|Genre||Hilarious rescue driving|
|MtAMinutes to Action||3|
|Buy from Amazon|
I've managed to avoid shovelware pretty well over the years. I'm a knowledgeable gamer who's able to spot crap from four shelves away. But sometimes, games just land in your lap and you not only have no choice but to play it, you have to just to say you did and came out alive.
Emergency Heroes is that game, a semi-sandbox driving game that has you putting out fires, pulling over speeders, and clearing out traffic jams to save the day - all in terrific eight year old graphics with stellar voice actors found off the street wrapped in a hilariously bad SyFy Original Movie-like storyline.
Ubisoft released Emergency Heroes for the Wii in mid-2008, so this game has been burning up bargain bins for a while. I generally don't like Ubisoft for their DRM and other business practices, but I'm willing to make exceptions for exceptional games like this.
It can be fun to laugh at games like this though as long as the gameplay isn't frustrating. So will Emergency Heroes be a surprise and pull off an amazing first hour? Or will it be just what we all expect? Let's dive in and find out.
00 - First thing to do is create a profile, there are five slots available. To the right is this really generic looking, anime-style woman(?) with a chopstick in her hair and Battle Royale collar around her neck. I input my name and the game begins. Well, after I select Play Game instead of, haha, multiplayer! Loading...
01 - “San Alto, a vision of steel, glass, and nature.” It’s a utopian city, but just a few years ago the economy was struggling and crime was out of control. The Emergency Heroes Organization saved the city (with the help of Kelly O’Connors, tech specialist, the chick from the first screen). Maybe Detroit has a chance after all.
02 - I play Zack Harper, a cadet in training that is the city’s only hope. “No one has the training you have.” “But... I didn’t even finish training.” What the heck is going on here? The camera is flying around the city, the graphics look like early GameCube with plain textures blocky graphics.
03 - “Press the 2 button to accelerate.” 1 brakes and B is the E-Brake. The game controls decently well, I’m impressed it managed that much. Next I pull off a power slide.
04 - There’s a ramp in the middle of the road (maybe that’s part of the city’s problem?) that when I go off it, I get Hero Points! Filling my Hero Meter enters me into Hero Mode! How exciting!
05 - HAHA! My controller says, “HERO MODE READY,” in a generic computerized voice. I activate Hero Mode and head off a huge jump. Hero Mode turns your sirens on and makes you go really fast, but just for a few seconds.
07 - I enter “Peril Mode” to view a map of the city and any “perils” around town. Geez, this is a small map, Chinatown Wars was about four times as big. The only peril available is East Commercial Chase.
08 - Oh, wow. There are a few cars on the road now and you can just run into them without taking any damage. Sometimes when you hit them a picture of the driver will appear and they’ll say something. I’ll be sure to quote all the funny ones.
10 - Emergency Heroes doesn’t have a real GPS built into the map, but there are a string of green arrows built into the middle of the road to tell you exactly where to go and your controller tells you to turn left or right as you’re approaching a turn. That’s actually really useful, wish Burnout Paradise had that.
11 - “What’s wrong with going slow?” asks one soccer mom as I plow into her minivan. Nobody takes any real damage though, how sad. I enter the East Commerical Chase peril, it’s a criminal on the run! He’s got a big old green marker flashing above his car. Time to ram him.
12 - Oh man, he taunts me as I attempt to ram him six times (the game keeps track of this on screen), “Another Emergency Zero?” He’s gonna pay!
13 - “You didn’t? You did? You got me!” His car actually has a bit of visible damage after getting taken down. I receive a Rank 1 from doing it so quickly, I guess? There’s also rank 2 or 3, I earn 1200 HP for my effort. HP? Hero Points, undoubtedly. Need more Hero Points to rank up!
15 - After the Hot Pursuit takedown, some random speeder drives by and I’m ordered to take him down. One hit does the job, but I manage to slip under his SUV and he bounces around on top of my invincible squad car. This game is hilarious. I receive 100 Hero Points!
17 - Oh no, a fire at the hotel! Emergency Heroes to the rescue! You can turn your sirens on whenever you want but cars don’t move out of your way. What kind of city doesn’t have respect for its law enforcement?
19 - I arrive at the hotel and get a new car, the Rescue Buggy. A crappy looking crossover colored orange. I need to save some person so it’s time to cruise through the hotel grounds.
20 - I’ve left the grounds and am now flying through the actual hotel. Getting tons of air and my Hero Meter is going crazy. Stuff is falling all over me too but it doesn’t do any damage. Oh, I miss a jump but it only puts me back about 100 yards, thanks game!
