Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
The city is under siege and only a heroic cop can save the day! Six ruthless crime bosses have clubbed together in order to bring a reign of chaos to the city. Violent crime is common place - no-one feels safe. The police are over powered by the sheer enormity of the new crime wave. Enter the ESWAT (Enhanced Special Weapons and Tactics) team, a bunch of hardened cops with the greatest weaponry and armour that the city can provide.
You start the game as a lowly police officer aspiring to be a part of the elite ESWAT team. You need to prove your policing worth in order to qualify, and must first kill one of the crime bosses and his associated cronies to prove you're worth your stripes (and presumably, your armour).
Once you're in possession of the necessary armament, it's time to clean up the rest of the streets. There's five levels' worth of ESWAT excitement, and each level has four smaller scenes packed with felons to despatch to their graves It's a one-on-one shoot-out at the end of each level, and success means one less member of the crime boss cartel. Failure isn't even worth contemplating...
Our rozzer hero starts out life in this game with no armour whatsoever, but can absorb a few hits. Conquer a couple of scenes though, and you have extra protection from your suit as well as machine gun frolics. Collecting icons gives you various "smart" weaponry. Pressing the A and B buttons sets off what could be a ripple laser type affair, or even a whole spray of deadly bullets. It all depends on the icon collected.
ESWAT should be coming out next year on the Megadrive, and promises to be a completely different kettle of fish. The horizontally scrolling action has been replaced by an eight-way scroll-around, and there's also a number of extra weapons that can be bolted onto the ESWAT armour - including ground-hugging missiles, super-cannons and fuel for the suit's afterburners!
The amount of felons to be "brought to justice" is many and varied. The common knife-wielding punk should present no problem to the standard police-issue pistol, but later on things get a bit more tough. Among your end-of-level adversaries, you find a spinning maniac whose roller-coaster antics will bowl you for six! Look out also for a head honcho who uses a token female as a body shield (nifty blasting required there) and a crime boss tooled out in ESWAT style armour.
ESWAT isn't bad, but it bears very little resemblance to the arcade original - looking for all the world like an arcade Robocop variant. The backdrops are gaudy and completely unatmospheric and Where's the groovy afterburners of the Megadrive game? The payability's the thing though, and ESWAT is quite entertaining - for a while. The game is pretty easy to complete, and won't really keep you at the Sega for long.
After the rather nifty arcade game, this is a bit of a disappointment. The original coin-op features a variety of mean n' meaty weapons, but the ones in this version are wimpy by comparison. Even the graphics are feeble compared to Hheir arcade counterpart, with gaudy backdrops and small, poorly animated sprites. When you get down to playing it, once again the game is a let-down. It's great fun at first, but there are only five levels and they're very easy to get through. None of the end-of-level baddies offer much resistance, and anyone who's a half-decent player should be able to finish the game pretty quickly.