SWAT 4 breaches GOG, commences clearing wallets

2005’s tactical cop FPS SWAT 4 is one of the superest shooters and a strong contender for the best game those BioShockers at Irrational made, you might have heard. Probably from us. Several times. And each time, we cough and mutter “Er, but you’ll need to wander eBay or something to get it.” No more! SWAT 4 is now available easily and DRM-free from GOG. Gather some mates, fire up its co-op, form a plan, and try to neatly complete missions without killing anyone. You’ll not find the explode-o-murder of Rainbow Six Siege here. Well, not unless you want to.

GOG are selling SWAT 4’s Gold Edition, which includes its Stetchkov Syndicate expansion, for £7.99. Classics like this should never vanish from sale for years.

SWAT 4’s a tactical squad-based shooter, playing as a supercop busting everyone from bank robbers to cultists. It’s a game of caution, procedure, and hasty improvisation, as you’re not only trying to stay alive yourself but also sometimes rescue hostages and, ideally, capture the bad guys alive. It’s got a cracking and varied campaign, including one dreadful mission inside a killer’s home. Brr!

Absolutely do try SWAT 4 in co-op if you can. RPS elder Jim fired it up a few years after release:

“Anyway, we began with some tough assignments. An armed robbery gone awry in a convenience store, some terrorists in an office block. You know the kind of thing. I love the brief intros and vague details on the assignment: realistic to a fault. One of the tactical maps is even hastily inked onto toilet paper – improvised in the chaos of armed men doing crazy shit. SWAT 4 is packed with these kinds of details. We charged in, blasting doors off their hinges, gunning down perps, gassing and stunning the occupants of bank vaults and underground car parks, shouting, shooting, and handcuffing everyone.”

Ah, the days when environment artists had a ball filling worlds with cheeky posters, magazines, and signs about everything from Tribes: The Movie and Kickpuncher 2: Return of the Fist to — oh good grief! — “K. RELLY in a-minor”.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Dios says:

    YES! Why has nobody ever made a sequel to this? Update the graphics, unfuck some of the wonkyness, and you would get a superb game.

    • Ethaor says:

      Because instant gratification, near mindless shooting and big badaboom is the new fun. If need be throw in the mix a few gadgets QTE and call it ‘tactical’.

      Much like the ‘real’ older Rainbow Six, this is too slow, too realist and would be considered, wrongly, as a huge gamble in today’s market.

      Been waiting for some time for it, instant buy.

      • Ghostwise says:

        Because instant gratification, near mindless shooting and big badaboom is the new fun. If need be throw in the mix a few gadgets QTE and call it ‘tactical’.

        And then there’s this Elvis Presley brat. What do all these kids today see in him, and why do they even call that music ? It’s indecent.

      • N'Al says:

        * miniature violins *

      • Dingbatwhirr says:

        I wouldn’t call it the ‘new fun’: I’d call it ‘fun’, but just a different kind of fun from the fun of this game. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

        I agree that it’s a shame that there aren’t so many games like this being made nowadays, but I’m sure their time will come round again.

      • Rocos says:

        Interesting you say that, because that “instant” gratification, mindless shooting and “big badaboom” you speak of came from games older than SWAT 4. It’s called “Doom”, “Quake”, “Serious Sam” etc. etc. Oddly, the people who played those games complain about the lack of simple mindless shooters nowadays, and how everyone seems to want to go for ‘realism’. Honestly though, SWAT 4 WAS that mindless shooter, (when compared to SWAT 3 at least). Three which had better AI, better use of tactics, detailed ballistic such as the different reactions with various surface, walls and differing weapon calibers. Not to mention the magical SWAT 4 doors that always opened away from you, whereas in SWAT 3, you had to account for the way a door swung. The “new” you speak of is older than you think.

    • J Arcane says:

      A game where cops are encouraged to employ non-lethal solutions to problems, in Trump’s America?

      It’d never sell.

      • Ghostwise says:

        Maybe the suspects are white ?

        • theblazeuk says:

          I seem to recall half of them being Russian or Latino.

          • Ghostwise says:

            Well it could be worse. They could be both, like in those weird-arse Reagan-era action movies where the Cubans invade the USA but are beaten back by Chuck Norris or somebody like that. WOLVERINES!

    • gabrielonuris says:

      Unfuck. Man I’m laughing so much with the sound of that word; I love to learn new words (english isn’t my mother language, by the way)!

  2. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I forgot how slow the movement is in this game, still bloody love it even though I am so bad at it.

  3. GallonOfAlan says:

    Still have my CD of this. Great game. Still remember the mission with the children’s graves in the cellar. The criminals didn’t make it into custody on that one, I’m afraid.

  4. Legion1183 says:

    I have been waiting so long for a sequel to this, absolutely loved SWAT 4, gameplay issues aside. Unfortunately it has not aged well so I won’t be picking this up, don’t want to ruin how I remember the game.

  5. CMaster says:

    I’ve got a group set up for it on the RPS Discord. Come along guys and ask for @SWAT of you are looking for a game.

