Fire Department 3

Fire Department 3

Fire Department 3

Don't get burned.

Fire! Fire! Fire the developers responsible for taking such a promising premise (firefighting RTS) and turning it into such a mediocre game. Perhaps sacking is a bit harsh; Fire Department 3 does have its moments, but the problem is you are usually far too busy to enjoy them.

Here's how a typical mission works. Your units are dumped down beside a blaze and within seconds the objectives window starts screaming instructions. Extinguish that flaming electricity transformer! Recover those five injured scientists! Contain the fires by the fuel silo! Click. Click. Click. Click. A frantic minute passes and you get a couple of things done only for them to be instantly replaced by a couple more. Turn on those extractor fans! Bulldoze that gate! Rescue that kitten! More panicky clicking, more time-sensitive objectives. By the time the victory screen pops up you are as frazzled as the hero-narrator's Gallic eyebrows.

Firefighting games obviously can't be too leisurely, but there's no good reason why they can't be more freeform than this. The devs have gone to the trouble of creating a very impressive fire and smoke propagation model that factors-in things like oxygen supply, wind direction and ignition thresholds, yet you are so busy dashing round trying to complete the contrived tasks set by the control-freak mission designers, you barely notice it. By the end of the thirteen-episode campaign I was praying for a mission in which I arrived at a scene and was told, simply "Put the fire out and save as many lives as possible".

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