Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / SWAT 4

Go To
"Police! On your knees!"
"Bring Order to Chaos."

A realistic tactical First-Person Shooter video game, developed by Irrational Games (makers of System Shock 2, the BioShock series and (surprisingly) the Freedom Force series) and published by Sierra in 2005. It's the fourth installment of Sierra's S.W.A.T. series (itself a Spin-Off of the older Police Quest series). The game is set in the fictional US East Coast city of Fairview and unlike its predecessor, SWAT 3, it deals with more mundane-themed missions, usually involving professional rescuing of hostages or neutralizing various terrorist groups or criminal gangs. The player takes on the role of a young SWAT Team officer, a recent transfer from the LAPD to the Fairview special response unit, who acts as the leader of a five-man SWAT squad, issuing commands, and using team work and close cooperation between all the members of the squad to achieve the necessary goals of each mission in the most effective way possible.

SWAT is primarily a life-saving organization, so your main objectives are always to rescue all civilians, arrest all suspects and occasionally secure some needed evidence. This is not as easy as it sounds, since you have to take caution not to harm or kill any of the civilians and make sure you fire at suspects or outright kill them only when necessary. Trying to beat the game by fighting your way through guns blazing is not an option. Fortunately, you have a wide variety of special weapons, ammo and SWAT gear in order to defuse high-risk situations.

The game aims heavily for realism, being one of the few games on the far end of the Fackler Scale of FPS Realism. As with the predecessor, the game is well-known for its quality production values and innovative gameplay (though with many non-videogame elements, such as documentary, being cut), some of which influenced Irrational's later works.

This game was available for purchase on Direct2Drive before the service was acquired by Gamefly in 2011, and then was made unavailable for purchase until acquired the rights exclusively in 2017.

For its predecessor, see SWAT 3.

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

SWAT 4 provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • One of the few breaks in the game's otherwise highly realistic shooting physics is the complete absence of bullet ricochet. Another break from reality is the absence of trigger reflexes or spasms. Those may cause the unplanned emptying of the guns by perps after they themselves were wounded and/or killed (or hit in the correct nerve), or simply out of pure nervousness. In singleplayer, at least. Situations that resemble a post-death trigger spasm can occur frequently in multiplayer.
    • While you can blind and temporarily disable yourself with flashbangs and sting grenades in singleplayer, tear gas grenades don't affect you or your team in any way, even though you don't appear to be wearing gas masks. On the other hand, in multiplayer, both you and the opposing team can be disabled by all types of stun grenades, even their own. And unlike in singleplayer, if you're afraid of tear gas attacks in multiplayer, you can don a gas mask.
    • Yet another break is that the SWAT officers (including you) communicate verbally ("See the bad guys...", "Got a runner!", "Clear!", etc), while in real life they mostly use hand signals in order not to alarm the perps on the other side of the door. As a matter of fact, perps will usually never be able to hear shouts or gunfire as far as one or two rooms away, which can be quite jarring, seeing how this sort of thing is multiplied in volume in close quarters. On the other hand, being quiet can actually help you with sneaking up closely to a suspect, then ambushing him by surprise.
    • Outside of multiplayer, the suspects (even the professional militiamen/commandos) never work in teams like SWAT, which gives them an important disadvantage in combat. There are no coordinated defenses or attacks, and their sort-of-tactic usually amounts to 'sit tight in a random room by yourself (alternatively, with a hostage) and shoot anyone coming through the door (alternatively, run away)'.
    • Some levels enable you to use snipers in situations that would clearly not be authorized in a real life setting, such as serving a high risk warrant. For simply serving a warrant, the police would not allow a sniper to pick off suspects without giving them a chance to surrender. But in this game, the use of a sniper against armed criminal suspects is never considered unauthorized use of force.
    • In real life, "non-lethal" weapons are called "less-lethal" for a reason: there's still a high risk of them causing severe injury or death if used excessively or inappropriately. Using them on a defiant unarmed civilian just to gain compliance would be considered an improper use of force except in extreme circumstances. This is not a factor here, and the player and their squadmates can use these weapons freely without penalty and with no risk of killing their targets. They're also significantly more reliable and effective at neutralizing armed opponents than in real life, especially in the case of things like the pepper spray paint ball gun and bean bag shotgun.
    • The flashlights on the SWAT operatives weapons do not penalise the player's stealth, and bad guys will never seem to notice the beacon of bright white light creeping up behind them until it's too late. Evidently, the lights are there purely for the player's benefit (as parts of certain levels are quite pitch-black) and do not cut both ways.
    • The enemy must be actually shooting at the player or physically preparing to do so before the player can shoot the enemy, otherwise the player is penalized for an unauthorized use of deadly force. In reality, a police officer has the right to shoot anyone they perceive as a deadly threat, especially given where the mission in the game involves enemies with clear intent to harm civilians, such as active gang shooters, armed militia, armed robbers, armed syndicate, fanatics with intent of causing a citywide explosion, and terrorists that have given a bomb threat. They'll have to justify their usage afterwards and sign a lot of paperwork, but every single scenario in the game (besides maybe the first couple missions) would easily see the protagonist being able to justify any shots he made.
    • Most of the above are corrected with game mods, like the Elite Force mod.
    • A mundane instance is how almost all doors are double-hinged, so they can open both ways.
  • Always Night: Each mission is set in the late evening, in the early morning or at night time. There are some missions including the tutorial which set in either early morning or at night time but it is designed so that the indoors are dark.
  • Anonymous Ringer: The paramilitaries in the hospital mission are never identified as North Koreans, but they're all uniformly of East Asian descent,note  wear grey military-style uniforms dissimilar to what any other suspects wear, act with military precision, and are uniquely interested in killing a South Korean diplomat and his staff rather than stealing anything or taking hostages, so it's not exactly hard to figure out where they came from.
  • A.K.A.-47: Zigzagged depending on the manufacturer of the weapon. The firearms manufactured by Colt and Benelli all have their proper names in-game, but the other guns manufactured by Heckler & Koch, Fabrique Nationale, and Glock all have bland or changed names, like the P90 being the "5.7x28mm Submachine Gun", the Glock being the "9mm Handgun", and the G36C being the "GB36s Assault Rifle". Irrational probably couldn't get permission from those two companies to name the guns after their real names. The Advanced Taser M26 is an interesting example, as it simply goes by the name of "Taser" which is itself a brand name usually requiring the same sort of small-print as with the Colt and Benelli weapons to go by that name. The expansion also adds the "Cobra Taser", which vaguely resembles the S-400 by a Taser competitor that was sued into oblivion a couple years later.
