Game: SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle (1999, 2001)
Developer: Sierra Northwest
Publisher: Sierra Studios
Genre: Tactical Shooter
Purchased on GOG.com many years ago for a price I cannot remember
Author’s Note: No images are my own.
Background: In the late 90s, the tactical shooter genre was undergoing its genesis. Rainbow Six was born shortly before this game in 1998. Rainbow Six was about a commando counter-terror unit composed of soldiers from various special operations groups: SAS, Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Mossad, etc… SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle focuses on one unit operating on the Continental United States, and that is the Los Angles Police Department’s Metro Division D Platoon, popularly known as SWAT.
This game is a continuation of Sierra’s storied Police Quest games and the earlier two SWAT games. However, this is the SWAT game that refines the series and again cements the tactical shooter as a genre. SWAT 3 provides an immersive single player experience through its story and mechanics. SWAT 3 is a gem, however it is a dated gem.
Story: The game’s plot is rather focused on a speculative fiction story focusing on a worldwide nuclear weapons ban in 2005 which will supposedly create a peaceful world. Terrorists: Eastern Bloc influenced and domestic terrorists attempted to breach the peace and disrupt the events involving this diplomatic event set in Los Angeles. SWAT is tasked with preventing the terrorists from gaining any ground.
Mechanics: There’s no controller support, and the controls are wonky by default. However, once you master them you can enjoy this dated gem. You will be leading your element in two ways: stealth mode or dynamic mode. I’ve had little use for stealth. I recommend dynamic mode in most missions. You’ll need to report to the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) what happens when you make entry. Can you evacuate a hostage? Can a suspect be secured to be debriefed and arrested? Reporting to the TOC adds to the realism.
Unfortunately their are audio glitches. You’ll need to patch this game. Visit the moddb.com page for SWAT 3. It will point you to some patches. This game is a flawed gem but it is worth while playing. However, only in spurts. The missions are long and you cannot save inside the missions. Due to this you’ll replay some levels until you get it right. Fine for some people, not fine for me. I did use cheat codes on two of the levels.
Final Analysis: The whole reason why I’m doing this post is to also build up your anticipation for SWAT 4 which is yards above this game. You’ll love SWAT 4 if you enjoyed classic Rainbow Six.