Police Quest is a series of adventure games developed and published by Sierra. Similar to an interactive CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the first three games had players take the role of Sonny Bonds, a police officer in the city of Lytton, California.Reporting for his shift at the beginning of the first game, Bonds soon becomes aware of drug ring operating out of Lytton — masterminded by one man, Jessie Bains. Known as the Death Angel, Bains is aggressively moving in on the territory of Lytton's local dealers, and things are getting messy.Enlisting the help of a local Hooker with a Heart of Gold named Marie, he is assigned to an elaborate sting operation that ends with Bains behind bars and Sonny and Marie returning to day-in, day-out normality.This doesn't last, however, because in the second game, Bains escapes from prison, murdering a prison guard in the process. After tracking down a couple of minor thugs, Bonds returns home to find that Bains has kidnapped Marie (now a retiredHooker with a Heart of Gold, and Sonny's girlfriend). Proceeding into the latter stages of the game, Bonds tracks Bains to his hideout, saves Marie, and (eventually) marries her on the plane ride home.Several years later, Sonny and Marie are happily married, but there's more trouble to come from the Bains family. The Death Angel's brother has sworn revenge, and it's up to Sonny, now a Sergeant, to protect his beloved Lytton, which has grown into a city. This one pulls out all the stops, with situations ranging from dirty cops to sexual assault. (Strangely enough, the revenge plot ends up being an afterthought.)Police Quest 1-3 were produced by Jim Walls, a retired California state trooper, and the situations Bonds encountered were true-to-reality, following police procedures to the letter. If you stepped out of line during a bust, the judge would toss your case out of court. If you went crazy with your gun, or didn't properly maintain your vehicle, that was it — game over.Starting with Police Quest : Open Season (4), the series came under the helm of LAPD Chief Darryl F. Gates (Walls having moved on by that point). Open Season was the last to focus on a specific, named detective — this time, an LAPD Homicide Detective, John Carey. Working from Parker Center, the player now had to cope with much more violent, graphic crimes. The player is introduced to Carey on the first screen, with a body in a dumpster — which, when moved aside so the Criminal Investigative Division can photograph it, reveals the body of a six-year-old boy.The later games in the Police Quest series were Police QuestIn Name Only — and only for the first two installments, after which it is most often known as the SWAT series. This series frees itself from the limits of a set character by placing the player directly in the role of a 'SWAT Pup' — a trainee, on his first real assignment. Like the first games, the SWAT series adhered strictly to police procedure. You were trained in the basics of SWAT teamwork ('basics', because SWAT teams don't generally make their full tactical procedures known to the public), and expected to obey the rules. Even attempting to fast-forward through the first game's opening cutscene (where the Element Leader gives his welcome speech) has the Element Leader take you to task for interrupting him, and warns you very firmly that you should not do it again. Ever.Sonny Bonds does return to the Police Quest series, though, in SWAT 2, as a selectable team member and in SWAT 3: Close Quarters Combat, where he is now SWAT leader, which seems a natural progression for him by then. In SWAT 4 Sonny has a cameo as a veteran member of SWAT and trainer of new SWAT recruits. The SWAT subseries is peculiar in that the first entry was primarily an Interactive Movie, the second an overhead Realtime Tactics game, and the latter two tactical FPSs, notorious since any downed civilian, suspect or bystander, costs points from your total score. SWAT teams really are the babysitters of the populace.You can play the first game free and legally in HTML 5here.You can purchase the Police Quest collection, containing I (including the VGA remake), II, III, and IV, as well as Police Quest SWAT 1 and 2 (there is a bundle you can purchase for $5 off). For the record, both collections contain all the manuals and supplemental material to help you figure out your way in the game.Jim Walls started a kickstarter for the Police Quest-like game, Precinct, however was cancelled due to lack of funding.For a page on the last two SWAT games, see SWAT 3, and SWAT 4.
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This series contains examples of:
Aborted Arc: pretty much every location, plotline, and character from the first game is dropped for the second, except for Marie and Jessie (many of the locations were retooled and still around, though: the Blue Room from the first game closed and is under renovation, Cotton Cove is still around, and the courthouse is still the same, you just never go there).
Dooley is still around, having been promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant and running the Narcotics division. Another character from the first game appears in the second before he gets killed.
The gremlin arc from the first game is also wrapped up in the second, albeit only if you read all the files in the computer, which reveal that Sonny's Narcotics partner Laura Watts was the gremlin, as it shows up as a reprimand in her file.
Art Shift: PQI was a graphic text adventure that was quirky in it's own right. PQII went for a style akin to a Buddy Cop Show. PQIII and the remake of I went for a more realistic look, especially for three to highlight how depressing it got when the story kicks off. PQIV, especially with the change in designers AND since Sierra was experimenting with other FMV games like Phantasmagoria, utilized digitized graphics to make the game look even more realistic, darker, and more depressing (though it ended up being almost as silly as PQI and II in some scenes). PQ SWAT wasn't as dark but still utilized digitized graphics and FM Vs heavily. The rest of the SWAT games decided to take up 3d models from then on.
Big Good: Sonny Bonds. According to the Lytton Tribune in PQI, he's been nominated for the Officer of the Year award "due to outstanding effort and commitment in crime prevention." Lampshaded by a fellow officer.
"Hey, Sonny! That story in this morning's paper sure made you look good."
By-the-Book Cop: Enforced by the gameplay mechanics. Half the puzzles in the games consist of knowing the proper procedure and following it. Though half way in each game, they get pretty lenient and are gradually less strict compared to the original graphic text adventure. See Cowboy Cop.
Character Development: Marie went from a simple-minded hooker with a heart of gold, to a honest working middle class woman, to a considerably more intelligent and loving wife of Officer Sonny Bonds. The remake of the first game made her much less simple.
Sonny himself. He went from a well known By-the-Book Cop, to a Cowboy Cop who still manages to do things by the book, to a SWAT officer, to a SWAT team leader, to commanding a SWAT team.
Chekhov's Gun: PQI-IV, your handgun. It does not have much use other than helping to uphold the peace. Then there are a few of scenes in the series where you need to fire some rounds, and won't get a game over for it. Justified in that you are an officer, and cannot unjustifiably go around and shoot people, even if they are about to assault you with a melee weapon or otherwise.
PQIII, after getting a new computer access card, Mike will lament about a tracking device that hasn't been returned. You'll need to get one yourself to track a car you will have to chase.
In PQIV, there is a bullet proof vest, which the first victim's wife had packaged away and will give you later on. A gun fight happens later in the game where putting on the vest will absorb one bullet, giving you a free hit-point.
Also, when you look inside the trunk of John's car in the beginning of the game, you will notice the shotgun there that you cannot carry with you. The same scene where you can put on the armor is appropriate for the shotgun as well.
