Emergency 4: Global Fighters for Life
|a game by||Sixteen Tons Entertainment|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Emergency 4 is strange, it's a game that is summed up by the sentence on the back of the box: "You bear responsibility for life and dead!" Flawed, but basically charming. You load out and deploy, RTS style, the four emergency services: police, fire, ambulance; and, in a bold statement that will infuriate coastguards, the fourth group are engineers. Fair enough, though - engineers have skill sets that complement an urban environment better than a slow-motion tit montage.
One half of the game is focussed on scripted situations, in which you deal with increasingly huge disasters. And the other half is an entertaining sandbox city where you deal with multiple emergencies to earn the equipment required for the next big disaster.
The controls are a strange blend of pernickety and intuitive. There's an element of micromanagement, but it doesn't offend thanks to the right mouse button, which tends to arrange the most sensible thing. Sometimes it fails - for example, trying to save people from a burning building with a fireman carrying a hose will result in you dousing the already-choking victims. But this falls into the charm category - one thing I wasn't expecting was to get out-loud in-game laughs, intentional or not.
Sadly, there are some flaws that aren't as entertaining. In the Tyre Yard mission, I found myself dousing the same fires again and again. I was unsure if I was having any effect, I didn't have enough budget to send more trucks out, and I ended up watching my guys spray the same fires for 10 minutes, for lack of anything else to do. I passed the mission, but I'm haunted by the suspicion that I bored the computer into timing out.
Recommending this game is difficult, because it's hard to imagine who it's aimed at. It feels overpriced at $20 - the action does get a little repetitive, even with the constant introduction of new units. Yet I found myself satisfied by success, so repetition rarely strayed into boredom. Meanwhile, the scenario editor and co-op multiplayer are welcome features.
The odd moment of frustration aside, this is a shallow, but entertaining strategy game. Emergency 4 is by no means a gem, but it's certainly a well-polished nugget of bronze.