  • Arc Villain: The base game doesn't have much of a story, rather a series of self-contained missions with their own threats that are dealt with by the end of the level, such as Lawrence Fairfax, Andrew Taronne, Hadeon Koshka, and Jean Trouffant. The Expansion Pack gets a more long-term variant of this in the form of Kiril Stetchkov, the kingpin of the eponymous crime syndicate.
  • Armor Is Useless: Your SWAT body armor is totally ineffective. Even against enemies armed with pistols, your character and your teammates will still die with just a few center-mass hits, sometimes even 1, which even a normal patrolman's ballistic vest should protect against. For the enemies it's a little better; enemies wearing armor can take several shots if you are using hollow point rounds, but they will still be dropped by repeated hits probably quicker than a person wearing a real life ballistic vest would. Also, their armor provides no protection whatsoever against tasers. In real life, even a heavy sweater will often be enough to prevent taser prongs from going through, since the prongs on the taser have to actually make contact with the skin.
  • Arms Dealer: A whole international gang of them in the penultimate, 11th assignment. It's a pretty hard mission, since it's set in a decaying abandoned building in the industrial quarter of the city and the hallways and rooms are hard to navigate because they're full of junk, makeshift barricades and debris.
    • The first mission also features a much more amateurish gang of gun dealers and modifiers, hiding their illegal business behind the guise of a local Chinese restaurant.
    • The Stetchkov Syndicate's eponymous Bulgarian crime family count as well. The Expansion Pack's missions deal with the effects of the Stetchkovs' recent and unusual forays into the arms trade, which are pointed out in the Mission Briefings.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Quite a lot by your squadmates, occasionally by the enemies.
    • When very close to each other, suspects will sometimes shoot even if one of their comrades is in the line of fire, causing them to kill each other.
    • If you give an order, sometimes it can be overruled and ignored if something "more important" comes up. Examples include getting an urgent message on the radio, issuing multiple orders in a row, spotting a suspect, etc. This sort of makes sense, but can be frustrating when you later notice that the action you made still hasn't been completed.
    • Your teammates usually scan the room thoroughly before giving off reports like that. But some AI wonks do occasionally appear in tighter or more crammed-in spaces. Sometimes your teammates even accidentally shoot you if your squad is caught in a fire fight with the criminals. Sometimes they run in front of your gun while you're trying to fire. Or switch place in front of the doors if one of them is lacking the type of grenade you ordered to be thrown into the room. Which is of course logical... unless there's a friggin' suspect right in front of the door, mere centimeters away, ready to shoot them while they're waltzing in front of the exposed doorway. Most of the AI issues of your squadmates and problems with giving more complex chains of commands were thankfully fixed by patches and the Expansion Pack.
    • "You're in my way."
      • "You're standing in my spot, sir."
    • Ordering your AI squadmates to flashbang a room can and will cause it to backfire in one or two specific spots due to them throwing the grenades in pre-programmed and extremely wimpy arcs. This can result in the AI dropping the flashbang right at their feet instead of throwing it into the next room.
    • When your squadmates see a suspect, they will immediately begin shouting at them to drop their weapons and surrender, even if they're behind glass or you're trying to sneak up on them. Sometimes they may even open fire on a suspect behind a window, which will always lead to them executing any hostages they have and failing the mission.
    • Your squadmates can often get needlessly fixated on non-compliant unarmed civilians, standing in one spot and fruitlessly telling them to comply instead of moving on to keep searching for armed threats.
    • In the original game, once a suspect surrenders, they will stay permanently surrendered, even if you if you leave their area without handcuffing them or securing their weapons. This was fixed in the Stetchkov Syndicate expansion, where non-handcuffed surrendered enemies will pick up their weapons and return to action if no officer is watching them.
    • Your AI teammates' pathfinding abilities will sometimes run afoul of more complex room and building layouts.
      • At its most basic level, this can result in your entire team being wiped out in one spot when they get stuck on an obstacle in sight of a gunman.
      • As the AI makes no allowance for which rooms have already been cleared when plotting routes from one place to another, this can result in some unintended consequences under the right circumstances. For example, ordering your team to stack on a door to a room with multiple entrances can lead to your team entering the room and exiting through said door before tur5ning around and stacking up to clear the room they just passed through. Even more bizarrely, enemies may occasionally still be inside said room, with each group somehow escaping the notice of the other.
  • Artificial Brilliance: But, to its credit, the game does have very sophisticated AI at some parts. Too bad for you though, as most of this intelligence is limited to the criminals. Even then, your teammates do have their moments.
  • Artistic License Law:
    • The "Unauthorized Use of Deadly Force" penalty applies even in situations where there an active shooter with full intent of targeting civilians on site, groups of heavily armed militias/terrorists taking entire buildings under control, and a group of fanatics with equipment and intent to cause a citywide explosion, all of which warrant full authorization of deadly force against any armed suspect in the area.
      • The most notable issue with this is the game's complete prohibition against shooting armed suspects who run away from you (except with less-lethal weapons) In real life, an officer can legally shoot a criminal suspect who flees if that person still presents a potentially deadly threat to police or civilians. Due to the nature of the levels in the game, an officer could probably justify shooting a fleeing armed suspect in almost any situation the game provides.
      • On rare occasions when you shoot a suspect, they will drop their primary weapon and draw a second gun. Quite often, the game will not register shooting them then as justified force until they actually point their second gun at you. In real life, an officer would be authorized to shoot the moment they see the suspect drawing a gun, let alone another one.
    • The Elite Force mod fixes many of these issues, though you are still required to do compliance shouts if the criminal hasn't done anything yet even when dealing with active shooter situations.
  • Asshole Victim: When you and your team storm the Diamond Wholesaler's Meeting Room, you will find a slide show that shows what they were discussing before the bank robbers came; how their outsourcing in central Africa will suffer a dramatic decrease in efficiency due to the "local enforcement of international law". Ouch.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: It's implied that Jackson is ex-military, as he remarks that a room in the Children of Tarrone Tenement reminds him of boot camp.
