Emergency (video game series)

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Emergency (video game series) logo.png
Genre(s)Real-Time Strategy
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
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 and creative director and founder of the series Ralph Stock. 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. As of 2010, Deep Silver controlled publishing operations of the Emergency series and its spin-offs.

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.

Controls and graphics are typical of a Real-Time Strategy 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 (or events) in Emergency usually start off with a short cinematic cutscene of the cause of the emergency the player is attending. The missions (or events) take on a standard system of events in numerical order, each individual mission harder and more demanding than the last. Each mission may require the player to use different emergency services to deal with the multitude of events.

However, since Emergency 5, missions (renamed events) take on a different system. Now, all events can be attended in one game session - eliminating any loading screens and making gameplay flow more seamlessly. Between each major event the player will deal with standard dynamic emergencies such as car accidents, medical emergencies, crimes, fires, missing persons, pipeline ruptures, and many more.

Main Series[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 off true events such as Ramstein airshow disaster.

The game became the pioneer of the Emergency Series, launching the future for large (modding) communities and a long-time successful franchise for Sixteen Tons Entertainment. Players can choose from up-to 20 different rescue vehicles.

Emergency 2: The Ultimate Fight for Life[edit]

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

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]

Gasoline fire in Emergency 3

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 brand new missions, as well as two new game-modes; free play Endless and free play Challenge, for watching over a single city.

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 even custom game features. This adopted a growing creative community of players that create modifications based on different cities and countries emergency services.

Ralph Stock stated in an interview that the team at Sixteen Tons Entertainment never intended for the editor software to be used the way it ended up being used, And that the developers were blown away at the creativity of the community that they had now formed through the emergency series.

Vehicles and Units[edit]

The number of different rescue vehicles is over 25, previously divided into police, fire and emergency medical services, Emergency 3 sees the addition of 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.


Reception for Emergency 3: Mission:Life was mixed, issues stated were "Clumsy, frustrating interface" and "Spotty artificial intelligence", these issues are likely due to the innovation of a 3D engine which was a first for the development team at Sixteen Tons Entertainment.

Emergency 4: Global Fighters for Life[edit]

Known as 911: First Responders in North America, released April 2006, the campaign has 20 brand new missions once again. In addition, there are several foreign missions in which the player must decide 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 possibility not only to play campaign mode but also in a free-play mode to play and to achieve high scores.

The game 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.

Many modifications can also be used, such as the Winterberg Mod And LA Mod.

Vehicles and Units[edit]

Emergency 4: Global Fighters for Life allows the player to use over 25 emergency vehicles plus many more varieties of rescue personnel. TEC forces have been improved since its addition in Emergency 3, allowing engineers to use front-end bulldozers and the brand new TEC Rescue Helicopter that can winch the injured out of danger or winch an engineer to hard to reach terrain.


  • 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 many improvements were made to the game, the title was received poorly due to its poor optimization and drastically changed "map editor", the replacement for the previous mod editor. Many mod creators refuse to move over from the outdated Emergency 4 due to these issues, and while modding is explored in Emergency 5, it did not receive the level of attention that it was thought it would.

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.[1]

Emergency 2016[edit]

This is an new version of Emergency 5, containing several new vehicles, 5 new missions, as well as a medieval mission featuring plague doctors. Some mechanics are improved 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.

Emergency 2017[edit]

New version of Emergency 2016.

Emergency 20[edit]

Replacement for 2017 and recreates 10 missions from previous games in the series to celebrate 20 years of the Emergency franchise.

Spin-Off Series[edit]

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.

The Emergency 20XX Series was highly controversial inside the Emergency Community as it was unable to be modified, which had become a major feature in the main series of Emergency. Many fans of the main series disliked the limitations of Emergency 20XX games, although Emergency 2012 still saw some success.

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.

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deep Silver, "Emergency 5", 05.12.2014

External links[edit]