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Praise for the Blaze- Real Heroes: Firefighter Reviewed

Real Heroes: Firefighter for the Wii. Developer: Epicenter Studios, Publisher: Conspiracy ESRB: E10

A growing number of gamers have expressed being affected by an ailment known as first person shooter fatigue. The disorder is caused by an overexposure to the firearm-based diversions, and may be directly triggered by the homogeneity of the genre. Those overwhelmed by the syndrome share a common complaint- the woeful similarity of shooters. It’s likely the developers at Epicenter Studios are aware of the malady. The designers left the popular Call of Duty franchise to create a title that has the intensity of a FPS, yet without the archetypal exchange of ballistics.

Real Heroes: Firefighter places you in the boots of a probationary rookie stationed at a Southern California firehouse. An elongated tutorial familiarizes the player with a majority of the tools that will be used in the title, from the obstruction-clearing axe to the door-prying halligan bar. Sensibly, the game allows players to choose between waggle-executed control or automatic implementation. Each piece of equipment controls agreeably with the exception of the rotary saw, whose large appearance obstructs where the player should cut. The most commonly used tools are the water hose and extinguisher, which allow the player to snuff out blazes from a first-person perspective. Eradicating fires is both satisfying and engaging; leaving even a small amount of flickering combustion can retrigger an inferno.

The game skillfully straddles the line between realistic simulation and more arcade-oriented mechanics. Most of the fire-fighting procedure is accurately portrayed, with the rescue of victims and fellow firefighters prioritized. Instead of incorporating irritating time limitations upon saving people, the game uses a scripted delivery method, which wisely limits the areas of on-screen combustion. Occasionally, problems can arise, such as when the title’s mission objectives is imprecise. Real Heroes once directed me to save a man from a burning theatre; although the venue was free of civilians. Danger from heat is indicated by a glowing screen border, which intensifies as the player moves closer to exhaustion. Once the player is free from hazard, the game regenerates the rookie’s health. These embellishments do little to detract from the game’s sense of intensity and urgency, instead keeping the title from becoming frustrating. The game’s three difficulty levels allow younger games a chance at the heroics, while not alienating veterans.

Real Heroes’ graphical delivery fluctuates from flames that emerge and blossom realistically, to humans that are rendered and animate somewhat coarsely. As expected, the title’s flames show a skillful range; from molten ceiling blazes to roaring infernos that have engulfed an entire wall. Occasionally, burning environments are fantastically intimidating; typically when a when an entire passageway in engulfed in flames. Even during the most intense conflagrations, the game’s framerate stays remarkably fluid. Sonically, the game’s voice acting is generally solid, with a cast that includes James Marsters, Jaime Kennedy and Jenette Goldstein recalling her role as Pvt. Vasquez from Aliens. Another aural highlight is the title’s spectacular use of the Wiimote speaker to convey communication from your captain and fellow firefighters. Being accustomed to short sound bites from the controller, it was surprising to hear extended dialogue delivered with a convincingly squelchy output.

The Wii is home to a multitude of vocational simulations, which recreate the day-to-day responsibilities of everything from veterinarians to lumberjacks. Not surprisingly, nearly all of these occupational games are woefully lackluster, with clunky controls and substandard visuals. Real Heroes: Firefighter is the first game to seriously buck this trend; the title has the intensity of a first-person shooter, yet feels delightfully unique in its execution. With a reduced MSRP of thirty dollars (with a portion of the sales going to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network charity), Wii owners of all ages should consider picking up the title; it’s a wonderful dose of medicine for those distressed by the uniformity and brutality of shooters.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. First.

    Never heard of the game, but it sounds cool.

  2. Anyone else (adults) feel uncomfortable playing as a gangster. I could enjoy playing a firefighting game. Just cant get into the underworld types.

  3. A wii game that can entertain Dad and the kids? No way!

    Ok, a third-party wii game? No way!

