Emergency 2 - The Ultimate Fight For Life Review
Emergency 2 is ostensibly a real-time strategy, crisis management game. In reality it is a series of timed puzzles with ill-defined objectives and obscure solutions. As a result, an interesting subject for a real-time strategy game has been turned into an exercise in frustration.
The game comes with 25 missions that cover a variety of emergency situations from your relative run-of-the-mill train wreck to a disaster aboard a nuclear submarine. Each mission opens with a short cutscene showing the disaster to which you'll be responding. From there you are taken to your command center from which you can jump to the scene of the accident or dispatch emergency vehicles. The command center sounds more impressive than it really is - it just serves to give you a way to jump between the disaster scene and your emergency services buildings and to give you access to the opening cutscene, the unit encyclopedia, and hints for completing the current mission.
|A Hazmat team on the scene.|
The first step in each mission is to dispatch your emergency service vehicles. To prevent you from simply dispatching every vehicle that you have, the game assigns a charge to each vehicle and person dispatched. Each mission has its own budget to pay for the dispatches, but you won't be in much danger of running out of money unless you really do try to dispatch everything that is available. To dispatch units, you need to scroll around the map between your fire station, hospital, and police station. You then select the vehicle that you want from those available for the mission (available units are parked outside the buildings), man the vehicles with doctors, paramedics, police officers, etc., and then send them on their way. You then jump back to the control center, move to the crisis scene, and then wait for your units to appear. So far everything sounds OK, but things fall apart quickly from there.
To illustrate the game's problems, let's look at the first mission because it is a microcosm of the issues that you'll face throughout the game. A car gets hit by a train when it stalls on the tracks, and you're told that the driver and engineer are injured and that the driver is trapped in the car. You're not given any mission objectives beyond being told the basics of the situation, so you don't have much guidance on which vehicles and specialists that you should dispatch. In this case you'd think that an ambulance and a fire rescue vehicle would suffice, so you dispatch them and jump to the accident scene. You sit there staring at the accident for a while, wondering where your vehicles are and why they never showed up. If you're lucky, you'll soon realize that they must be somewhere on the map and so you begin with the exercise that opens every mission - hunting for your vehicles. The vehicles never drive to the crisis scene, they just enter the map edge and stop. And they enter the map from a different direction in every mission. Why the designers thought it would be fun to scroll around the map looking for your vehicles just so that you could issue a move order to take them to the accident scene is beyond me. Why wouldn't they just go to the scene of the accident as they would in the real world?