The Firemen Bits

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Description: Top-down action game where firemen are tasked with combating a blaze inside an office building/factory.

Conveniences: Small fires serve as collision obstacles but don’t hurt the avatar; the AI companion is invincible, only attacks fires within the player’s vicinity, and generally stays out of the way.

Annoyances: Long and unskippable text pop-ups; camera doesn’t adjust to the player’s facing direction making it hard to look ahead.

Standouts: Lots of unique gameplay elements (albeit not implemented realistically) that stem from various fire-fighting concepts.

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  • The player’s water-cannon has unlimited ammo and can fire a close-range burst at the ground, or a focused, long-range stream into the air. This has various gameplay implications as the player must constantly switch between the two modes in order to properly deal with fire.
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  • Different types of fire not only cover the environments, but also serve as typical videogame enemies. They possess unique animations, movement patterns, HP values, high and/or low presence (that syncs with the water cannon), and even unique functionality such as spawning other fires or exploding upon death.
  • As fires move across the ground, they permanently scorch the areas they touch.
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  • Each level contains a boss — an out-of-control, borderline-sentient fire monstrosity.
  • The player’s goal is to simply progress from one room to the next; putting out fires and rescuing civilians is entirely optional. However, both tasks serve as risk-reward systems.

    Extinguishing fires is akin to obtaining collectibles, and the player’s end-level ranking is based on how many fires were put out. Locating helpless workers is also dangerous and time consuming, but it’s the only way to restore the player’s health.

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  • Scripted text pop-ups  appear periodically throughout the game and provide the driving narrative. The non-modal ones are particularly nice as they don’t pause the action.
  • Each level has a time limit, but nothing seems to happen when it runs out. The only disadvantage is that at about the 85%-gone mark, the player’s health is drained to a sliver.
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  • Despite the whole game being taking place in just one building, there’s quite a bit of variety in the visuals and mechanics of the environments. Ventilators and conveyor belts affect the player’s movement; boilers, windows, and lamps burst under pressure; heat damage collapses floors and hanging lights; airducts and make-shift tunnels force provide alternative routes; blowback from enclosed infernos explodes out as doors are opened, etc.

    There’s even a section where the two firemen get to ride an elevated platform outside the building itself!

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  1. #1 by Jerod on September 9, 2012 - 8:51 pm

    Now this looks interesting, but the reasonably-priced results all appear to be for the JP, rather than the EU, version. If I remember correctly, I can’t play the JP version on my discolored US Super Nintendo. Am I able to play EU games on my US system? I guess it doesn’t matter if I can’t afford to buy this anyhow. :(

(will not be published)