Emergency (video game series)

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Emergency
Emergency (video game series) logo.png
Emergency series logo
Genre(s)Real-Time Strategy, Simulation
Developer(s)Sixteen Tons Entertainment,
Quadriga Games
Publisher(s)TopWare Interactive, Take 2 Interactive, Rondomedia, Deep Silver
Creator(s)Ralph Stock
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
OS X
iOS
Android
First releaseEmergency
July 7, 1998 (1998-31-07)
Latest releaseEmergency HQ
April 13, 2018 (2018-04-13)

Emergency is a series of rescue simulation video games by German developer Sixteen Tons Entertainment, designed by the creative director and inventor of the series Ralph Stock. In the games, players take control of emergency services, including fire and ambulance services, police, and technical services such as Technisches Hilfswerk. The central element of the series is to head up operations of fictional rescues, crimes, and medical and catastrophe management, commanding a pool of vehicles and personnel.

The first game in the series, Emergency: Fighters for Life, was published by TopWare Interactive in 1998. Emergency 2 was published by Take 2 Interactive in 2002, who would continue on to publish both Emergency 3 in 2005 and Emergency 4 in 2006. Since 2010, Deep Silver controls publishing operations of the Emergency series and its spin-offs.

Overview[edit]

Gameplay[edit]

Controls and graphics are typical of a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game: the left-mouse button selects unit(s) and the right-mouse button commands movement or action(s) of the selected unit(s). The camera work utilizes typical angles of the RTS genre as well. Missions in Emergency usually start off with a short cinematic cutscene of the cause of the emergency the player is attending. The missions take on a standard system of events in numerical order, each individual mission harder and more demanding than the last. Each mission requires the players to carefully choose their emergency services to deal with the multitude of events. Since Emergency 5, missions (renamed events) take on a different system. All events of a campaign, multiplayer or free play mode can be attended in one game session without loading screens in between, which makes the gameplay flow more seamlessly. Between each major event the player deals with standard dynamic emergencies such as car accidents, medical emergencies, crimes, fires, missing persons, pipeline ruptures or others.[1]

Multiplayer[edit]

While all games of the main and spin-off series can be played offline and in single-player mode, an online cooperative multiplayer mode is also supported since Emergency 4. The latest title, Emergency HQ, can only be played with a continuous internet connection, which is usual for multiplayer mobile games. Emergency HQ doesn't have a multiplayer mode like the pc versions. Instead there are rescue alliances where players can communicate via in-game chat and help each other by loaning units for their missions. Every player can create such a rescue alliance and invite other players. These rescue alliances also compete against other rescue alliances in the league, where the combined scores of the active alliance members are compared.

Setting[edit]

Most missions take place in the present, the graphics are kept realistic. While in the beginning of the series the setting was inspired by real locations but not specifically named, Emergency 5, for example, takes place in major German cities such as Cologne, Hamburg, Munich or Berlin. Accordingly, the emergency services and their vehicles are designed. However, to introduce the campaign, missions in some of the titles take place in the past, such as in the Middle Ages where the player is confronted with witch-hunts or the Black Death. Another typical feature of the Emergency series is that the missions are inspired by current events - be it natural disasters, terrorism or populism. Current topics are integrated into a frame action.

Release timeline
1998Emergency: Fighters for Life
1999
2000
2001Emergency Police
2002Emergency 2: The Ultimate Fight for Life
2003
2004
2005Emergency 3: Mission:Life
2006Emergency 4: Global Fighters for Life (911 First Responders)
2007
2008Emergency DS
2009
2010Emergency 2012: The Quest for Peace
2011
2012Emergency iPad
Emergency 2013
2013Emergency Android
Emergency 2014
2014Emergency 5
2015Emergency 2016
2016Emergency 2017
2017Emergency 20
2018The Complete Emergency
Emergency HQ

Games[edit]

Emergency: Fighters for Life[edit]

Emergency: Fighters for Life is the first game in the Emergency series. Released on July 31, 1998 it has 30 scenarios, which are ordered by increasing difficulty. The scenarios include, for example, an accident at a race track, a plane crash, a flood, a traffic accident and a bomb threat, as well as scenarios based on true events such as Ramstein airshow disaster. Players can choose from up-to 20 different rescue vehicles.

