Thursday, 16 April 2015

E-Swat Cyber Police - Arcade

A pre-runner for Crackdown? No not the Sega game... nevermind, it's a review.

Sometimes it becomes clear that a game like E-Swat - Cyber Police is using another game engine. What we basically have here is Shinobi or Rolling Thunder (likely Shinobi if it's SEGA) but with cops and robots riding the success of Robocop in the cinemas. While OCEAN may have had the license for Robocop games, it didn't stop SEGA trying to jump the bandwagon with their game, E-Swat - Cyber Police.

Generic cop vs. Skateboarder. Someone film it and cause controversy.

You play as Beatwalker McGenericCop, on the street and ready to shoot everyone and everything. You name it, it's going to get a bullet of hard justice in the face. Skateboarders? Shot. Hostages? Shot. Guy holding a knife? Shot twice. While you take your generic coppy guy out for a stroll, you have to foil three hardened asshats who just robbed a bank and took a hostage with them. One breathes fire and has a bin lid for a shield, another has a boomerang (has anyone EVER used one of these in a threatening manner?) and the last can twirl an anchor on a chain like it's a Kusarigama (look it up).

Congratulations, you're a dick in armour.

Once you've caught the three initial miscreants that can soak up more lead than onions, you're given the upgrade of a cop-lifetime. You get to become Roboc- E-Swat - Cyber Police, where you wear the most bulked out armour you've ever seen and your arm gets a machinegun wrapped around it. Now you're licensed to get shot at by the more heavily armed mobsters out there and giant gorillas (I'm not joking).

Looks like Friday Night in Hackney.

In what is a basic platform, run/gun game, you make your way from left to right and use your ammo (yes you can run out) to shoot down everybody that moves and then try to collect enough ammo to avoid having to melee your way through the game. When you get damaged as the E-Swat - Cyber Police, you also can see the physical damage to your suit just in case your ability to read a health bar is marred by the game. In some places you can leap into the background or up onto a higher platform while most of the game will be spent trying to dodge every bullet, knife, laser and flame thrown at you.

Yes, that looks... reasonable.

Yep, moving and escaping from damage is a tough one in E-Swat - Cyber Police, given you're the size of a walking tank that walks more slowly than a geriatric treading through glue, yet have the strength and agility to leap nearly 20ft into the air if you need to, you're still going to take a lot of hits and wounds from enemies that can mob you and spray firepower like it's going out of fashion. If it's not the gangsters with their rockets and flamethrowers, it's the background that can spawn gun turrets almost at will or the hugely overpowered boss fights that start interestingly and end disappointingly.

It's quite a bit one-sided at this point.

As an example in E-Swat - Cyber Police, your first big boss fight is against a guy in a similarly powered suit that you have. Beating him leads to him running off (why you can't shoot him in the back I don't know) until he's rigged a building to blow up and while it's falling and you're INSIDE that building, you have to fight his private army and escape the building, then you can arrest him. The second main guy to take down sends a tiger, a gorilla (See, I wasn't joking) and a Monster Truck at you and then later bosses are just generic robots/tanks that really lack the almost-creative flare of the original set of bosses.

I didn't sign up for this!

While the levels don't exactly grab the imagination, there's some different layouts and settings the game puts you in with no real cohesion between them in E-Swat - Cyber Police. You're at the docks for one fight, then a football stadium or similar, then a city street, industrial site, docks again until the final few levels that take place in one huge hidden establishment. Otherwise it's the grab-a-large-dice-time-and-roll-out-the-randomly-assigned-level-layout-for-the-next-one, style of level sequence.

Time to bring the house down.

All in all, E-Swat - Cyber Police isn't really a bad game but it is a game that's been done before and done better by the likes of Shinobi and even Rolling Thunder (maybe not so much on Rolling Thunder, but definitely and more memorably with Shinobi) it's not terrible, but it's not great either, an unhappy midground that will have it over looked by games that sit on the more extreme ends of the see-saw.