Thursday 31 July 2014

Los Angeles SWAT (Atari 8-bit review)

Developer: Sculptured Software
Publisher: Mastertronic
Released: 1986

Los Angeles SWAT is a slow-paced vertical scrolling shoot-em-up that's set in the year 1999.

Terrorists have taken over the west-side of L.A. and it's your job clear the streets and rescue the hostages being held at the end of each level. This won't be an easy task as you'll face rooftop snipers, roadblocks and grenade-throwing thugs who can overwhelm you in numbers. You have three squad members (that act as lives) although you can only control one of them at a time. If a thug gets too close to you he will repeatedly bash you over the head with his bat until you disappear into the ground! Occasionally an innocent civilian will walk down the street and if you accidentally shoot them you'll lose points.

As you work your way up the screen you'll eventually reach a 4-way junction where the gang leader is holding a hostage - he'll quickly move from side-to-side but if you manage to shoot him the hostage will be released and you'll move on to the next level.

The game appears to have infinite levels as I've never seen an ending screen. You just keep mowing down bad guys until you run out of lives. Los Angeles SWAT doesn't have much variety and can get somewhat repetitive, but I find myself occasionally booting the game up for a quick 15 minute blast. Yet another great Atari 8-bit game on the Mastertronic label!

Random trivia: 1986 was a very good year for the Sculptured Software / Mastertronic partnership. Alongside Los Angeles SWAT, they also released games such as Kikstart and Ninja which were very well received critically and commercially.

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