Emergency 2: The Ultimate Fight for Life

1Crabby interface ruins a good premise.

Emergency 2 is an unusual sort of real-time strategy game. It doesn’t involve base-building or resource scavenging that is so prevalent with this genre, but instead assigns you to control a network of emergency services (fire trucks, ambulances, police, etc), hands you an emergency and lets you clean up the mess. If a fire is raging then you might want to send out a fire engine or two. If people are hurt, then you might choose to throw some paramedics and an ambulance into the fray.

Despite this simple formula, the first half of the missions turn out to be quite interesting. Emergency 2 eases you into its gameplay with a train colliding with a car. Then it gradually introduces you to more vehicles and personnel as it works its way to the bigger and better catastrophes, including an alien invasion at the end. Generally the objectives are the same — rescue the people and put out the fires — but the variety in the circumstances and the wonderfully detailed maps make the missions different enough to stay interesting all the way to the end.

6_1The only problem with Emergency 2 is that it requires a bit too much micromanaging. With the exception of fire engines, which will attempt to put out any fires that are within range, all your units need to be told exactly what to do, or else they won’t do anything. For instance, if you want to heal some poor injured guy, you have to order your doctor to stabilize him, then you have to order your paramedics to put him on a stretcher, then you have to order your paramedics to take him to an ambulance. Now imagine that there are many injured people, and that there is also a fire, and a riot.

With all of this chaos you might expect a pause button, but this is unfortunately missing, and the game doesn’t give enough feedback about what’s going on. For most games where you have to meet objectives, the objectives are presented in a friendly list and you’re shown when you’ve met them. Not in Emergency 2, where the objectives are presented in paragraph form. Often times you don’t really know whether you’ve done everything in the mission, leaving way to some trial and error to discover what you’ve missed. It gets tired fast.

System Requirements: Pentium III 600 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 300 MB HDD, Win95

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