City of Adventure: Lytton, the location used in the first three games. Its described variously as being a relatively small city, whose crime rate is only just beginning to catch up with that of bigger ones... but on the same token, it certainly seems to have more criminal activity than is typical for a town of its size.
Though the fourth game sets it in a non-fictional city of Los Angeles, California.
PQII has a more straight forward means. Everytime you start the game, it will ask you to identify the mugshot. The names to accompany these mugshots are found in the manual. The GOG version programmed this out however (needs confirmation).
The Coroner: PQII and III has Leon. While he possess' a sick sense of humor, he is said to be good at his job, and quite a joker. He's been given a lot more screen time in PQIII, if to highlight his more quirky moments.
Cowboy Cop: By half way in to each game, including PQIV, the game focuses less on procedure and more on Rule of Cool and requires you to do things a little out of what a normal officer would. Not that we're complaining, as the games still attempt at playing the By-the-Book Cop to it's effect, while providing some memorable scenes in the process (such as the terrorist hijacking scene in PQII, and the raiding in PQIII).
It tends to be Justified or Hand Waved as well: in the first game, for example, the shift comes when you transfer to the Narcotics division, which still plays by the book, but also uses undercover and sting operations, unlike the patrol division. Generally, when the game switches to more of a proactive policing role (investigation and so on), rather than a reactive role (patroling and response), that's when the rules get a little less constraining.
In PQIV, the Lieutenant, and even Hal Bottoms, actively discourses John from invoking this trope. Even though it is practically required to progress.
Creator Cameo: Jim Walls appears in PQII whenever you have a game over to inform you as to why you didn't do so well.
He makes a more frequent appearance in PQIII as the narrator. He also plays the same role in the previous game.
Technically, a fellow creator working for Sierra, but PQII gives you the option to contact Al Lowe. Talking to him detects Sonny as a potential customer and advertises Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking For Love In Several Wrong Places (LL2 for short). You can even tell him if it's good or bad, and he'll respond accordingly. He also informs you that he is working on a (since then finished) third game.
Darker and Edgier: Each game gets progressively more serious, including the VGA remake of PQI, released around the release of PQIII. Despite this, Police Quest IV: Open Season manages to top them all in its portrayal of truly sick criminals, not to mention having even more darker themes than the third game.
The SWAT games escalates as well with each installment. SWAT 4 even has a scene where the cultists are revealed to had sacrificed infants for their god.
Deadpan Snarker: The narrator of the police quest games shows shades of this. Though he snarks a little less with each game, and hardly snarks at all with PQIV (due to it being much more dark. See Darker and Edgier above).
PQI: Great. Another chapter in your life of big-time crime stopping — parking space hugging!
Dr. Aimes from PQIII, the police psychiatrist.
"Lovely. I get to peer into the mind of yet another scumbag."
Didn't Think This Through: Can happen a lot in the game (typically resulting in a game over), but one example, a sort of funny yet tragic one in PQIV, is the final scene where you have to fight off the killer. Try using either the lighter or spray, and John will stand there and do nothing (as if thinking of this trope) before getting stabbed.
Drives Like Crazy: The people of Lytton. Failing to look both ways, press the button at the crosswalk, or approach a vehicle automatically results in you getting run over. There are also traffic violations and even a stolen vehicle you will have to contend with.
You can drive like crazy yourself in the original game, as long as you can manage your speed and turns well (making it that much easier to speedrun). Also possible with PQI and III, where you can choose to drive really fast. You just have to be quick to stop when you have to and get in the right speed for turning. It helps when you have a map to look at.
Jesse Bains is a drug smuggler who also likes to murder people. Naturally, the police wants him off the streets.
So is his brother in the third game, though a lot more low-class by comparison, down to having his own crack house.
In PQIV, You are dealing with a gang who likes to run drug deals as well, though unlike the previous three games, this isn't the central focus of the plot.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Sonny Bonds suffers quite the emotional turmoil across the first three games, but each one gives him a genuinely happy ending.
Same for John Carey.
Edutainment Game: Police Quest I (the original game) is said to have been used to help train newer police officers in using proper police procedure. See Shown Their Work below.
Heck, the reference material included with both versions of PQI teaches you how to play poker. It has a reference of winning cards by rank, teaches you basic terms, and how the game is played specifically.
Everything Trying to Kill You: As a lot of Sierra's games, this is the case. A particularly egregious example: If you forget to inspect your squad car properly, you get a flat tire. This is game ending, as instead of being on patrol and seeing all the plot-critical elements, you're stuck waiting for a tow truck (presumably, someone other than Bonds goes on to save the day).
Faster-Than-Light Travel: In PQI thru IV, you have the option to adjust the game speed, which also decides how fast the character can move. The strange, and hilarious part about this is that not every element will follow suit. For example: in PQIII, the speed will affect how fast Sonny moves, but everyone else will move normally.
Guide Dang It: Open Season had several of these. Without the proper documentation provided with the games, you'll end up saying this as well.
Have a Nice Death: Your adviser informs you, in no uncertain terms, how you screwed up and what happens next.
One of the best game enders is if you pull your gun and fire it without reason in the second game. If (and only if) you fire it at the Cove, you'll get a message about "Wow! That was loud!". If you fire it again, or fire it once anywhere else, the game immediately cuts to a front page news story showing Bonds in a straitjacket (apparently, he cracked and went crazy by firing his gun once).
To add to that, you can apparently shoot your gun in the locker room four times (even at the bathroom stall with someone inside) before finally getting that news page.
Hide Your Children: There are no children anywhere in Lytton. According to the newspaper reference material provided with Police Quest VGA remake, there is a program in place to keep the children protected, which may explain as to why you almost never see them in the games, with the one exception in PQIII, and averted in PQIV since it takes place in Los Angeles and makes the material irrelevant to that.
Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Marie Wilkins, a friend of Sonny's from highschool, who agrees to help out with an investigation and later becomes his girlfriend and his wife.
Hot Pursuit: Happens in PQI and III a couple of times, including a fast speed one in III. You have the option to do it in II also.
Idiot Ball: There are plenty of moments where this can be invoked, and you don't need to be a police officer to say What an Idiot to yourself.
For example, in PQI, try firing your gun while it's holstered or leaving the gun locker unlocked while your gun was in it. In PQII, try approaching airport security with your gun drawn, or shooting in the firing range without ear protection.
This has been downplayed with PQIV, but there are still some moments you can invoke, such sexually harassing a female officer by touching her, disregarding the many warnings she gives you for doing it repeatedly, or simply drawing your gun when it isn't necessary (though most of the time, you will get a warning from the narrator before doing this).
Marie can get Sonny killed at the last part of PQII. How? By crying out to him the moment she get's untied, which takes Bains' no time at all to gun Sonny down.
