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Game Over Online ~ Emergency Rescue Firefighters

GameOver Game Reviews - Emergency Rescue Firefighters (c) WizardWorks, Reviewed by - Nicky Dimes

Game & Publisher Emergency Rescue Firefighters (c) WizardWorks
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 25%
Date Published Tuesday, May 30th, 2000 at 02:45 PM

Divider Left By: Nicky Dimes Divider Right

Back in June of 1998, TopWare released a unique real-time strategy game entitled Emergency: Fighters for Life. Within the game, you controlled a number of emergency rescue teams, such as an ambulance crew and a police force, as you went about a daily routine of saving lives. If anything, it was a unique concept that unfortunately fell short due to the fact there was actually very little strategy to the game at all. Two years later, WizardWorks has released its sequel, Emergency Rescue Firefighters. As the name states, you're no longer in control of an entire city's worth of rescue teams, but simply the fire department. Fire is one of nature's deadliest weapons and it'll be your job to subdue the deadly threat and bring resolution to each and every crisis. With that said, you'd think the developers would have learned from the mistakes of the original, but Emergency Rescue Firefighters is actually worse than it's predecessor.

Firefighters is a very easy game to jump right into. The menu system is extremely basic and once you've entered your name, you're ready to go. The game opens with a set of three tutorial missions that allow you get comfortable with the interface as well as the duties of each of the different firefighters under your command. There are five types of firefighters: those that shoulder the hose to extinguish the fire, those with water tanks, those wielding axes to break down doors, others carrying shovels to dig trenches in an attempt to stop fires from spreading, and finally the fine folks who actually enter buildings and rescue those trapped inside. Beyond the tutorial missions, there are 20 other scenarios each featuring a unique environment or situation. You'll fight fires indoors and on multiple floors as well as outdoors in parks and at traffic accidents.

Trouble rears it's ugly head the moment you get to the scene of a fire. Much like the original game, controlling the scene is cumbersome to say the least. Emergency Rescue Firefighters uses a three-quarters top-down view so controlling your firefighters plays out much like any other strategy title. The problem lies in the intelligence level of each of your firefighters. It's extremely difficult to get them to do any action, let alone properly. Many a time, my firefighters would enter a blaze only to be engulfed in flames. You'd think that once lit aflame, the men would stop, drop and roll or perhaps another comrade would come to the rescue, but not here. The only thing missing from this game is the soundtrack 'Burn Baby Burn'. You'll find yourself giving orders multiple times to single individuals before they begin their given assignment. If the mission only requires you put out the fire, you'll have little difficulty doing such. All you have to do is make sure you have plenty of men with water tanks and hoses and the situation will be under control soon enough. If somebody is trapped inside in need of rescuing, you'll quickly see the ignorant AI in action.

Emergency Rescue Firefighters plays exactly like its predecessor. Once you reach the area in question, everything seems to be scripted. There's really only one way to about things and that doesn't quite define strategy to me. If you don't perform the correct tasks in the correct order, you'll be forced to replay the scenario until you figure out the correct route. Does that sound like much fun to you?

Visually, the game uses animated graphics much like you would find in the Sims. They're slightly dated graphics but they work nicely with the style of gameplay. In terms of audio, there's very little to be desired here. The music that accompanies each scenario does a decent job conveying the sense of urgency with each situation, but the ambient sounds are horrible. A constant cackling of the fire all but takes over the environment sounds while at the scene and although there are some voice-overs, they all seem extremely unrealistic.

So what does it boil down too? You've got a budget real-time strategy game that is relatively horrible. The idea itself isn't so bad but just about every aspect of this game has been poorly implemented. Whether it be the so-called strategy elements or the absence of any intelligence from your team members whatsoever, it all comes down to a game that isn't fun or interesting.

[ 09/20 ] Graphics
[ 04/15 ] Sound
[ 06/30 ] Gameplay
[ 04/20 ] Fun Factor
[ N/A ] Multiplayer
[ 02/10 ] Overall Impression


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