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: it was the first SWAT game to be a squad-based tactical First-Person Shooter, 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 successful and acclaimed tactical shooters of the late 90s following the subgenre's inception with the previous year's release of Rainbow Six.
An interesting article on the history of the game's development can be read here.
For the series that this game descended from, see Police Quest.
Red team, stack up and prepare to move:
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Mission 15 takes place in one. Justified it that it's a storm drain system.
- First-Person Ghost: Applied to the same extremes that Rainbow Six went in normal gameplay, as you can't even see your own gun or equipment on-screen except as a crosshair in the shape of your gun's sights or an icon of your equipment. Entering "handsup" into the console averts this by making your third-person model visible from first-person.
- Four-Star Badass: The Secretary of Defense in the final mission packs a pistol and is more than willing to use it, unfortunately he's gone rogue trying to steal the suitcase nuke and will attack your SWAT Team.)
- 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 every enemy-only weapon to the player's arsenal, alongside entirely-new goodies, there's also some download only official mods not included by default that add new character models, like female playable SWAT and Tangos.
- 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.
- Good Guns, Bad Guns: Zig-zagged with long arms, where terrorists are armed with AKs just as often as they're armed with AR-15s. Sidearms play this more straight, with your default options being the M1911 or Mark 23 while terrorists generally use the CZ 75 or Makarov. The addons included with later editions make many of the other weapons exclusive to the terrorists available to the player, including the aforementioned AK, but even with all of them active the Steyr AUG Para remains exclusive to terrorists.
- Hostage Situation: About 2/3rds 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 or 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 and whether you're sprinting; 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 to command the squad or report in to TOC; and other, optional panels giving a view of what one or more of your teammates are looking at or to look through the opti-wand when it's in use.
- 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.
- Everything Fades: Lightly and Justified, bodies/dropped weapons normally never fade, except for respawning players/bots in Multiplayer, however as part of procedure, you need to call in trailers (A second never-seen-in-game team who's job is to bring hostages/cuffed suspects out) who esentially function as an off-screen cleanup of secured hostages/suspects, notable since the sequel SWAT 4 has the trailers "standby" instead of being sent in, so all handcuffed/incapacitated hostages/suspects don't fade.
- I Got You Covered: One of the standard squad procedures. AI squadmates will automatically cover entryways in the room when they are not occupied, as well as keep their guns up at any surrendering suspects waiting to be cuffed.
- Interface Spoiler: The subtitles added in patches are color-coded, Blue is SWAT/Civilians and Orange is Suspects, this means if you gas/flashbang a room, not only can you guess how many characters are inside based on the number of subtitles, you can also guess if they're going to be armed or not, since civilians aren't armed and suspects almost always will. The Secretary of Defense in the final mission is an exception, having Blue Civilian Text despite being fully hostile towards you SWAT team most of the time and considered a suspect by the game.
- It's a Wonderful Failure: Failing one of the final three missions (or skipping them with cheats) causes a nuclear explosion and the death of everyone inside including the player and the team.
- Jump Scare: There are various hidden secret areas accessible in certain missions, in the hotel level, under the stairs is a hidden door you can lockpick open, you can proceed through the tunnel, ignoring various warning signs...you will eventually drop into a pit where an NPC that's a giant invincible image of a spider will suddenly appear and kill you.
- Mythology Gag: One of the hostages during the bank robbery goes by the name of Marie Bonds, who is Sonny's eventual wife in the original Police Quest trilogy.
- 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, looking more like full-face motorcycle helmets than pilot helmets). Since it's a late 90s portrayal of the 2000s, there is some very minor amount of Zeerust in the ideas presented (such as some missions including cars with still-active alarms, which have the usual horn-blaring alongside a mechanical voice warning "STEP AWAY FROM THE VEHICLE" every few seconds). Other than that, there aren't many futuristic elements in the game.
- Order Versus Chaos: Touched on with the recurring euphemism/objective "bring order to chaos", which basically means removing any armed and antagonistic individuals threatening the safety and well-being of civilians or your SWAT team; depending on how you play it's a regular euphemism (by arresting those individuals) or a deadly one (by neutralizing them).
- Permadeath: Played with. In the last mission, there is a nuclear bomb that needs to be defused. If you die, the bomb goes off and the usual restart mission button at the death screen is gone. Though you can just replay the mission through the main menu.
- Pyrrhic Victory: If you die during the final mission, but manage to disarm the nuke first, the game treats this as a success.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Sovereign America, a militia group who rejects all government authorities including police as they believe they are all part of a One World Order conspiracy to take over America. They're also an Apocalypse Cult since their leader preaches end of the world rhetoric.
- 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, etc. 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 or non-fatally wounded him. 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. The content of both was 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.