Emergency Fire Response - Box

Emergency Fire Response
Ages: Teen - Mild Violence

First of all: a note to all the people who think that this game sounds like some little kids game by TONKA; this game is hardcore, with real life sequences, real life dangers, and, yes, people can die. While the 'T' rating may give some hint to the nature of this game, some people may think that a firefighting game would be very un-lifelike. Let me tell you now; it's not.

You are the superior officer in charge of the 615th Fire Station, an emergency response station. Your men can handle anything- if you make the right decisions. Besides your regular firefighters, you also command paramedics, technical officers, high- risk environment specialists, and extrication (removal) specialists. You also command the emergency vehicles. You can choose to start with the training mission, or go straight to the first one, clearly labeled "Arson". If you're very good, you'll eventually work yourself up to the final mission "Nuclear Power Plant" passing by such missions as "Toxic Train" and "The Forest Fire". The main goal of the game is to complete the missions in the quickest, easiest way without letting the fire rage out of control or letting people die.

Although the game takes a few minutes to start up, once you get going, it's hard to stop. The game-play is exciting, and it makes one wish that there were more then 9 real missions. In a mission, you may have more then one goal. In the first real mission "Arson", you not only have to put out the fires, you have to collect security tapes and computer data, diffuse bombs, save the staff stuck in the building, and protect the evidence at any cost. A few missions later, you have to save a pop star's vintage car while rescuing him and his friends from a burning villa.

Another item of interest; the game-play in this game is incredibly realistic. Shorted out electricity cables can electrocute anyone that comes to close, a room could suddenly burst into flames, and firefighters can pass out due to a lack of oxygen. Also, it shows how tough the jobs of firefighters really are. They not only put out fires, but they also double as detectives and police personnel when the need arises. Sometimes the only option is to sacrifice some of your men in order to save the people trapped inside. And that might not be the worst of it.

Luckily, if you don't do so well in a mission, you can play it over and over again until you complete it perfectly in all categories (fire size, time of intervention, victims, firefighters injured, etc.), getting a five medal rating. In later missions, it become incredibly hard to achieve this perfect score, even if all other categories were completed without a hitch, if one part was a little bit less then perfect, your score drops to a four.

This is the first game I have reviewed that has no apparent bugs. The scenes were linked together in a way so that there was no skipping around, and the graphics and sounds were consistent. Actually, the graphics were some of the best I've ever seen for a game in this genre. Although the fires were not very lifelike, one of the options was to raise the quality in the graphics and fires. The sounds were incredibly realistic, ranging from outside news reports to the confirmations from the firefighters themselves.

You could not play this game with another girl. This I can tell you right now. The game is harrowing enough as it is without another person yelling directions in your ear. I agree with that stated age range. This is a game for people over the age of 13, at least. Children younger then that age might be disturbed at the real life sequences, and they would find it hard to master the controls.

There were a few low points to the game. Whenever you encountered a new point in the game, it would play a clip showing what it was, even if you knew perfectly well. This would get annoying after a while because you might be in the middle of a delicate operation at the time of the cutaway. Another down side was that after extinguishing a few fires, the fire fighters would stop, even if flame roared all around them. I think that that problem would have been resolved if the firefighters had the initiative to continue putting out the flames. Another low point was that in some missions, you had a limited supply of water. This became annoying when my pumper truck ran out of water with no way to refill it.

This game was fun, albeit nerve-wracking, and it had a high replay appeal. It's easy to push yourself into trying the missions over and over again, making different choices and trying different strategies. If I had made the game, I might have added more missions, or created a "create mission" option. The theme and graphics are too good to waste on such a small amount of missions.

Advice to People who own the game:

This game is marketed towards boys, but it is NOT A BOYS GAME. Girls can play it just as well or even better then boys. So, if you're looking for a game that had gut-wrenching excitement and complex game-play in a real-life setting, then this is definitely the game for you.

Reviewed by: Vivian B. Age 14 - 09/03

  • Emergency Fire Response
  • © Dreamcatcher Interactive $19.99
  • W98 Me XP 2000
  • To Order: http://www.amazon.com