  • Big Applesauce: Though they changed the city name, it was clearly intended to be New York City. At the beginning of Mission 4 (The A-Bomb Club), a large ad is painted on the wall for a garage in Brooklyn, the briefing for Mission 8 tells you the command post is at Broadway and 100th in "Manhattan north," and the diplomat in Mission 10 was in the middle of a speech to the United Nations. Your teammates will also sometimes sarcastically tell suspects to "Have fun in Rikers," referring to a jail complex in New York City. The design of the standard police cruiser also resembles the NYPD's, and the older cruiser has what is clearly the NYPD's seal on it.
  • Big Bad: Kiril Stetchkov is the main antagonist of The Stetchkov Syndicate expansion, which has a more overarching storyline involving SWAT squaring off against the eponymous crime family.
  • Blackout Basement: Some of the levels can be quite dark, particularly the Department of Agriculture in the expansion, due to a bomb going off. Caution is advised.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Suspects have a chance of dropping their weapon if they're shot in their gun arm, so it's a viable strategy to shoot a gun out of their hand if you have good aim... just make sure they don't pull out a backup.
  • Blatant Lies: The suspects in some missions, particularly those featuring drug dealers, come up with some pretty amusing excuses as to why they're there while you and your team arrest them. Take this soundbite from a mobster in the mission where you raid a Stetchkov-controlled drug lab as an example:
    Bulgarian Mobster: It's not what you think... we're baking cookies!
  • Bomb Disposal: An objective in the penultimate mission set in a hotel taken over by terrorists is disarming the bombs they've planted in the upper floors of the building.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Fields, a.k.a. "Hollywood". While not the most intimidating guy on the squad, he has his snarky nature, talkativeness, and general arrogance.
  • Boring, but Practical: Sure, you could take one of those cool-looking assault rifles or you could just take the pepper ball gun, which instantly stuns suspects and has no risk of killing them. Just be sure to take along a taser or pistol to deal with suspects who are wearing gas masks.
  • Brand X: Virtually every product you see in the game is of this variety (even company ads and promotional posters for movies and games), but with obvious nods to the brand it's parodying.
  • Butt-Monkey: Meta example. In the second level, Gladys Fairfax is scripted to always resist arrest and she's very protective of her demented kidnapper of a son. This makes her probably one of the most abused characters in video games ever.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In addition to having their names on their backs in their section's colour, the members of Red wear black while the members of Blue wear navy blue.
  • City Noir: Quite a lot of it, especially in the more darker missions taking place in various crumbling urban hellholes.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The only feasible way to get through the game- especially in the later stages where enemy numbers are high and their resistance to capture is strong- is to plan and coordinate ambushes of entrenched suspects using grenades to disorient, door wedges to trap, and even preemptive use of less-lethal ammunition (including the practice of beanbagging or tasing unaware armed suspects).
  • Complaining About Complaining: Many of the civilians are stubborn, scared or disoriented enough that they'll come across as this when you handcuff them (needless to say, a lot of the objections include their outrage over getting handcuffed in the first place). The arrested suspects are even less polite to you and your team after getting cuffed (especially if they're less of a Harmless Villain and more of a professional mobster).
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • The AI can actually see you around corners before you can see them, possibly due to your character hitbox being slightly larger than the model.
    • Unlike you, AI-controlled suspects can react and shoot almost instantly if you don't take them by surprise.
  • Continuity Nod: Sonny Bonds, the protagonist of S.W.A.T.'s predecessor series, Police Quest, is the chief of Fairview's SWAT training facility and your instructor in the game's tutorial. The player character is also a transfer from the LAPD SWAT team, the focus of the first three SWAT games.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The less-lethal grenade launcher. It's insanely powerful and has a lot of variation on ammo. But it's also heavy, unwieldy, void of a mounted flashlight, can only ever hold one grenade at a time, takes very long to reload, and is cripplingly inaccurate.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Diamond Wholesalers reveal themselves to be knowingly trading in conflict diamonds just to maximize profits, and regard the crackdown on these "blood diamonds" to be decreasing their sources' efficiency.
  • Cowboy Cop: Depending on your style, you can choose to go in gunning down every suspect without calling for compliance. But, as already mentioned, the game only rewards you for being a By-the-Book Cop and playing by the book religiously.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Suspects react pretty appropriately to getting shot, tazed, gassed, sprayed with mace, beaten, or hit with stinger grenades.
  • Creator Provincialism: The architecture and skyline of Fairview is very similar to Boston and your squadmates and most of the other characters have various forms of the Bostonian or New England accent. Hardly surprising, since Irrational Games are Bostonians to the bone.
  • Cult: The Tarronians, led by a certain Sinister Minister from Iowa named Andrew Tarrone. You visit their eerie half-abandoned apartment building in mission 9.
  • Deconstruction:
    • This is an FPS which greatly discourages (and outright punishes at harder levels) killing, even directed to bad guys, since the game expects you to become a police officer. Therefore, playing like a Body-Count Competition like most shooters will give you low rating. However, the game has varieties of non-lethal weaponry ranging from paintball gun that shoots pepper-filled paintball to the rubber shooting shotgun.
    • In most team-based games, an ally getting shot would be seen as terrible. However, again, you are being tested as a SWAT officer, meaning failing your adherence to police procedure (not taking in suspects alive, for instance) is more of a penalty than not bringing your squad back alive. While this may seem like Insane Troll Logic to some, it is the ideal of a SWAT officer to get the job done right.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • In the sixth mission, set in an office building taken over by armed suspects, when you're taking care of the rescued civilians' safety, Girard looks around the cubicles and quips:
    Officer Girard: Ha! The old rat race... Now I remembered why I joined the force.
    • In the fourth mission, where there was a shoot-out between some young delinquents at a rock concert:
    Officer Reynolds: You see, this is why I don't let my kids go to rock shows.
    Officer Fields: What, and have them miss all this fun?
    • Then, in the Stechekhov Syndicate Expansion Pack, on Mission 4, weve got this snarky bastard right here, snarking to a SWAT officer. Might I add hes a civilian, no less?:
    Cuffed Civilian: Yeah, where were you guys when they tried to BLOW UP THE FUCKING BUILDING?!?
