SWAT begins with an interesting premise, but the designers seem to have paid too much attention to detail in the wrong areas.
Attaching the Police Quest moniker to this game may be misleading to long-time fans of the series. Police Quest: SWAT is not an adventure game, but an attempt to simulate the experience of being a Special Weapons and Tactics team member. Unfortunately, the designers, under the guidance of former LA Police Chief Daryl Gates, seem to have aimed for realism in all the wrong places.
Most of your game time is spent at the various SWAT training facilities, honing your marksmanship skills while waiting to be "called up" on assignment. For the most part, these training areas are no more than point-and-click shooting games, mighty boring and plenty repetitive. Even more frustrating is the fact that they do little to prepare you for actual assignments and are included only, it seems, to simulate the typical day of a SWAT member.
In the actual missions, any pretense of realism is discarded. With only a few commands and an inadequate communication system at your disposal, missions are more like restrictive puzzles than strategic simulations. The linear structure simply requires the player to execute a predetermined set of actions, but it is never quite clear what those actions are. When the mission is over, it's hard to tell whether it was completed correctly or not. Adding to this confusion, each scenario is repeated more than once, each time closing with a different outcome, but never with any justification for the inconsistencies.
On top of everything, SWAT is burdened by one of the most cumbersome interfaces ever devised. Figuring out what to do in this game is difficult enough, but the poor design makes figuring out how to do it nearly impossible.
SWAT begins with an interesting premise, but the designers seem to have paid too much attention to detail in the wrong areas. Humdrum tasks are too prevalent, and the areas which could have been truly intriguing are simply confusing and frustrating.