Infant Immortality: There are almost no children present in Police Quests I thru III. In the first game though, Jack mentioned his daughter named Kathy who has been using drugs she bought from a suspect in high school. Later in the game, Sgt Dooley informs you that she eventually died from an overdose.
Averted in Open Season. Within a few minutes of starting the game, you will find the gunned-down corpse of an 6-year-old in a dumpster. See also Darker and Edgier.
In Name Only: Open Season and SWAT. SWAT 4, in which Sonny Bonds from the original trilogy returns, is still In Name Only since it's not an adventure game any more.
He was available for selection in SWAT 2 with his backstory being that he was loaned to the LAPD from Lytton so he could start a SWAT team in Lytton.
PQI has this to a certain degree. During the briefing of the sting operation, Sgt Dooley informs Sonny that Jack's daughter had died due to an overdose from the same drugs that Bains has been selling. The narrator cements this in after you get the news.
PQII has this as Jessie Bains' motivation for murdering the people involved in his case, and kidnapping Marie. Naturally, Sonny takes this personally too.
PQIII has Bain's brother who decided to assault Marie, resulting in her being comatose. Sonny, naturally, swears revenge, and is a little more aggressive about it in the game.
"I will get that bastard, [Marie] . I SWEAR IT!"
PQIV has John Carey wanting to find out who murdered his friend in the beginning of the game.
Jerk Ass: A lot of the offenders are not nice people. The only ones who seem nice are the following in Police Quest III: The drunk driver who is hilariously cooperative, the horny man who is in a rush to get with his date to where he politely asks to get his ticket done and over with, and a pregnant woman who is just trying to get to the hospital due to her water breaking. And that's the first half of PQIII.
One particular example is a Latino man who was slowing down traffic while blasting his speakers in his car. Despite obstructing the traffic, he refuses to accept responsibility and decides to sue the police department. Thankfully, your car has a printer that records what citations you make and the reasons behind em, shutting the jerk up in court.
Karma Houdini: Among The Gremlin's pranks was spraying a memo to Sgt. Dooley with mace. When he read it, the effect was pretty much the same as if he got sprayed in the eyes with the stuff. Fast forward to the second game, and a computer search through the personnel files reveals not only the identity of the culprit, but that the individual was punished by being given a written reprimand and being forced to write an apology to Dooley. And after that, Laura was able to retire at the age of forty.
In PQIII, you can review files on Pat Morales, and even a psychiatrist's personal file on her to reveal that she has a slew of cases on her before the game started. To begin with: she has tempered with evidence and gone against protocol several times, leading to a prior investigation by Internal Affairs, but she was left untouched due to lack of evidence. Sonny can find actual evidence to finally have something done about her.
In the finale of the SWAT 2 terrorist campaign, the terrorist mastermind (Basho) betrays the player character (Dante) and is subsequently killed or arrested. Okay, good. But Dante and anyone else who escaped in the private jet are apparently forgiven for multiple instances of murder and kidnapping, just because Dante renounces the criminal life.
Know When to Fold 'Em: In PQIII, after gunning down a couple of Bains' men, he'll surrender himself without putting up a fight.
In PQII, there is a mugger who will go after Sonny. Just show use the two-way radio for Keith, and he'll high-tail it. It doesn't take Keith long to catch him though.
The customer of a drug dealer will surrender immediately the moment you order him to freeze and come out with a gun while the dealer runs (though if you keep Laura informed, he'll be intercepted as the game requires). The remake, however, subverts this as the customer does make an attempt to escape, but get's held up when Sonny gets closer and orders him to freeze once again.
In the second game, failing to find the VIN on the blue Cadillac, which you are at no point given an indication is required, will lock you out of 100% completion.
The second game has a couple: failing to find the bomb-making guide, failing to read the mugger's rights (even though your partner already did that), failing to closely examine the note you find on Marie's door, and most easily missed: not checking the bulletin board at the beginning of the game to see you're behind on your shooting scores.
Look Both Ways: You can walk towards the middle of the street in PQII, resulting in Sonny getting ran over. You can also do this at the cross walk at the airport without pressing the button with predictable results.
In PQIII, never approach a stopped car from the driver's side. This gets hilarious as you'll be run down by the same car every time.
PQI's plot starts with an investigation of what seems to be an accident. Unless you investigate further...
PQIII has a scene of Marie getting shanked by a couple of thugs. It turns out that among them was Bains' brother.
PQIV starts off with John solving a murder case of a fellow police officer and a child. After a shoot out that eventually exposed the child murderer, turns out that they had nothing to do with the officer's murder. John later learns and pieces together that it was committed by a demented, mentally deranged serial killer.
Morality Pet: Marie becomes one for Sonny in PQII and PQIII. Although this is surprisingly subverted, considering that even though Sonny rescued Marie from Bains (who had murdered his fellow officers and witnesses at that point), he only killed Bains in self-defense. Again in III where Marie got put in a coma by Bains' thugs, and yet the most aggressive he got was eyeing at a potential suspect, and charging in a crack house alone, and even then all his kills were in self-defense.
Non-Standard Game Over: In PQII, the only time Sonny doesn't go crazy from randomly firing a gun is when he shoots at a shaking bush at the Cove. This gets him a game over regardless if it's actually Bains, because it is reckless behavior, and it could have been a little boy for all you know.
In PQIII, if you take the key from a fellow officer's purse, and she returns to find it missing, the game ends with a pop-up window saying "BUSTED! You died of embarrassment!" humorously.
In the same game, staying in a woman's locker room long enough has Morales catching you inside, giving you a similar game over screen.
"Breaking and entering doesn't look good on a policeman's record, Sonny!"
In PQIV, if you investigate a certain suspect's apartment without checking under the door, a dog will jump out to kill the player. Instead of the normal game over music and regular dark fade, there is a red fade that happens almost immediately, and the game over tune is replaced by the player getting mangled by the dog.
Unless you decide to go against procedure or not be very helpful to others, which usually results in a game over anyway.
Pygmalion Plot: Not exactly an example of the trope being played straight, but close. In the first game, Marie is a hooker who's in love with Sonny. In the second game, Sonny has "helped her turn her life around" by somehow convincing her to give up prostitution and (presumably) get a legal job. While Sonny was clearly attracted to her in the first game, he doesn't enter into a serious relationship with her until after he's changed her. Perhaps justified, since it wasn't the safest line of work and he probably didn't want to have to worry about her getting arrested all the time, not to mention he would have lost his badge for compromising his integrity.
Reality Ensues: PQII ends with a shoot-out against Jessie Bains. What follows is Sonny's leave of absence for three days as Internal Affairs reviews if your actions were in self-defense. Thankfully, it was deemed to be so, and they decided to award Sonny, and even give him a two week vacation with pay for the trouble.
