TGS 2003Firefighter F.D.18 Impressions

We get some hands-on time with Konami's firefighting action game.

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Today at Konami's TGS booth, we got to play the first level of Firefighter F.D.18 on the PlayStation 2, which has previously only been shown in hands-off form. The game puts you in the role of Dean McGregor, a firefighter who will work to solve a mystery while battling blazes throughout the city. We ran through the first level of the game and got a pretty good feel for the way the firefighting and rescue mechanics will work.

Your main tool in Firefighter F.D.18 is, as you might expect, a fire hose. You'll have an unlimited supply of water to spray at the rampaging flames, and once you're blasting away you can direct the spray with the right analog stick. You'll have to neutralize any flames that stand between you and nearby survivors, which are indicated on a heads-up display map. Once you've made it to a survivor, you need only walk up to them to save them and send them back to awaiting medics. When a new survivor has been spotted, a life bar will appear on your HUD indicating how much longer that person can hold out before they're killed by the flames or smoke inhalation. If you take too long getting to someone that's in peril, the bar will empty and that person will die, causing you to fail a mission. In other words, you have to save everyone if you want to continue on. You'll also have a few other tools to help you out. You can call in a team member to provide a concentrated blast of flame retardant to clear a large area quickly, but we were only able to do this three times during the demo mission, so it's clearly meant to be used like a special weapon. You'll also get access to other kinds of hose nozzles and the like later on, though we didn't see any in the demo.

The mission we played took place in the midst of a multi-car accident on a freeway, and there were fires and exploding cars everywhere. Things were pretty hectic, with new fires starting up rapidly around us and the occasional car blowing up in our face. Firefighter F.D.18 has a pretty good visual effect for its fire, which is of course the lynchpin of the graphics in a game like this, and the character models and backgrounds are solid as well.

From our initial impressions, Firefighter F.D.18 looks like it could be an entertaining action game, and it's said to have a strong story component as well. We'll bring you more on the game as its November release date approaches.

See more of GameSpot's coverage of the 2003 Tokyo Game Show.

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