Emergency Fire Response

a game by DreamCatcher Interactive
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
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As kids, I think we all dreamed of being a firefighter at one time or another. And why not? Driving around in a huge fire truck with sirens blazing, putting out smoldering infernos, and saving the lives of others sounds kinda fun when you're six. For most of us, however, that dream soon fades as reality sinks in: it's an incredibly dangerous job that few are cut out for. But if you can't do it in real life, why not try it out in front of your computer? Emergency Fire Rescue lets you do just that and captures all the excitement of being a firefighter, minus the heat.

Like the title indicates, Emergency Fire Response places you in control of an elite unit of firefighters. You command your crew from an isometric viewpoint and do what firefighters do best: put out fires (sorry, no rescuing cats from trees here). Summarizing the game as just 'putting out fires'? may be too simplistic though. There's a good deal of strategy and planning that needs to be taken into account; especially since you'll constantly be on your toes with the many events that the game throws at you: Explosives, falling structures, back drafts, and all that fun stuff. Running into buildings and dousing fires would get boring after a while, but fortunately, the developers took this into consideration and added some interesting storytelling elements that help further diversify the missions.

Although EFR has a solid foundation, its main problems lie in the inconsistent AI. Firefighters will often wander too close to fires, injuring themselves, or will just quit hosing the fire when there's a break in the flame's path. The AI and some of the game's mechanics (like the oxygen and water tank refilling system) often lead to a lot of micromanagement, which can make things more hectic than they should be, especially in the later stages.

Capturing the visual destruction of fires and emulating it for a PC game is a large undertaking, and EFR ends up somewhere in the middle of the road. The most important visual aspect of a firefighter game should naturally be the fire and Emergency's flames accomplish the job well. There's a good amount of detail in environments as well, although the animation for vehicles look static. Nothing jaw-droppingly beautiful, but it works. The load times, however, are horrendously long with the recommended install, and are still too long with the full install. Additionally, the sound is largely forgettable, featuring little music and average sound effects.

Priced at twenty bucks, Emergency Fire Response is worth the price of admission. It's a nice diversion from the run-of-the-mill military strategy games, and it's different enough that casual fans of strategy games might be lured into the glory of being a firefighter.

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