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Dark Cut 3

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Rating: 4.2/5 (131 votes)
Comments (23) | Views (10,174)

PatrickDark Cut 3Dark Cut 3 is the latest visceral surgery title from Armor Games, with programming by John Cooney (jmtb02). The sequel to Dark Cut 1 & 2, this time taking a sci-fi, time-traveling angle with the usual historical setting. The game brings you the same intense operations you've come to either love or cringe at. The production values and story are the best so far for the series and give context to gameplay that's been toned down to be less punishing. As a result, this is definitely the best game in the Dark Cut series yet. Due to graphic depictions of mutilated human anatomy, including dismembered limbs and bloody gore, this game is recommended for Mature Audiences only.

Gameplay is simple: hold down the mouse button and sweep it over flashing squares or dotted-line areas to perform different parts of an operation, from cleaning a wound, to placing a cast, to weaving stitches. Your patient has only a certain amount of health, so you have to act fast and be careful not to cut or stitch any part of them other than the designated zones or you'll hasten their demise instead of preventing it. Most of the scenes take place during a war, so audio and visual distractions will throw you off and potentially stress you out. Instead of forcing you through a linear series of scenes like the last two games, this one has a branching structure modeled after a genetic tree. Complete all the missions to win, but be aware there are bonus missions unlocked by solving certain operations with speed and skill.

Analysis: Dark Cut 3 is a good example of how Web game production is approaching AAA quality. The budgets and dev cycles are still an order of magnitude smaller, but the persistence, refinement of gameplay and appeal to quality is similar. This game takes a good idea, a mature surgery game set in a historical context, and smoothes the gameplay's edge enough to let you appreciate the full experience, and it is much a more playable experience than its predecessors. The story line is kind of like Assasin's Creed, with similar melodrama and suspension of disbelief issues, but instead of traveling through time killing people, you do just the opposite. This may result in a meditation on causality and the value of human life, but one has to think there was some untapped potential in exploring time-travel in a manner similar to how Chrono Trigger did it, much less something as cohesive as Braid. Treat yourself to some bloody empathy.

Play Dark Cut 3


This game runs very poorly on my computer just like the last version. Might need a better graphics card to handle the heavy flash file.


Am I the only person who doesn't like it as much as the last one?
The graphics and effects look better, and I like the storyline (such as it is), but it's much shorter and seems far easier - even missing the target doesn't seem to hurt the patient much anymore.

The bonus levels on armourgames are even shorter, and as far as I can tell impossible to lose.

The last level is rather stylish, though. c:

UnderwaterPeacock November 23, 2008 11:53 PM

I don't know if I can be a fair judge as to how this one adds up to the others, because I've never been able to finish the other two. For Dark Cut 1, I get stuck at the vampire, and Dark Cut 2 I'm just plain miserable at. I've never even gotten past Level 1. I, for one, like finishing games, so this is, so far, my favorite Dark Cut game.

Just a quick question. On the Main Menu it says Primary, but then Secondary and Optional levels. What does that mean? I can't access them, but should I be able to?


I guess the secondary and Optional levels are only playable in Armorgames.


The links to the game in the review above take you to Armor Games, so you're good to go. You're not missing a thing. ;)


When you go through the missions, other missions that are triangles instead of circles show up. These are the "Secondary" missions on the checklist. Then, if you do certain things on the missions, you get the "Optional" things on the checklist.

I know that you get Rewind by failing and then restarting a mission, and you get Credited by finishing the game and watching the credits.


AIs always go great. Till they become self aware. It starts off subtle. A simple strange comment here and there. You don't notice. But soon, it starts getting strange. You notice that it's saying lots of stuff. Soon, they go all out. They become scary. You fear for your life when you are within its vicinity. Soon, its muderous thoughts become murderous action. And you wonder, "Why did you go wrong?"

Rex Mario (the 3rd Mario Bro.) November 24, 2008 1:59 AM

Okay so here is what you need to do to get the five optional "awards" on the checklist:


Simply over sedate the patient, it has no negative side affects and it only takes two or three injections to get the "award".


Take the patient's health down to almost dead (I believe below 10) but still complete the surgery successfully.


Retry and complete a task after failing it.


Beat the game!


Click the barcode in the lower right corner of the menu screen.

Rex Mario (the 3rd Mario Bro.) November 24, 2008 2:10 AM

Also, sorry to post twice, but I got to say I think the game was too short and not challenging enough. I guess the makers realised that Dark Cut 2 was too hard so they made this one easier, and I like that but if you are going to make an easier game you got to make more levels, I played this whole game in about 20 min. after which I felt greatly let down due to the fact that I was never even able to beat the first two, and this one was over before I felt like I was even challenged. Increasing difficulty in levels is the key, game makers.


So what does the

code on the easter egg screen



Near-Death clarification:

The patient's health needs to be below 5, not 10.



29121 is the human gene ID.

Sorry for the double post, I don't see any way to edit my first post.


I did everything except the submarine surgery not knowing you could sedate the patient. I think this key feature should be mentioned somewhere (maybe it is...I might be blind to the obvious). Asides from being extremely frustrated by the almost impossible tasks (pre-sedation) I really enjoyed this game and it's story line.

Good job jmtb02 and armor games

Pedantic Wordster November 24, 2008 3:26 PM

I hate to distract from an otherwise excellent review but there were a couple salient errors that beg correction. Firstly, apex is a noun, not an adjective as it is used in the column. Secondly, a proper parsing of the review reveals the incorrect usage of parse. I'm not even sure what the author was trying to say so it's hardly a trivial misusage.