  • Death of a Child: At the end of the Taronnian mission, you find the graveyard where they buried their children after killing them.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Besides doing your regular SWAT work, you can turn on radios, switch to different stations, shoot fire extinguishers and plumbing pipes to start spraying extinguishing foam and water, shoot glass objects and even a box of donuts to bits, blow up computers, TV sets and gas canisters by shooting them, etc. And a remarkable amount of work has gone to make Bland Name Products and the advertising of fictional companies look and feel real and believable...
    • Purely in regards to the aesthetics of the game; most levels have numerous subtle visual references to the backgrounds of the victims and/or targets. For just one example, the hospital level has one room intricately decorated for a child's birthday party... but with a bloody stain on the bed.
    • The hospital level also has TVs with a news report playing after the team enters the hospital, where the reporter tells everyone watching that SWAT has just entered the building. If you take notice of it, your character will call TOC and tell them to get her off the air — shortly afterward, every TV in the level will be broadcasting nothing but static.
  • Difficulty Levels: Three levels: easy, normal, and hard. Notably, the gameplay itself is identical on all levels; the only thing that changes is the score required to progress to the next mission. Functionally, this means that hard difficulty enforces a Pacifist Run, as killing more than a few suspects per mission will make it impossible to score above 75 even if you do everything else perfectly.
  • Dirty Communists: Mission 10 has the team go up against North Koreans.
  • Disc-One Nuke: For the Single Player Career in the expansion, the very first weapon to be unlocked is a nifty HK69 Less-Lethal Grenade Launcher. It can be loaded with projectile versions of the hand grenades available to the team, or a rubber baton round. Scoring a direct hit on a suspect with it will cause completely voluntary compliance on the suspect's part, instead of the incapacitation or death which it would likely cause in reality. Also, when loaded with CS grenades, the weapon can be used to quickly pacify large areas. For added fun: the Ammo Pouch, which doubles the amount of ammo you can carry, is the very next unlock after this one.
    • This is sort of balanced out by the fact that it can only load one grenade at a time, and that it's one of the heavier weapons in the game, so it's not that easy to aim with it quickly. Also, it's the only weapon in the game to not be primarily equipped by SWAT officers, so you are *mostly the only one to carry it. Being a grenade launcher, it also does not have a mounted flashlight.
    • Note: In the base expansion, AI squadmates can use the HK69 grenade launcher, but only if it is ordered to be used on a human target. SWAT: Elite Force V7 now allows for the AI squadmates to use the grenade launcher for clearing rooms, although this requires removing throwable grenades from the officer's inventory. In order for the AI to use the baton in SEF V7, the player has to aim at a target, bring up the command menu, go to deploy, and select "deploy triple baton." Baton rounds can now potentially kill in SEF.
  • Disguised Horror Story: There's a genuine case to be made that SWAT 4 is really a Horror game in disguise. As early as "Fairfax Household", you are tasked with searching through the house of a Serial Killer as you slowly unravel what he's been doing to his victims. Even in levels that aren't explicitly about murderers and cults, the creepy ambience, dark spots, Drone of Dread background music, night time environments and the knowledge that a suspect with a shotgun could be hiding around any corner can keep you on the edge of your seat.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: You suffer a severe accuracy penalty when moving, which takes a while to stabilize after you stop. Even jiggling your mouse around too quickly will cause your crosshair to increase hugely in size.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: At the end of the tutorial level (an assault course), you find a box of donuts in the debriefing room. The team's reactions are generally appreciative, though there is some eye-rolling from the oldest team members.
  • Dynamic Entry: Though some situations will encourage you to opt for clearing a room more stealthily, this is the most common tactic for entering and clearing a room. If planned and executed well, it routinely results in a Big Damn Heroes moment for your SWAT team. The game manual and tutorial does encourage you to make sudden and loud entries into rooms with an ongoing hostage situation, because the enemy AI takes elements like shock and surprise into account. Most suspects will surrender as soon as the door flies to pieces and the room gets engulfed with tear gas and the rapid shouts of your teammates.
  • Emergency Services: Throughout the two singleplayer campaigns and even in some multiplayer levels, there are numerous references to calling in more ambulances and paramedics as reinforcements to help with the higher-than-expected number of wounded civilians or an incapacitated-in-defence suspect. Also, technically speaking, even your own team and squad count as an example of this trope, despite being an armed, paramilitary unit.
  • Endangering News Broadcast: In the St. Michael's Medical Center level, the televisions are broadcasting the news, where the reporter blatantly announces that SWAT had just entered the building, giving away your team's entry point to the suspects inside. Should you take note of this, you can radio TOC to cut the cable connection and stop the broadcast.
    Lead: TOC, the TVs are on in here and the damn reporter just gave away our entry! Get them off the air!
  • Expansion Pack: Released a few months after release and called The Stetchkov Syndicate. It adds seven new missions connected by a more overarching crime story, various useful new weapons (including a cool tear gas grenade launcher and a more modern tazer pistol, which can double as a melee Emergency Weapon), the option to issue a whole string of various "to do" commands to your squadmates, and numerous bug and AI fixes (criminals become even more cunning, ruthless and resistant to arrest and your squadmates are also brighter in general).
  • Everybody Lives: The ideal (and highest-scoring) outcome for any mission involves safely securing all civilians and capturing every suspect alive, resulting in zero casualties, although some later missions have incapacitated civilians and the bodies of those who were killed before the SWAT team arrived on scene.
  • Faceless Goons: Inverted. The player and his teammates wear full body armor, as well as helmets and balaclavas to cover their faces, while most suspects have visible faces.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Very, very, very far towards the hard end of realism. Besides the fact that you have to abide by police regulations and protocol (meaning you can't shoot unarmed people and have to deal carefully with armed suspects), your overall movement and gunplay abilities feel really believable. Characters can't take much damage before they die, even if they're wearing body armor and helmets. No one can jump (let alone 5 feet into the air) and you and your squad mates can only run at a reasonable pace, being careful in the potentially dangerous environment of the hostile area you're clearing. Getting shot in the leg will slow you down and make you limp a bit, while getting shot in both legs will disable your ability to run. Getting shot in the hands will slightly diminish your ability to take precise aim. And since we mentioned it, the accuracy of your aim and fire can be increased by 1.) Crouching. 2.) Walking more slowly. 3.) Shooting in semi-automatic mode instead of full-auto or burst mode (recoil is a real bitch in this game). Sans the marksman rifle, none of the firearms have functioning scopes, but you have a context-sensitive crosshair for each weapon, even the stun grenades. The smaller and tighter it gets, the better aim you have. Magazines avert One Bullet Clips and are reloaded manually by the player, not automatically. A particularly nice touch is that you can even select different types of ammo in your loadout menu: Full-metal jacket bullets are good for taking down well-armoured foes, but have the downside of being able to punch through weaker materials (like wooden doors and walls or even unarmoured bodies), accidentally injuring anyone standing on the other side. Standard casing bullets are slower and weaker, and while they can't punch through body armor, they're really ideal for fighting unarmoured suspects.
