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The Firemen 2
  PS1Shooter_4wayJPN  
  opened by paleface at 02:04:18 08/18/03  
  last modified by paleface at 03:34:03 12/01/03  
  paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Shooter_4way; loc=JPN]
           
It took true inspiration to turn the idea of firemen battling blazes into a story-driven, isometric shooter, and the game turns out even more brilliant than one could suppose. Beautifully drawn 2D sprites (without transparency or warping effects) form the fluid blasts from your back-mounted, limitless reservoir, and also give life to the hungry beasts of flame who take on numerous and surprising shapes. You've got two different hosing techniques: long and narrow or short and wide, and your fireman can also crawl, run, drop water bombs, and lock his facing while moving, Ikari-style. Two can play through the dramatic innocent-rescuing story but I've only played single-player so far, in which the CPU plays the second player and backs up your hose (somewhat erratically) with a hefty fire axe.
 
Your man turns a bit slowly while moving, for instance if you reverse direction suddenly he will be running backwards for a moment, then sideways, then finally he gets around to facing the right way. This delay frustrated me at first but eventually I realized that it serves to increase the tension of the game and the amount of planning necessary to take out a room hopping with murderous flaming sprites. And the boss battles against particularly infernal fires--yowza!
 
The sparse but very effective sound effects, from the different spray sounds of your hose to the licking of flames, leave ample room for the gorgeously instrumental music which, combined with the emphatic Japanese voice acting, really draws you in to the story and gives it a considerable sense of drama rare in a game with super-deformed sprite characters, not to mention in an action game.
 
I have to admit that I'm currently stymied as I'm ending up in an apparently dead-end room with the exit sealed behind me, but a friend who played the game ended up somewhere else entirely so maybe I've just taken a wrong turn. I'm really hoping that I can get around this part somehow and see the rest of this superb adventure.
 
  paleface 03:34:03 12/01/03
           
Played some two-player today and it works quite well except for an odd thing where someone can get sort of caught against the bottom of the screen and unable to move up until the other player causes the screen to scroll down a bit. Second player uses the axe and it seems rather harder to use than the hose, since you can't really move while swinging it and the range is pretty short--so you end up bulling along in front, swinging blindly periodically at the edge of the screen to try to avoid being nailed by a charging flame. It can be almost impossible to hit fast critters with the axe without getting hit yourself, especially if they have any kind of range on their attack like a certain bionic T-Rex I could mention. Still, the teamwork aspect works pretty well for the most part.
 
Oh! mrdriller, my playing partner, cracked the mystery of that dead-end room. So if you're in the aquarium and come to a dead-end room you can't get out of, with a big shiny steel-looking cylinder taking up half the screen, just attack the cylinder until it breaks--it takes a long time and shows absolutely no sign of being hit in the meanwhile, but the darn thing will break eventually. Sheesh!
    

 
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