant of the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius, and his gift is known by the same name, though is more frequently referred to as the Healing Touch. He and Angie then begins working for Caduceus, an international medical reseacrch organization to fight against a new man-made series of deadly organisms named GUILT.
The third game shifts ten years after the first games. Markus Vaughn and Valerie Blaylock, two surgeons with the "Healing Touch" ability who worked at the Concordia Medical Institute in Los Angeles, move over to the Montgomery Memorial hospital in Alaska. When the hospital closes down, the director of Montgomery Memorial, Miles Hoover, tells them to return to Concordia. Once there, they learn from Professor Wilkens, an old acquaintance of Markus', about a new and mysterious parasite called Stigma, comparable to GUILT. It does not take long for Mark and Val to join Caduceus along their assistant, Elena Salazar, and start researching for countermeasures against Stigma.
The fourth game is set in 2021, featuring Derek and Angie as main characters again. Three years after their victory against GUILT, they must deal with patients who were treated from it in the past, but started to develop a series of complications labeled PGS (Post GUILT Syndrome). To complicate matters, patients contaminated with new and old strains of GUILT start to appear.
The first installment, Trauma Center: Under the Knife, was released for the Nintendo DS on June 30, 2005 in Japan, and on October 4, 2005 in North America. The game's story takes place in 2018 and introduces Derek Stiles and Angela Thompson, along with other minor characters that reappear in later games.
The second installment, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, was one of the Wii's launch titles, released on November 19, 2006 in North America, and on December 2, 2006 in Japan. It is an enhanced remake of Under the Knife, and features an additional playable character, Naomi Weaver, as well as a special sixth chapter made for the Wii version, and the "X missions" which become available once the main game is completed.
The third installment, Trauma Center: New Blood, was released for Wii on November 20, 2007 in North America, and on January 17, 2008 in Japan. The game's story takes place in 2028 and introduces Markus Vaughn and Valerie Blaylock, along with other minor characters. Derek Stiles and Angie Thompson who appear in all other Trauma Center titles also make cameo appearances in later chapters of the game. New Blood makes use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
The fourth and latest installment, Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2, was released for the Nintendo DS on July 1, 2008 in North America, and August 7, 2008 in Japan. The game's story takes place in 2021 and features Derek Stiles and Angie Thompson as main characters once again; some other characters from the original game also returned, and new ones were introduced as well, like Adel Tulba. While some features of Second Opinion, such as the new tools, are carried over into this game, the new plot elements and characters from that game are not.