In praise of SWAT 4's 'protect and serve' design

In praise of SWAT 4’s ‘protect and serve’ design SWAT 4 is now available on Mull that over for a minute. You no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars for a rare boxed copy of the game on an auction site to experience one of the best tactical police shooters ever created. The 2005 title from Irrational Games and Sierra was exceedingly hard to find in legitimate ways, but now you can get the gold version bundled with The Stetchkov Syndicate expansion in just a few clicks. Progress! Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege may be the modern choice for cops versus robbers action, but SWAT 4 comes from a design that emphasized safety and procedure over slamming through floors with explosives and unlocking cosmetic helmets. In single player or cooperative scenarios, SWAT 4 is all about slowly inching forward, peeking around corners, and moving in assault teams through claustrophobic environments while trying to apprehend or neutralize bad guys. You can lose a mission for shooting enemies if they’re not actively threatening you or civilians! Arrest and subdue, not indiscriminate killing, is the order of the day. Imagine abiding by that rule as you rush through the chaos of Rainbow Six Siege’s wall-busting and grenade spam. tracked down a couple of the original folks from Irrational that worked on the game. The interview touches on a few of the choices the team made in development that help SWAT 4 stand the test of time. _Authenticity drove everything, and to that end we learned a lot from our consultant and retired LA SWAT officer, Ken Thatcher. I remember we showed him game footage and he immediately called out the problem of having your gun at your eyes – remember, this was pre-iron sights – because it reduced your vision. It especially bothered him that your gun was sometimes aimed at fellow officers. “You never point the barrel of your weapon at anything you don’t want to die,” he told us, which prompted us to add the low-ready animation, automatically dipping your gun when it panned past another officer._ SWAT 4: Gold Edition on comes with The Stetchkov Syndicate add-on campaign and multiplayer is possible through LAN or direct connection.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Still the best game of its type, I think.

Would be interesting to see a remake in 2017 America.

Yeah, that game is kind of a classic. It’s odd that it’s not on Steam.

What other game lets you threaten perps into submission and forces you to hogtie innocents despite their protestations, only to make you lose your perfect grade because there’s one thing you omitted to report to HQ?

I had no idea this was so hard to track down these days. A very fond memory from early on in my reviewing days.

I’ve been trawling eBay for years trying to catch this at a reasonable price, so I’ll definitely bite on this.

Or you can pick this up instead:

Didn’t realize boxed copies were rare, or I would have sold mine. I tried it a few years ago; made it through the tutorial, at which point the game promptly crashed to the desktop. Never went back to it.

This (and similarly excellent SWAT 3) are still my favorite shooters, ever - precisely because they made you think about more than just pointing and shooting, and did an excellent job of building up atmosphere in each mission. 4’s environments are also insanely detailed, and the chatter in your squad feels authentic, even if sometimes it felt a bit weird to have to taze hostages just to zip tie them even though clearly they’ve surrendered.

Also, I love the constant mission objective: “Bring order to chaos”.

Seconded. While I’ve played some of the Rainbow Sixes, these were the ones that really clicked with me.