Raymond Bryce, a member of the International Rescue Team (IRT), has been assigned to a mission on Mt. Aguilas, an active volcano in South America. While he and his best friend Steve Hewitt were busy hauling people up to the getaway helicopter, the volcano suddenly erupted, sending large lumps of rock flying in all directions. One of those rocks hit the chopper, sending it plummeting down to earth with a loud explosion, stranding the pair in the danger zone. Raymond and Steve then attempted to leave the volcano on foot. However, Steve died when he fell into a lava flow, with Ray unable to save him.
Left with Steve's lucky charm, an antique compass, Ray felt extremely guilty for not being able to save his friend. He resigned from the IRT and now works for the Crisis Management Division in Blue Ridge City, located on the west coast of the United States.
One year has passed since Steve's death. SURGE, an underground Special Forces unit thought to be wiped out, has stolen three nuclear warheads and threatens to detonate them if their demands are not met. SURGE has kidnapped two people, a renowned seismologist Professor Davis and his assistant Lisa Hewitt, who is also Steve's younger sister. Ray then vows to save Lisa as a way of redeeming himself. But wait, catastrophic natural disasters are creeping up around every corner, prompting Ray to realise his survival instincts yet again.
The game has been released in Japan, Europe and Australia. An American launch was planned, and in fact the game itself was revealed during the E3 2006 press conference which takes place in California, though for various reasons the game never made it stateside. Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo of America, has expressed his dislike for the game, saying that the sound in particular was terrible.