    • The game has absolutely no saves or savepoints. If you die in a mission, you can't respawn, just like in Real Life. Luckily, you can at least restart it from the beginning of the unlocked mission (instead of the very beginning of the game).
    • All in all, you have to play in a relatively professional manner to get a perfect and spotless score - even on the lower difficulties. See also the other trope entries that mention the realistic elements of the game (you can blind yourself with your own stun grenades, etc.).
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Averted. If you are stupid enough to actually kill your team-mates online or your friendly AI in singleplayer (even by accident), the friendly AI will actually fire back and kill you, failing the mission and suffering penalties as a result. Even injuring your officers three times will result in revenge friendly fire by your AI team-mates. Many players were annoyed by this.
  • First-Person Ghost: Subverted. You never play from a third person perspective, nor can you switch to one. But you have your own body model (just like your squadmates) and you can see yourself from the third person when your character is mortally wounded and falls to the ground (with the "mission failed" message appearing over the scene).
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Infamous drug dealer Hadeon Koshka's surname means "Cat" in Russian.
  • The Fundamentalist: The previously-mentioned group of religious fundamentalists who took over a stem-cell research lab. Also, in the Expansion Pack, a group of Christians opposed to rock music storm a concert hall and take the band hostage.
  • Game Mod: The Elite Force mod and the Remake mod are the most famous total conversions adding new weaponry, features, native 16:9 screen scaling features, among others. Elite Force in particular stands as the definitive edition for the game as it fixes many gameplay issues while adding new features.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Some of the enemies in later missions wear gas masks, making them immune to your tear gas.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: A few of the missions give the suspect justifying reasons for the crime:
    • The culprit of "Qwik Fuel Convenience Store" is carrying out the robbery in order to fund an opioid addiction, and didn't intend to turn the simple robbery into a hostage situation. The pre-mission briefing notes how easy it is to exploit people with legitimate needs for prescription medicine, and how those people can quickly turn to crime as a next step.
    • "Sellers Street Auditorium" features a group of armed fundamentalist activists (most of which are very highly unlikely to kill civilians) storming a satanic themed rock concert... in which the band that's performing are also dealing and using drugs. If the police were made aware of this, it'd be them storming the concert instead.
    • "Duplessis Wholesale Diamond Center" features a well-organised group of criminals robbing a diamond wholesaler for a batch of newly-arrived rare diamonds. The diamond wholesaler themselves were in the middle of a presentation discussing how the increased enforcement of international law is hurting their bottom line, and their executive office is filled with memorabilia from African hunting trips. To hammer the point home, a colonial-era map of southern Africa is proudly displayed in that same office.
  • Gun Porn: While there are not that many guns in the game, there's still quite an arsenal of lethal and non-lethal weaponry to choose from. Also lampshaded in-universe, with some of your teammates occasionally admiring the ammo stashes of gunrunners you've busted in a mission.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Inverted. the SWAT officers all wear helmets, while most of the criminals don't. Truth in Television.
  • Heroic Mime: Averted. Your player character's name is never given, but he talks more than enough during each mission (either by your command or in pre-scripted instances). Unsurprising, since you're the leadsman of the squad and all...
  • Hide Your Children: Well, yeah, the developers don't want you arresting kids. But then you find the graveyard in the basement of the Tarone residence...
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • You can blind and stun yourself with the flashbang and stinger grenade. Bizarrely, in singleplayer you and your bot teammates are immune to CS grenades, but in multiplayer you have to equip the gas mask to safely use CS grenades, and even that doesn't save you from the pepper gun or mace (instead reducing the stun duration by about 90%).
    • Partially Averted in SWAT: Elite Force with flashbangs if the tactical helmet is equipped for the whole team. You and the AI teammates are still affected by CS gas and other less-lethals if no gas masks are equipped.
  • Hollywood Law: If an armed suspect runs from you, shooting him is considered improper use of force. While the United States does have severe restrictions on a police officer's authorization to shoot fleeing criminal suspects, this would be permissible in virtually every situation your team faces in the game. Most of the levels involve hostage situations, and an armed felon fleeing from police contact would present an imminent threat to any hostages in the area. Even in the ones that don't, a fleeing armed felon still presents an imminent risk to your team and would generally be considered a justified shot.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted. Few firearms in the game come with silencers, but those that do willingly avert this trope by sounding silent, yet still appropriately loud enough to be heard by anyone in the close vicinity.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Yeah, just try it. It'll get you killed.
  • HUD: Given that this is a Simulation Game that is far to the hard end of Fackler Scale of FPS Realism, the on-screen interface is very minimalist, but intuitive. You have a silhouette representing your SWAT officer in the lower left corner. Based on your current Subsystem Damage (a shot in the leg, etc.), a specific part of the body will become filled up with the colour red, indicating injuries. To the right of the damage meter are the readouts for remaining magazines and ammo and the currently selected mode of fire ("semi/burst/auto"). In the lower right corner of the screen, there's the quick command menu, consisting of a single line of text that changes according to context. It also features a coloured indicator that informs you on which team you're giving the command to (based on whether you've switched to commanding the entire team (gold), the blue team or the red team). A more detailed command menu can be brought up by pressing the right mouse button - it also works in a context-sensitive way (where you point your crosshair at) and can be switched to command any of the colour-coded teams. It disappears once you release it. Unintrusive pop-up tips will appear between the gun and quick command readouts, generally indicating whether you're close enough to open doors, pick up evidence, etc.
  • I Got You Covered: Standard procedure. The player and their SWAT team have to do this in order to come back alive, let alone fulfill their duty to the various hostages.
  • Improvised Weapon: It is possible to use the breaching shotgun (specialized purely for entries) for shooting a suspect. But you have to be really close to him. Also, the expansion pack added a punching animation for you and your teammates, and a newer model of taser pistol that can double as both a projectile and melee weapon (you run up close to a suspect and hit him with the electric arc, not wasting ammo like you would if you used the fire mode of the taser).
