Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 12/03/02 | Updated: 12/03/02


When I first gazed at Ignition Factor, I didn’t know what to think of it. On one hand, the game was a fire-fighting game, something that I had never seen before at the time I bought the game. I read a review of it in Flux magazine, and the pics of it were etched in my memory, as was the text of the review, which praised the game highly. On the other hand, it was the great unknown. I came into the game with very little knowledge about how it played, or what could be done in it. Amazing how, with the internet and all, we have tons of knowledge about every game before it’s released, whereas in the mid-90s, before the net became prevalent, we had to rely on mags for our info. Anyways, I decided to take a risk, and took the $60 plunge to buy the game. And it’s one of the best game purchases I’ve ever made. Seven years later, I can still say that the game is fun. I routinely play the game, not too much, maybe an hour a month or something, again, just for fun.

The core gameplay is comprised of you fighting fires, what a shock, eh? Before every level (there are five total), you are briefed on your objectives and given the option of choosing what equipment you should use for that level. This particular aspect of the game is quite deep since you have to weigh the pros and cons of each tool. You’ll want to bring at least two kinds of fire extinguishers (out of the three available) since there are usually at least two kinds of fires to fight per level (you’ll find out what kind of fires there are in the briefing.) But, based on the briefing alone, you will have to choose what else to bring. Should you get an axe for opening doors and breaking windows? What about a rope to help you reach trapped victims? The paradoxical choice is yours, and it’s only the first of many tough decisions you will have to make in this game. Since you are realistically bound by a time limit for each level, you will have to figure out the best way to get through each part of every level. Do you go for one victim at a time? Or maybe try and mix things up a bit by going in a pattern of saving victims? The choice is yours. Despite the confines placed upon you for each level, namely the time limit and item limits, you have a surprising amount of freedom in the game. I’m glad that Jaleco decided to keep the gameplay limitations realistic in this game. They actually add quite a bit to the game on the whole due to their firm basis in reality. As you progress through the game, your choices will get harder and harder, and your mission briefings will get a big more vague in an effort to make you, the player, think for yourself.

The controls in Ignition Factor are about as flawless as you could expect. The button configuration for item selection and game movement is logical and intuitive. The responsive controls really do a world of good for the game, since you are bound by a time limit, it is imperative that the game’s controls not get in the way of your progress. After all, just one second of a delay due to sloppy controls could mean the difference between success and failure in the game.

The graphics in the game are simple, yet effective. Everything in the game has a solid look, nothing is too spectacular, except for the poison gas effect used in one of the later levels. The gas just swirls around on the screen, and can be quite an awe-inspiring sight. The characters all feature some nice body details, but little in the way of facial details. The environments themselves have a crisp, clean look to them that helps to aid your navigation through them since the clean look helps you to distinguish one section of a level from another.

The sound in the game is fantastic, and like the graphics, it follows the “less is more“ approach to doing things. The flame effects sound eerily realistic, and the voice effects that accompany every character, especially the victims you save, in the game helps you to get into the game since you can add at least one human element to everyone you help out. The sound effects throughout the game are solid and everything sounds like you would expect it to. The clank of your boots as you walk across a metal catwalk sounds realistic, as does the sound that emits from the fire extinguishers. Even the sound effect used for opening doors sounds good. The music in the game fit’s the nature of the levels perfectly. At the beginning of the level, the music has a slower tempo to it, then, as the time limit begins to wind down, the intensity picks up, and the tempo increases ten-fold. The increased musical intensity gets your blood pumping, and gets you into the game even further. You know that you HAVE to save the lives of everyone trapped in that building, and the music lets you know that. The music really adds another layer of depth to the game, since, much like the voice effects, it gives you something else to latch onto in an effort to keep you hooked on the game. You might not think that the game gives you much to work with sound-wise, and you would be correct, but what little it gives you is done to perfection.

The replay value in Ignition Factor depends on how much you get into the game. If you let the game envelope you, and you start to get involved with it, and you start looking for the fastest ways to save people, then you will get years of gameplay out if it. On the other hand, if you just play the game to beat it, and nothing else, you won’t get much play time out of it. Hopefully, you will do what I did and get everything out of the game that you can. If you don’t enjoy the game, odds are, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Overall, Ignition Factor is one of the most unique games that I have ever played. The game combines fun, addictive gameplay with great controls and stellar sound. The amount of enjoyment you elicit from the game is determined by what you do with it. If you come into the game with an open mind about things, you should be just fine.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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