Friday, July 10, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! ESWAT

ESWAT:City Under Siege was an early-period Sega Genesis release by Sega themselves (let's face it, they produced many of their own titles!), a 1990 adaptation based on their 1989 arcade machine.


The original arcade title, while very pretty, was of the "extremely limited gameplay appeal" variety - the sort which charmed you in with fancy graphics, but was designed to keep sucking quarters out of your pockets while you'd strive to "complete just one more level!" It sure looked and sounded really nice, just as ALL Sega arcades did back in those days, but obviously the design wasn't gonna lend itself so well to the $49.99 home format, and so they revamped the game's design with more adventuring and platforming in mind - thankfully!


The game basically puts you in charge of your standard Robocop wanna be ("as was the style at the time," for real!) At the game's outset, you must complete a couple of missions with your regular street cop dude and prove that you've got what it takes to hang with the big boys, and then they'll give you some serious hardware to kill evil bad guys with...!


And the hardware is no slouch. You can equip your cyber-getup with a huge-shot-chargable plasma cannon, rapid firing machine gun, rocket lawnchair (I'm sorry), and crazy Kill Everybody Fire Weapon. Additionally, you have a limited use jetpack that let's you thrust around the level, and that just feels REALLY COOL.

The game was obviously inspired by the antics of other similar Sega games such as Shinobi - if you liked that title, you will feel right at home with ESWAT. Also following in the proud tradition of those games, this title featured meticulously detailed graphics which just looked really nice compared to so much else that was releasing at the time opposite it (mind you we'd still not seen the SNES over here yet, so this was about as good as you could expect by a wide margin!) The music was your typical tinny Sega 16-Bit sound, groovy and funky Japanese Yuzo Koshiro-inspired (I don't think he worked on it, but it sounds like his brother did!) Either you can't stand it or you love it, it's a pretty clear division when it comes to that stuff.

Overall ESWAT was a game I looked very forward to and was very excited to get my hands on. Another one of those games where you could tell that talented people were running the show, and this was a great console for showcasing games like this. Unfortunately the franchise was too shallow to go anywhere else with this, maybe the sales tanked, I dunno - I'd love to see another ESWAT type of game, I guess Realtime World's Crackdown is the closest we are gonna get for now. In the meantime I recommend this, it's a fun play through that gets progressively better as you advance through the rounds - and even the little cartoony ending is cool!

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