  • In Name Only: Thankfully, not this installment of the series, but the SWAT sequels that came after it on consoles. They're best left undiscussed.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: The bombs in the Old Granite Hotel and Department of Agriculture levels are large, clearly marked, and emit a distinctive beeping sound until you disarm them.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted for the most part. While it is entirely possible to kill someone instantly with one shot, it requires some realistic factors, such as the gun being of high caliber or simply a headshot. Depending on how good the body armor they are wearing is and how powerful your gun is, it's also possible for enemies to survive being shot a couple of times, although if shot in the right place they will lose accuracy or have to limp. Also, they don't always die when shot. Sometimes, their body armor will save them from death, but they will still be incapacitated.
    • This could be situational, but this is played straight very often when suspects (Read: AI enemies) are firing on players, even when wearing Heavy Armor and Helmet, you can still die from one bullet. From across the map. By suspects who by rights shouldn't even have basic firearms training.
  • In the Back: Suspects have little compunction about doing this to you and your team, but you'll lose a ton of points for every suspect you try to dispatch this way as an 'unauthorized use of deadly force'... unless you're using non-lethal ammunition. One of the joys of the game is blasting an unaware suspect in the back of the head with a beanbag round before even announcing your presence.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Some perps are prone to doing this. After telling them to drop the weapon and get down, the perp will slowly do this... and then suddenly either open fire on you, or dive away and out of your sights.
  • It's Up to You: You and your four-man squad, that is. The only reinforcements potentially at your disposal are two sniper teams, monitoring the location from a safe distance. This makes sense for the first few missions where you're busting up relatively small time crooks, but by the time you're fighting two dozen North Korean paramilitary commandos you really gotta wonder why the government is not just sending in hundreds of Feds instead. Nor do they seem to have any other SWAT teams in the city.
  • Made of Iron: Averted. This game is very realistic with damage values, even the fully armored SWAT officers or professional terrorists can only take a few shots (2-5 depending on the gun) before going down.
  • The Mafiya: The Stetchkov mafia clan are the main villains in the storyline of the Expansion Pack, aptly named The Stetchkov Syndicate.
  • Mission Control: The TOC and Highground operators, who the SWAT team will update on their progress as per procedure (unless you want to be penalized and possibly fail the level). Also the supporting sniper teams, known as Sierra 1 and Sierra 2. All three of these double as The Voice, since you never meet them in person, though you do see through Sierra 1 and 2's helmet cams when you control them.
  • Montage: The intro cutscene. The expansion's intro does this too, but more briefly and only after an Opening Narration by officer Jackson.
  • Mood Whiplash: Play the Taronne mission once or twice. You WILL hear gunwomen act innocent (not even the usual denial) and other males telling you to leave, and then turn right around and ask you for escort out.
  • Moral Myopia: While many of the suspects whine about being arrested or their cuffs being too tight in missions where they have injured or killed civilians, the Fresnal St. Station level of the expansion stands out, with the Stetchkov members having the audacity to complain about how SWAT is getting involved in their "personal affair" after having waged a massive gun battle between factions of the Syndicate in a crowded subway station, injuring and killing numerous civilians in what is one of the bloodiest levels of the game.
  • Mythology Gag: Overlaps with Shout-Out and Continuity Nod.
    • Some of the incidental sound effects (especially the radio chime) are the same as in the previous installment, SWAT 3.
    • The team leader is also a former member of the LAPD and has presumably known the LA SWAT characters from the previous games.
    • An older Sonny Bonds is personally present at the training facility in the tutorial mission and gives briefings to your squads before every mission.
  • Named After Someone Famous: The professor in the final level of the main game is named Theodore Sturgeon. His profile notes he's completely unrelated to the famous writer.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent:
    • A major gameplay mechanic and plot point of the game. You get penalized for using deadly force against anyone who isn't attacking, criminals included. Even if they've ran off to grab a gun, you can't just outright kill them - unless they actually threaten you, your squad, a civilian, or attempt a shoot-out.
    • Non-lethal weapons are the main solution for this problem. People can still be injured by them, but unless you shoot them after they've been cuffed, it doesn't count as a penalty.
    • The action key also doubles as a shout button, allowing you to bark orders at both civilians and suspects if they're acting stubborn and don't want to cooperate, comply or surrender. If you want to shoot at any suspect without gaining a penalty to your mission record, you have to give him a final warning first. So, always shout before entering a new unexplored room, hallway or space. The more you shout, the better.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Game was released in 2005 and is set in 2007/2008. The exact dates are not explicitly stated but can be inferred by looking at the ages and birthdates of characters given in-game.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Welcome to the bustling metropolis of Fairview... somewhere in... New England? The setting is apparently an amalgamation of New York, Boston, and several other East Coast cities.
    • It's in New York State for sure. Check the TVs in Mission 3. It's also entirely possible that most of the game does take place in NYC, except for one mission where the team is sent out to the suburb of Fairview (which might be too small and have too little violent crime to justify having its own SWAT team, while still having its own newspaper that primarily covers local news). That particular mission actually takes place in NYC too. In the briefing, the dispatcher mentions that the address is located in the Bronx. Furthermore, in Mission 3, the gas station is described as being on "Pitkin Avenue", which a real street in Brooklyn, and the diamond store in Mission 8 which is located on "Broadway."
      • To add to that, Fairview is in fact a real suburb located only around three quarter of an hour north of NYC, definitely close enough for NYC's SWAT to assist in a high-risk warrant arrest.
  • No Ending: Given that what little of the plot is nonexistent, only escalating series of unrelated missions...
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: In the campaign, your teammates can only become incapacitated from normally deadly injuries. To indicate they're still alive, their body twitches about every so often while they continuously moan in agony. You can incapacitate other people if you deal just enough damage so that they aren't killed outright.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: One mission has you deal with Ukrainian mobsters, while another has you face off against North Korean paramilitaries. In both cases, they speak with American accents (there's even a chance some will have Latino accents and a line or two in Spanish). The latter case is particularly odd, as you encounter a South Korean diplomat who does have a Korean accent in that same mission.
    • Somewhat averted in The Stetchkov Syndicate, wherein the eponymous Bulgarian arms dealers speak English with a thick East-European accent, but drop a few foreign words into their sentences. Unfortunately, they use Russian words, not Bulgarian, which makes it even worse.
