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by Sierra

s3e3-01.jpg (8196 bytes)Moving through a deserted warehouse, creeping around construction sites at night, getting shot at by Uzi wielding terrorists and rescuing important government officials from extremely dangerous situations.  Does this sound like the perfect job or what?  OK, so most of us are not cut out for police work, especially police work of  SWAT-caliber.  But don’t fret, crime-fighters-at-heart, SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle Elite Edition takes us as close to the action as a civilian can come.  

s3e2-01.jpg (6855 bytes)Sierra’s SWAT 3: Close Quarters Battle (the original) came out almost a year ago and was a brilliant success.  The biggest complaint about the game was the lack of multi-player mode.  It’s all well and good to go in and take out some AI criminals with your crack-team of AI SWAT members, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to grab 3 or 4 of your best friends and start a LAN game against the baddies of futuristic Los Angeles.  Well, the developers got our their thinking caps and did just that.   They’ve added several features to SWAT 3: CQB, the biggest of which is multiplayer.   They’ve also added 5 more missions, new guns and characters, as well as a MOD selector/manager that allows you to easily manage the MODs you download.  A scenario editor is also embedded in the game that allows you to modify the scenario parameters, characters, placements and objectives. 

s3e1-01.jpg (9091 bytes)For those of you that have not had the chance to play the original SWAT 3:CQB, I’ll give a short explanation of the premise.  The year is 2005, and hundreds of world officials are converging on LA to sign a Nuclear Weapons Abolishment Treaty, the Earth’s first collective attempt at world peace.  Needless to say, there are tons of violent terrorist groups that would be out of the terrorist business if this treaty were signed.  They are doing their darnedest to stop this from happening.  As an LAPD SWAT unit leader, it is your job to intervene and put an end to the terrorist activities while protecting innocents ranging from secretaries to international ambassadors. 

s3e4-01.jpg (8459 bytes)The game is a somewhat standard First-Person Shooter with a few twists.   First of all, you don’t have the all-too-common “hand holding the gun” at the bottom of your screen.   You’ve still got a target in the middle of your screen, but in order to get a full idea of the situation, you need as much screen real estate as possible.   The next twist that SWAT 3 puts on the FPS genre is that you don’t win just for going in with guns blazing.  You are a police officer and (contrary to popular belief) your job is to preserve peace with a minimal loss of life.   You and your team are constantly in communication with headquarters and if you recklessly kill without regard for human life, you not only fail your mission, you get a harsh reprimand from your commanding officers at LAPD HQ.

Now, for those of us who have had the pleasure of owning the original SWAT3, the best news about Elite Edition is that you can download the upgrade patch for it for free.   The patch includes the Multiplayer upgrade and all of the additional EE features, and is available at http://swat.sierra.com/support.   As mentioned before, the Elite Edition comes with 5 new scenarios.  These include Chang’s Theater, the LA Subway, Whitman Airport, Hollywood Hills and The City of Angels Hospital, which is based on a real Los Angeles Hospital. 

s3e6-01.jpg (8754 bytes)Multiplayer mode gives you three different game types to choose from.   You’ve got your standard Co-op mode, where you and your friends are working together to complete a mission.  This is just like the single player game, but you’ve got real people working with you, instead of AI officers.   Deathmatch mode pits you against your friends in an all-out firestorm of death and destruction.  You’re randomly placed somewhere within the map and you blaze through the building trying to kill your opponents.   The third mode, Paintball Mode, is very similar to the Deathmatch mode, but you’ve got your gun loaded with paintballs instead of lethal bullets.  Unfortunately, there is one problem with the long-awaited multiplayer mode.  It only allows for a maximum of 5 players in any one game.  This is fine for the co-op games since the SWAT teams are made up of 5 officers, but the Deathmatch and Paintball modes would be better  if they could handle a larger number of players. 

Using an enhanced version of the original SWAT3:CQB engine, the EE version maintains the same high quality graphics, sound and play action.   The new levels are a great addition to the game and enhance the career-mode plotline.   And to go along with the new version, Sierra has posted a number of new character skins and new world scenarios on their website. 

s3e5-01.jpg (8635 bytes)Overall, the Elite Edition is a healthy improvement to the original version of SWAT3:Close Quarters Battle.  Even with the 5-player restriction, the multi-player addon brings the game to a new level.    The MOD manager makes it quick and easy to choose your favorite MOD from the wide variety of MODs available.  In the end, it is a fun game, and for those of you looking to get into the SWAT3 series, Elite Edition is the way to go. 

Tim Johnson

Snapshot

Ups: Added multiplayer, five new levels and numerous skins, guns and AI

Downs: Multiplayer only supports five players

System Reqs: P233, 32 MB RAM, 3D card recommended

 

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