North American box-art
|Series||Zettai Zetsumei Toshi|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
Disaster Report, originally known in Japan as Zettai Zetsumei Toshi (絶体絶命都市 lit. The Desperated City?) and known in Europe as SOS: The Final Escape is a 2002 survival action-adventure video game created by Irem. It was first released in Japan for the PlayStation 2 in 2002 by Irem, and later released in North America and Europe in 2003 localized by Agetec. It is the first game in the Zettai Zetsumei Toshi series.
The game deals with the characters' survival and escape from the slow collapse of an artificial island. While dodging falling buildings and debris from periodic earthquakes, the player must find a way off the island. In addition, the main character, a reporter, must investigate the reasons for the disaster.
HP is the character's health and QP is the amount of energy the character has left. QP can be restored by drinking water. If the character becomes thirsty from running or other strenuous tasks, the player must provide the character with drinking water. If the player does not do this, the character begins to slowly lose health. Water can be drunk from clean taps or from bottled water filled up along the way. It is possible to give the character's companion water.
Ultimately, the aim of the game is to move through the city avoiding hazards and finding new routes through seemingly impassable hazards. When an aftershock strikes, the player must make Keith crouch, to keep him stable and safe from harm. Customisation of equipment can help Keith, or in the case of certain accessories, change his appearance. Items are stored in the players backpack, which has a limited number of slots, but larger backpacks can be collected. Friendly characters are unarmed.
Keith is accompanied by various companions. At one point, Keith has choice of companion, Karen or Kelly, both with different areas to explore and storylines to uncover.
The Japanese version is one of the few games to support the Rez Vibrator.
The year is 2001. After ten years of construction, the government announces to the world the completion of a top-secret project based in the Pacific Ocean, known as Stiver Island. In a feat of revolutionary technology, the government used its top engineering talent to transform a minor spur of rock that barely stood above the ocean waves into a thriving man-made island, complete with a state-of-the-art metropolis called Capital City.
In June 2005, Keith Helm, the protagonist and player character is on his way to Capital City for the first time, to start his dream job as editor for the prestigious Town Crier newspaper. Upon his arrival, an earthquake occurs. Soon after regaining consciousness he comes across another survivor, Karen Morris. They travel together as strong aftershocks continue, until they meet a man named Greg Bach.
Further on, the group decides to split up. Keith (the player) can either go with Karen to find her dog, or go with Greg to help a girl named Kelly Austin find her brother Jason. No matter whether the player accompany Karen or Greg, Keith ends up at the Town Crier building. He meets William, who directs him to the construction company that built the island.
There it is revealed that the disaster was deliberate. After escaping the building Keith can either help a wounded William evacuate, or leave him and Karen/Kelly so he can escape. William is evacuated and Keith goes to a stadium, where the player can switch which girl they are escorting.
Keith and Kelly/Karen are chased into an abandoned mall by the construction company's goons. After escaping they meet up with Greg, Kelly/Karen is evacuated, and they meet the man who oversaw Stiver Island's Construction - Terry Stiver. Terry tells them that he caused the quake to get revenge on the government, because his family was killed in a landslide. Keith reveals to the man that his business partner Albert caused the landslide to make him want to destroy the island.
After escaping from an attack chopper in a river chase, they are again confronted when their makeshift boat lands on the Capital District. At this point, a mini-tsunami occurs, forcing them into a car showroom and up through it onto the roof.
Upon reaching the top the trio see the chopper once again, which drops two enemies onto the building. While risking his life to save Karen/Kelly, Greg is shot by an enemy, after which the building "sinks" and the enemy is killed. Greg dies after asking Keith to write an exposé on the government's misdeeds in constructing the island.
Keith and Karen/Kelly then make their way into another skyscraper. Terry kills Albert, and depending on the player's relationship with Karen/Kelly, either ends with the two escaping, or them holding each other as the water rises towards them.
The characters underwent a slight change upon importing to other countries. Hair color, names and locations on the map were changed to convey a Western feel. Despite this, the street names and signs in-game are still written in Japanese.
- Keith Helm (Masayuki Sudo 須藤 真幸 in the Japanese version) - A journalist who came to Capital City to start a new job and a new life. On his way there Keith's train is hit by one of the earthquakes. Keith's need to escape is soon overshadowed by his involvement in a conspiracy connected to the earthquakes. He is the main character.