PQIII took some liberties as to how the end scene is played off, and then once you complete that scene correctly, the narrator (Jim Walls) then informs you that "All that's left to fight is the paperwork." Not that Sonny minded, considering what he had to go through at the time.
You could go around and shoot anyone in SWAT 3 and 4 with no immediate consequences, until you either fail the mission or finish it. Then the points bulletin comes in...
SWAT 2 would suspend an officer for shooting a suspect as well, even if it was justified.
And by extention, most of the police force, obviously.
The judges in the first and third games as well.
PQI: As long as you have the evidence to prove James and Marvin are the same people, she/he will provide a warrant to keep him in jail. he'll escape anyway, unfortunately.
PQIII: She is more down the earth with Sonny, and is willing to grant Sonny's request to send in a tank to bust down a door of a crack house, and a SWAT team who'd accompany him later.
Red Herring: There are some events that can happen during the story that have nothing to do with the overall plot (such as a terrorist hijacking is PQII, and the speeder in PQI), other than the fact that these offenders had the misfortune of being caught by Sonny Bonds.
PQIV is worse than PQII about this. Mainly that the murder of Bobby Washington and the attempted murder on John by the white supremicist couple have nothing to do with the main story other than having bodies pile up during the time.
Retcon: The PQI VGA remake was released in 1992, a year after the third game. Woody Roberts (the bartender in the first game) appears in PQII as a dead man inside a trunk. However, the remake changed the character's name and gender. There are no updates to PQII that reflects this change.
Schmuck Bait: In PQI, after you arrest the drug pushers in the first game, you get a prompt saying it would be a good idea to question them before you take them to jail. Doing so without reading their Miranda rights first (which you are NOT prompted to do) will net you a game over. However, if you choose not to question them, the game will continue (but you get less points).
Players who read the manual and remember proper procedure for questioning suspects won't fall into the trap, of course.
PQII has you riding in the plane where the Captain asks everyone to put on their seatbelts. Wanna see how serious they are about that?
"Don't forget to avoid the spirits" (he means alcoholic drinks, and yes, you have the option to drink them, and get drunk too).
Sonny can conduct a briefing in PQIII. He'll finish by reminding his fellow officers to "think about making right hand approaches on your car stops." You will make a few stops later, and make him go against his word, if you want.
Scoring Points: As per adventure games, PQI thru IV has a point system where you can accumulate points for performing certain actions, and how many points you can get determines how correctly you handle a situation or perform an action. In some cases, you can even lose points.
In SWAT 4, you have to make sure you don't lose points by avoiding inappropriate actions, such as using unjustified force or failing to procure the stray firearms. Depending on your difficulty setting, you will need to complete each level with a certain amount of points, other wise you will need to try again until you get it right.
Shown Their Work: The manual for each game includes pages full of comprehensive knowledge on crime information, procedure, radio codes, etc, even if it isn't relevant for that specific game. The first game is even used as a simulator for up and coming police officers. It helps that the lead designer happens to be a retired police officer, whether it'd be Jim Walls or Daryl F. Gates.
A dealer you have to arrest will utter the line: "Up yours, Dick Tracy!"
In the jail, you'll notice a familiar character behind bars, again from the Leisure Suit Larry game.
Larry himself is sitting around the airport in the second game, waiting for you to talk to him.
Also, going crazy (by just firing your gun when it isn't necessary) shows King Grahm and mentions the plot device from Kings Quest IV.
"KING NEAR DEATH!"
In PQIV, the vehicle tow front desk guy will tell you to let Beavis know that Butthead sent ya. Notice how both of them love to laugh.
John: Uhhhhh, Beavis, I was told to tell you that Butthead sent me?"
"Beavis": Ehh? Ah ha ha ha!
"Hahahaha, tell him Bucket said 'book em Danno.' Ahhahahaha"
"He looks like Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers."
Smooch of Victory: In PQI original, Marie will kiss Sonny in front of city hall in the ending.
Again When you save Marie from Bains in the 2nd game.
Sorry Ociffer: In the first and third games, you pull over a drunk man who is a textbook example of this trope, "ociffer" and all. Though he can be hostile in the first game if you give him the chance, and another guy will be hilariously cooperative in the third game.
Stop or I Will Shoot!: Played straight, but read your manual carefully and follow procedure exactly, or you're done. Yes, procedure contains "stop or I will shoot", but that's not all there is to it.
One pivotal scene in the first game has you pulling over a known violent suspect, wanted in at least two murders. The procedure here is actually very involved: you have to call for backup, tell backup what you're going to do, order the suspect out of the car, order him to get on the ground (twice, the first time he ignores you and he will shoot you if you don't order him again; you can skip this requirement by using the right commandnote "Get out of the car with your hands up" instead of "Get out of the car" will make him note that there's two guns on him and put his hands up as soon as he gets out of the car), and keep your gun on him until you cuff him. Fail to do any of this, and you're a dead man. Oh, and don't forget to read him his rights.
In SWAT 3 and 4, you will be saying this a lot! You have to get the suspect to surrender, even if he/she has a gun. Only when it's pointed at you or you hear a shot is when you're allowed to take a shot.
In PQI, You can fall into a river and flow away, drowning soon after.
PQII has a few instances where you can fall into a river, a lake, or even a sewer and drown. The river can be avoided by calling in a dive team (see Oxygen Meter in the Police Quest II section), and the sewer is justified since it is sewer sledge you are submerging into, and the methane gas makes a deadly combination.
PQIII gives you the option to wrestle a crazy man in a lake. Doing so has him forcing this trope down your throat.
Symbol Swearing: The non-voiced games uses symbols to censor swear words. This becomes less relied on in PQIII, and is averted in PQIV, where they simply minimize the swearing and use it sparingly, or even just use other words.
Unwinnable by Mistake: Not as much compared to other Sierra adventure games, even after the first game. For example, giving your gun to the front desk will net you an immediate game over.
In fact, this gets averted later. When you are able to get to the gun locker, you can put your gun inside and keep it inside for the rest of the game!
However, certain mistakes can prevent you from completing the game normally (playing this trope straight), such as not having your gun with you for a later scene in PQI, not adjusting your sights in PQII (hope you saved beforehand!), and not investigating Marie's bed for a discrepancy or getting internal affairs involved in PQIII.
Video Game Caring Potential: In PQII, you can learn about a fellow officer's drug problem and talk to him about it, resolving in him swearing off of them for good.
In PQI, after hearing about Kathy's demise, you can call Jack's family to offer them your condolences.
A subversion in PQIII. You are required to give a homeless woman a lunch bag, only that bag doesn't belong to you.
Video Game Cruelty Punishment: There are several situations where you can shoot a criminal. In almost all of them, that is the wrong response and will get you a Game Over. The few exceptions to this rule appear in the second and third games. In two cases in the 2nd game, Sonny will be ambushed by a gun wielding Jessie Bains and must return fire in self defense. In the third game, Sonny is storming the hideout of drug runners and several armed suspects jump out from behind cover, and the correct response is to shoot them.
