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Police Quest: SWAT
Police Quest: SWAT
Michael Roca, Jr.

Published by Sierra

Demo: No.

System Requirements
PowerPC
12 MB RAM
2X CD ROM drive
OS 7.1+
Machine Tested On:
PowerCenter 604/120MHz
40 MB RAM
4X CD ROM drive

ESRB Advisory:
Mature



Overview:
Police Quest SWAT, Sierra's latest installment in the Police Quest series, puts you in the role of a SWAT team trainee. You will abide by the rules, regulations and procedures that a SWAT is expected to abide by. It's not all about fun and games anymore. It's about police procedure.

Hardware Demands:
Police Quest SWAT ran smoothly most of the time on my PowerCenter 120, although at times the graphics seemed to load slowly. This was most likely due to the fact that the movies play directly from the CD-ROM. You have to have at least a 2X CD-ROM drive to play Police Quest SWAT. This game also requires 256 colors and at least 12 MB of RAM.

Game Synopsis:
Police Quest SWAT focuses on the career of an individual SWAT team member. You take on the role of this character at the beginning of the game. You can receive different promotions and even have some choice about what type of skill you choose to develop, whether it be as a sharp shooter or as part of the assault team.

The Game:
Police Quest SWAT has good graphics and animation. All the action is done by live actors. However, the graphics and animation can only enrich the game to a certain point. I found the gameplay to be very frustrating and annoying. The problem is not with the interface, but with the fact that Police Quest SWAT takes Murphy's law a little too seriously. "If anything can go wrong, it will." This particular law is a very accurate way of describing Police Quest SWAT's game play. If you don't do everything according to procedure, the worst will happen. If you forget to look around a corner before entering a particular area, there will be a gunman there to remind you of your mistake. If you go right instead of left, you will end up dead and you will find yourself restoring from a saved game. The wise gamer will save every 30 seconds, because death comes all too easily in this game.

The first couple of assignments tend to be easier. You are given orders and if you don't follow the orders precisely, you end up either getting killed or suspended. Toward the end of the game you have the option of being promoted to different positions. That is where the gameplay really starts to get frustrating, since now you get to make your own choices. The problem with such decision-making is that there is only one solution among almost unlimited number of available choices. If you do make a move that does not comply with the predetermined pattern, you end up dead. The later missions are practically impossible without a walkthrough. But even with a walkthrough this game is frustrating. If you pause for too long, you will be killed. Out of all the scenes in the game, I saw the death sequence the most.

The Interface:
The interface is understandable and set up well; however, it takes a little while to get used to. When you are out on assignment, you generally play from the first-person viewpoint. You can travel around with the main view when the cursor changes into an arrow that points in a particular direction. There is also a menu bar located at the bottom of the screen: it enables you to use items, give hand signals, verbal commands or access the control panels. The interface is laid out in an understandable manner and just takes a small time to get used to.

Bug Report:
I received many "Unimplemented Trap" errors that caused my computer to crash. I tried limiting my system extensions to the minimum amount that is needed to play this game. I also tried using both system 7.5.3 and 7.5.5. I even allocated up to 20MB of RAM to the game's application, but nothing worked to eliminate these errors. In the first mission, an "Unimplemented Trap" occurs consistently if you are assigned the position of entry team. The only way to get through this mission is to restore from a previously saved game and hope that the next time you encounter this mission, you get assigned to rear containment.

Conclusion:
I don't recommend this game to anyone except die-hard Police Quest fans. The game play is just too restrictive and frustrating for the average gamer. Plus, the software contains critical bugs that make it difficult for the user to complete the first mission. The good graphics and animation do not by any means make up for these shortcomings.

Overall: 60%

Rating Percentage
Playability: 40%
Inferface: 80%
Longevity: 60%
Stabilty: 60%
Hardware Demands: 80%
Value: 40%

Pros:
Good Graphics.
Realistic situations.
Great attention to detail.

Cons:
Frustrating and restrictive game play.
Almost impossible to beat without a walkthrough.
Unstable at times.


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