E-SWAT logo

US GOLD £24.99 * Joystick

The long arm of the law is part of a steel framed exosuit. The bobby on the beat is encased in an armoured shell, with a rapid-firing machine-gun bolted on. The softly-softly approach is a thing of the past; you shoot first and don't bother with the asking questions bit.

ESWAT is set firmly in the future, though how near in the future is anyone's guess. The transition from cop to the Eswat squad is not easy though. You have to fight your way through the ranks, adding stripes to your arm as you go. Only the cream of the crop are picked for these special duties.

Three notorious bad guys need to be given a stretch in the slammer - and you, ambitious to move through the ranks as quickly as possible, are determined to put them there. If you manage to bag these bad guys (taking out half the city's less desirable citizens on the way) then you're transformed into the tin-foil terror.

Eswatting Up
The game does seem rather easy. Maybe it's all the power-ups you're given, but even on your first ever go the levels seem to fly by and, consequently, making it to Eswat stage is not really a problem. When you do reach those dizzy heights, the game changes little. You still have the same moves, and are still just as vulnerable to attack - even in your shiny metal suit. It's just the graphics that have changed, not the gameplay.

Both the before and after sections have cases of extra ammunition scattered around. These come in very handy, as bullets are scarce, especially in Eswat mode - your rapid-firing machine-gun really spews lead. They're often placed on ledges though. To get onto the ledges you need to perform a jump-and-grab manoeuvre. This feat is particularly difficult as it involves pushing either left or right with up and fire simultaneously. If you mistime one of the moves by even a split second, and you will end up doing something else instead.

Not Much Cop
Sprites ar large, but not brilliantly animated. The two cops show up well against the backgrounds, and there's no danger or confusing which one's which - player one is blue, two is red.

Not an awful lot happens during the game. Lots of people get shot, the big baddie is confronted, and then the whole scenario is repeated. Eswat is a fine arcade conversion. The question that needs to be asked is: was the arcade machine much cup in the first place?

E-SWAT logo

Eine Superbulle, halb Mensch und halb Kampfroboter, läuft mit gezogener Knarre durch die Stadt und ballert Verbrecher über den Haufen. Eine Außerst bleihaltige Idee! Nur leider nicht die von U.S. Gold.

Konkurrent Ocean schickte nämlich schon 1989 einen Robotpolizisten auf Gangsterjagd. Das Game landete zwar am Index, war aber technisch wesentlich besser realisiert als Eswat!

Nachdem das Intro bewundert und die fetzige Titelmelodie verklungen ist, kann das Feuerwerk losgehen: Der Cop steigt mit der Wumme in der Hand aus seinem Wagen und macht sich auf den Weg. Schon bald stürmen von links und rechts angriffslustige Punks und knüppelschwingende Skateboardfahrer heran, aus den Fenstern eröffnen Heckenschützen das Feuer.

Unser Held ballert in alle Richtingen, bis die zwanzig Schüsse in seinem Magazin verbraucht sind - dann muß er entweder Patronen aufsammeln oder mit Karate weitermachen. Das alles findet zwar unter Zeitdruck statt, trotzdem übersteht selbst ein Anfänger den ersten Level mit Leichtigkeit, ebenso den zweiten und dritten!

Erst im vierten Abschnitt, wo sich der brave Bulle endlich in einen stahlharten Polizeiroboter verwandelt, wird das Game plötzlich unspielbar schwierig! Da greifen dann bis zu vier Gegner gleichzeitig an, und zu allem überfluß kann man die dringend benötigte Zusatzmunition oft nicht aufsammeln.

Die Grafik wirkt stellenweise laienhaft, das Scrolling ruckelt, und der Cop bewegt sich mit der Grazie eines schwangeren Kängurus. Abgesehen vom passablen Sound ist Eswat also eine Enttäuschung auf der ganzen Linie - gar kein Vergleich mit dem angeblich jugendgefährdenden Vorbild. (C. Borgmeier)

E-SWAT logo

After their superb conversion of Line Of Fire, ESWAT is a massive disappointment from U.S. Gold and its programmers, Creative Materials. Granted the coin-op was no great shakes, but this conversion captures very little of the original's fast pace and fast shoot 'em up action.

