ESWAT: City Under Siege review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for ESWAT: City Under Siege

ESWAT: City Under Siege box artAll is not well in Cyber City. Criminals are running amok - looting, pillaging and raping the city of all its worth. Quite a lot of people aren't really too pleased about the rampant activities of these heartless crooks, and this includes Cyber City's mayor, who sets up the ESWAT (Enhanced Special Weapons and Tactics) division of the Cyber Police to deal with the evil, criminal menace.

The player takes on the mantle of a hard-bitten SWAT cop, who seems to be dealing with the criminal epidemic all on his own, with only his trusty service pistol for company. In order to prove to the powers-that-be that he's eligable to join the ESWAT elite, two levels worth of eight-way scrolling platform blasting have to be tackled - each with a very nasty end-of-level crime boss to be exterminated. Then it's on to all the fun and excitement of donning the specialised ESWAT armour and using all manner of extra weaponry to blast these punks into oblivion!

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" A metallic cop wanders around dispensing violent, fatal justice to the lawbreakers. Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't sound like the most original scenario of all time! Despite this, ESWAT still manages to be a rather fun game. With its large number of moves and varied foes, ESWAT resurrects an old idea and attempts to bring it to the 16-bit format; and in that respect, it's successful.

However one can only flog a dead horse for so long. As with shoot 'em ups, the lack of originality beings to show, and can't be ignored; the armour-clad sections are great, and the backgrounds are quite effective (although there have been many better ones on the Megadrive). So I can only recommend this to diehard (ho ho) platform/shoot 'em up fans - for others there might be different games that would be more enjoyable. "

" After the disappointing Master System version of ESWAT, it's nice to see that the Megadrive game is a whole lot more playable, with classy audio-visuals to match. It's also quite difficult with even the easy level being a great challenge to complete. The super extra weaponry is simply icing on a pretty substantial cake. Although it's nothing much like the coin-op original, I actually think that the Megadrive game is a lot better than the arcade, with better weapons and more addictive gameplay. Highly recommended to all blasting addicts. "


Overall Score87%

Retrospective comments


This was one of the first games I ever loaded into my Megadrive and it still sticks in my memory as one of the best action platformers for the machine. Although it isn't a conversion of the arcade original (neither was the Master System version, strangely), Megadrive ESWAT still provides a healthy dose of challenge. In fact, I don't recall ever completing it - some of the later levels are incredibly hard.

It's a bit of a slow starter - you don't get the ESWAT armour until you're a few levels in - but once it does get going there's plenty of action. The range of weapons available when in ESWAT mode is amazing. Graphically the sprites are nicely drawn (if a little small) and some of the end of level bosses are quite impressive (considering the age of the title). The music is also of a high standard. One of the best reasons for buying the game is the amazing Japanese boxart - that may seem a little shallow but it really does look quite special!

A modern update of this concept would be very welcome…but then when you consider some of the blanks Sega have been firing lately, maybe it's best that they leave their glorious past alone…

Tris Wicks - 11 Nov 2008, 02:18 GMT

The Eswat armour still looks as iconic as Robocops - but the gameplay is so linear it was even a bit disappointing upon its release. Eswat stands well in the shadow of Revenge of Shinobi and other greater platformers.

Richy Girth - 03 Dec 2008, 15:20 GMT

Indeed it does stand well, and as pointed out in the initial review, this was a better, deeper, more immersive game than the coin-op version.

Dan - 19 Feb 2009, 15:28 GMT

After the awesome opening sequence you're eased into the game with a few novel non-armour levels, but then the real fun begins and ESWAT impresses with great game mechanics and inventive level design. Overall it's a great games that just suffers from being too linear to be a true classic as Tris Wicks states. Still a class act tho (remember the great action freeze fram ending as well when you finish off the last boss?) and the best Robocop rip-off by far.

The Printer - 01 Nov 2010, 11:53 GMT

I loved ESWAT in the arcades - it was that golden era when Sega put out Shadow Dancer, Golden Axe and more too in the same year I think - loved them all.

This was a bit of a disappointment when it made its way to the MD as it's so different, although it is a good game in its own right.

As pointed out, gets quite frustrating really, and I think by the time you get to the level where you have to shoot the ooze that keeps coming at you, it all gets a bit too much really.

digi-d - 15 Dec 2012, 17:51 GMT

Classic - not an arcade perfect port - much better :D

digi-d - 13 Oct 2013, 11:53 GMT

Great platform shooter - better than the arcade with some great graphics and music :-)

HH - 12 Nov 2015, 01:25 GMT

This has got to be one of Sega's most unjustly maligned games ever.

The arcade game was a fun, short, unbalanced novelty. I pumped plenty of coins into it and like others at the time was initially disappointed by the 'remake' that appeared on the Mega Drive because it seemed so graphically underwhelming at the start.

But - stage one was in fact great training, requiring dexterous moves and flicks the likes of which weren't common in other 'intro' stages of side scrollers at the time. Stage two was a bit of a puzzle with the red herring entrance point - teaching you that this game will not not good your hand and require some thinking to go along with the reflexes.

Stage three starts and wow - you're suited - and seem to have multiple weapon slots. It isn't obvious that you have recharging jet pack capabilities but it's nice design work that it's usefulness is tempered by its too-fast speed.

The visuals are beautifully stylised and a couple of the BGMs are some of the strongest of the era - mournful, sophisticated, rhythmically interesting. It holds up so well it actually blows my mind a little.

So - it starts slow and confusingly, has a difficulty curve not ideal for reviewers with a short deadline and left those wanting to save a few coins from their time in arcade scratching their head. But I struggle to think of a side scroller with as much audio / visual flair, with a deftly handled difficulty curve, with enough originality to break out from within the confines set by Rolling Thunder and Shinobi.

It's a masterpiece.

Mean Machines Issue 5 - February 1991
Platform Game Sega Megadrive
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ESWAT: City Under Siege

ESWAT: City Under Siege

ESWAT: City Under Siege

ESWAT: City Under Siege

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