|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Reflections / Barcelona||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 27, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Crazy Taxi was a pretty awesome game. But Crazy Taxi rip-offs are not. Emergency Mayhem, recently released on the Wii, was just that -- and it was not well-received by critics and gamers alike. Emergency Heroes seems to go down a similar path, although it attempts to take a slightly more serious approach. Ultimately, though, it's just another bad Wii game. Talk about getting the summer off to a good start
You'll take the role of Zach Harper -- a very stereotypical character if you've played any video games with a Japanese art influence. In the future, individuals will apparently be responsible for solving multiple disasters -- I mean, why be just a policeman or a firefighter when you could be both? As such, you'll control Zach Harper as he cruises around an open-ended, sand-box-style city (kinda-sorta-not really a la Grand Theft Auto) as he basically looks for ways to become an emergency hero.
The list of tasks you'll take care of is fairly limited, considering all of Harper's rescuing credentials. Putting out fires, chasing down criminals, and rescuing people from dangerous buildings are about the extent of what you'll do. Not only are all these tasks fairly boring and straightforward (I'll detail why momentarily), but they also get really, really monotonous. Honestly, after playing through each of these a half-dozen times, you're going to start to get really sick of Emergency Heroes.
The way the game plays is pretty simple and is essentially divided into two main sections. First, there's the part where you wander around looking for people who need rescuing. This is really where the open-ended aspect of Emergency Heroes comes into play, and it's also where you'll realize this fictional city really isn't all that big or all that "open-ended". In that respect, the game is really quite a disappointment, and while there was some more opportunity for capitalizing on that concept of the game, the developers pretty much just let it go to waste.
Then comes the second major part of the game -- actually, it's only really applicable to the rescue segments and the firefighting bits. The game departs from the open-world and instead becomes a circuit around the target area. For example, when fighting a fire, you'll enter a track mode when you reach the building. As you drive by the building, a simple press of the A button fires water to hopefully douse the flames. Moreover, you can keep going around as many times as you need to put out the fire, which ends up being a really stupid mechanic. I don't know how to have better handled this, but the way the developers set this up feels really foolish and pretty much blows any sense of realism they may have been trying to create.
With the chase sequences and what I'll call the "street-clearing sequences" (when you've got to clear some rubble off a street, usually part of the aftermath of a collapsed building or some such similar disaster), the circuit mode never takes effect. Instead, you'll remain in the open-ended world which, while kind of disappointing, is certainly preferable to the simple lap around a building that is the alternative. Clearing rubble basically requires you to gain some speed and smash into the rubble with your vehicle (which is indestructible, thankfully). When you get word of a criminal on the loose, you can initiate a chase scene and you'll go off on a high-speed race for the felon. They're both pretty basic, but at least they don't feel as botched as the rescue/firefighting missions.