Rapture Technologies, Inc.
Rapture Technologies, Inc.

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Solitaire Games
for PocketPC
  King Sol Solitaire 2004
for Windows
  King Sol (Windows)
Arcade Games
for Windows
  Arcade Pack
  Cubicle Chaos
  Fire Drill
  Stock Scramble
  Task Master
  Killer Commute
 
  Reviews
Fire Drill: Some Like It Hot!
By Jason Dunn
, April 19, 2000
Finally, the type of game I've been waiting for! Fire Drill, from Microsoft and Rapture Technologies Inc., is a high-quality, unique game with impressive graphics and game play. Most importantly, it has me hooked!

Pocket PC requirements
  • Any Pocket PC, minimum 450 KB of storage memory.
  • Color or greyscale screen.

What's Hot
The graphics in this game are top-notch. The cartoon-style graphics show incredible detail, and the game play is simple and addictive.


Figure 1: The quality of the graphics is incredible!

Languages Supported
English.

Where to Buy
Part of the free Pocket PC Fun Pack, and the upcoming Mobile Games Pack (not yet released).

Rapture Makes Heavenly Games
Fire Drill is the first of five new games from Rapture Technologies Inc., a game design studio contracted by Microsoft to create a series of office-themed games for the Pocket PC. Rapture has developed games for Disney and other large companies, so they bring a great deal of expertise and quality to the table.

I first saw a sample of Rapture's work in September 1999 and was shocked at the quality of the graphics in the game demo I saw. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that Microsoft® Windows® CE was capable of running incredible games, but I hadn't seen any that really blew me away. A few months later, Rapture brought us Fire Drill. What a game!

A Manager's Work Is Never Done
In Fire Drill, you're a stalwart office worker with a simple job: put out fires! Armed with a fire extinguisher and plenty of moxie, you must guide your character through a maze of offices and cubicles, many of them ablaze. The character in the game looks remarkably like Peter from The Family Guy which added to my amusement with the game.

Game play is simple but fun. You use the stylus to tap on the fire you want to put out, and your character races to the blaze and squirts it with the extinguisher. One squirt, and it's out. The problem is, much like the real office environment, there's never just one fire to put out. And if you're too slow, the fire will spread by shooting off little fireballs that slowly roll across the floor, lighting ablaze anything they touch. There are a few types of fires to put out: desks with flailing co-workers still in them, plants and garbage cans, and the rolling fireballs themselves.

Figure 2: The layout of the game.

Each level gets progressively more difficult as the office environment changes each time --walls and cubicles are shifted around, making some fires hard to get at. The character has a finite amount of life energy and extinguisher foam at his disposal. Life energy is lost when the fire touches you -- too much fire, and our hero gets turned into ashes. Not good! Extra life packs and fire extinguishers can be picked up around the office, so grab them while you can.

The fire makes the occasional crackling sound, and the fire extinguisher makes a little "whooshing" sound when used -- nice details! When the desk of an office worker isn't on fire, they go about their business of making phone calls, writing on a pad of paper, or typing on the computer in front of them. As I said, the detail that Rapture put into this game is amazing!

Options for the game include one- and two-player modes (you trade off between games), three-speed settings, a mute mode, and a pause mode that pauses the game and puts you back at the previously active window (usually your Games folder).

Gotchas
When set on Normal speed, the game is simply too easy: it wasn't until level nine that it became even a little challenging. But when set on Fast speed, the game becomes much more enjoyable and frantic!

Audio support is a little lackluster as well: the "whooshes" lose their sparkle after a few levels. A music track would have been nice, some sort of dance/pop sampling to match the frantic pace of the game, but considering the limited storage and CPU resources of most Pocket PC's, I can see why they didn't include it. Perhaps for the next version they'll include a WMA file for audio? That would balance quality with small file size.

Conclusion
Despite a few minor quibbles with this game, it really is a great game to play! It represents a new height of quality for Pocket PC games that I hope other game makers will strive to reach. The graphics and game play are top notch, and I was hooked in no time. I sincerely hope we'll see more games of this quality in the near future!

*The views expressed in the above article are provided by an independent third party and do not reflect any official view or endorsement by Microsoft

 

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