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ESWAT: City under Siege

aka: Cyber Police ESWAT, ESWAT: City Under Siege Classic

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Critic Reviews 74% add missing review

Computer and Video Games (CVG) (93 out of 100) (93%)

Basically, ESWAT is Super Shinobi with all sorts of mega guns and hulking great suits of cyber-armour. But even though it's not very original, it's one hell of a game. The sprites and backdrops are excellent, with brilliant parallax scrolling scenery, and all manner of beautifully animated baddies to blow into oblivion. The music is also great, with a variety of racing rock tunes and some meaty effects enhancing the atmosphere no end. The difficulty level is nicely balanced to draw you into the game, and it doesn't take long to get to level four, but from there on things get pretty tough, and it takes quite some practice to crack the remaining four levels. And even if you get through the game, there are a further three difficulty levels to challenge you, adding extra lasting appeal. If you're after a slick and highly playable arcade game, ESWAT is the one to go for.

Sep 1990 · Genesis · read review

Mean Machines (87 out of 100) (87%)

After the disappointing Master System version of ESWAT, it's nice to see that the Megadrive game is a whole lot more playable, with classy audio-visuals to match. It's also quite difficult with even the easy level being a great challenge to complete. The super extra weaponry is simply icing on a pretty substantial cake. Although it's nothing much like the coin-op original, I actually think that the Megadrive game is a lot better than the arcade, with better weapons and more addictive gameplay. Highly recommended to all blasting addicts.

Feb 1991 · Genesis · read review

1UP! (84 out of 100) (84%)

ESWAT, c'est un jeu d'action comme Sega sait bien les faire et que la Mega Drive est toujours prĂȘte Ă  accueillir hospitaliĂšrement, de la science-fiction qui trouve son inspiration scĂ©naristique dans Robocop et son inspiration ludique dans Shinobi et quelques autres. Il ne ressemble pas du tout au jeu d'arcade du mĂȘme nom, mais c'est peut-ĂȘtre mieux comme ça car il a son Ăąme propre. On aurait juste aimĂ© un peu plus d'aboutissement dans ses diffĂ©rentes branches: des niveaux plus longs, une difficultĂ© mieux dosĂ©e, certaines portions retravaillĂ©es, et une jouabilitĂ© plus flexible, auraient pu en faire un hit. Mais on ne fera pas la fine bouche.

Jan 26th, 2010 · Genesis · read review

Joystick (French) (84 out of 100) (84%)

Le seul petit dĂ©faut, insignifiant lorsque l'on est plongĂ© dans le feu de l'action, pouvant gĂȘner le spectateur regardant son copain jouer: c'est le dĂ©placement du policier lui-mĂȘme. Un mouvement un peu plus sophistiquĂ©, mettant en Ɠuvre un peu plus d'images, enfin autant que dans la version d'arcade, aurait Ă©tĂ© le bienvenu. Mis Ă  part ce lĂ©ger faux pas, Eswat est un trĂšs bon jeu, difficile Ă  souhait, qui fera passer de longues heures Ă  tous ceux qui craqueront en lisant ce petit test. Un, deux, trois, c'est parti.

Sep 1990 · Genesis · read review

Sega Does (B+) (83%)

ESWAT isn’t a consistently great game, but its well-paced action and flashes of brilliance elevate it above most B-tier platformers. The two-level progression from puny human to Robot Cop makes you feel like you earned the suit by level three. The Lab and Dark Base areas are some of the most intense, creative levels I’ve encountered in a long time. And the jet pack – limited though it may be – gives you a freedom not found in many platformers. Yes, ESWAT controls like Joe Musashi in a mech suit, but when the results are this enjoyable, it doesn’t matter that the game is essentially lesser Shinobi. One of Sega’s unsung action titles.