Lampshaded in the remake of the first game if you decide to shoot the biker in Wino Willy's.
"You pull out your revolver and shoot the unarmed biker right between the eyes. (No, we're not going to reward your violence with animation of blood and brains hitting the back wall.)"
Violation of Common Sense: You can fire your gun without drawing it first, with predictable results. On the other hand, except for a single scene, you can leave your gun at the jail locker for the entire game and proceed unarmed.
In SWAT 4, you fail on points for shooting a suspect regardless of whether they were going to attack you, one of your team, or surrender. Sadly Truth in Television. Though police and SWAT officers are entirely justified in killing someone who attacks them with lethal force, the game distorts the responsibility of the police to the public's perceived standard (and, in some ways, what professional organizations like SWAT are supposed to do) to protect and serve while doing as little harm as possible.
It gets ridiculous when the suspects CHARGE at you with the guns and you are still not able to shoot them. Slightly less once you realize you can only open fire when suspects fire their guns first, whether at civilians or you, or even just aiming their weapons. Bizarrely your Snipers don't cause any penalties at all.
Waiting Puzzle: Some instances in the series requires you to wait to progress. Remember, this is a Sierra adventure game, and there are parts where waiting can give you a game over, render the games unwinnable, or (at best) losing the chance to earn extra points...
PQII did avert this for the motel raid where ordering for a search warrant and back up will immediately have a delivery, and said back up arrive the moment you leave your car.
Some of the game over screens will warrant this at you, mainly for excessive force or mishandling a situation, like shooting an unarmed man who's only crime is acting like a maniac, or trying to take up going into a fist fight.
Also, if you don't report in at the station in PQII, a patrol car will look for you and order you back, earning a word with the head of narcotics. Thankfully, the game does not end there.
If you try to pull out your gun on anyone where it isn't called for, the narrator will naturally call you out for it. You can pull it out after the second time, but you are then given a game over.
Strangely, if you sexually harase a female cop, she will firmly inform you that you are committing sexual harasement and orders you to cease immediately. The strange part is that she will give you about five warnings before finally netting you the game over screen, AND how she seemed to have been under-reacting.
Your fellow officer in PQIII will give this to you for not siding with her (which is required to not do so since it is a pregnant woman who is about to give birth very soon). Turns out said officer was trying to get you fired.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: As a cop, just shooting anybody (even if there is that smallest justification to doing so) is an easy way to lose your career, and by extension, the game. You're only allowed to do this if they have a gun, otherwise you must disarm the suspect or use your nightstick.
The SWAT games are a little more lenient. SWAT 3 and 4 does allow this, but you'll get penalized for shooting anyone, even if they point the gun at you. Strangely, taking control of the snipers and dispatching a suspect with their rifles grants you no penalties.
A Birthday, Not a Break: In PQI, Jack, Sonny's fellow officer, talks about how his life is screwed up (his daughter is doing drugs (a foreshadowing for a related event), has a drinking problem, and his wife is ready to leave him). Subverted shortly after as his depression faded with the surprise party and the gag dancer showing up to lift his spirits.
Betting Mini-Game / Luck-Based Mission: You are required to play a game of poker against three other characters (Frank, being Jessie Bains), twice, in order to progress. In the remake, you have the option to skip this and choose to win, or even lose.
Big Damn Heroes: In the original, if you told them the room number of Bain's room before going in, they will make it just in time to save Sonny. Subverted in which it buys Sonny enough time to shoot Bains himself. Not so flashy in the remake though.
Bribe Backfire: Helen Hots (the woman who ran the red light) will attempt to buy you off if you don't give her a ticket (and this includes sex). Telling her no is the correct course of action.
Chekhov's Gun: Jason/Marvin has a tattoo on his left nipple. This becomes important twice in the game.
For the villains of PQI, the newspaper that shows Sonny's face. One of them manages to inform Bains sometime after the card game, though canonically, they are too late, subverting this trope.
Dye or Die: In the first game, part of your disguise for going undercover (as a pimp!) involves a blond dye job.
Funny Background Event: The narrator of PQI enforces this by pointing out (twice) that a fellow officer uses the shower all the time because he's too cheap to use his own.
Gender Flip: The Hotel Bartender is a male in the original version of 1 and a woman in the VGA remake.
Gender Flip and a Race Lift with the judge in 1 who goes from a white female to a black man in the VGA remake.
Handy Cuffs: A drunk driver will ask if you can cuff him on the front because he isn't feeling so good. Do this, and he will knock you out shortly after (or immediately in the remake).
Jiggle Physics: Not in the most traditional sense, but a closer look at Marie's sprites in the original game shows her chest supposedly bouncing.
Little Useless Gun: Averted by the derringer Sonny is given in the tricked-out cane when he goes undercover.
Meaningful Name: A minor character in PQI is named Helen Hots. She's the only character in the game to have a fully rendered human portrait, and is also the only character who you can ask for sex from (even though it will never happen).
Minor Insult Meltdown: Helen Hots, the first person you pull over in the game, tries to talk her way out of a ticket by seducing you. When you (correctly) remain professional and write the ticket anyway, Helen delivers a series of insults and threats to Sonny that get increasingly unhinged, to the point that when you're walking away, the narrator lampshades the ridiculousness:
You're doing your job, you're trying to promote safe driving, and then people like her have to rain on your parade.
The Stoic: In the remake, Sonny has even more speaking parts, and his portrait is shown in a weird, robotic looking expression that never changes even when he's disguised. Try to imagine him talking like a robot the whole time.
Take Off Your Clothes: Can be invoked on command in PQI, where you can walk out of the locker room naked, or even type in the right command to immediately strip. You will get a game over either way.
You can even give your clothes to the front desk!
"Sure, we'll take it. But you'll never get it back!"
Threat Backfire: The bikers will intimidate Sonny, and one will proceed to take him on. Intimidating them with the night stick will make them cower away instead.
In the remake. The leader still won't have a problem wanting to beat you down, but Sonny does actually fight back with the night stick, convincing the biker further that assaulting an officer (especially an armed one) isn't a good idea.
Useless Item: Enforced by PQI with messages, which the game will remove almost any papers containing useful information, only to toss it immediately, forcing you to note it down or remember before hand.
Police Quest II: The Vengeance
Police Quest II: The Vengeance contains examples of:
Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Police Quest 2 features one. It's played down as the air is less than fresh. There are pockets of methane gas in some sections that kill you if you stick around too long. And the gas isn't visible, only the messages about teary eyes and difficulty breathing are.
Ascended Extra: Keith, a minor character from the first game, becomes your partner in the second.
