Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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A name like EMERGENCY conjures up mental images of fast paced action and some very dangerous scenarios. All the more so, thanks to its use of capital letters. The game doesn't actually live up to these ideas. Sure, it's a great concept for a game but that sense of urgency never feels hugely significant.
There's no storyline to EMERGENCY, just a series of 13 disasters to get involved with. These range from train crashes to assassination attempts on the president, so it covers a wide range of situations. Early missions explain how to play the game but it's reasonably laid out, despite an overreliance on icons that aren't always clearly explained.
Players take control of teams of paramedics, police and firefighters. Each mission requires a certain order to be completed, invoking thoughts of time management games. For instance, a burning building with a person trapped requires a set process. The police need to ward off bystanders for their own safety, thus freeing up room for the firefighters to put out the fire. Alongside that, the turntable ladder vehicle can be used to rescue the civilian, resulting in the need for a medic to patch them up and take them to hospital. It's very structured with not much room for experimentation.
The main route to achieving the best high scores (and the coveted gold medal) is to react quickly. Unfortunately, the emergency services don't appear to like to react too quickly, forever walking around the levels rather than running with any sense of urgency. It's not even possible to position them in certain places, ready for when they're needed in a few minutes time.
This creates a frustrating experience and ultimately, a dull one, as so much time is spent waiting for things to be done. It's unfortunate, given that EMERGENCY offers such a fantastic glimpse of originality. A game that involves saving people rather than killing is great to see. However, EMERGENCY feels, ironically, too safe and fails to capture the threat that could have made it an exciting game.