Reception[edit]

Emergency: Fighters for Life became the headstone of the Emergency series, creating a world for the modding community and a long-term franchise for Sixteen Tons Entertainment. It has a metascore of 71%.[2]

Emergency 2: The Ultimate Fight for Life[edit]

Emergency 2: The Ultimate Fight for Life, released on November 11, 2002, has a campaign with 25 scenarios. The missions ranging from a train accident at a level crossing to a plane crash or an alien attack. The number of emergency vehicles has increased to over 25. The graphics engine and visual style have been revised, and for the first time the emergency units are able to move within buildings.

On 24 July 2003, a deluxe edition of Emergency 2 was released, which features two new missions and voice control features.

Emergency 3: Mission:Life[edit]

Known as Emergency 3 in North America, this installment is the first to use a 3D engine and a movable camera angle instead of a 2D engine. In addition there are 20 new missions, as well as two new game-modes; free play Endless and free play Challenge, for watching over a single city.

In Emergency 3, players can use deploy more than 25 different rescue vehicles. Previously divided into police, fire and emergency medical services, Emergency 3 adds TEC forces who use various technical engineer vehicles for engineers who are responsible for damaged railroad crossings in the game or switch boxes. These units are, however, always referred to as "technical assistants", as the German term "THW" would have created trademark violations.

Emergency 3 introduces the ability for players to use an editor software. This allows the player to create custom maps, emergencies, missions, vehicles, personnel and custom game features. This inspired a growing modding community to create modifications based on different cities and countries emergency services.

Emergency 4: Global Fighters for Life[edit]

Known as 911: First Responders in North America, released April 2006, the game's campaign features several foreign missions where the player must todecide beforehand which units they will fly over. Between the more complex missions, the action is taking place in a fictional city, attending the everyday between mission operations. For the first time in the Emergency series, there is also a cooperative multiplayer mode, where players can join online lobbies where the host decides either online free-play or missions to play. The previous graphics engine and controls are optimized compared to its predecessor. In Emergency 4, players also have the opportunity not only to play campaign mode but also in a free-play mode to play and to achieve high scores.

Emergency 4: Global Fighters for Life contains 20 missions, with mandatory free play intermissions at every interim, and the Endless and Challenge free play modes. It is also the first in the series to support multiplayer gameplay. The deluxe release includes three extra missions, support for voice commands, plus some additional game features. The game allows the player to use over 25 emergency vehicles plus varieties of rescue personnel. The abilities of the TEC forces have been extended since their addition in Emergency 3, allowing engineers to use front-end bulldozers and the new TEC Rescue Helicopter that can winch the injured out of danger or rappel an engineer to terrain that is hard to reach.

The game can be extended with several modifications by the community, such as the Winterberg Mod or the LA Mod.

Besides German and English, the game has been translated into Spanish.

Reception[edit]

  • spieletipps.de May 1, 2006 – 86% ″Disasters have never been more awesome! But clever fighting calls for precise planning - that motivates!″[3]
  • PC Games June 6 - 65% "Emergency 4 attracts Fire Department 3 past - but just barely."
  • PC PowerPlay May 6 - 84% "Terrific fire spectacle. Here's my incentive is huge, to master a perfect mission."
  • Gamestar June 6 - 73% "Atmospheric Rescue Simulation."
  • PC Action June 6 - 62% "lovers of the preceding parts and other people finding great patience!"

Emergency 5[edit]

Emergency 5 is the fifth installment of the Emergency series and was released in November 2014. Innovating on the campaign missions, Emergency 5 mixes both campaign and free mode for a more fluid and atmospheric experience. Whilst several improvements were made to the game, the title was not received as well as its predecessor. Due to performance problems at its first release, and the drastically changed ″Emergency World Builder″ (the replacement for the previous mod editor), several mod creators refused to move over from Emergency 4. While modding is explored in Emergency 5, it did not receive the expected level of attention.

Besides German and English, Emergency 5 has been translated into French, Italian and Spanish.

