Name: Emergency Mayhem
Genre: Mini-Game Compilation
The Wii is the perfect platform for mini-game collections. The Wii-mote’s motion sensitivity gives you more gameplay options than any other platform when it comes to short-term, casual titles, and the platform has thrived on games like this. Of course, for a minigame collection to succeed, even on the Wii, the mini-games actually haveto be fun. That, among other places, is where Emergency Mayhem Drops the ball.
Emergency Mayhem, developed by Codemasters, is essentially a collection of mini-games separated by brief, Crazy Taxi-esque driving missions set in the fictional (and ever-so cleverly named) Crisis City. The game works like this; drive to a mission marker, drive to the checkpoint, play a mini-game, repeat as necessary. Sometimes you’ll just need to drive to the destination, while other missions require you to either get there in a certain amount of time or arrive without damaging your vehicle.
Driving is a vapid, unsatisfying experience. Cars feel almost entirely weightless, carrying zero momentum into turns or stops, and the city sections that you drive in are small and uninteresting. It can be fun to run over pedestrians (for which there are no consequences – does that mean that this game is more harmful than GTA IV?) but other than that, these sequences alternate between boring and frustrating.
The mini-games, however, are a different story. An awful, unresponsive story full of frustration, boredom, confusion and disillusionment. The three different professions each have their own set of mini-games. Firemen will need to tighten fire hydrants and put out garbage fires, while cops chase down criminals and EMT’s perform CPR. Each mini-game relies on one Wii-mote motion. For example, putting out garbage fires with a shovel requires you to swing the Wii-mote up and down over and over again until the fire is out. While the simplicity of the games can be excused, seeing as this game is aimed at kids, the wonky controls can’t. In some of the games, the controls are way too touchy, making them brutally difficult. In others, like removing a fly from a patients’ stomach, the Wii-mote controls simply don’t work, making them damn near impossible. Besides the control woes, the games just aren’t any fun.
Emergency Mayhem’s visuals will remind many gamers of the Dreamcast days. Textures are extremely simple and poly counts are quite low. Bells and whistles like dynamic lighting and particle effects are nowhere to be found, but honestly, the gameplay is so shoddy and tedious that you’ll hardly notice the sub-par graphics. I guess that’s kind of a compliment.
There’s just nothing here of any real value. Boring, unresponsive, tedious, repetitive mini-games loosely tied together with boring, unresponsive, tedious, repetitive driving sequences. Count me out. For the most part, the game works, but that’s about the highest compliment it deserves.