Here’s an interesting prospect - Crazy Taxi meets Monkey Ball’s minigames. Or, as someone from the development team described it to us, Grand Theft Auto for kids. Emergency Mayhem was first spotted in early 2004 but, following the demise of original publisher Acclaim, it’s taken until now for a completely reworked version, running on a new engine and published by Codemasters, to appear.
The most significant benefit of the long delay is that we’ll now be able to play it on Wii, with a control system that seems better suited to the game’s fast and bizarre minigame format.
You play as the fire, police and ambulance emergency services, zooming around a large city in search of people in need of assistance. The main driving sections are reminiscent of Crazy Taxi, as you tear around the streets, bashing into other road-users and clattering down narrow shortcuts in order to beat the strict time limits.
The city is divided into seven districts, each of which is riddled with tunnels, subways and sewers to help you arrive at the scene before everything goes haywire. There are six types of vehicles in all - two for each service - and you can apply up to five upgrades to each one as you progress through the game. Spoilers, faster engines and tires are all on the menu.
When you get to wherever you’re supposed to be, you engage in one of 60 minigame challenges. Some, such as knocking out convicts by whacking them on the head, or firing “water bullets” at little flame men, are completely disconnected from the driving sections. Others, including chasing rogue kebab vans to stop them poisoning the citizens with their rotten meat, are integrated into the main game.