22 - I reach the girl who needs saving, who I can’t actually see, either that or she’s actually some kind of mini building. I’m confused. Her accent is obnoxious though. I’m going back through the same route, though I get to bust through all the doors and walls again, which is always fun.
24 - After 20 checkpoints, I finish the peril and receive another Rank 1. Dang, only 100 Hero Points until level up. My boss instructs me there’s a fire at the hotel... umm... dude, try to keep up.
25 - Apparently this is the mission where you actually put the fire out. Another car arrives, this one a larger Range Rover with a hose attached to the top. Just hold A to shoot, you don’t even have to aim.
27 - Wow, this is pathetically easy. Though you can’t just hold A to shoot water as the game seems to sense this and make you “miss” the fire (even though it’s auto-aiming for you anyway). Fires are just sort of popping out in front of me, this is intense. Sorry, not really.
28 - After I put out 10 localized fires, I apparently saved the hotel and receive another Rank 1. Rank up! I unlocked the Sledgehammer vehicle. It looks like a police car with a snow plow attached to the front.
31 - The next mission features the Sledgehammer just plowing through some epic traffic jams to open the road back up. Just the thought of this happening in real life is awesome. Granted, the small jams are on fire, and I don’t see any people. But you never see people in this game... so maybe the cars are still full of people! Oh my God.
32 - Rank 1, again. That was even easier than taking down the speeder.
34 - The next level is Fun Park Fire, I wonder if I’ve already played all the stage types the game features?
37 - “I used to love coming here as a kid.” “Some people can still enjoy the fun park thanks to you.” Rank 1. Rank up. The Gladiator unlocked. I can’t even get excited any more. Meh, the Gladiator is just another hot-rod looking police car with gull-wing doors.
38 - The water effects are hilarious. If you shoot on the road the water spreads out and travels for about a 100 yards like its fog rolling down the road. Too bad you can’t shoot water at cars though.
40 - Central Commercial Chase, man, the game doesn’t even give me the Gladiator. This criminal looks like he’s straight out of Escape from New York. Kind of appropriate, actually.
43 - After 10 hits the guy goes down. “No one does that, you gotta be cheating!” Rank 3, woah, I’m getting lazy.
44 - Another set of traffic jams I need to clean up. “It’s crazy, Zack! Where did all these cars come from?” This is such a crappy event, all you do is drive straight. Rank 1. The game seems to be hinting that there is some mastermind behind all these events. Can’t not wait to find out.
47 - Time for another car chase, it’s a woman this time, in the same dang car.
49 - Taken down, I love how much damage I do to other civilians when just chasing down one speeding car. Rank 1. I unlocked another fire truck SUV for general use.
51 - Casino Rescue! What kind of utopia has a casino? Found the guy and rescued. Why didn’t I take the route I took out, inside? It was much faster. But really, why didn’t we just use the helicopter to rescue him that dropped off the rescue vehicle? Rank 1.
55 - Granado Bridge Fire. “Zack, you’ve learned a lot, and I think it’s time to put your serious skills to the test.” Ugh, this level just had me driving up and down the same bridge putting out the same fires. Rank 1. Rank up unlocks another rescue vehicle... how exciting.
58 - Oh snaps, cutscene with the bad guy from Killzone on the comm. He’s taunting me and Zack realizes he must be behind all this.
60 - He says the Emergency Hero Organization is built on thin ice, color me very, very slightly intrigued. But thankfully, that’s the end of the first hour.
Minutes to Action: 3
What I loved: If there's one thing Emergency Heroes has going for it, the game is playable. This would have been a very long first hour otherwise.
What I liked: Being able to drive and hit any car without repercussions is actually pretty hilarious. Cruising around and ramming cars was enjoyable for a while, kind of a nice change from a game like Burnout Paradise.
What I didn't like: The voice acting is super bad, like it was written in Japanese and then translated into English - too bad it was written in English in the first place. It's good for a lot of laughs though, especially the other drivers' reactions when you hit them.
Emergency Heroes' graphics seem very dated, if it wasn't for the decent draw distance, I would have guessed this was a GameCube or PS2 era game.
Also rather sad that the missions began repeating themselves so quickly, very worrisome.
Would I Keep Playing? No. It's not that this was as bad as I thought it would be, it's just that there's nothing to Emergency Heroes. The gameplay is toddler simple and seems really repetitive, and the story is Saturday morning cartoon dumb. At least the gameplay is okay, it could have controlled a LOT worse.