New Custom Engine[edit]

A new graphics engine built upon OGRE was introduced in Emergency 5 to replace its predecessor's, aimed to add more detail and create a more realistic atmosphere.[4][1]

The Music[edit]

The main theme of Emergency 5 was composed by Benny Oschmann from Dynamedion, a German music composition and production company. The style of the score is a mix of a classic orchestral melody played on strings, accompanied by modern rock sounds.[5]

The Complete Emergency[edit]

In 2018, a collection of almost all previous Emergency titles (with the exception of the first one as well as Emergency Police) was also released for the anniversary of the game series. The ″classics″ are now also available as download via Steam. However, apart from the current patches for Emergency 20, this collection offers nothing new.

Spin-Off Games[edit]

Emergency Police[edit]

Emergency Police is a spin-off released in 2001. It contains 15 missions, was developed by Sixteen Tons Entertainment and published by Koch Media. It uses the same graphics and controls like Emergency - Fighters for Life and features a new unit, the SWAT. Other than Emergency, Emergency Police only contains police missions, for example hostage situations or rampages.

Reception[edit]

Gamestar rated Emergency Police with 48%.[6]

Emergency 2012: The Quest for Peace[edit]

Emergency 2012 is the first installment of a spin-off series which was developed by Quadriga Games, published by Deep Silver, and uses Trinigy's Vision Engine.

Reception[edit]

PC Games November 5, 2010 – 80% ″Demanding strategy instead of lame Sim.″[7]

Emergency 2013 (Expansion)[edit]

Emergency 2013 is the second installment of the spin-off series which was developed by Quadriga Games, published by Deep Silver. This is an expansion pack for Emergency 2012 and will add four new campaign missions focusing on volcanic disasters, a new freeplay map and new missions to owners of Emergency 2012. Still controversial it was stated that the Emergency 20XX games were not primarily aimed at die-hard Emergency fans, but was to draw new players into the series and to take the graphics engine to its peak.

Reception[edit]

4Players December 7, 2012 — 56% ″A washing up of the predecessor, which offers too little new content.″[8]

Emergency 2014 (Expansion)[edit]

Emergency 2014 is the third and final installment of the spin-off series which was developed by Quadriga Games, published by Deep Silver. This second expansion pack for Emergency 2012 focusing on meteor disasters. Similar to Emergency 2013 it features 4 new campaign missions, a new larger freeplay map, and 3 new units. Emergency 2014 was released 15 November 2013.

Reception[edit]

spieletest.at April 14, 2014 – 70% ″Despite slight operational weaknesses, it is simply fun to keep order on the scene of major disasters or small accidents with the large vehicle fleet under enormous time pressure.″

Emergency 2016 (Expansion)[edit]

This is a new version of Emergency 5, containing several new vehicles, 5 new missions, as well as a medieval mission featuring plague doctors. Some new mechanics are added in the game as well, for instance, police officers are equipped with pistols unlike the original Emergency 5 version, which limited this firearm to be exclusively for SWAT operatives.

Reception[edit]

Computerbild Spiele October 25, 2015 – 2,7 (satisfactory) ″Despite all its weaknesses, ′Emergency 2016′ has its appeal.″[9]

Emergency 2017 (Expansion)[edit]

Emergency 2017 is the new version of Emergency 2016. It includes the Emergency 2016 campaign as well as a new campaign, again starting in the Middle Ages.

Reception[edit]

Gamestar December 29, 2016 – 58% ″The actually quite decent catastrophe simulator suffers from a dull KI and inadequate scope.″[10]

Emergency 20 (Anniversary Edition)[edit]

Emergency 20 is a replacement for Emergency 2017 and additionally recreates 10 missions from the early games of the series to celebrate 20 years of the Emergency franchise. After completing a classic mission, a making-of video with the developer speaking about the history of that mission gets unlocked.

Mobile Games[edit]

Emergency DS[edit]

In November 2008, an Emergency port for Nintendo DS named Emergency DS was published by Rondomedia. The game includes five scenarios, each with four missions – some of them known from earlier Emergency games.