Chekhov's Skill: You are required to attend to the firing range and practice shooting and making sure your gun is aligned. You then engage in a couple of gun fights that require you to have those sights fixed before hand, especially the last one with Jessie Bains.
"It appears that all the firing range practice has paid off."
Death by Irony: Try going through the metal detector at the airport while carrying your gun in Police Quest 2.
This is if you don't show the guard your badge, of course. If you do, then he will let you through and allow you and Keith to keep your guns, apparently confident that cops won't try to hijack the plane.
The Determinator: Jesse Bains will make good on his end statement in the original PQI and go after everyone involved in his conviction. Including Marie. Getting shot won't stop him at all.
Sonny is essentially the Light Side mirror of Bains in this department. Based on the narration and his few spoken lines, Bonds is methodical, professional, and properly detached throughout the entire game, but he will not stop for anything to bring Bains down and protect Marie.
From Bad to Worse: The chief of homicide informs you that Jessie Bains escaped from prison and has taken a correctional officer hostage. When driving to the jail house, Keith laments that "s#!* has hit the fan."
It gets even worse as the dead bodies pile up, Marie gets captured, and you learn that Bains has a hit list.
I'll Kill You!: You can find a note in a trunk that contained the corpse of Woody from the first game that says "You're a DEAD man, Sonny Bonds!"
Oh Crap: When Bain escapes from PQII and is targeting people involved in the case from the last game.
When looking at a certain note: "This is definitely not Marie's handwriting!"
Oxygen Meter: There comes a part where you need to swim underwater, and use proper equipment too, or otherwise, invoke Super Drowning Skills. You also need to check the oxygen tanks to see if they're full of air before going under water. And yes, you DO have limited air, so save before hand and act quickly to do what you need!
Timed in the sewer level. Walking into an area filled with methane gas will warn you within seconds of entering, saying that you're having trouble breathing. Then a second warning stating that your vision is starting to go out. Then a few more before Sonny passes out fatally. Concentrated methane really ''is'' that dangerous.
Wire Dilemma: PQII has a plane hijacked by terrorists who claim to have a bomb on board. After dispatching said terrorists, you are then tasked to defuse the bomb. Thankfully, it isn't that well made, considering the manual you can get from one of their bodies titled "BUILDING YOUR OWN BOMB."
You Are Too Late: Sonny didn't make it to Marie's home on time to save her from Bains...
Subverted with one of the witnesses. Sonny DID warn him about Bains, and can even order a wire tapping. The witness reassures you that he's under a witness protection program and is well hidden. Bains still got to him, unfortunately.
Police Quest III: The Kindred
Police Quest III: The Kindred contains examples of:
Ambidextrous Sprite: While played straight for the rest of the series, a glaring aversion is with Pat Morales, who always holds her purse with her left arm, and it is reflected as such, no matter the angle.
Backtracking: At the end of the game, you discover a crack house. No one will answer the door, so you'll drive all the way to the court house to get your search warrant. Then you have to drive back, and still receive no answer. So you drive to the court house again to arrange a raiding, and finally, you can start off the finale.
Based on a True Story: In the introduction, Jim Walls informs you that some of the events in this game are based on actual events that occurred during his career.
Chekhov's Gunman: Pat Morales reveals herself to Sonny at the end of the game that she is in Bains' ranks and decides to kill him! This can be prevented if Sonny managed to get internal affairs involved.
The key maker and army recruiting station at the mall? And the reporter that showed up at the scene of the crime? Turns out they will all be a big help to you in the game.
Continuity Nod: You start the game as a patrol man just like the first game, even though you are a sergeant for the homicide department. Justified: Lytton PD is low on traffic cops and just need Sonny for a day to help out. A couple of the busts are even similar to the first game with minor twists (for starters, most of your offenders not being total jerks).
The chief of homicide still loves his ice cream, according to Mike (who had to fix a piece of hardware due to an ice cream spill).
You will hear that familiar tune from PQII the moment you see a picture of Jessie Bains.
Diabolus ex Machina: There's a really evil example of this that can occur in PQIII: One of the first actions you do in the game is to evaluate a fellow officer due to her belligerent behavior. If you don't choose to sustain the complaint put against her here, you can breeze through the rest of the game perfectly, only to have her gun you down immediately before the end of the game.
It also occurs literally right before the ending in the same game. If you don't bring Marie's inadequate treatment to the attention of the hospital, she remains a vegetable.
Easter Egg: You can find Jim (also known as James) Walls' name on the computer. He's apparently part of the Designer division of the Lytton Police Department. He's also lost some weight too. Go Jim! Also, he has the code name Ice Man.
Face-Heel Turn: Bain's brother used to serve in the army, but turned to drug dealing and setting out for revenge when he learned that Sonny killed Jessie.
Pat Morales has done this some time before the game began.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Morales, according to her file and the complaint made on her. She also demonstrates this when Sonny arrives to learn about the refusal to sign and simply asked about the situation, earning her getting frustrated with him as well.
Hey, It's That Guy!: Josh Mandel is the actor for Leon, The Coroner. The same guy who voice acted as King Graham for the Kings Quest games and fan games.
Ken Williams, the CEO of Sierra at the time, played Mr. Cannon, the Defense Attorney.
Ironic Name: The name: Morales, means right and proper, or son of moral. Her behavior suggests otherwise.
Ironic Echo: A look at her file on the computer suggests many other things...
Lets See You Do Better: When interviewing Morales and trying to get the truth behind the complaint from her, she'll then tell you to try to be in her shoes before telling her how to do her job.
Which you have been. And you did do better, since it got you promoted to Narcotics, then Homicide, then Detective Sergeant. And while you're helping out with the Patrol division, you again do better.
Mood Whiplash: In PQIII, you can beat the game, all triumphantly going to the hospital to check on Marie. If you haven't been visiting at the appropriate times, the game will cut the ending music and go straight to game over before telling you that she's a vegetable.
Pixel Hunt: For a Sierra adventure game, it's inevitable that this will show up, though it's easier to make out compared to other examples. You will need to get batteries for your flash light and use it to find a piece of evidence under the car. Otherwise, it's unwinnable.
Properly Paranoid: Pat Morales has exhibited aggressive behavior according to a report (which you have the option to interview her) and her file, and will later show that behavior by berating a pregnant woman she stopped on the road, and berating you briefly for not agreeing with her. You will need to make a copy of her locker key to have access to her locker. Inside are some drugs. This is when you know perfectly that this is not going to end well.
Proud to Be a Geek: The head tech guy, Mike, loves to talk about the technology he can give you. Sonny does not care to hear about this, but ends up having to anyway.
Religion of Evil: Michael Bains runs it. The killings appear ritualistic and connected to one another (in which the victims have satantic carvings). They also deal drugs too. The only exception is the assault on Marie, which has been done for personal reasons.
