Police Quest: SWAT

a game by Yosemite Entertainment, and Sierra Entertainment
Platform: PC
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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I Used To Have This Awful Recurring nightmare. It's one that you may well be familiar with, but I'll tell you about it anyway. I'm running down a corridor at my old secondary school in a soft-focus slow-motion sort of way. I'm carrying a grapefruit and a protractor. The school bell is ringing and every door has a sign on it saying "Exam In Progress". I reach the end of the corridor, where the double doors swing open, ejecting a stream of teenage kids waving papers excitedly. As the corridor clears I'm left facing my old teacher. Mr Skyle, who is glaring at me. I offer him my grapefruit but he just shouts. "You missed the exam. Presley. You'll pay for this. I'll see to it that you never amount to anything!". The grapefruit falls to the floor and splits open; it's at this point that I normally wake up in the traditional Hollywood manner of suddenly sitting bolt upright in a dripping sweat.

So why am I telling you this? Because after playing Police Quest: SWAT for some time, the dream changed. The game involves police procecRtte tests and exams and, as a result, elements of the game have worked their way into my dream. Instead of the grapefruit falling to the floor when Mr Skyle screams at me. I'm pleased to see that the protractor has turned into a .308 bolt action assault rifle and 1 end up shooting him clean through the head. Dead. I'm a lot happier, my life is much more relaxed and Sierra have saved me a fortune in therapist fees. The moral here is that games are good for you... oh, and that Police Quest: SWAT is a lot like being back at school.

Ah, back on topic

You're one of LA's finest (meaning that you spend a lot of time framing people and beating up black suspects). You've decided that life in the regular old Vice and Homicide divisions just wasn't your cup of decaf; no, you want the weight of some real weaponry in your hands, so you've joined the Special Weapons And Tactics division as a rookie so that you can learn to look hard abseiling down buildings and risk your neck at least once per hour.

Your time in SWAT is divided between studying, learning and researching the correct ways to perform all sorts of police procedures; training with live ammo on different shooting ranges; answering calls to real-life emergency situations; and taking exams to allow you into the division you call home. And the surprising thing is, it works.

It really does. It may sound somewhat boring, and indeed certain sections are (video lectures, all that studying), but for the most part it's just so absorbing you'd think it was wrapped around a cute cuddly little puppy. For once heavy reliance on fmv actually adds to the game - the real-life situations are all the more believable when real actors and scenery are used. The situations are a combination of knowing the correct procedure (and when to use it) and point-and-click adventure. Events like assaulting a barricaded house or trying to rescue a terrified hostage from an armed maniac are just as tense as they should be; and when you get chewed out by a hard-nosed superior for accidentally shooting your team leader through the back of the head, you really feel ashamed. It's bloody marvellous!

Sonny Bonds we miss you

All in all, this is a return to the old days of the Police Quest series, when the puzzles revolved around actual police work and not some lame Lethal Weapon rip-off story. As well as a sense of uniqueness, it's a different twist on the traditional adventure game. It's a shame it's not compatible with some kind of light-gun device, as that would send the score into the high nineties. As it is, Police Quest: SWAT is something different that you might just enjoy. Give it a whirl, or you'll never know.

Download Police Quest: SWAT

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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