Officer, as a member of SWAT, the next seven days will be some of the most challenging of your career, as Los Angeles hosts the signing of the United Nations Nuclear Abolishment Treaty and celebrates Global Peace Day 2005. Your fundamental mission for the next 24/7 will be to lead your team against the global forces that would prevent this momentous event from occurring. Go out there and do the job you've been trained to do. Gear up and head out.

SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle (also known as SWAT3 or SWAT3: CQB) is a tactical squad-based first person shooter, developed by Sierra Northwest and published by parent Sierra Entertainment for the PC and released on November 23, 1999.

As the first first-person shooter of the Police Quest/SWAT games, SWAT3 received a new game engine with cell and portal technologies for simulating environments and weapon ballistics, as well as advanced AI for the game's NPCs. The developers spent some time with LAPD SWAT, studying tactics in order to create an accurate, realistic simulation. Most of the animations in the game were motion captured, acted out by a SWAT officer. [1]

The player assumes the role of a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT element leader in command of a five-man entry team. During the game's single player campaign, the player is tasked with resolving crisis situations involving violent criminals and terrorists, the threat of a nuclear weapon, and preventing the disruption of a historic treaty signing. The game also features multiplayer gameplay including competitive deathmatch and team deathmatch modes in addition to paintball mode and cooperative play using the single player missions.

SWAT 3 was succeeded by SWAT 4 in April 2005, which was developed and published by Irrational Games and Sierra owner Vivendi Universal.


As the name indicates, the game emphasizes the use of realistic close quarters battle tactics. The player is in charge of a 5-man SWAT element, and unlike other tactical shooters, such as the comparable Rainbow Six games, the player is a police officer; therefore arresting rather than simply shooting suspects on sight is the primary objective.

The single player game features four elective weapons; the HK MP5 and MP5SD, the Benelli M1 Super 90 and the Colt M4, in addition to the modified Springfield M1911 issued to all LAPD SWAT officers. All of these feature a flashlight and some have modifications to give the player a tactical advantage in certain situations; for example, the M4A1 can fire less lethal rounds which hurt but do not kill targets, and the M1 Super 90 has secondary breaching ammunition for shooting open locked doors. Others have a selection of full metal jacket and hollow point ammunition, whose effectiveness depends upon the situation and the target. The game's expansion packs added a variety of new weapons, many of which featured enhancements like scopes, extended magazines and sound suppressors.

Unlike some other games, some ammunition is actually able to penetrate through walls, which makes spray firing a risk, as a stray bullet can pass through a wall and hit an innocent.

Firearms are augmented by a number of tactical aids, such as CS gas and flashbang grenades, chemical lightsticks, breaching explosives and the 'opti-wand'; a miniature camera on a telescopic wand used for searching around corners.

SWAT officers are outfitted much like in real life, with some advancements for the game's near-futuristic (in 1999) setting; these are used to explain elements of gameplay, such as the heads up display; the officer's fully enclosed helmets have relevant information, such as ammunition counts and a target reticule projected onto the faceplate.

Instead of traditional hit points, SWAT3 has a health 'scale' more similar to a life bar, representing sensors monitoring blood loss and body temperature. Wounds cannot be healed mid-mission, and an officer can take very few hits before being incapacitated. This necessitates the use of flashbangs and CS gas before entering an area to disorient armed suspects waiting in ambush.

The game has three difficulty levels; easy, medium and hard, which increase the aggression and tactical intelligence of suspects and reduces their likelihood of surrender. There is also a 'response time' options for AI officers and suspects, ranging from 1 to 20 milliseconds, which dictates how quickly officers and suspects respond to changing situations.

Within a mission, the game has two 'modes': stealth, and dynamic. In stealth mode, officers move slowly and cautiously, use the opti-wand on doorways and corners, speak softly, do not use flashbangs and pick locked doors instead of breaching them. Suspects are initially unaware of the element's presence or can lose track of them, giving the player an element of surprise. When a suspect is encountered, the game automatically switches to dynamic mode. In dynamic mode, officers move quickly, speak loudly and shout, and use flashbangs and breaching explosives when appropriate. The player can switch freely between stealth and dynamic modes.