The Reveal: The ending of the game where Pat Morales take's a dead thug's gun, and points it at you to let you know that she's been against you the whole time.
Actually, the real reveal is the bags of cocain she stole from the crime scene, which the behavior is consistent with the case files against her. Learning about this pretty much makes it inevitable that the former example will occur at some point.
In another twist of events: Finding a photo of the Bains' brothers!
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Michael Bains experienced PTSD after hearing about Jessie's death, eventually getting discharged due to psychological instability.
Something We Forgot: Forget to search the crazy man (even if he is in his underwear) and turned him into the jailer? He ends up murdering the jailer, and gets you sent to the game over screen. Oops.
Take That Me: When you distract Mr. Stumps, the janitor who works there, away from the womens restroom by shoving a whole roll of toilet paper into the toilet, you can walk back into the men's restroom and attempt to talk with him to get this line.
Mr. Stumps: (in reference to the clogged toilet) "Bet it was that Officer Walls again."
In the end credits, Jim "Pretty Boy" Walls is part of an electronic terrorist group who inhabit Lytton. Whether or not it's the same Walls that is employed in LPD is uncertain. The LPD themselves are also uncertain if they should even take the group seriously.
Tempting Fate: "Thanks Sonny. Hope the rest of your patrol is less exciting."
They Fight Crime: Sonny Bonds is a By-the-Book Cop who assess most (if not all) situations according to procedure and is known to having played a key role in capturing a serial killer and drug runner, and then killing him in self-defense when he broke out, and has gained the reputation of being Cop of the year following Bain's arrest. Pat Morales is a female Cowboy Cop who is a loose cannon and doesn't always do things by the book and believes in harsh justice and that her partner is too soft. Sonny fights crime. Shedoesn't!
You Bastard: If you pull over a black car speeding, the driver will yield but go up to you and inform you that he is an agent that's been pursuing a drug runner, and berates you for stopping him.
If you utilize the in-vehicle terminal to identify the vehicle, AND back off, you won't have this problem. Just make sure your sirens are not on when you do it.
Wondrous Ladies Room: The women's restroom has a special soundtrack to it. That is something erie and mysterous.
Worst Aid: A near-fatal example: The third time Sonny visits the hospital, he is told by Marie's doctor that all they have for her to come back is hope. You will need to examine the clipboard on her bed, which reveals that her IV dosage is off. Calling the nurse and inform her about it, in which the doctor makes the necessary adjustment and lampshades this trope.
"I don't understand this at all. I can't believe our staff could make such a serious error!"
Police Quest IV: Open Season
Police Quest IV: Open Season contains examples of:
Anti-Climax: A jarring example. The first third of the game builds up the investigation about the murder behind a cop: Bob Hickman, and a child: Bobby Washington. Emo called John about information he'd like to share about the murders, only to get caught in a shoot out. After the scene, everything is suddenly resolved off screen, as Emo survives in the hospital and reveals that Spiff (who we had just heard about suddenly) wanted to use Bobby to ship his guns, killed him in cold blood, and tried to kill Emo to shut him up. Spiff will be charged swiftly for a couple of attempted murders, and the murder of Bobby. The only thing that wasn't so anti-climatic is that Spiff is not responsible for Bob's murder.
The conclusion with Dennis Walker and his girlfriend also ended as quickly as it came.
John: Geez, the feds are talking with Walker right now. Apparently, he is a real special case.
Also, the final part of the game just ends. You find who the killer is, which becomes more obvious at this point, follow a linear path, and the game just ends with Michael killed while in the process of murdering(?) his newest victim, and the game abruptly ends with John in city hall, with the mayor loving him and giving him the medal of valor, and credits! Not even a "I did it, Bob" line of any kind? This should just be called Anti-Climax: The Video Game!
As You Know: The beginning of the game has Sam Nobles inform John all about him and Bob together for the past five years, and talking about how John is practically a god-father to Bob's daughter.
Bitch Alert: Yo Money's manager. The first thing that leaves her mouth is accusing the police department of planting the body there to hurt Yo Money's sales. She will also actively berate John for asking helpful questions.
But Thou Must: A reporter will stop John to ask some questions, which he cannot answer. You cannot do anything about it besides shove her to the side, which earns her reporting physical abuse and giving the LAPD a bad name. Really John? You couldn't have just walked around her, have someone else distract her for questioning, or simply politely ask her to leave with a promise to actually have answers?
Call Back: There is apparently a server in the LAPD named SONNY.
Camp Gay: There is a male prostitute that attempts to flirt with John the moment he arrives at Pine Hollywood Avenue. He also attempts to break open your car, but walks away when he sees you.
Chekhov's Gunman: Sherry Moore is pretty much just a pretty face working at the morgue. Oh, and she ends up revealing everything about the case in an interview to a reporter, who in turn reported her story on national television, and as a result, it got the whole townspeople in fear and even buying out gun stores! Naturally, John is not happy, and neither is the chief.
Lassundra Washington apparently witnessed Bob Hickman's murderer. She mentioned a woman in a red dress when you talk to her after Spiff's been apprehended.
Deus ex Machina: In Michael's apartment, you can find a decapitated head and a bathroom with an empty medicine cabinet. Check those areas again, and suddenly, there is a lighter inside the head's mouth, and a hair spray can in the medicine cabinet. And Michael is in the next room down.
Dull Surprise: John Carey sure doesn't sound upset when he's supposedly expressing shock and upset that his fellow cop and best friend is dead. Then again, it could be said that he simply had no idea what he should be feeling.
It's hardly that it was a dull surprise. It was the fact that he had to be told that he was Bob, his friend. Apparently, John didn't recognize his own best friend in the whole wide world whom he's known the family for quite a while. Still, he just might not know how to react to all this.
Exactly What I Meant To Say: Carey can question another 'witness' on the first scene named Raymond, who will constantly tell him that "I ain't seen nothin'"
John Carey: *questioning for the third time* "So Mr. Jones, what you're telling me is you don't have anything to tell me. Is that correct?"
Raymond Jones: That's straight up. Ain't seen nothin'. Done nothin'. Know nothin'."
Force Feeding: John can literally force feed a dog some pills to knock him out.
Game-Breaking Bug: Open Season came out just before the appearance of high-end 486 processors. These apparently messed up the internal clock so badly, that it became impossible to pass certain points in the game without dying (specifically the neo-nazi courtroom scene). Fortunately, even before a patch came out, Sierra realized that slowing the game to a crawl before such crucial scenes would solve the bug, and made this knowledge public.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Later, the city counsel and the mayor begin to question John Carey, and by extension, the LAPD's competence in dealing with a Serial Killer. In fact, John gets bombarded by questions by the general public the moment he steps up in city hall.
Go Look at the Distraction: This is interrupted and ended abruptly when Walker attempts to assassinate John Carey during questioning.
