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Video Game: SWAT 3

SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle was the third installment in Sierra's S.W.A.T. series, the more action-themed spinoff of their previous Police Quest series. Developed by the Sierra Northwest studio and published in 1999, this game was in many ways a milestone in the series: The first SWAT game to be a Squad-based Tactical FPS, the last SWAT game to be set in Los Angeles and be developed by an in-house studio of Sierra, and one of the more succesful and acclaimed tactical shooters of the late 90s (bare in mind that the subgenre was basically brand new back then).

An interesting article on the history of the game's development can be read here.

You may purchase the game of the year edition from Good Old Games for $9.99

For the game's successor developed six years later by Irrational Games, see SWAT 4.

For the series that this game descended from, see Police Quest.

Needs Wiki Magic Love. If you're a fan, old veteran or modder of this game, feel free to add to this page !


This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Mission 15 takes place in one. Justified it that its a Storm Drain System.
  • Christmas Rushed: It was originally supposed to suffer this. Thankfully, it was averted and the game was released a few months later, with the dev team being glad they released a highly praised singleplayer game. They followed it up soon with an expansion that added multiplayer and several other features that had to be temporarily scrapped for the first release (even with the development time prolonged and the original Christmas release date cancelled, the game still needed a lot of work and beta-testing to reach the level of quality the devs had intended from the very start).
  • Deconstruction: The idea that a good action game doesn't necessarily have to involve purely shooting people in the face has become a tradition in the SWAT series, and this installment is no exception. Adherence to procedure, protocol and less violent solutions of hostage situations is paramount throughout the game.
  • First-Person Ghost: Applies to the squad leader, of course, though this can be averted by entering "handsup" into the console.
  • Game Mod: Has a long-lived modding community that is still going strong and producing various additions to the vanilla versions of the game.
    • Even Sierra themselves made some mods for the game after it was released; the Tactical Game of the Year edition comes with optional "Commander" and "Tier One" packs which add almost ever enemy-only weapon to the player's arsenal, alongside entirely-new goodies.
  • Genre Popularizer: Along with the original Rainbow Six game, it greatly helped to popularize squad-based tactical shooters.
  • Genre Shift: As already mentioned, this was the first game in the S.W.A.T. series to be a full-fledged FPS. It proved even more successful than the first two games and helped cement the notion of tactical squad-based FPSes as a viable subgenre.
  • Hostage Situation: About 2/3 of the missions in the game consist of rescuing hostages.
  • HUD: Being a realistic squad-based tactical shooter, the HUD in this game is very minimalist. The most you get is a crosshair evoking your gun's ironsights, the actual crosshair on its optics, or an image of whatever equipment you're using; a silhouette of yourself showing whether you're in stealth or dynamic mode; a meter indicating injuries if you get non-fatally shot; an optional panel in the upper left showing what number keys to press for different communications; and other, optional panels giving a view of what one or more of your teammates are looking at.
    • Diegetic Interface: The HUD is presented as being a digital readout on your character's helmet which, as above, can be linked to your teammates' helmets to show their point of view.
  • I Got You Covered: One of the standard squad procedures.
  • Mercy Rewarded: As with its successor, SWAT 4, the game docks you points for killing civilians and suspects. The only exception to this is defensive shooting if your squad or the hostages are under threat.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The game was published in 1999, but the campaign is set in 2005. Some minor glimpses into the future include the signing of a global nuclear weapons ban treaty (which the campaign's main Story Arc revolves around) and the fact that the in-game HUD of you and your squad is supposed to be a helmet-mounted digital readout (in the vein of the F-35's pilot helmet, just simpler). Since it's a late 90s portrayal of the 2000s, there is some very minor amount of Zeerust in the ideas presented. Other than that, there aren't many futuristic elements in the game.
  • Shown Their Work: The level of detail in regards to a tactical SWAT operation is impressive, with extensive detail and explanation of everything from fire and movement and use of force/lethal force to taking into account different penetration on different rounds depending on plaster, glass, wood, concrete, ect and how lower level criminals are more likely to surrender where high ranking terrorists and mercs would rather go out in a blaze of glory.
  • Simulation Game: Crossed with Tactical Shooter.
  • Stop or I Will Shoot!: Played fairly straight, but also subverted a bit. Your officers are much more likely to shoot a suspect if he's so much as holding a gun, let alone pointing it at them or shooting it. That said, they will immediately stop shooting at the suspect if he drops his gun and surrenders, assuming they missed. In later games (SWAT 4, etc.), teammates are a bit more lenient towards the suspects and give them a brief amount of time to drop their weapons.
  • SWAT Team: You lead one, solving both mundane law enforcement cases, as well as nefarious terrorist activities during an ongoing global peace summit in Los Angeles.
  • Total Party Kill: Can happen very easily. One entrenched enemy who chooses to lean out of cover at just the right time can absolutely dice you and your entire squad.
  • Updated Re-release: Close Quarters Battle was rereleased with new content as SWAT 3: Elite Edition and again with more content as SWAT 3: Tactical Game of the Year Edition, however both were made available as patches for older versions (although only people who bought the Game of the Year Edition were able to get the disc featuring videos of Blackwater demonstrating tactics).
  • Western Terrorists: Most of your adversaries in missions related to the campaign's main Story Arc.

S.W.A.T.First-Person ShooterSWAT 4
S.W.A.T.Simulation GameSWAT 4
S.W.A.T.Website/GOG.comSword Of The Samurai

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