There are a number of militant or terrorist factions encountered by SWAT over the course of the game, of various nationalities and agendas. The Kurdish People's Party is a small, disorganized US splinter of a group seeking the independence of Kurdistan from Turkey. The cell is led by Lokman Damar. Malta is a US terrorists-for-hire group led by a man named Ric 'Dog' Peters. The People's Liberation Party, also referred to as the PLP, is a Russian communist group which seeks the reunification of the Soviet Union. The group is quite large with a number of different leaders, and prefers hostage-taking to achieve their goals, holding many people around the world. Sovereign America is one of the main antagonist factions in the game; a militia recognized as a domestic terrorist group by the US government after the bombings of courthouses and other municipal buildings. Sovereign America asserts that the US government is part of a 'new world order' that will take away their freedom. Accordingly, they reject all government authority, including police. Sovereign America is led by Tobias Stromm, self proclaimed minister and preacher of "end of the world rhetoric".


The game is set in Los Angeles in 2005, shortly before the signing of the United Nations Nuclear Abolishment Treaty, which will permanently ban the use or production of nuclear weaponry. The player and SWAT have the responsibility of ensuring that the treaty is signed safely. A number of fictional domestic and foreign terrorist groups serve as antagonists, who plan on using the signing as a platform for their demands. To make matters worse, lost Soviet portable atomic demolition devices ("suitcase nukes") are reported to have buyers in the LA area.


The original game had 16 missions total, ranging from rapid deployment to VIP protection. Some of the maps are based on real locations such as the LA City Hall and the Convention Center. The expansions added 11 more maps, none of which were incorporated into the single player campaign. Rather than following a storyline, these missions simply depicted other incidents the Los Angeles SWAT team responded to.

The earlier missions are more routine SWAT deployments, keeping the learning curve shallow for new players, the first being search warrant service at the home of Martin Brenner, a suspected freeway sniper. The next mission introduces Sovereign America, with an arrest warrant served on one Victor Getts, a member of Soverign America suspected of vehicular manslaughter and manufacturing explosives.

The bombing of the Turkish embassy, and the subsequent kidnapping of ambassador Jemil Kemal introduces the Kurdish People's Party. This is followed by an invasion of the home of Donald Foreman, CEO of a large cable provider by a heavily armed group, holding Foreman, his wife Linda, and his two children for ransom.

The Orthodox patriarch Alexei III and his retinue are held in an Orthodox cathedral by an armed group is the first incident connected to the treaty signing, as the bishop is visiting Los Angeles to attend the signing. Matters are complicated by the private security team hired to protect Alexei. This security team provide an unknown variable. At random, they will either attack the SWAT team, attack the terrorists or do nothing.

The downing of the aircraft of the Algerian president by a surface to air missile becomes a serious international incident and marks the entrance of the People's Liberation Party. The resulting chaos caused by the shutdown of LAX has created a significant number of vulnerable targets for more missiles, including the plane of Russian president, Igor Stomas. The missile is traced to a waterworks construction site, and SWAT is dispatched to investigate. Soon after, the PLP storms a television studio during an afternoon talk show, holding LA Mayor Marlin Fitzpatrick, Tolerance Defense League Chairman Herman Moyer, host Donna Briggs and many members of the audience and station staff hostage. The group demands an international broadcast of their message of Soviet reunification. The People's Liberation Party again targets President Stomas at his penthouse suite at the Carlysle Hotel, demanding a flight to Moscow with the intention of taking Stomas with them.

SWAT's next task is the arrest warrant for Ric Peters at his nightclub, the Phoenix Lounge, when he and Malta are finally identified as the mysterious group responsible for both the Foreman home invasion and cathedral incident. They also have to deal with a failed bank heist by Sovereign America, who have holed themselves up in the bank.

In the final run up to the treaty signing, SWAT is given VIP protection duty for dignitaries at a pre-signing meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The day goes smoothly until multiple armed suspects attempt to disrupt this meeting, holding several important politicians hostage.