Nov 9th, 2016 · Genesis · read review

VideoGame ( ) (80%)

ESWAT Ă© a força policial mais eficiente dos Estados Unidos, contando com policiais cibernĂ©ticos ao melhor estilo Robocop. EYE Ă© uma organização terrorista que planeja conquistar o mundo. Para tentar frustrar os planos da EYE, o melhor policial foi designado. E vocĂȘ deve ajudĂĄ-lo, enfrentando os chefes terroristas em oito emocionantes combates.

Aug 1991 · Genesis · read review

Games Machine, The (UK) (80 out of 100) (80%)

With colourful, well-defined sprites and a bucketful of tunes, sound fx and speech, ESWAT is one heck of a game. The RoboCop-esque intro sequence is particularly good, and sets graphical standards that are paralleled throughout the game. The obligatory Sounds Test option is also available, much to the annoyance of everyone else around you when the computer keeps saying 'EEEESWAT' in a gruff American accent.

Sep 1990 · Genesis · read review

Sega Power (78 out of 100) (78%)

Good graphics, great sound and a tried and trusted gameplay. Nothing exceptional, but lots of nice touches. Worth a try.

Apr 1991 · Genesis · read review

Retro Archives (15.5 out of 20) (78%)

En quittant les salles d'arcade pour dĂ©barquer sur Megadrive, ESWAT : City under Siege aura dĂ©cidĂ© de faire peau neuve en mĂȘme temps que de changer de sous-titre. Une trĂšs bonne chose, car le jeu de SEGA en profite Ă©galement pour amener avec lui toutes les idĂ©es qui manquaient cruellement Ă  la version arcade. ÉquipĂ© d'une armure cybernĂ©tique qui dĂ©cuple enfin ses possibilitĂ©s, votre policier aura le plaisir d'Ă©voluer dans un environnement futuriste plus dĂ©paysant, plus variĂ© et plus agrĂ©able Ă  l’Ɠil tout en profitant d'un gameplay sensiblement plus technique. Dommage que la rĂ©alisation, pourtant efficace, souffre de sa parution sur une Megadrive qui Ă©tait encore en dĂ©but de vie, car on sent qu'il manque encore Ă  ce titre un tout petit surplus d'ambition, d'originalitĂ© et d'Ă©clat pour aller se hisser au niveau des meilleurs programmes de la console.

May 22nd, 2019 · Genesis · read review

Power Play (75 out of 100) (75%)

Daß es die Polizei in zukĂŒnftigen Jahren mit der VerbrechensbekĂ€mpfung nicht ganz leicht haben wird, wissen wir alle spĂ€testens seit dem Kinostreifen "Robocop". Das Actionspiel "E-Swat" schlĂ€gt in die gleiche Kerbe. In nicht allzu ferner Zukunft wird die Menschheit von einer weltumspannenden Terrororganisation, genannt EYE, bedroht. Die normale Polizei ist hilflos, und so wird kurzerhand die Spezialtruppe "E-Swat" gegrĂŒndet. Nur die besten Polizisten dĂŒrfen hier mitmischen. Die, die es geschafft haben, kriegen eine dicke RĂŒstung statt einer Uniform, großkalibrige Waffen statt der einfachen 45er und einen Rucksack mit Raketenantrieb.

Oct 1990 · Genesis · read review

Ação Games (3 out of 4) (75%)

JĂĄ conhecido pelos brasileiros na versĂŁo para Master System, Eswat Ă© um game bonito, sofisticado e que tem tudo para agradar.

Jun 1991 · Genesis · read review

Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) (30 out of 40) (75%)

E-Swat is the first good attempt at an action shooter on the Genesis. While it comes off good in most respects, the game just didn't have enough punch to keep me going. Decent graphics, but a little short on play.

Oct 1990 · Genesis

Raze (72 out of 100) (72%)

  • Too easy and repetitive.
  • Initially interesting and compelling.

Apr 1991 · Genesis · read review

16-Bit Dad (71 out of 100) (71%)

E.S.W.A.T is a great example of how a game can be both completely enjoyable yet also offer a decent amount of challenge. The storyline implementation could have been better and offer more originality, but the game itself is a wonderful experience to play through.

