Saturday 13 February 2016

ESWAT: City Under Siege (Mega Drive / Genesis review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1990

ESWAT: City Under Siege is an action game that's based on the 1989 Arcade title Cyber Police ESWAT.

You play as an ESWAT trooper and your mission is to stop a terrorist group called E.Y.E. from taking over the world. Initially you're only armed with a gun and the action reminds me of Shinobi (1987, Arcades) with its excellent gameplay and reliance on multiple floors filled with enemies. It's also brutally tough with tons of trial and error and even Normal difficulty feels more like Hard. In Stage 3 you gain a Jet Pack and awesome new power-ups such as a Rocket Launcher and Plasma Charge that encourage you to try out different strategies. Stage 4 introduces aliens that you need to blast while shooting back at the lava that tries to surround you; there's lots of multitasking and the action is chaotic but extremely fun. Unfortunately things start to dip from this point onwards; Stage 5 relies too heavily on the Jet Pack and has many leaps of faith where you're not quite sure if you're going to hit solid ground or fall into a burning pit. Stage 6 is a lame sewer mission which plays terribly with far too many enemies across the two floors. Stage 8 has some super annoying traps that throw you back a couple of sections and you'll frequently have to stand still and wait for your Jet Pack to recharge so you can reach higher platforms. The final stage takes place in a confined elevator that descends downwards while you're attacked by all manner of enemies; here the difficulty is laughably hard and it makes you want to put down the controller. The bosses are also tough but some cool highlights include the Stage 1 helicopter and Stage 4's Mad Scientist where you need to destroy its three weak points.
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.
Random trivia: The game was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in Europe and Japan in 2007.

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