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Emergency Heroes

August 9, 2010

“A slap in the face awaits you with horrible physics and awful controls”

Emergency Heroes puts you in the shoes of the last remaining cop in a futuristic city. Not only that, you just happen to be a trainee. Even worse, a trainee that flunked out of the academy. So the two other emergency staff members decide to help you out by giving you tips and telling you pertinent information while you fight the crime in the city all by your lonesome.

This is a driving game and it uses the motion sensor in the Wii Remote as a steering wheel. So basically you’ll have to tilt the remote to steer. There are four different modes of emergency with four associated types of vehicles to help get you through it. Don’t be expecting much variety between the modes though, they all are very simplistic missions that basically expect you to get to the end of the track in as little time as possible.

The graphics are pretty good with lots of rich effects like debris on the road, lens flare, etc. etc. All the cars that you encounter don’t take any visual damage, they will always look the same even on the brink of death (they don’t explode either). The environments are rich with graphical detail but bland in their sameness. This blandness in the graphics is achieved because you cannot interact with anything nor do anything other than your mission objectives.

The physics in this game will really annoy you. The game feels clunky, even though the graphics run smoothly, I’ve only experienced motion slowdown when there is quite a bit happening on the screen. But, aside from the smoothness, the game feels horrible when you drive. It’s not just the awful steering method that you’re forced into, but also fake realism of the physical world.

I’ll give you two examples of what I mean. Firstly, you can actually change the direction and motion of your car in mid air. I don’t know who’s idea that was, but they should be shot. It doesn’t feel right when you hit a jump perfectly and tilt the remote and land on your side. This is just not possible to do in any vehicle.
Secondly, when you smash into other vehicles, you’ll rarely even notice. You could hit a truck with your speed bike and the truck will go flying while you remain happily on your merry way. That just feels awful and destroys the illusion of the game.

The voice acting in this game is just horrendous. There is no option to turn it off either or skip it. You can skip it if you’ve already seen the cut scene, but if its you’re first time, you’ll have to bear through it. The other problem is that it lasts forever. I mean, tell me if I’m wrong here, but in an emergency where people are burning to death, why do you sit in your car listening to someone giving you details on the building and why it’s important we save the scientist and his research? Shouldn’t the details wait until Mr Crispy is safe and sound in your trunk? I guess not.

The story is just ludicrous and doesn’t make any sense. In a futuristic city apparently in an emergency the only guy in any position to help anyone is a washed up cadet. No one else ever took the test (ever, in the history of the world), only this one kid and he failed. So, now it’s your second chance to save the city. Because, you are the only one in the world who can drive a car and listen to instructions.

The only ones who’ll probably be interested in the story are toddlers. It’s has been dumbed down beyond belief and everyone will feel like the game is actually mocking you. I know I felt it was. And even toddlers will pick up the massive flaws in the plot and lose interest. I timed it, four and a half minutes was all it took.

The control method and the imbalance of gameplay ruins this games playability. There is no alternative control method, it’s either use the motion controller and smack into walls constantly or don’t play it at all. I’ll list each of the game modes or perils (as they are lamely called), but the chase mode is so hard with this control method that I gave up halfway into the game and couldn’t even be bothered to finish it.

Chase mode: You’re taking on the role of a cop here and you have to smash into offending vehicles until they stop. Sometimes you have to hit them in specific locations on their body. If you hit them, you have to wait a few seconds for it to reset the hit marker, so don’t expect a quick win by slamming them into a wall. Also, you can’t just tap them, you have to hit them going much faster, which is a feat that is almost impossible with the steering motion sensor.
This is by far the hardest mode. So hard that it’s not even worth bothering with because some guys require 20+ hits on their frame to stop them. I’ve had guys slammed up against the wall, pinned, not able to move, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for the game. I had to let them out and let them run amuck in the city so I could tap him on his rear end. I’ve even flipped a car, but somehow it magically righted itself and continued running away.

Fire mode: You’re a fireman. You race around a track and when the screen says, “press A” you press A and the fire goes out. Very boring and too easy, especially when compared to the epic marathon you have to go through in chase mode.

Rescue mode: You’re a rescue car. You have to go into burning buildings and race to the end then race back with a guy. So very boring because you don’t actually pick up any guys, it’s just a cut scene. Once again, a breeze to win.

Clearance mode: You drive a car very much like a cop car, but with a bulldozer attachment at the front, you hit things and get to the end of the track. So easy that it’s almost beyond belief. I hit every wall on the way through on run and still got a gold medal. Oh, and they don’t slow you down. At all! You could hit a truck 4 times your size and not even notice. I though maybe hitting 5 of them blocking the road would incur a slow down, but I was to be the fool there!

That’s all the variety you’ll get. Three very easy modes and one mode so hard that it’s beyond belief. You can unlock new cars and artworks but they are all just so bland with the awful control method that any joy you experience driving your new car is quickly diminished.

There are seven multiplayer modes to play through. There is a fire run, where you and your friend battle in a city to see who can put the most fires out. There is a chase mode where two of you battle to try and take out a vehicle. Rescue mode is like fire mode but with only one target to get too. There is a race mode with 3 sub modes to it, but all just about racing. And finally a pass the bomb mode where the one holding the bomb at the end loses.

The game also tries to boast about a huge free roaming environment that you can explore at you own fancy! But you can’t do anything with that. That’s right nothing! You’ll maybe get a random vehicle related traffic offence committed in front of you that you can fix. These are all dependant on your vehicle, so if you’re in a fire truck, you’ll see and fire and if you’re in a chase car you might have to bump a random car. It gets boring so fast that it’ll make your head spin.

I can believe I paid so much for this game. The graphics on the back are good. The graphics in the game are good. But the horrible control method and the woeful physics in this game will annoy you out of any desire to play it. To me its seems very dumbed down and made for kids, but with the chase mode being so unbelievably hard, there is no way any child will ever manage to complete it.

This game needs a massive restructuring and a redesign of the physics engine before it can even be considered worthwhile. Stay away from it at all costs or at the very least rent it out overnight because in that night you’ll experience all that this game has to offer you and you won’t be impressed. This seems like another shovelware game that was released quickly to cash in on the Wii’s release.

Look for alternatives like Need for Speed if you want racing, but so far the best racing game I’ve played on the Wii was found in Scarface. Yeah, I know it’s not a racing game per-se, but the physics are just dynamite when it comes to car damage and the graphics are great.


From → Wii

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