Superb fire fighting sim
For a bold and unusual take on the real time strategy and management genre, then Firestorm comes highly recommended. There are no prizes for guessing what the game is about, as the title rather inelegantly reveals all, but what it lacks in clever titling, it more than makes up for it in sheer inventiveness. Firestorm is simple stuff on the surface, helped in no small part but its basic visuals but once you start looking under the hood, it becomes apparent that there is a lot more here than meets the eye. Players are presented with a top down map of a forested region which also contains a mix of roads, mountains, rivers, lakes and buildings and can then set down the starting positions for up to five fires, before setting conditions like the wind direction (this can also be done by the computer). Then it's time to hit GO and watch as the fires start to make terrifying progress through the forest. However, you're not merely a passive observer of destruction, but have access to fire crews and air tankers which must used carefully to stop the fires before they cause too much damage. The game plays in real time but can be paused if it all gets a bit much for you while the amount of options that can be tweaked is impressive and everything is controlled by a simple and intuitive mouse-based interface. Firestorm really is a delight, thanks to its accessibility and its mix of realism and immersion which really gives players an idea of what it's like on the ground. You need all your skills of rapid decision making and strategy on hand and thanks to the customisation options, no two games need be the same. If you're looking for an absorbing piece of real-time strategy that's a far cry from Command and Conquer, you can't go wrong with this old-school classic.