• Rescue HQ: The Tycoon review by Rick Moscatello

    Unfinished life and death rescue

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    Rescue HQ: The Tycoon is a strange simulator, putting you in charge of a central complex controlling fire, police and medical emergencies, in one of two very loosely modeled cities: Berlin and San Francisco.

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    Berlin puts their store signs in Engish?

    Right away the game smacks you with an alert that it clearly was rushed to production: there are only 5 scenarios: one is a tutorial and another is a “sandbox mode” giving you nigh infinite resources. You’ll see everything the game has to offer in short order.

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    All scenarios?

    Ultimately, this is a resource management game. You have money, which is used to buy things and pay your employees, of course. What you can buy is limited by what you’ve spent on prestige, gained by completing emergencies. 500 prestige points will get you access to a piece of equipment (say, riot gear), after you’ve paid that you can buy as much as you want.

    Another resource you have is space: most equipment takes up space, sometimes a ridiculous amount of space (“crowd control” gear is a standout, as it takes up more space than a kennel for a police dog). You’ll get this space in your HQ which needs to be neatly divided into medical, utility, office, kitchen, bathroom, and other areas. The most important space is your garage, which holds vehicles.

    Assigning vehicles is another resource; often vehicles come with equipment (such as an extra long ladder) which will be very helpful and sometimes critical for emergencies.

    You’ll also need to assign crew to vehicles, divided into medical/police/fire. Crew can gain experience and specializations, though it’s clear this part of the game isn’t finished yet either (police, for example, can only specialize in car chases or gunplay, while medical personnel are even more limited…at least the fire crew gain a more reasonable variety of skills).

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    Every dot is equipment to repair.

    Your crew don’t just go on missions. When not working, they might rest in the kitchen or go to the bathroom, or most likely do maintenance: all your equipment is prone to breakdowns. Police also have an added task of dealing with paperwork and solving crimes—you’ll generally need more police than other types of crew, as they have so much more to do.

    While the game is clearly unfinished, it’s fairly slick, with no crashes and an interface that makes it easy to do what you intend to do. That said, this is a fairly easy game, I was never in any danger of losing (as near as I can tell, this can only happen via running out of money)…it’s hard to completely respect a game that doesn’t beat me up even a little.

    Key to success is realizing that you just can’t handle every emergency. You can, if you have the prestige, simply ‘ask for help,” sacrificing prestige in exchange for not having to handle an emergency. Often the sacrifice is so small (say, 40 points in exchange for not using two vehicles, half a dozen personnel, and equipment which could be used to handle a pair of other emergencies worth far more prestige) that it’s just a no-brainer. Once you’ve purchased all the equipment you’ll ever need, you’ll have nothing else to spend prestige on anyway.

    There are a number of pieces of equipment (say, bomb detectors) and vehicles (hi hazmat vehicle!) that are so rarely used and easily worked around that you’re generally better off not getting them, and just paying prestige for the once-a-game at best emergencies which use them.

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    Endless play, endlessly dull.

    Perhaps the most serious issue is when you hit “endless play” mode…no more emergencies happen. Even the sandbox scenario, which by definition is endless play, never has emergencies (at least, after 4 days nothing had happened, and I got tired of just building for no reason).

    Despite the issues, there’s a fun game here, and when you manage to pull together the right collection of fire/police/medical to handle a literal train wreck, it’s a real pleasure watching the organized convoy pull out of the station. Maybe if the devs turn this into a full game, it’ll be worth the asking price, but otherwise save your gaming dollar for a good sale unless you’re positively dying for this odd sim.

    Overall rating: 69 (too many serious issues for a pass, even with a good core)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Rescue HQ: The Tycoon review by Rick Moscatello started by Doom View original post