Aug 17th, 2018 · Genesis · read review

Nintendo Life ( ) (70%)

While it doesn't promise the same frantic carnage of VC stable mates like Gunstar Heroes or Contra III/Probotector, ESWAT is still a very enjoyable title. It's a bit more sedate and laid back and is certainly an improvement over the aforementioned arcade original. Sega fans will want to check this out, as will lovers of platform action titles - everyone else might find it a little dry and unexciting when placed side-by-side with some of the more popular shooters currently available on the VC.

Sep 7th, 2007 · Wii · read review

ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (8.2 out of 12) (68%)

Sega bringt dieses Game direkt von der Spielhalle auf Eure Mega-Drive-Screens. Alle Features, die bisher nur den Spielenhallenfreaks zugute kamen, sind mit der EsWAT-Umsetzung nun auch im trauten Heim erhĂ€ltlich. Der Spieler begleitet den Cop durch seine hypermoderne, in zwei Ebenen scrollende Welt. Detailliert gezeichnete Grafiken, unterlegt mit gutem Sound, fördern hier den Spielspaß.

Sep 1990 · Genesis

Retro Game Reviews ( ) (60%)

ESWAT: City Under Siege is a fun game with some good level design, smooth controls and awesome weapon switching abilities. However, it's just far too challenging and sticking around to see later stages really isn't worth it as the best ones are loaded towards the front of the game.

Feb 13th, 2016 · Genesis · read review

Sega-16.com (6 out of 10) (60%)

ESWAT isn't a bad game, but it's not that good either. I gave it an extra point for trying. Sega's always been known for it's creativity throughout all the ages (After Burner, Comix Zone, Shenmue.....), but this is one of their games that remind us that innovation doesn't ALWAYS go right.

Jun 6th, 2005 · Genesis · read review

Game Hoard, The (4 out of 7) (57%)

ESWAT: City Under Siege is an action platformer where most of its good ideas are undercut by the execution of its less thought out ideas. Levels manage to have unique identities that throw new hazards and challenges at the player, but our policeman protagonist just isn’t that interesting to play as. Enemies rarely put up a good fight, especially once your arsenal is expanded by the cybernetic suit, and that suit’s boosters can make breezing past the few remaining challenges too easy or too slow depending on how the game decides to limit you in that moment. Some glimmers of inspiration like the levels with clearly expressed concepts refuse to be dimmed though, such as the maze that tests your booster maneuverability and the sewer that crams in so many enemies you can’t afford to be careless. The brief flickers of interesting design keeps ESWAT: City Under Siege from going under, but they don’t entirely save it either.

Sep 17th, 2018 · Genesis · read review

Eurogamer.net (UK) (5 out of 10) (50%)

In its defence, ESWAT is smooth and playable in that bland sort of way that generic 80s games often are. It's also quite easy, with five hits before you die and enemies that blindly shoot at nothing in the hope that you'll stray into their path. Undemanding retro fans will probably find enough to amuse them (though whether its 800 points worth of amusement is debatable) but you're not missing much if you don't download it.

Sep 7th, 2007 · Wii · read review

Player Reviews

SEGA's RoboCop deserves a sequel.

The Good
Being a fan of RoboCop movies, this game had an immediate appeal to me as a kid. A cop using a cybernetic armor? Count me in! The game tells the story of a police officer which becomes member of the Enhanced Special Weapons and Tactics unit to fight a terrorist group called E.Y.E., which is developing their own special weapons to neutralize ESWAT.

