Wednesday 28 March 2018

Fahrenheit (Mega CD / Sega CD review)

Developer: Sega Studios
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1995

Fahrenheit is a Full Motion Video (FMV) game that was also released on the Sega 32X-CD in 1995.

As a graduate of the Fire Academy, your job across three missions is to rescue people from burning buildings, capture criminals and dispose of hazards. Neutralising hazards is crucial, as you're rewarded with additional oxygen. The gameplay consists of a first-person video stream as your character walks through buildings, and at points you can input your chosen path. In Mission 1, you navigate a house to locate a trapped girl and then find the exit. It's immediately apparent that many of the on-screen arrows don't correlate with the direction you move towards, and it's common to press Forward, only for the game to swing the camera to a side-door; basically, you're restricted to whatever footage was filmed, leading to disorientation! There's also trial-and-error where the game expects you to guess which one of three valves needs twisting to stop a gas leak. The fire effects are great, but despite the full screen FMV the quality is awful with heavy pixelation and compression artifacts that make it difficult to see what's happening; also, the audio is very scratchy. Mission 2 sees you searching a hotel to find an elderly lady and her pet bird; it's bigger in scope, but seriously confusing. The manual includes floor layouts, but in-game you only receive a text-based guide; this results in aimless wandering, and it doesn't help that the same FMV plays in different areas! Mission 3 takes place in the science blocks of a university where you capture a rampaging professor, defuse a bomb and shut off the power; navigating is a nightmare due to the gigantic maze layout, compounding all of the above problems even further.

Fahrenheit has some interesting ideas, but the FMV quality is terrible and in reality there's little to actually do thanks to the limited player interaction and mindless wandering. If you absolutely have to play this game choose the Sega 32X-CD version instead, as at least your eyes and ears will still function correctly afterwards!

Random trivia: The game's Executive Producer was Chris W. Bankston who worked on various other Mega CD titles including Prize Fighter (1994).

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