  4. Reminds of the arcade game when you controlled the fire house.\I think Sega made it.

  5. Not something I’d play, but it sounds cool for those into that type of game.

  6. You really didn’t say anything bad about the game. C’mon say ONE really bad thing about the game.

  7. If this is better than Burning Rangers, I’ll eat my dirty underwear.

  8. I cant find another review of the game.Did it already come out.

  9. $30 isn’t bad, but I might have to wait for a sale.

  10. I did have to laugh when a child’s voice was horrible delivered by an adult 😉

  11. Firemen are cool. my uncle was one for 20 years.

  12. The fire doesn’t look attached to anything is the screenshots. It looks kinda floaty.

  13. its like the Elebits set fire to the building.

  14. Please make this for next-gen. That is all.

  15. Do you have to worry about oxygen or backdrafts?

  16. LOL. Is is a woman (like Bart Simpson) or a grown man?

  17. Anyone ever play that PS2 title that had fires in it…

  18. When the wiimote talks, it always freaks me out at first.

  19. Yep. I also played the one with guns in it. It was super duper cool.

  20. I totally know what you are saying about being tired of FPS. Just right now there arent many coming out. But when they do I need to play something else.

  21. Why leave the COD franchise? You have guaranteed work for the next 175 years.

  22. Three more till the 250th review. I bet it will be Madden

  23. Last night I had a bad dream about fire. Good thing this game doesn’t sound too bad.

  24. Wow, that’s the worst part of the game? Beside the saw?

  25. What happens when you use the rotary saw on people? I got to know.

  26. Elf Shot the Food

    How many decent games has Conspiracy released? I’d like to know.

  27. Stretch Panic, Bangai-O, Record of Lodoss War

  28. Sounds like a cool idea. Yep, I get tied of shooting brain dead guys down, too every once in a while.

  29. This kind of game need buttrock. What the soundtrack like?

  30. All those games suck, tho.

  31. Whoa! I can’t allow anyone to defame Bangai-O; It’s my favorite game of all time.

    Please try it and report back. As for Stretch Panic, I don’t even think the Treasure-lovin’ TideGear likes that one too much.

  32. I cant see myself spending more than $15 or so on this.

  33. Good review. I may have to rent this one.

  34. I may after the check this out. There haven’t been any good firefighting game that I’m aware of.

  35. Graphics look a bit craptastic. Why are wii playing N64 games in 2009?

  36. Putting this on my gamefly cue.

  37. Now, I got to try Bangai-o.

  38. Wait what game has you being a lumberjack?

  39. Hmmm, looks really plain-jane. I do like that some of the money goes to charity? But how much?

  40. The charity aspect is cool. More games should do that.

  41. Never knew about this one? Why isn’t there more BUZZ on it?

  42. Sounds interesting. Will it be available in the UK?

  43. Could be cool. I’ll have to play it first before buying.

  44. Fugly looking game!

  45. Seems like a wonderful idea for a nonviolent game. Big applause for the developers for making a game that might appeal to all audiences.

  46. Tell there there’s no mini- CPR lessons, and I’ll be very happy.

  47. So this comes out this week? I might pick up a copy for my firefighter friend.

  48. The charity aspect got me. I’ll be getting this one.

  49. I agree with the commenter who said this need a HD make-over. I hope this sells well enough to get one.

  50. My damn Wii gets so hot, I think the real firefighters may have to come one day to put the sucker out.

    I halfway expect to come home to a smoldering apartment one day.

  51. Turn that thing off man.

  52. Or at least turn off the Wiiconnect 24. Since I did mines as cool as ice.

  53. Thanks, mine ran really hot until I did that also.

  54. I leave my WiiConnect24 on 24/7, cuz I’m dangerous like that.

  55. Wow, that’s gonna be a long wait though. I don’t think Nintendo, Sony, or Microshit is going to have their next console out for quite a few years. You might as well just buy this game until the next-gen one comes out in 2013.

  56. I do too, hope it doesn’t shorten the life of my Wii.

  57. “Occasionally, problems can arise, such as when the title’s mission objectives is imprecise. Real Heroes once directed me to save a man from a burning theatre; although the venue was free of civilians.”

  58. Had this gone on sale yet?