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Review by: Emil Pagliarulo
Ahhh…Europe. Like the United States is so many ways, yet so very, very different. Football, anyone? But if there is one common bond, it is the passion for gaming that reaches across the vast Atlantic and joins our two distinct worlds. Good games have been pouring out of European development companies, and that number just seems to be increasing. Such is the case with WizardWorks’s latest release, Emergency: Fighters for Life, created by German development firm Topware. A game with a distinct European feel, it nonetheless translates well to an American gaming audience, and makes for a pretty fun gaming experience.
Emergency: Fighters for Life puts the player in charge of every emergency response unit of a large geographic area. No matter what the situation, you must respond, and the fate of countless lives is ultimately in your hands. That’s not a very comforting thought, I know. As the “boss,” it’s your job to not only complete each mission, but do so as quickly and cost effectively as possible. Working within a pretty limited budget, you’ll need to choose only those vehicles and personnel that are absolutely essential to the task at hand. For example, sending a fire truck to a crime scene will only cost you extra money and crowd the scene. At the end of every mission, you’ll be given an efficiency rating, from 0 to 100 percent, that tells you how well you managed your forces and money. Your goal, of course, is to complete each mission with a perfect efficiency rating…provided, of course, you can complete the mission at all.
There really is a huge assortment of vehicles available throughout the game, and the player needs to learn all he or she can about them to know which ones will be most useful in any given situation. There are several fire trucks, ranging from the small supply truck to the giant ladder truck; flatbed transporters, for hauling away wrecked cars; a firefighting plane, for dumping 10,000 gallons of water over raging outdoor infernos; a rescue helicopter, which is essentially an expensive, fast, exceptionally mobile ambulance; police cars and police trucks for dealing with large crowds and criminals; and even a flatbed bulldozer that can be used to level any obstacles in the way.
Of course, all the vehicles in the world are useless without properly trained personnel. You’ll also have direct control over doctors and orderlies, who ride in the ambulances and are the last line between life and death for accident victims; policemen, who ride in the police vehicles, and are used to control crowds and make arrests; and firefighters, used to rescue people from burning buildings, put out fires, battle chemical spills, and do everything else you’d expect them to do. You don’t actually need personnel in a vehicle to send it to the scene, and some, like the flatbed and pumper fire truck, are just as useful without them.
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