English Title: Sakurazaka Shōbōtai
Japanese Title: 桜坂消防隊
Publisher: Irem Software Engineering
Developer: Racjin
Genre: Firefighting Simulation
Released: Jun. 10, 2004
Product Codes: SLPS-25363 / JAN 4536592000365

While there's no shortage of firefighting games -- Human's The Firemen, Jaleco's The Ignition Factor, Sega's Burning Rangers, and Konami's Firefighter F.D.18 just off the top of my head -- not very many actually take a serious approach to the profession. There's no supernatural sentient blazes here, and no weird out-of-place sci-fi elements, just good old-fashioned accidents and arson. In fact, it's not entirely dissimilar to Irem's own Zettai Zetsumei Toshi (Disaster Report) series.

The main focus of the game is on teamwork with your partner -- you never go in alone -- to get each blaze under control while rescuing survivors and gathering evidence for the police. You have to stay in communication, even (especially) when you're in different parts of the building, coordinating and giving each other commands. While the main scenario is single-player with a computer-controlled partner, it's also possible to play two-player as well.

From what little I've played, the whole thing seems to work pretty well. A worthy addition to Irem's diverse, if small, library of unique PS2 games.