The People's Liberation Party strikes again after the convention center incident in another attempt to disrupt the treaty signing, creating a national emergency by taking over the LAX control tower, broadcasting false air traffic control information (resulting in a midair collision) and installing another Surface-to-Air missile launcher at the top of the tower, threatening aircraft carrying dignitaries headed to the treaty signing. Air Force One is briefly in the area but is diverted quickly to Edwards Air Force Base. Despite the danger the President is averted, and there are many more civilian planes waiting to be diverted to other airports, the FAA having closed down LAX after the earlier collision. SWAT storms the tower from the basement and soon restores order.

SWAT is required for VIP protection duty at a World Trade Organization conference at the Ventura Hotel, accompanying the treaty signing. Death threats have been received by some of the attendees from various militia factions, and several militiamen storm the building. This is followed shortly afterwards by the bombing of an electric substation leaving most of LA without power, save for municipal buildings with backup generators. This was apparently a diversion, to allow Sovereign America terrorists led by Tobias Stromm himself to take over City Hall, for what Stromm calls an "end of the world vigil". It transpires that Sovereign America was the winner of the auction for one of the suitcase nukes, now installed and guarded by Stromm at the top of the tower, and Sovereign America intends to destroy the entire city in a last stand, but thankfully SWAT raids the tower, arrests Stromm and his gunmen and saves the city.

During the final preparations for the treaty signing and the celebrations afterward, suspicious personnel are observed entering the storm drain system near UCLA, where a parade is supposed to pass overhead, carrying heavy equipment and overheard talking about demolitions. The storm drain system had already been cleared once by police officers - after being alerted to these developments, SWAT is sent in to investigate, finding a mysterious armed group disguised as maintenance workers.

Finally, SWAT is tasked with protecting the treaty signing. In a last ditch attempt to stop the signing, the People's Liberation Party attack, hiding a second suitcase nuke in the building and taking many dignitaries hostage. Despite this, with the intervention of SWAT the treaty signing is completed successfully.


The game was released in three separate versions. Each newer version contains all of the features from the earlier version. The first version was named simply SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle and most notably did not include multiplayer. SWAT 3: Elite Edition added several new features, including five more scenarios, the ability to play as a SWAT team member instead of team leader, two-element missions, and a multiplayer mode. SWAT 3: Tactical Game of the Year Edition added a few more scenarios, as well as an Advanced Tactics CD which contains actual SWAT training footage.

The official patches were made available free of charge at Sierra's SWAT 3 website, which also allowed players who owned SWAT 3 to download the expansion content for free.


SWAT 3 received positive reviews, averaging 84% on Game Rankings. [2] Praise was lavished on the graphics, along with the AI of enemies and civilians and team interaction. PC Gamer UK gave the game a score of 91%, saying "All the best ideas from other squad based games, shoehorned into a police setting, perfectly." [3] The game was also reviewed by GameSpot, with a rating of 8.3/10. [4] Gamespot commented "SWAT 3's most impressive feature has to be the amazing artificial intelligence employed by friend and foe alike." [4]

As well as spawning two expansion packs, SWAT 3 had a sequel, SWAT 4, which was developed by Irrational Games and published by Vivendi Universal.


  1. Template:Citation/core
  2. Template:Citation/core
  3. "The Ultimate Guide to PC Games", PC Gamer Presents/Future Publishing, July 2003. ISBN 829973780X
  4. 4.0 4.1 GameSpot review, GameSpot. Retrieved 25 July 2006.

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Pasadena Freeway Sniper - Vehicular Manslaughter, Criminal use of Explosives - Downtown Warehouse District - Home Invasion - Saint Dimitri’s Holy Trinity Church - Hyperion Treatment Plant - 211 In Progress - DBN Television Center - Phoenix Lounge - Hotel Carlyle - Los Angeles Convention Center - LAX Siege - Ventura Hotel - Los Angeles City Hall - Storm Drain System - Los Angeles Convention Center
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