Sometimes a gamer will come across a game that will deliberately do something different. For instance, nobody thought a farming game like Harvest Moon would actually catch on. And there’s another game that does things in its own way that works. It’s called The Firemen, created by Fire Pro Wrestling and Clock Tower creator Human Entertainment.
In spite of its name, the object of the game is putting out fire. And it must’ve been good because it garnered a sequel for the PlayStation called The Firemen 2: Pete & Danny. While the game we’re talking about was released in Europe, the game was never published in North America for some reason. The only thing out there is some prototype that’s floating around on ROM sites (and I only do official releases). That’s too bad because this is an interesting game.
It’s Christmas Day in New York, but not everybody will have a happy holiday. A Christmas party was held in the chemical plant Microtech, but a careless fire from the kitchen mixed in with flammable chemicals in the company causes a massive fire to break out. Veteran firemen Pete Grey and Danny McClean are called in on the scene. It’s their job to put the fires out, rescue any trapped people, and put an end to this inferno.
You’ll be playing as Pete (the guy with the mustache), and he can walk around in an overhead view in eight directions and can shoot either a line of fire to douse the flames or slowly spray water to get flames that the other shoot can’t. Holding either the L or R buttons can hold your position as you start dousing. Also, you can duck whenever needed either to avoid danger or crawl through a tight space.
You have a time limit, a life detector that will pulse when someone’s nearby, a layout of the current level, a display of the floor you’re on, and your health bar which will give you a game over should you run out. You’ll also have some water grenades which will be very handy in clearing out bosses and give you a little more breathing room.
You’re accompanied by Danny (the younger blonde guy) who’s invincible and will help you fight fires and open doors. And unlike other games, his A.I. is very effective! Sometimes you’ll come across some random civilian lying on the floor and rescuing them will refill your health.
Throughout your mission you’ll talk to various people, from your other crew members to some incompetent architect who Pete will sometimes have a beef with. They will all guide you and advance the story. While it’s fun to douse out all the flames (and you’ll get a nice rate at the end if you do), you’ll be smart not to goof off. Time will catch up to you, and the fires and their attack patterns will overwhelm you if you don’t be careful. What this game really needs is a two-player mode where the other player can control Danny. Unfortunately, that’s not to be. You will also notice that the game is quite linear and short. With clocking at least two hours, the replay value leaves a little bit to be desired.
Apart from nice explosions and some random robots going berserk, there’s not much variety when it comes to actual “enemies” to fight; You’re just fighting one flame after another and that gets a little old. Then again, that’s par for the course if you’re a fireman. However the main heroes are cool and detailed in their own right (and their eyes remind me of A Link to the Past for some odd reason). As for the other characters, they look like your generic stock, and one of your comrade’s hair is something I doubt the New York City Fire Department would approve. As a result of being in the Microtech building for so long, you’ll quickly want to forget that it even exists.
Since this is a serious mission, the music calls for a sense of urgency. But while the production value is good and the music is decent to listen to, it’s a little weak and doesn’t show the potential that the SNES can do. I do like the sound effects, notably when Pete shouts when he’s hit, the explosions, and the fires going poof when doused. But I personally can’t find any good reason to listen to this music elsewhere, as I don’t find the melodies to be particularly memorable.
In spite of some occasional mishaps with the hose, The Firemen really puts down the blaze. And it deserves to have a commendation, if nothing else for its frantically interesting gameplay and its import status. Moreover, Pete and Danny does an excellent job for this game, and the A.I. is surprisingly intelligent for a change when we’re used to dim-witted NPCs hindering us. Putting out fires has never been so satisfying or fun, and it’s all in a day’s work once the job is finally completed. The Firemen is an excellent example of what a little deviation from the norm can do if done right.
4 out of 5 Stars.
The Firemen 2: Pete & Danny. (2017, July 31). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Firemen_2:_Pete_%26_Danny
The Firemen. (2017, December 6). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Firemen
Harvest Moon (video game). (2017, July 30). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_Moon_(video_game)
Human Entertainment. (2017, November 8). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Entertainment
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. (2017, December 7). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_A_Link_to_the_Past
New York City Fire Department. (2017, November 26). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_Fire_Department
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