This game is highly recommended if your looking for something out of the ordinary. Unlike most strategy games, which are usually based on warfare and empire building, in Emergency Fire Response, you can relive the childhood dreams of many of us, and
Who among us has never imagined being a firefighter? The allure of putting on the fire fighting gear, and bravely taking on a blaze is part of every kid's dream, but, unfortunately, most of us will never know the thrill and adventure of being such a firefighter, but fortunately, we now have the next best thing, "Emergency, Fire Response."
Many of us had childhood dreams of one day becoming a brave firefighter...
...and although few of us actually did, this game allows us to simulate it.
This is my first review for this site, so bear with me as we make our way through the myriad facets of and arcane values of game reviews. I think a bit of background may be in order, and my "game philosophy" as it were, should be stated.
First of all, I'm a gamer. A gamer from way back, ever since I can remember I loved games, games of all types, as long as they did TWO things. Those things being entertain me, and make me THINK. I cut my teeth on the kid games of the 1960s, and as I grew older, the games I played reflected my dual idea of what a good game should entail. Back in the days before Personal computers were popular, board wargames were the way to go. Of course, such games seem primitive by comparison to the modern era of games, which now push the envelope of what the CPU of modern Personal computers can do.
But looks can be only skin deep when it comes to games, I'm sure we have all bought or received games that were too terrible to comtemplate, and weren't worth the CD they were printed on. As such, and with that philosophy in mind, I begin my reviewing career with "Emergency Fire Response."
The game has a nice feeling, much like the movie "Back draft," with excellent 3-D fires and animated fire fighters and equipment. The game represents it's animated fires quite well, and by clicking on them, a meter appears to show how intensive the fires really are, and just how many separate blazes are contained within a given fire. But the use of meters isn't intrusive, as they only appear if you click on them, so the game effects aren't lost while you play.
Emergency Fire Response isn't set up like your typical strategy game, it has the look of a first person shooter in many respects. But don't be fooled, you will need to think and plan your fight against the blazes you encounter, and it will be no easy task.
The instruction booklet, which is included in the CD Jewel case, is short and to the point. A short introduction tells you that you are now in charge of the 615th Fire Station, and that your firefighters are professionals, whom regularly intervene in their respective zone of operations.
At your command are standard firefighters carrying hoses (the game engine, for esthetic reasons doesn't show the hose lines), as well as a host of specialists, which include a high risk environment specialist, as well as technical officers (who are experts at detecting arson and at removing such dangers), paramedics who can save both victims and firefighters from serious injury or death, the extraction specialist, who brandishes a steel saw to rescue trapped people and open passages in buildings, as well as a specialist in an approach suit, to get into hazourdous places that ordinary firefighters can't reach.
The beautiful 3-D fires are very impressive...
...but they take up a lot of hard drive space.
But manpower alone won't defeat fires, so your also equipped with a number of firefighting vehicles, which include the tanker, which supplies water and and refills the air tanks of your firefighters, an Ambulance to rescue victims, the very powerful Pumper, which can hit blazes with a mighty water cannon, the water ladder, which can get a stream onto fires in high rises and other tall structures, and the rescue ladder, which provides an avenue for your firefighters to get to upper levels of buildings.
At start is an animated tutorial, which explains and shows how first to move, and control, your firemen. Your shown, than move yourself, your fighfighters through a practice building, chopping down doors, and learning basic firefighting techniques, like teamwork, recognizing victims, and learning how to carry and calm victims. Next, your given practice blazes, and your firefighter must put them out, each in turn. Finally, you need to learn how to drive your vehicles, learning the basics of maneuver on 3-d streets, how close you can get to a fire screen, as well as how to use your pumper, ladder, tanker and ambulance to best effect.
The game allows you to group your firefighters (in a fashion similar to Age of Empires II) so that you can assign groups of them to attack them in concert, and thus, increase their effectiveness. Beware, you only have a limited number of firefighters, so don't put them ALL in one group, they tend to get in each other's way, and the fire will spread out of control if you do so.