  • No Name Given: The SWAT Leader you play as is never named in-game, though he is given the name "Kurt Wolfe" in the PSP Spin-off Target Liberty.
  • Not So Stoic: The Sergeant is usually professional and even toned, no matter what is going on. However, there are a few instances where he drops this:
    • When he notices the aforementioned Endangering News Broadcast in St. Michael's Medical Center, he is pissed off when he calls it in to the TOC.
    • He is as disturbed as the rest of the team when he reports the children's graves to the TOC in the Taronnian mission
  • Oh, Crap!: All too often in multiplayer, as you're arresting you hear or see a grenade fall next to you.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. You only carry 3 or 4 mags for your main weapon, and your ammo is measured by the amount of bullets in individual mags rather than all your bullets together. You can easily reload a magazine at any time and they'll have the same amount of bullets you left in them the last time you fired.
    • As you can go through entire missions without firing a single shot (hint: flashbangs, stingers, and other less-lethals are your friend), the low ammo count makes sense. In fact, if you've fired off an entire magazine, you're probably doing it wrong.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Your team, especially Girard, can be fairly snarky at times, even in the midst of fairly horrific situations, but some areas and levels cause them to be dead serious:
    • All of them are horrified to find the graves of the Cult's children in the basement of the Taronnian mission, with the normally stoic Player Character sounding noticeably disturbed when he calls it in to the TOC. TOC himself noticeably stammers when you radio this in, likely needing a few seconds to process the shocking revelation.
    • Lampshaded in the Fresnal St. Station level of the expansion, where Jackson notes he keeps expecting Girard to come up with some quip to lighten the mood, only for Girard to respond that, considering the sheer bloodbath caused by the Stetchkovs, it just isn't the time for jokes.
  • Pacifist Run: It's possible (and highly encouraged) to complete every mission without firing a single bullet (by using tear gas paintballs, tasers, non-lethal grenades, melee attacks, and beanbags instead.)
  • Pink Mist: What you see when anyone (outside of you) is shot.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Sonny Bonds, the player character of Police Quest, appears in the tutorial mission as the instructor.
  • Race Against the Clock:
    • The Old Granite Hotel level gives you 9 minutes to find and disarm all the bombs on the top floor before they detonate. To make matters worse, you aren't informed that the bombs exist until you actually find one, though luckily the timer doesn't start until they are discovered (otherwise people who chose the primary entrance located on the lower floor would have very little time to defuse them).
    • In the Stetchkov expansion, the Department of Agriculture level is even tougher, as you have to find and disarm 6 bombs in 15 minutes that are spread all throughout the level.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The "America Now" terrorist group from the Old Granite Hotel mission fit this trope to a tee. According to the mission briefing, they're xenophobic isolationists with an ideology defined by opposition to immigration, free trade, and globalism in general. The hotel the mission takes place in is majority owned by a French company, and the terrorists demand a ransom from the owners as "a repayment of their debt to the American people."
    America Now member (while being cuffed): You work for the goddamn UN or sumthin?!
  • Running Gag: A minor but noticeable one with Jackson, who will always react disapprovingly when his team mates notice some desserts or sweet pastries (the donuts in the tutorial mission, the cake for the patient in the hospital mission, etc.).
  • Ruritania: Invoked in one of the missions by a random news report seen on a muted TV screen, showing news infographics about an ongoing conflict in "Soboskistan". The capital is apparently called "Mulkso" and the report is being handled by war correspondent Nate Wells (one of the Irrational devs).
  • Scary Black Man: Jackson, nicknamed "Python". Aside from his profile information listing him as a well-conditioned athlete, he keeps up his air of intimidation when tying up compliant civilians. While your other squadmen reassure or playfully tease the civilians whilst cuffing them, Jackson often threatens the civilians to stay compliant.
  • Scoring Points: Each mission is scored on a 100 point scale, with points awarded for following proper procedure and deducted for casualties - officer or suspect - with flagrant violations of the rules of engagement incurring severe penalties. Depending on the difficulty setting, a certain minimum score is required to advance to the next mission.
  • Sergeant Rock: The player character's stated rank is sergeant, and while each of your AI controlled teammates gets to deliver a funny line every so often, your character's soundbytes are almost totally devoid of snark, adding to the whole no-nonsense feel.
  • Sequel Escalation: Averted. The game has less exposition and less overarching plot than the previous game, and while SWAT 3 ends by having the team defusing a nuclear bomb planted by a group of ultranationalists (that was a recurring hostile group throughout the game) inside a convention building where international dignitaries gather, SWAT 4 ends after an attack on a genetics lab by a group unconnected with the other hostiles in other missions.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Averted, of course. There are three ways for you to deal with a locked door, and given the game's emphasis on close-quarters combat, each of them affects the suspects on the other side differently.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the Police Quest series, as already mentioned in the Continuity Nod entry. This is noticeable even during the intro, when one of the logos in the montage briefly turns into a screen from the Police Quest games, complete with the right number of points in the corner.
    • To the SWAT series in general and Irrational Games as a studio: There are penny arcade slot machines in the office of the city garage from the "Victory Imports Auto Center" mission. One of them is clearly an arcade version of one of the Freedom Force games, while the other is apparently based on a previously planned but cancelled installment of SWAT (which was eventualy replaced by 4). Both slot machines even play a suspiciously similar song version of the games' theme tunes. And in some of the offices or recreational rooms, there's a recurring cardboard cutout of a game character from Tribes: Vengeance, another game developed by Irrational prior to this one.
    • The two sniper teams are codenamed Sierra 1 and Sierra 2note .
    • To movies like Se7en in the more Darker and Edgier City Noir missions.
    • Much like the backstory for Reservoir Dogs, one of the missions is set in a diamond wholesalers specializing in uncut or unpolished diamonds that had just received an uncommon shipment of finished jewels, which attracts the attention of a group of heavily armed robbers.
    • One of the objectives in the final mission is the rescue of a research scientist named Theodore Sturgeon after the science fiction writer. The briefing even lampshades it.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Shotguns are particularly useful in that you don't have to worry as much about ammo management, since you can always simply reload to full capacity after every gunfight without dealing with the issue of managing ammo magazines. You carry 30 rounds at the start of a level, making it almost impossible to run out. The bean bag shotgun is somewhat inaccurate, but great for taking down suspects at close range without killing them. It even works on enemies wearing body armor.
