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Fahrenheit review: The sexiest sim of 1994

Feel the heat

Polygon managing editor Justin McElroy is a profoundly broken person who thought it would be a good idea to review every FMV game. This is his Full Motion Vision Quest. Further examples of his depravity can be found here.

YEAR: 1994

DEVELOPER: Sega Studios


There is not much that is impressive about firefighting simulator Fahrenheit. It, like many FMV games of this era, is almost entirely devoid of actual gameplay and can be completed in around 45 minutes. But, credit where credit is due, there are a few achievements one must honor.

First, obviously, is the theme song, which is housed above and which I assume you have already played ad infinitum, added to your Spotify "Hot Jamz" playlist and begun to sketch out basic tablature for.

Second is the astounding extent to which it manages to not capture the experience of being a firefighter. For instance, the firefighters of Fahrenheit at no point attempt to put out any fire they encounter. Admittedly, I myself have never had that particular vocation, but I assume that at some point in the course of the job fire is extinguished.

Also, due to the fact that the news isn't blanketed with daily reports of sexual harassment lawsuits from local fire departments, I assume that the actual interactions of firefighters aren't injected with a level of sexual innuendo that would make Ron Jeremy blush.

So if one isn't fighting fires in this firefighting game, what is one doing? Well, wandering, pretty much. The visceral thrill of battling blazes has been reduced to a leisurely stroll through a structure that just happens to be burning down. You are permitted to choose which direction you amble, but that's about it.

Occasionally you will encounter a hazard but, loathe to let your stroll be interrupted, your team will leap to your aid and remove the threat, even if you ask, as I do in the below video from the game's first level, for them to leave it be.

Oh and, in fine FMV form, you are occasionally asked to make a random choice where the wrong selection means instant death. Cool.

In the game's second stage, you are introduced to the worst landlord in the history of the world.

In the game's third and final stage, you are thrust into a secret underground nuclear lab where you're asked to capture an evil scientist bent on destroying the local university. You know, because firefighters.

How do you navigate this labyrinthine laboratory? By simply using one of the convenient maps found in the game's instruction manual, which, I'll admit, is a pretty great form of copy protection. What's that? You're a hardcore gamer who wants to go it alone? Oh sure, should be easy enough:

fahrenheit map

The only thing that makes the wandering worth it is the glorious performance waiting for you once you encounter the villainous professor.

In closing, Fahrenheit is the perfect game for up-and-coming firefighters who want to learn nothing about staying alive in a fire and everything about dodging the sexual advances of their co-workers.

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR COPY: Set it on fire and call the Fahrenheit team content in the knowledge they'll leave your fire just as they leave every fire: On fire.

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