Fire Department 3 - ViTALiTY (Full ISO/2006)
PC | 2006 | Publisher : Monte Cristo Multimedia | Developer:Monte Cristo | 1.48 GB
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.
Heres 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 narrators Gallic eyebrows.
Firefighting games obviously cant be too leisurely, but theres no good reason why they cant 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.
There just arent enough meaningful choices in FD3. Areas where players might have had power are selfishly monopolised by the game makers. Take units for instance. Theres a good selection, but do we get to pick or purchase our own squads before a job? Not on your nelly. Apart from some token reinforcement decisions, you get what you are given and thats that. Being as the campaign follows the adventures of a single globetrotting fire team, youd think the devs might have thought to include some sort of persistent experience or skills system. Picking new upgrades for individual firefighters, choosing to rest weary or injured crewmen during certain missions... With a few inspired touches the game could have been so much better.
Shouldnt fireworks factories be built inside giant biscuit tins?
Predictably, the lack of choices extends to the campaign structure. Like a strict parent, FD3 forces you to finish one course before moving on to the next, but even on the lowest difficulty level progress can be third degree burns painful, and the puzzle like nature of the missions and numerous time limits ensure a lot of reloading. Those that do stick around until the end get rewarded with the blindingly obvious conclusion to the games thin storyline. Amazingly, it turns out that the roving French fire crew at the centre of the plot arent just hilariously unlucky. The fact they were in Kiev when a nuclear research lab was bombed, in Paris when a virus lab went up, on a Channel Tunnel train that caught fire, etcetera etcetera, wasnt just a coincidence! (My head is still spinning, my jaw is still slack.)
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