Developed with the help of an ex-police chief of Los Angeles, Police Quest: SWAT 2 is a strategy game set in the present, which makes a change. After all, why bother gallivanting off into the future when there’s plenty of death, destruction and mayhem in the tail end of the 20th century? The majority of that death, destruction and mayhem is caused by rioters and terrorists, and the aim of this game is for the player to take control of a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team and bring the situation under control as quickly and safely as possible.
Given the title of this game, most players will probably want to take on the bad guys with their own SWAT team, but you can also play from the other side of the law. The terrorist leaders seem to be a little OTT in their near-religious zeal, and the developers have wisely steered clear of including any real-life terrorist organisations in the game, but it is interesting to see things from the other point of view. Just as when playing the goodies, you can pick and choose which members of your team to take on a mission. The mugshots are suitably menacing – probably photos of the game’s programmers…
You control your team using that trusty drag-and-drop interface that has served so many other strategy games, and it works well here, too. Select your men (and women), tell them where to go, what to kill and with which weapon. They’ll do the rest, or perish in the attempt. Obviously, the idea is to lose as few of your own team as possible, so it pays to plan each mission carefully.
And there’s a wide range of missions to play – 30 of them, in fact – regardless of which ‘team’ you’re on. Some, like the one in the screenshot below, are played out in the desert, but others take place in airports and other built-up areas, which helps to keep things interesting. The game supports up to eight players in network mode, but is actually most enjoyable when played against the computer. Lock and load.