Hypocrite: Depending on your interpretation of Hal Bottoms. Of course, he might just be trying to look out for John considering what happened prior to this line..
"Playing cowboy will only take you so far in this damn job. If you wanna make it as long as I have, you're gonna have to curb your appetite for action."
Implied Love Interest: Some pieces of dialogue involving Chester implies that John is trying to hook up with her. She can be monotone and blunt towards John's otherwise friendly and caring remarks.
Of course, Sam (at the Short Stop) pretty much told John that he and Chester might have been an object before.
Chester: Sam, I think you had enough to drink.
In-Series Nickname: Hal refers to John as Junior, likely due to how he's the older partner compared to John.
Intrepid Reporter: There is a reporter who is actively trying to learn of the murder cases. John can shove her to the side, and give her quite a word, though this earns quite a lecture from his chief.
Irony: Look inside the LUCKY MINI MART dumpster...
Jump Scare: How does PQIV begin? If you open up that dumpster...
And later, if you enter a suspect's home without checking who's inside, a dog will ambush the player at blazing speed, followed by the screen fading red and the audio being the player being mangled by said dog. It happens so fast too.
There is a decapitated head waiting for you in the fridge. And yet, the narrator finds a way to downplay this.
And to TRAVEL to this Big Bad's apartment you have to tame the aforementioned dog with pretzels, and then lasso it!
No-Gear Level: John is knocked out by Michael at the end and had his whole inventory confiscated. Thankfully, a can of aerosal and a lighter is not far off.
Not a Date: When Chester invites John to a bar, John jokingly asked if she was asking him out. She returns with "Not in your wildest dreams."
Note to Self: It is more important to use the notebook on any piece of the crime scene, evidence, victims, and witnesses. You will also be recording what you recorded onto different forms for extra points.
"Recording information of the crime scene ensures accurate reports later."
Not What It Looks Like: When John had to shove the reporter out of the way, he attempts to explain to others that it wasn't what it looked like. No one bothers to believe him.
Later, John will walk into Sam "checking up" on Sherry. Sam claims that he was check for a chest cold.
Off the Record: Barbie politely refuses to talk to John, officially out of fear that her business may get in trouble. When he plead that they'll "talk like friends," she warms up to him.
Old Cop, Young Cop: Hal Bottoms, who is a veteran cop who got pushed to a desk job and takes care of whatever paper work he has to do for John. He also refers to John as Junior.
Wham Line: "Darling, I think that [red shoe] would fit you better than it would fit me."
What Happenedtothe Mouse: After killing Mitchell Thurman in self-defense, the fate of the female victim is never truly revealed, and the game seems to imply that she did survive. What happened to her, who is she, and if she even survived is left ambiguous.
White Gang Bangers: We only got to see two, but Dennis Walker and his girl friend both happen to be this, and really racist too. Both of them also attempted to kill John, for presumably... helping Yo Money?
Would Hurt a Child: Bobby Washington (the child in the beginning) was founded murdered and hidden in a dumpster.
"He's just a child, Sam. What's happening on our streets?!"
Emo Jones expresses some mild sympathy about Bobby Washington, likely because he loves baseball as much as Bobby did and may have bonded with him at some point. He is ultimately the one who is able to help John close the case on the murderer, and he nearly got killed doing so.
Armor Is Useless: Averted. Each piece of your armor can absorb at least one round before it starts to go through you.
In multiplayer and co-op games, you will have access to heavier armor that can absorb even more rounds at the expense of mobility.
Artificial Stupidity: AI partners in SWAT 4 will hardly take any initiative to help you save for shooting any suspects for you (which won't cost you any points). The good news is that they will do exactly what you say and be weary of any looming threats that come your way, provided they don't get surprised or flanked by em.
Breather Level: After a tough training level in 'SWAT 2'' and several call outs including one based on the North Hollywood shoot out your element is called out to a airport sniper. Hands down the easiest level in the game, the most difficult part is trying to apprehend the woman who is with the sniper, or whether or not to authorize paying a ransom. Arresting the sniper and clearing the level without a shot fired and top marks is Easier Than Easy.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In SWAT 4, you have four fellow officers to help you. Two with a blue bar, and two with a red bar. You can command either team separately.
For multiplayer, there are the SWAT officers in blue and black gear. There are the terrorist in green and brown gear.
Co-Op Multiplayer: SWAT 3 and 4 features this thanks to the (now unsupported) Gamespy Arcade servers. Thanks to the ability to play locally, you can still use third party programs (like Hamachi) to host cooperative games with up to five players. It is wise to note that all single player missions are playable, and has it's ups (no AI partners, can have reliable players to work with) and downs (no AI partners as substitutes, causing penalties are easier, and no snipers).
The SWAT 4 expansion kicks this up with 10 player coop!
Decapitated Army: The mission is considered a failure the moment the element leader (you) is incapacitated or killed (meaning none of your AI partners will continue on). If any of your squad members are incapacitated, it will take away points, but it will not end the mission. Averted in coop mode.
Do Well, But Not Perfect: You'll probably not get the perfect score in each mission, but just having enough points in the end is all that requires to proceed to the next.
Elite Mooks: SWAT 4 has a terrorist group utilizing gear much like that of what SWAT officers utilize, armor and all, which means not all non-lethal methods will help you. They also happen to be the other team for multiplayer games.
Mercy Rewarded: In SWAT 4 multiplayer, if you stun your opponents, you can arrest them, which grants you a few extra points as opposed to killing them (which grants one per kill). Obviously, the police wants to arrest the terrorists, and the terrorists wants hostages.
Non-Lethal K.O.: SWAT 4 gives you an assortment of lethal and non-lethal weapons. This includes s taser gun, a shotgun that fires bean bags, a paintball gun that fires balls filled with tear gas, along with an assortment of tactical grenades. Using them is an easy way to get the suspects to surrender.
Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The manual for SWAT 2 says how Darryl Gates can advise with hints when playing as the police. There is no option for this for the Five Eyes as Sierra explained they did not want to take down advice a professional terrorist would provide.
Press X to Die: SWAT is full of this, as well as Press X to Not Die. Go around a corner without slicing the pie? You're dead. Fail to cover a door? You're dead. Take a wrong turn? You're dead. Enter the Eastman building on the wrong side or without proper sniper cover? Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
Randomly Generated Levels: SWAT 4. Most of the time, enemies, objects, and other important elements can be located in different parts of the level. In some cases, it can be completely random, but it is always possible to complete them.
Believe it or not, Police Quest SWAT is capable of this as well. The missions are the same, but the situations can be different and may require a different means of completing them.
SWAT 2 as well.
Subsystem Damage: Getting a leg injured will make you move slower. Getting both legs injured forces you to stay crotched. Getting one arm injured worsens your aim. An injured body or head will obviously have you incapacitated or killed.