Graphically, the whole thing looks fine, with the subdued colour scheme working nicely against the large and detailed sprites. However, once everything starts to move, and the sprites lumber around the screen jerkily the whole effect is ruined, leaving only the limited gameplay to save the day.

In case you aren't familiar with the coin-op, ESWAT is a split level shoot 'em up which draws ideas from Rolling Thunder and, more notably, Dragon Ninja (especially in its limited use of colour and sprites).

You and a friend must punch, kick, and shoot your way through umpteen levels of criminal-filled horizontally-scrolling stages until you reach the crimelord at the end of the level. Each master crook must be felled with repeated shots or blows, and when he eventually dies you gain access to the following stage.

You start the game armed with a gun and a limited supply of ammunition. However, after three successful collars, you attain the much-coveted rank of an ESWAT cop, and a special armoured suit protects you from the enemy flak. On the downside, though, the suit's gun eats your ammo at three times the normal speed, so extra caches must be collected along the way.

To begin with, ESWAT is a playable little number, but its appeal soon wanes due to the repetitive nature of the gameplay, and the slow response of your characters. In addition, these awkward controls allow too many annoying grumbles to enter an already flawed game, ensuring that ESWAT is best left alone.

E-SWAT logo

US Gold, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

Cyber City is the latest American metropolis to fall under the control of criminal elements, but rather than calling in RoboCop, Don Johnson or the Narcs, this city has developed its very own supercops Department. ESWAT (Enhanced Special Weapons And Tactics) is an elite division of the Cyberpolice - you know, the one where the really big guns are! Of course, it's your aim to get promoted from being a regular SWAT cop to being an ESWAT cop. Missions are so tough nowadays that just one patrol earns promotion, firstly to captain then assistant chief and chief before finally making it into ESWAT, Here you are outfitted in the very latest in cybernetic exo-suits double laser cannons and the option to upgrade to mega-weapons.

The pursuit of truth, justice and gross-out body counts is shown side-on, in a horizontally push-scrolling urban jungle. As one or two cops march rightwards, criminals rather stupidly rush them from left and right. Wiser crooks snipe from windows, while at the end of most levels there's a super baddie to be dealt with. The cops can shoot upwards to take out snipers, or alternatively jump up onto the platforms to attack them from the side. Once transformed into an ESWAT cop, the villains start dropping all sorts of super weapons which can be picked up and used .These tend to be of the smart-bomb variety and are activated by the shift keys.

On the Amiga version men have three units of energy to lose before dying, and very little ammo so picking up bullets is essential. By contrast, the C64 has no energy units but more lives, and so much ammo that magazines are unnecessary.

Phil King Let's take the coin-op first. A derivative shoot-'n'-beat-'em-up with no real innovations. Now take the conversions (please do!). The C64 game features small, unattractive sprites with some extraordinary glitches - one baddie even appeared to have his legs separated from the rest of his body! And when I was standing on a barrel (well it looked a bit like one!), the baddies killed me by shooting at its base! There's also no interlevel presentation; just a sort of hiss and a confusing switch to the next scene. The Amiga game fares little better with interlevel screens and very pale graphics. It also has the odd glitch, the most humorous of which was when an arm appeared from nowhere to embrace a rescued girl! As for playability, both versions are sluggish and repetitive without a hint excitement.
Stuart Wynne The ESWAT coin-op drew obvious inspiration from RoboCop's side-on view sections - hardly original themselves - and added some fun guff about ordinary cops getting exo-suits. The transformation added plenty of incentive for fighting through the early stages, and while originality was low playability wasn't bad. It should have made a good home computer game, but it hasn't...
The C64 version is probably the worst. Graphics are dull, end- level opponents completely unremarkable and gameplay soon becomes tediously repetitive: walk left, shoot a couple of villains, dodge the bullets and shoot a couple more villains. Transforming adds very little to the game, while graphic glitches proliferate. Die-hard fans of the coin-op might find it acceptable, but for anyone else this offers very little.
Amiga ESWAT is slightly better. The backgrounds are generally disappointing, washed out and often lacking shading, but the misproportioned sprites are big and competently animated. Gameplay is still dull, but interlevel presentation screens, limited ammo and more impressive exo-suits make it marginally more enjoyable than the C64 game.