One of the first interesting aspects of this game is that you're not given the cyber suit right away: you have to earn it by going up ranks as a police officer. You start as a captain and have to complete two missions to become part of the ESWAT. Before you get your cyber suit there's not much you can do other than shoot a pistol and jump, but the developers took care of ensuring the gameplay would have the right amount of variety. Each level of ESWAT plays different than the other: in the first one you make your way through a building shooting bandits and end up facing a helicopter in the rooftop. In the second level you have to invade a prison and you start moving about using some sort of platform on rails. This level plays differently from the first one, as finding your way out of the prison has a light puzzle-solving element. But the possibilities are really expanded when you get the cyber suit. The main reason is that it has five different weapons and a built-in jet pack, and this changes the player approaches the challenges.

Each weapon has a different use. The regular shot is not different from the pistol used in the first two levels. The Super gun auto-shoots three bullets at once, making life a whole lot easier for dealing with all sorts of enemies. The Rocket Launcher fires rockets diagonally towards the ground, so it allows for different strategies when dealing with enemies behind barriers or in lower platforms. The Plasma Charge shoots large plasma balls when charged, dealing more damage than most weapons, but as the charging takes some time, its usage must be calculated. It is also the only weapon that can destroy some kinds of barriers in some stages. And last there's a Fire weapon, a rotating flame thrower that can be used only once per pick up and that depletes the burner gauge. The burner gauge is depleted also by using the jetpack: hovering will deplete it very slowly, flying in different directions will deplete it faster. Besides the obvious movement advantages, the jetpack allows for better positioning when dealing with different enemies.

From the third level on, the gameplay is all about using the right tools for the right situations. In the third level is pretty linear and is there more to teach you how to use your new weapons. The fourth level challenges you by removing your ability to use the jetpack. In the fifth level, on the other hand, you will rely on the jetpack a lot, so much that during the boss fight you will have unlimited burner at your disposal. The sixth level is a linear walk through the sewers, but you can choose to avoid the water or not, and it holds one of the most challenging boss fights. The seventh still has new elements as laser booby traps and some puzzle elements. The last stage is a little bit shorter and holds the final battle.

The graphics are very good. The sprites are big and the art resembles other early Mega Drive games such as Shinobi, with a more "mature", less cartoony tone. The animation between levels showing the rank progression of the character and a computerized rap-sheet of the next boss is a nice touch. Another SEGA classic, Streets of Rage, is said to share the same fictional universe as the ESWAT games, as the police car shown in Streets of Rage is the same seen in this game.

The sound effects are simple but effective and the music is great. The boss tune will be on your mind for a while after playing the game. The difficulty level feels just right to me. It is one of those games in which you get a little bit further each time you play. The options menu lets you tone down the difficulty and increase the number of lives you start with.

The Bad
Even though the level design is varied and the game offers five different weapons, I feel that they could have been used better. For instance, the Fire weapon is not of much use. Since it is the strongest weapon and you can only use it once per pick up, you would naturally save it to use against bosses. But it turns out this weapon is rather useless against them, doing little or no damage. It becomes that weapon you keep saving for a special occasion that never comes (well, maybe it is useful the last stage, but you may not need it as well). I think you will spend 80% of the time using the Super weapon and the other 20% between the Plasma Charge and the Rocket Launcher.

Another thing that could be better done are the boss fights: they all seem pretty easy once you learn the boss pattern. There are only two fights in which you'll have to move around a bit more, the other ones are all about finding the right position and using the right weapon.

Some levels are also rather short. I'd love to see some bigger levels with even more jetpack use.

The Bottom Line
ESWAT is a great early Mega Drive game, and certainly a SEGA classic. It has nicely drawn graphics, good music, varied gameplay and an interesting setting. It fails only in having easy boss fights and in not exploring the full potential of having five different weapons. It is really a shame that SEGA didn't make any sequels to this game or haven't explored more the relationship between this series and Streets of Rage.

by chirinea (46949) on Jan 15th, 2018 · Genesis

Plus 16 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Kohler 86, RhYnoECfnW, Alsy, chirinea, Jo ST, RetroArchives.fr, Terok Nor, Alaka, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Patrick Bregger, jumpropeman, CalaisianMindthief.