I know this sounds very pedantic, but I think these types of mistakes set a poor example for the many younger users of this site who are developing their vocabularies and writing skills. The author appears to be very intelligent and college educated which actually amplifies the harm as many readers might reasonably assume his grammar and usage to be correct. Just remember, the one thing more obnoxious than pretentious use of big words, is the misuse of said words.


Thanks for the pedantry. :)

I've made some changes to the review accordingly.


While the visuals are slightly more polished and the production value reasonably high, Dark Cut 3 is nowhere near as entertaining as the previous installment.

First, DC3 is entirely too easy. Not only did the surgeries require more steps in DC2, but one had to choose the correct instrument to perform each step. This was a brilliant puzzle-solving aspect that I found to be an excellent metaphor for the immense education that a doctor has to go through in order to practice medicine properly. But in DC3, the requirement to choose the correct instrument goes away and so does the challenge of learning to recognize them, as a real doctor would have to. Simply clicking and dragging over little boxes is not entertaining if the possibilities of failure are so few.

My second criticism is of the story: I could spot the final twist from moment I saw a mission entitled

"Log Out"

Simply reprising the final mission of the previous game, which was a well-executed, perfectly coherent plot twist in DC2, isn't good enough. I would have preferred to have seen a more creative approach, like being forced to save an ancestor who turns out to be someone truly evil in order to preserve the gene line.

Most importantly, though, is the difficulty level as I discussed above. What gives the Dark Cut series its bite is the coupling of a challenging task with a challenging subject. Only half of that pair is present in DC3, and even then it's not as strong as it was in DC2.

Grant Thurston November 24, 2008 7:13 PM

I don't like it -_- I'm fine with the blood and stuff, but a lot of times it just doesn't make sense as to what I'm supposed to do... as soon as it gave me the tool for reattatching the nerve joints, the patient died -_-


Pedantic Wordster would do well to avoid the unnecessary, hyper-adverbial "firstLY" and "secondLY": "first" and "second" are adverbs already, and as E.B. White wrote in Elements of Style, "Do not dress words up by adding 'ly' to them, as though putting a hat on a horse." PW also erroneously omits a comma in the last sentence of the first paragraph (making it a run-on sentence) and separates with a comma the subject and predicate of the final sentence.

My point is not to start a proper-usage flame war but rather to suggest to Pedantic Wordster that motivating others to lexical or grammatical correctness in a forum like this is likely a losing proposition: "errors" run amok in the informal speech of the internet (and more broadly in popular media--I challenge you to find me one thirty second TV ad lacking a dangling modifier, pronoun number disagreement, or the like). So long as these instances, which admittedly grate on the eyes and ears of those of us who love the orderliness of language, do not hinder communication, I think they should be allowed to slide. I am on the writing faculty of a small, exorbitantly expensive private university, and my colleagues and I are far more worried about our students' inability to perceive unjustified claims and fallacious reasoning than we are about the "your, you're" distinction, the latter being one that there is every reason to believe will vanish in the continued evolution of the language: "Ur sure gonna love ur new Nissan Incubus!"


Considering how much I loved DC 1&2, I was very surprised to be disappointed with this one. I loved the graphics, the nurse laying there and her screaming was very poignant. Though when you sedate her, you see a man's hand and hear the usual male scream. This made me wonder for a second if I hadn't messed up and sedated myself. For a game with such detailed and visceral graphics they should have fixed that.

The story line had potential but again was not as good as the first two. I liked the creepy computer, but still didn't see the twist coming. Other than it being another surgery to do, it wasn't justified. I mean intution is great, but a little evidence wouldn't have been bad either. I mean for THAT I want more that just my instinct.


It shouldn't take hacking off your hand (which this could be done without sedation?) to unconnect the link. After all, are we to believe we lived with that uplink cord dangling from our arm 24/7? Even now they have imports into the body that remain in and are only used when needed for injections so this technological leap wouldn't be very far. And I know it's a surgery game but again, why can't we cut of the computer's energy source or something?

The "optional" surgery wasn't really optional at all if you wanted to finish the game. Why make credits a bonus? I was sitting totally confused as to why it looked as if I'd completed everything but the game had not ended in any way. And did we save our gene line or not? It never wraps up the story. Just adds it for atmosphere I guess.

Somebody said above, and I agree, that without having to select instruments it's no longer a puzzle game as we know it to be. This is fine, but then the storyline and adventure/action needs to be buffed up to make up the difference. It's gory and well done to look at, but there's only so much to do. At some point it's only connecting the dots.


I know, I must seem like an idiot, but where are the missing bone fragments on the submarine soldier or whoever? I can't seem to find them...

Tsuhari May 23, 2009 8:06 AM


It's that rectangular thingy near the wound. I thought that was an item(like a wallet maybe? or even money) but then again, x-rays only shows bones right?

I've never played Dark Cut 2(I creeped out when I played Dark Cut 1... some few years back), and I really think this sequel is good. But without playing Dark Cut 2 first, I may not know.


Does the trail truely end here?
There is a side-quest in llama adventures (also by jmtb02) and it requires you know codes from his other games. Code 1 is from elephant rave, 2 is from tba 2, 3 is from hedgehog launch, and 4 is from dark cut 3. Thats what those "remember" things are. I got the first 3 and in Dark cut 3 I got the number


I tried it but it said it was incorrect. Is there some way I have to use the number, or is this just a mean joke?

Anonymous March 27, 2010 5:43 PM

the ending scared the crap out of me! good game,though


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