Once you master this, it's on to the missions. The game can be played at three levels of difficulty, and the objective is to earn medals, as well as save lives and put out fires. But if you want the gold medals, you must play at the highest difficulty level!
The game was designed with the consultation of real firefighters, and thus adds an extra level of detail that shows in game play. The animation, when you zoom in, clearly shows your firefighters fighting fires, chopping doors, and doing all the actions we have come to associate with firefighters quite clearly and crisply.
Your first mission is suspected arson at a warehouse. The game provides excellent animation, showing you the layout, as well as the arsonist in action, in a short movie sequence. As the movie ends, your tanker and ambulance are parked by the warehouses, with your firefighters and one specialist ready to enter. YOU must find an entrance, and your given your first objective, find the unconscious watchman as well as another possible victim, as well as looking for signs of arson. It seems rather easy, but the building has explosive fire devices, that let out loud explosions, and increase the the fires, or start new ones, so watch out!
If your able to save the victims and find arson evidence, you pass into part two of the mission, and another specialist arrives, to help you save the secretary on the second floor, as well as save the machines in another part of the building. Your pressed for time here, so you need to move fast. If you fail to accomplish the mission objectives, you must redo the entire mission, so it may take you several tries to find all you must find, and do what you must do.
You'll have the opportunity to put your firefighting skills to the test...
...in 32 distinct missions in Emergecny Fire Response.
It's a good practice to do some advanced planing here, as it will help later on. Before entering the building, pair off your firefighters, so each man has a partner. Keep your specialist out of the building for now, he's weaker vs fires, and you will need him later to get where he is going fast. Also, if he is lost, the mission will fail. Keep close tract of your firefighter's air supply, if their tanks go down to three quarters or so, immediately go to the tanker and refill them. Also, listen for reports, your firefighters will tell you if they spot examples of arson activity. As soon as they do, dispatch the specialist to that spot, to earn a mission bonus and more medals.
More missions follow this, each in a new environment, including a foreign embassy, intercity apartments, even a nuclear power plant! All together, there are 32 complete missions in 10 completely different environments for your animated firefighters to take on. One of the attractions of this game is the fact that your firefighters must move through different missions, and learn that different kinds of fires burn differently.
Your firefighters exist in a 3-D games world, that is very well done (and resource intensive), and you can monitor them several ways. Each firefighter's picture appears as a thumbnail below the game screen, with life meter and air tank meter. when these are low, your firefighter must rest, or restock his tanks, or he will fall over and possibly die!. Your firefighters are in constant contact with you via communications radio, and will tell you if they need help, as well as tell you if they can't reach assigned locations, or are having difficulties.
The look and feel of this game is excellent, it is a real time 3-D game, and it plays very smoothly, with few control interface difficulties. The game allows rotating camera angles, as well as close ups and overviews. This allows you to follow your firefighters on several levels, from small icons moving about the map, up to fully detailed 3-D images of firefighters in action.
For many people looking for a fast game, that recreates the world of firefighters, Emergency Fire Response is a good buy, with a beautiful look and smooth game feel. Fir parents, they can give their kids a game about real heroes, the brave men and women who take on the dangers and risk their lives to save others, so they surely earned the nickname they have in New York: "New York's bravest."
This game is highly recommended if your looking for something out of the ordinary. Unlike most strategy games, which are usually based on warfare and empire building, in Emergency Fire Response, you can relive the childhood dreams of many of us, and be a firefighter.
The game captures the feel of firefighting quite well...
...and provides interesting gameplay all at the same time.
Top game moment: There is one matter, this game is unusually large, because the of the 3-D animated fires, so it will use a lot of hard drive space. But the designers did a fine job of capturing the effects of firefighting, so this game is well worth your time.
EMERGENCY FIRE RESPONSE VERDICT
There is one matter, this game is unusually large, because the of the 3-D animated fires, so it will use a lot of hard drive space. But the designers did a fine job of capturing the effects of firefighting, so this game is well worth your time.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Rushing into a burning building and saving helpless civlians.