Interface practice will decide if it is a good or bad SWAT day

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 August, 1998, 12:00am

Peter Lau Police Quest SWAT 2 is the seventh instalment in the successful Police Quest series. SWAT 2 is a real-time tactical simulation of the real-life Special Weapons And Tactics teams, and just as in real life, it has its good days and its bad days.

I have just had a bad day. My sniper team confirmed that two barricaded suspects lurked inside a convenience store after a holdup turned sour. My assault team was gearing up while the Crisis Negotiation Team spoke to the people inside by phone.

We discovered the store owner was Vietnamese and started looking for an interpreter when shots rang out from inside the store. The Crisis Negotiation Team radioed me and said: 'Shots have been fired. Ball's in your court, Chief.' Bring on the assault team. We knocked down the door with a battering ram and were ready to throw in a stun grenade, burst in and fan out. I could tell this was going to be a bad day when the stun grenade hit the door frame, bounced back and stunned my SWAT team.

The game interface requires some practice. You issue orders to your team through a point-and-click interface.

Not only was it hard to aim grenades through doorways, but it also was too easy to fire my gun when I really only wanted to move my team. In fact, the aforementioned shots were accidentally fired by me.

You spend most of your time looking from a 3D isometric view - top down, on an angle - which works well most of the time.

At other times, the angle was frustrating as walls blocked my view, making it impossible to see the terrorist standing right over my team - who were all dead. He had killed them as I frantically looked around the screen to find out where the shots were coming from.

Innocent bystanders abound and must be moved to a safe area. It was annoying to have to chase bystanders back and forth with my mouse as they ran around the screen hysterically. It was easier to deal with bad guys than to catch distraught bystanders.

SWAT would not be SWAT without special weapons. Here is a sample: MP-5 sub-machine guns, sniper rifles, stun grenades, tear gas, bullet-proof vests, and black Nomax coveralls.

My favourite toy was the helicopter, since you could abseil down and surprise the bad guys.

You can play another 15 scenarios from the terrorist side. The game gives the terrorists some unique options. They can set booby traps, negotiate for money and escape vehicles, take hostages and even persuade hostages to join their cause.

During multi-player games, you can play out SWAT vs Terrorist scenarios.

Despite the interface shortcomings, I liked the overall design of this $260 game and look forward to trying the multi-player options.

A little bit of practice with the interface will hopefully make your day turn out better than mine.