- Karen Morris (Mari Aizawa 相沢 真理 in the Japanese version) - A college student in Capital City. Her uncle [Terry Stiver] suggested she take a trip out of the city, and she was on her way to the airport when disaster struck Stiver Island. She meets Keith when he saves her from a train car balancing over the edge of the bridge's tracks. After Keith risks his life to rescue her, naturally, she tags along with him. She can become his main partner for most the game.
- Kelly Austin (Natsumi Higa 比嘉 夏海 in the Japanese version) - A resident and student of Capital City. Her little brother, Jason, was with her at the amusement park when the disaster struck, and after she regained consciousness he was missing, now she wants nothing more than to find him before she evacuates. She can be met if you join Greg after the group separates. Keith will help look for her brother if he goes with Greg.
- Greg Bach (Koji Jinnai 陣内 晃二 in the Japanese version) - A freelance photojournalist who Keith and Karen meet early on in their journey. He remained behind in the ruins of Capital City to cover the disaster, and in doing so, stumbled upon a new lead that is now his main focus. Greg instantly takes charge whenever he sees fit and involves Keith and Karen in his investigation into Stiver Island's planning development. In the ending, he is shot and dies saving Keith and Karen/Kelly.
- William Hardy - The editor in chief of the Town Crier newspaper. He meets Keith and Karen/Kelly when they stumble upon the main building of the major newspaper. He will stop at nothing to get his story and even puts Keith and Karen/Kelly to work.
- John Patton - A doctor who resides on Capital Island. He stayed behind at the hospital when the disaster starts to help the wounded and get them on a rescue helicopter. When Keith hands over some of Greg's files to him he tells him he and Greg are cousins.
- Officer Eric Lu - One of the police officers on Capital Island. He got his family to safety when disaster struck and then stayed on the island to search for survivors. When the last helicopter came to the hospital, Eric went into panic when he saw there wasn't enough room for him on board. To make room he almost shot Keith and Kelly, but was shot and killed by his partner, Jeff Barrows, instead.
- Officer Jeff Barrows - One of the police officers stationed on Capital Island and Eric Lu's partner. He stayed behind to search for survivors when disaster struck. When the last rescue helicopter arrived at the hospital, he and Eric were unable to get on. When Eric almost shot Keith and Kelly to make room for himself, Jeff shot and killed Eric to save them. It is unknown what happened to him after that.
- Jason Austin - Kelly Austin's little brother. He was at the amusement park in the city with Kelly when the earthquake first hit. In a panic he wandered away and found himself at the city hospital. He is finally reunited with his sister when they meet at the very last rescue helicopter landing point.
- Terry Stiver - The director and creator of Stiver Island and Capital City. He is somehow connected to the earthquakes and the sinking of Capital City. He is also Karen's uncle.
- Albert Simms - The real villain behind everything. Albert will stop at nothing to make sure that Capital City is turned into nothing more than an ocean of debris. He has been using Terry Stiver all along, plotting his schemes. When Keith and Karen/Kelly get too close to the secrets of the disaster, he uses his "henchmen" to try eliminate them.
Reception and Legacy
|This section requires expansion. (March 2009)|
The game received mixed to positive reviews.
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 2: Itetsuita Kiokutachi was released in Japan on March 30, 2006, and later released in America and Europe as Raw Danger!. A further sequel, Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3: Kowareyuku Machi to Kanojo no Uta, was released for the PSP on April 23, 2009. This game was not released outside Japan.
A fourth game, Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 4: Summer Memories, was scheduled for release on PlayStation 3 in April 2011, with 3D and Move support. However, the game was cancelled after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.
In December 2014 the creator of the Disaster Report series - Kazuma Kujo - bought the IP of the series from Irem for his company Granzella. Subsequently Granzella re-released the existing Disaster Report games for download in Japan. The original game and the sequel "Raw Danger" were re-released on Playstation 3 and Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3 for the PSP and PS Vita. Development for the fourth game was resumed and Granzella released 3 new teaser pictures and announced to release detailed information around autumn 2015.
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- Andriasang (2010-09-01). "Irem Unveils Disaster Report 4 for the PS3".
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- Scrawl (2011-03-11). "Disaster Report 4 Cancelled".