  • Shown Their Work: Hostages have to be handcuffed - you never know who is a real hostage, and there's always the possibility of Stockholm Syndrome - as do any civilians caught in the area, and they react accordingly. Most will ask you why or chew you out for cuffing them when they have nothing to do with the incident, but some will comply without complaint, sometimes citing that they know this as standard operation procedure due to having family in law enforcement.
  • Sinister Minister: Andrew Taronne from the ninth mission.
  • Sliding Scale of Law Enforcement: As already mentioned, how you play the protagonist character is up to you, though there are always limits to what you can get away with. The rest of the game's cast are always By The Book Cops. Nevertheless, it's a believable portrayal: Errors caused by insufficient intelligence gathering about the crime scene do occur. Your own teammates have to be downright rude at times when forcing someone to comply. But overall, the police force is generally trying to do their best in getting civilians out of harms way and arresting suspects as peacefully as possible. The missions also is closer to reality as most threats are smaller organizations vs heavily armed terrorist groups with only one occasion facing terrorists with the ruthless capacity to kill civilians
  • Stealth-Based Game: Not overtly, but you can use some basic sound and line of sight based stealth in every mission, in order to better sneak up on the unsuspecting suspects.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Players have access to a large amount of nonlethal weapons and you get a lot of points knocked off for 'Unauthorized Use of Force' - shooting without shouting for compliance (i.e. "Hands up!") unless they've already pointed a gun at an officer or a hostage - which is an open invitation to shoot first for the sake of you, your squad, or the hostage. The game is at its most fun when you mercilessly attack with tasers, paintball guns, and beanbag shotguns. Especially as less-lethal force isn't penalized. The negligently unaggressive police A.I. sometimes makes you wish your SWAT teammates would shoot on sight, though, since you often get low points on a mission because one of your teammates told a suspect to surrender, and the suspect responded with a shotgun blast to the officer's face, costing you both an officer and 20% of the mission score. Your SWAT teammates won't fire unless fired upon even if you equip them with less-lethal stun weapons (i.e. tasers or pepper spray).
  • Subsystem Damage: Every character in the game receives damage separately for each body part (though several body parts can get hit all at once in the more wilder firefights). One of your characters readouts shows the amount of damage he's absorbed so far in a mission. If you get hit in the legs, your speed will diminish and you'll limp along for the rest of the mission. If you get hit in the hands, your ability to aim accurately will be diminished a bit as well.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: A frustratingly large number of enemies think they can take on an entire SWAT team by themselves, when unarmored and armed with nothing but a revolver. While they might take you out with a cheap shot, this almost always results in them dying as well before the game over screen pops up.
  • SWAT Team: You're a member of one and lead an individual squad. And you get a taste of what the everyday chores of such a squad look like...
  • Taking You with Me: A possible (if silly) multiplayer tactic in case you get cornered and have no chance to outgun your opponents is to quickly switch to one of your stun grenades and detonate it immediately, before you collapse under the opponent's fire. Thus stunning the opponent as an act of minor retribution.
  • Stupid Crooks: A grounded version: A fair number of the callouts you deal with involve petty or amateur criminals who have unwillingly worked themselves into a hostage situation while trying and failing to commit another crime.
    • "Red Library Offices" deals with a group of would-be bank robbers who immediately set off the alarm, wasted time trying and failing to break into the vault, and after a failed escape attempt now find themselves barricaded inside the office of a software company.
  • Trial by Friendly Fire: In mission 11, one of the gang members is an undercover police officer. He will identify himself and surrender immediately once you shout for compliance, but if not, he will fire at you in order to maintain his cover.
  • Trick Bomb: The less-lethal grenades. Since your team can throw them into a room (most of the time, anyway) before leaving cover and entering, they are essential to your loadout.
  • Useless Useful Spell: In the Expansion Pack, the taser and pepper spray become less useful when you get the ability to simply punch suspects.
    • The taser is still ranged, and will stun a subject instantly, so it is still useful. In Elite Forces however, hitting hostages with beanbag or punching counts as hurting a hostage which reduces precious points in Hard and Elite and you must use either the taser which can kill elderly hostages or hostages who are under the influence of drugs. Pepper Spray is the safest option for calming a hostage down with no risks.
  • Unfriendly Fire: In the Hospital level, the South Korean envoy's bodyguards (who are technically on the SWAT team's side yet classified as suspects) will more often than not fire upon you and your guys as soon as they see you. Which is understandable, since the North Korean terrorists in the level wear uniforms that look strikingly similar to SWAT garb at a distance (not to mention that can easily be Truth in Television).
    • TOC will mention this in multiplayer if the Suspects start to teamkill one another.
    TOC: TOC to entry team, these idiots are shooting each other!
    TOC: Suspects might be high or unstable, they're killing each other.
  • Unwinnable: The twelfth mission (The Old Granite Hotel) is apparently impossible to finish if you get shot in the leg too early into the mission, because the wound slows you down too much.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: While the game punishes you for doing certain things, you can taze, gas, or punch surrendering or cuffed suspects and hostages with no repercussions.
    • If you fail a mission objective, but are still alive, the game doesn't automatically quit the mission. You are free to roam the scenario gunning down suspects and hostages alike until you manually exit.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Just shooting suspects without trying to get them to surrender first will lose you points and potentially the game. Killing a hostage, even by accident, will cause an automatic Fail.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Like in the predecessor, the only way to secure civilians/hostages that are still standing is by tying them, and sometimes non-lethal force may need to be applied to make them comply so they can be restrained. Civilians and hostages may give one to you when you order/suppress/cuff them, as they are... you know... innocent. But of course, it's part of any special unit's practice to detain anyone they come across during such missions, as anybody may be a hazard source for the SWAT officers. The mission isn't considered complete until everybody is either in cuffs, dead, or incapacitated.
  • Wacky Startup Workplace: "Red Library Offices" takes place in one of these.
  • We Have Reserves: The cultist's reaction to shooting their own allies is that they claim that they have been blessed to die by their hands.
  • Violation of Common Sense: 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.


Video Example(s):


Soviet Womble

Soviet Womble and his friends uncover (and heavily lampshade) the behaviour of SWAT 4's AI.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / BrokenRecord

Media sources: