ESWAT: City Under Siege
Review by KasketDarkfyre
"I am Robo...wait...no I'm not!"
E-SWAT is a side scrolling game that is modeled after another arcade classic, Shinobi. Putting you in a futuristic world, your duty is to track down the crime bosses, and kill them while trying to stay alive in the process. As the game progresses and you move through the different ranks, you’ll eventually get to don the armor of a cybernetic badass that is more like Robo Cop than anything else. However, the moment you don that armor, you’ll find that the game takes on a different tone and the challenge seems to go through the roof without fail!
Essentially the story line that you have in E-Swat is one like you’d find in just about any other video game that has a futuristic setting to it. You are a lone cop who undertakes the role of blasting out the bad guys and nailing the criminals that are running through the streets. As you continue, you’ll have to take on tougher enemies that are insistent on killing you and continuing on their way. You on the other hand, have a different idea, so you take to the street in an attempt to clean up your fair city and make a name for yourself in the process.
-The Game Play -
You duty is to kill the bad guys without taking too much damage in the process using nothing but your reflexes and your gun as backup. For the first couple of stages, you’ll start out as a regular cop with nothing between you but some cloth and a gun that you have to use wisely in order to survive. As you take out different enemies and eventually bosses, you’ll move up through the ranks and be allowed to use robotic armor that has a slightly higher hit capacity than your regular clothes. However, once you do this, the challenge ramps up, and after four shots, the armor disappears until you can have it replaced later on in the stage!
The difficulty that you encounter though, comes in the later stages when you have constant enemies firing guns at you and no place to go. This really wouldn’t be much of a problem if the game didn’t seem to fall in the favor of the enemies that litter the stages. The further you get, the harder the enemies are to reach and you’ll take hits with little or no response, which can lead to some frustration when you’re dropping lives left and right. On the plus side, once you’ve been through the game once or twice, you can remember where the enemies are and deal with them accordingly.
Control really isn’t much of a problem here, with the main feature having to do with run and gun action that requires timing more than anything. As enemies come at you, you’ll have to duck, jump and fire, much like Rolling Thunder and you may have to find a moment to catch your breath. This is no easy feat, as the jumping from time to time requires you to time the shots coming at you with your answering shot. If you happen to miss, then you take damage and after too many hits, you’ll end up dead.
-The Visuals -
The visuals here have detail to them in the enemies and your character, especially when you move into the robotic part of the game. As you take damage, pieces of the armor will fly off and you’ll be able to see your original self without much of a problem. The locations that you roll through are all huge and well detailed, though they have a tendency to seemingly repeat in some spots, a common occurrence in older arcade action games. However, the style of animation that you find here is extremely similar to Shinobi and you’ll find that the simple, yet detail presentation is a treat for the eyes.
-The Audio -
The overall theme of the game is effectively captured with the music that you hear, keeping the theme of the game with simple beats and tones. The different stage music does the game justice, though there is nothing terribly memorable to hear in the game, even with the ending sequence. The sound effects are your standard fare of gunshots, grunts and groans with some interesting explosions thrown in for good measure when your suit blows apart. All in all, it’s effective without overdoing it!
-The Verdict -
E-SWAT is a good spin-off of Shinobi in the respect that you’re working with guns, robots and crooks rather than other ninjas and throwing stars. There is plenty here for the action gamer with platform jumping, and enemy killing all at the same time. If you can get past the sometimes unfair difficulty level, then you should have no problem playing through the game and enjoying each and every step. With instances of Rolling Thunder, Shinobi and other well known action games, this is one of the classics that is well worth spending a couple of bucks on if you’re looking to step back into the earlier days of Sega action!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/01/02, Updated 10/01/02
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