The jewel case claims, "WHERE THERE'S SMOKE, THERE'S ROSCOE MCQUEEN, A ONE-MAN FIRE-FIGHTING MACHINE." How many firefighting games are there? One would hope that McQueen would be able to offer a hot alternative to the other types of games that are much more plentiful. But after playing this game, I only feel burned.
What do you get when you cross a really limited controller interface with unforgiving game hazards? Personally, I get really annoyed. The 3D platform is a game type that is very well-developed and fleshed out, with games like Zelda and Tomb Raider leading the way. The look and feel of this game is a throwback to a time before most programmers knew what they were doing (why doesn't somebody sell pre-developed engines that already work well on PSX?). It could be geared more toward younger players, but if that's the case it should have a great user interface.
In each level, there are a variety of rooms into which you must run and whack the robots with your axe, then switch to your hose and put out the fires. In later levels, you must also prevent bombs from going off. You have a floating robot sidekick who beams up the people you rescue and off whom you can bounce your whimsical remarks.
Each level is broken up into sections and you can only save and restart at the beginning of the level (always the mark of a game trying to make up for poor challenges in the game itself). So that means you could play through four of the five sections, only to miss the mark on a jump and have to play the first four over and over. The torture only ends when you master the limitations of the jump and finally make it through that last section.
The load times are some of the longest I've seen in a PSX game. Considering what a simple game it is, it's not a good tradeoff. Other 3D platform games have plenty more items to use and/or status levels for the character you are controlling. There are a few items in each room that you can interact with, but the rest of the background is just there. More attention could have been paid to the world — perhaps if the levels had some challenge to completing them.
To start with, there is no diagonal motion, period. You have to turn the direction you want to go and then press forward or back. This might be okay if it were a game about a really basic robot, but not a quasi-superhero. Roscoe tries to make up for his inadequacies with a standard variety of cheesy remarks that simply do not add to the game.
Then there is jumping. It's hard to tell on a surface with an edge when you are getting close to the edge. So you might end up going just a little too close to the edge, or you may jump too early and miss landing on the surface you are trying to reach.
Your actions consist of a switch item button and a use item button. You can also dodge left or right. As you walk through the game you will be singed by plenty of different burning hazards like steam. You can refill your life when you find food or drink by smashing open lockers and climbing on top of them to get what spits out onto the top.
The levels themselves have a decent look, despite the game's other drawbacks. The introduction is extremely short and not very exciting. The graphics that you watch during game and level loads are yawners.
Play this game at your own risk. There are so many games out on the PSX that I'm sure you will find something better to buy or rent. Don't waste your time on this game. It would be a good game if it had better graphics and sound, better play mechanics, a more developed world, and a lot more items to use.