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Fired Up

01 Oct 05

Basically, Fired Up sees players taking control of various beefed-up vehicles, hooning around war torn environments and blowing up all and sundry. The single player experience spans a handful of levels, more or less following the same template. Each environment has a number of ‘scavenge tokens’ which unlock increasingly more effective weapon power ups while ‘fired up!’ missions require you to eliminate a set number of enemies within a time limit. In addition, each level offers a smattering of fairly straightforward missions, normally consisting of ‘seek and destroy’ or ‘treasure hunt’ objectives.

The levels are a decent size and take a free roaming approach, so think of a miniature Grand Theft Auto but without people.  While open ended level design like this is welcome, the uninspiring settings and lack of anything to do severely detract from any enjoyment in just roaming around causing havoc.  There are a few cool jumps and secrets to be found, but the lack of any real reward for your efforts mean that you soon find yourself bored and tackling the missions. Possibly the biggest spanner in the works for the solitary player is the chimp-like enemy AI - what should be a white knuckled struggle for survival against an oppressive enemy becomes a farce as you watch enemies bump into each other in a most un-intimidating fashion until such time as you choose to simply drive up to them and jam on the fire button.  Weapon balancing is also an issue - your standard, unlimited ammo machine gun is far too powerful - often more reliable than the various pickups on offer.

The multiplayer modes provide some entertainment value, but probably not enough to redeem the game for some people.  The usual modes are available (death match, etc), and offer play via ad-hoc or internet and with this is the promise of downloadable content - perhaps squeezing some more life into the multiplayer modes. The graphics are somewhat a mixed bag.  On one hand the vehicles themselves look nice enough, with some good details, and some of the weapon effects are cool.   On the other hand the environments tend to look a little bland and forgettable, lacking any real flair and often come off looking boxy and flat.