Reception[edit]

In 2009, Emergency DS was nominated for the first German Computer Games Award (DCP) in the category "Best Mobile Game".[11]

Emergency for iOS and Android[edit]

In Emergency for mobile devices, the player controls 18 different units of firefighters, ambulance, police and technical service. The game includes 13 different catastrophe scenarios. The game was released in June 2012 for Apple iOS and in March 2013 for Android.

Reception[edit]

According to Golem.de the iPad-Version of Emergency is recommendable, not only for fans of the pc version.[12] In 2013, Emergency for iPad was nominated for the German Computer Games Award.[13]

Emergency HQ[edit]

Emergency HQ is the first Free-to-play-Spin-Off for Android and iOS. The game was released in 2018.[14] In the missions, the player calls the needed rescue units and gives them orders via tapping a button in their ring menu and selecting a target. After completing a mission successfully, the player gets coins and mission points. With the coins, players can upgrade their vehicles and buildings, as well as buy decorations for their base. With the earned mission points, players can climb the leaderboard of their league. Players can also form rescue alliances and support each other. Typically for a Free-to-play game, waiting times for upgrades can be decreased with a premium currency that can be purchased with real money.

Reception[edit]

According to the Pocket PC-magazine, Emergency HQ is a successful implementation of the Emergency game principle: “In conclusion: a strong classic re-issued for the mobile gaming market”.[15]

Reception[edit]

Emergency has become the best known title by Sixteen Tons Entertainment. As of 2019, games of the series are being played all around the world. Emergency HQ alone has more than 1,000,000 downloads in the Playstore.[16] The series for the PC received overall mixed reviews from critics, with ratings ranging from 39% to 86% for different titles of the series. Emergency DS, Emergency 2012 and Emergency iPad have been nominated for the German Computer Games Award.[17][18] As of 2019, Emergency has an active modding community for more than a decade. Although Emergency is a game ″not for everyone," critics praise the unusual setting and love for detail in the game design.[19] According to Feuerwehr-Magazin, a German magazine for firefighters, Emergency is still one of the best firefighting games in 2019.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Connolly, Thomas (2016-10-06). Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Game Based Learning. The University of the West of Scotland Paisley Scotland. ISBN 978-1510830295.
  2. ^ "Emergency: Fighters for Life".
  3. ^ "Emergency 4". May 2006.
  4. ^ Deep Silver, "Emergency 5", 05.12.2014
  5. ^ "Benny Oschmann – DYNAMEDION".
  6. ^ "Emergency Police (PC) - Release, News, Systemanforderungen".
  7. ^ "Emergency 2012 im Test: Fordernde Strategie statt lahmer Simulation". 2010-11-05.
  8. ^ "Test (Wertung) zu Emergency 2013 (Simulation) - 4Players.de".
  9. ^ "Emergency 2016: Den Schwarzen Tod besiegen!".
  10. ^ "Emergency 2017 Test: Wertung".
  11. ^ "Die Nominierungen des ersten Deutschen Computerspielpreises stehen fest".
  12. ^ "Auf dem iPad Leben retten".
  13. ^ "Nominierungen zum Deutschen Computerspielpreis: 21 Spiele im Rennen um die begehrten Auszeichnungen". 2013-03-07.
  14. ^ "App des Tages: Emergency HQ – neuer Teil der beliebten Reihe erschienen".
  15. ^ "Angespielt: Emergency HQ ist eine Neuauflage des bekannten Emergency HD". 2018-05-31. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  16. ^ "EMERGENCY HQ – Apps bei Google Play".
  17. ^ "Die Nominierten für den Deutschen Computerspielpreis 2011 und LARA – der Deutsche Games Award 2011 stehen fest". 2011-03-02.
  18. ^ "Nominierungen zum Deutschen Computerspielpreis: 21 Spiele im Rennen um die begehrten Auszeichnungen". 2013-03-07.
  19. ^ "Emergency 5 - recenze záchranářské strategie".
  20. ^ "Feuerwehr Simulator & Co.: Die besten Feuerwehr Spiele für PC, Smartphone & Konsole". 2019-03-15.

External links[edit]