Officer Jackson stares in disbelief at the shelf full of videotapes. "I don't even want to know what's on it," he mumbles. Next to him, a television is flickering in the semi-darkness of a shabby basement apartment. This is where Lawrence Fairfax lives, and the suspicion has just been confirmed that he is a perverted kidnapper: A tied young woman is squirming on the monitor - Fairfax is apparently collecting reminder videos of his atrocities. Together with four colleagues from the special task force, we came to put an end to his goings-on. In Vivendi's SWAT 4, you and your team hunt down not only murderers, but also bank robbers, drug dealers, arms smugglers and other rabble in 13 exciting missions.
Use in four walls
Of course, we didn't storm into Fairfax's apartment just like that. Every SWAT assignment begins with a planning and equipment phase. On the drive to the scene, your supervisor explains what to expect in plain text on the screen. Here you can find out what happened, who the victims and who the perpetrators are. You will also receive a plan of the target building. Sometimes it's a precise blueprint, sometimes just a sketch smeared on paper. The missions are incoherent - there is no continuous storyline. After you know where you're going, assemble your team. Equip the five officers individually in a clear menu. Everyone receives a primary and a secondary weapon. In addition to the usual assault rifles, submachine guns and shotguns, SWAT 4 also features non-lethal special weapons: on the one hand, a paintball pistol that fires pepperballs and brings tears to gangsters' eyes, and on the other, a shotgun that uses rubber bullets for bruising red holes. In addition to two pistols, you can also take a stun gun as a secondary weapon. Pack tear gas, stun grenades or pepper spray as additional equipment. In order to overcome stubborn doors, a multitool, explosive charges or special shotguns come with you.
Off the cuff
You can see the overview map on site at any time, but the location of the SWAT team is not displayed and you are not allowed to give commands. Instead, you command the four police officers directly in the 3D environment using a clear command menu. For example, if you aim at a doorway, you can right-click to instruct the men to open the door, throw a stun grenade into the room and then rush afterwards. You can easily trigger the most likely command with the space bar. So you call out to the officers "Put on handcuffs!"
Learning through pain
Before you can handcuff anyone, they have to surrender. Sometimes it's not that easy. At first, the gangsters are self-confident and fire at anything that has a police badge on. That changes quickly if something unexpected happens: when suddenly five SWAT officers show up and “Police! Drop your gun! ”Shout, the hearts of many a bank robber slip in their pants and the gun out of their hands. Then he raises his arms, drops to his knees and lets himself be tied up. To speed it up, the police have a couple of special mood killers with them: With pepper spray in their noses, tear gas in their eyes or electric shocks in their buttocks, criminals give up more quickly. But that doesn't always work: if you storm the refuge of a sect, the religiously confused are happily ready to die for their child-molesting guru. If you shoot criminals, you will lose points. Depending on the level of difficulty, you need a certain minimum result to unlock the next mission. At the easiest level you can shoot any gangster, at the most difficult level nobody is allowed to die. However, killed hostages always lead to an immediate termination of the mission.
In SWAT 4, whether a gangster gives up or not is often enough by chance. Sometimes a criminal surrenders immediately, sometimes he draws a gun at the last moment, even though five police officers are already holding assault rifles under his nose. Your AI colleagues therefore seem to be cheating: They sometimes know whether the criminal is going to give up or not and shoot before you can even shout "Hands up!" They are far from being immortal superheroes - a trigger-happy terrorist with a Kalashnikov can mow down your entire team in no time if you rush them carelessly through a narrow passage. In order to stab particularly tough opponents in the back, you can therefore split the SWAT troop into two groups of two. You can use the men's helmet cameras to show their view of things. You can use the mouse to look around and give commands within this video window. However, to storm a room from two sides at the same time, you need a lot of practice and precise timing - there is no command to attack simultaneously. (FAB)
You can read the complete article in GameStar issue 05/2005.