In my quest for super cheap, hidden gems for the Wii, I came across Emergency Heroes, which I’d never heard of before. For the princely sum of £1, why not give it a go?
Early signs are promising. There’s some great anime-inspired character, vehicle and city design; the visuals are bold, bright and colourful too. The city and vehicles have a very sci-fi edge that helps the game stand out from the myriad other games that just seek to replicate realistic settings. You’ll be driving around under Sega-blue skies too, which is always a plus.
After the main plot is set up (some nonsense about your character leaving the emergency services, but being forced back because of a wave of terrorist activity sweeping the city – which, to be fair, does have a ‘dramatic’ twist), you’ll be driving around a rather small, open city, where you pick up police, fire or medical missions. There’s only a few types of missions in the game’s 40 levels, but in theory it should be fun to smash cars off the road as a cop (Chase HQ-style), put out fires in a futuristic fire truck or rescue civilians in a souped-up medical vehicle. Though the city is open, some mission types close off alternate routes, creating a more linear track on your current mission. There’s a large roster of vehicles to unlock, spanning all of the different emergency services – and they all have one thing in common.
They’re all near-impossible to control. Emergency Heroes is controlled by tilting the Wii Remote; there’s no other option available. Use a steering wheel and it goes from being pretty-much unplayable to borderline playable. Either way, it’s a poorly implemented control scheme (was there seriously no time to tweak the handling during development?) and with no alternative available, it destroys any fun there may have been in the game altogether.
It’s a shame; as mentioned, I think the visuals are particularly nice for a Wii game – and the animated look to the characters (setting aside the dreadful, but cheesily charming voiceovers and dialogue) is also pretty appealing. The game really suffers from the ‘Wii effect’ of motion controls added for no good reason – which, unfortunately, so many other promising Wii games are afflicted with.
So, despite the fact that you can pick Emergency Heroes up very cheaply now, it’s not one I’d recommend. Had there been better implemented motion controls (or better still, no motion controls at all), it could have been a nice bit of short, sweet, arcade-style fun. An unfortunate missed opportunity.
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