  6. Menthalion says:

    The only game where the community decided on mandatory team kills: As soon as someone in your pickup group didn’t follow the instructions of the leader and went off alone Rambo style, he would be headshotted by his three teammates in unison.

    Better one man down than have the terrorists alarmed by some gung-ho pickup. These groups also stuck together after the match, with a replacement that did listen.

    Newcomers tended to learn fast or go back to other shooters.

  7. Fnord73 says:

    Before I rush and buy, how is the singleplayer experience? Its lonely sometimes here in Norway :-)

    • thedosbox says:

      how is the singleplayer experience?

      Pretty good. Your team will sometimes get stuck in a doorway, but it’s possible to complete the campaign non-lethally if your team are all suitably equipped.

    • Sin Vega says:

      It’s excellent, pretty much my favourite shooter ever and I never played co-op. The AI isn’t perfect – your dudes often throw like a plant and veer between terrifyingly lethal to blundering helplessly into death, but it’s 12 years old and still holds up better than many shooters. The interface is outstanding too, its method of controlling your lackeys remotely has never been matched, annoyingly.

    • Elric666 says:

      I think this game has some of the best AI ever. Your team mates are actually quite competent in following Orders and not getting killed

  8. popej says:

    It’s one of my favourite games no doubt. However, I think the mission ranking system was a bit silly, as it is arguably only possible to get the top score for each mission by equipping everyone with paintguns, and relying on a large dose of luck with enemy positioning etc.

    I felt it got a bit too ‘gamey’ because of this, albeit still great fun. I spent far too many hours of my life trying to get a perfect score on every mission.

    Of course you don’t have to play like that, but the shiny scores!

    Thoroughly recommended anyway.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Arguably realistic though, surely? However good a real officer is, I’m sure there are situations where it’s just not possible to 100% the job because you got unlucky.

    • Elric666 says:

      Yes this game is awesome. Finally gog did it.
      But paintguns? Do you mean the non lethal shotgun? I think this is the greatest weakness in the game. The non lethal shotgun is easily the most effective weapon in the game, making all other choices redundant if you’re going for score. Usually I played the first round with that weapon for the progression, but then went full lethal on the fuckers in replays, because it’s more fun.

      • snappycow says:

        I always felt like I was missing out on a big part of the game since I went beanbag shotgun + tazer on every mission :/

        I loved that mission where there was this psycho killer with a bloody basement and his mom refuses to get down to be cuffed and you had to beanbag her to force her to comply XD

        • Elric666 says:

          the beanbag shotgun feels almost like cheat mode because you don’t even get the score penalty for hurting suspects. So you can always shoot first and disable them, which is the safest way to play the game. Playing with lethal weapons is much harder (and more fun/rewarding) because you have to ask questions first, which makes suspects hide, prepare for you and shoot back. The definite way to play the game

  9. walrus1 says:

    When I first played SWAT 4 it felt like a large step back from SWAT 3.

    However it grew on me. I wish someone would pump out SWAT 5.

  10. Dingbatwhirr says:

    This is excellent news. SWAT 4 might just be my favourite shooter. I love the way that it allows and openly encourages a truly non-lethal approach (in accordance with the law) which often ups the challenge – it’s easier to just shoot to kill. But then the addition of rules of engagement gives a new depth beyond just ‘shoot everyone you see’. Oh and it’s possible to just incapacitate suspects by aiming for the limbs too, and the game recognises that. Not enough games do that.

    Also, the attention to detail in the environmental design is, as others have said, incredible. I can almost smell that first mission in the Chinese restaurant, it’s so perfectly done.

    Oh and the context sensitive command menu actually works really well, I found. Feels like pointing at a door (for example) and giving a command about how to open it.

    Ach, I love it so much. I could talk about it for a long time.

  11. thedosbox says:

    Cool, I was wondering if we’d get a front page story out of this.

    Judging by the GOG comments, an INI hack for widescreen support is still needed: link to wsgf.org

    Also, there is a replacement master server for MP shenanigans: link to swat4stats.com

    • Jeeva says:

      Brilliant – I’ve been pimping the game out to friends the last day or so whilst secretly worrying that we’ll need to run Hamachi or something like that.

      Thanks for the heads-up!

    • slerbal says:

      Thanks for reposting those links – those two are essential now for SWAT4

  12. Fnord73 says:

    Just read Sin Vegas old text on the SWAT games. Now I need to buy.

    link to lonelymushroom.com

  13. zulnam says:

    Fucken finally!

  14. KillahMate says:

    Is it true, as I’ve been told, that SWAT 3 is actually the better game? Read lots of articles about the lost gem that is SWAT 4, but oldtimers on forums often complain that it was actually a step back from SWAT 3?

    • Troubletcat says:

      They’re both very good games in the now-dead tactical shooter genre (modern games claiming to belong to this category have nothing in common mechanics-wise with the games that established it).

      SWAT 3 is a deeper game but SWAT 4 plays better for the most part. For me, I’ll always remember SWAT 3 more fondly, but they’re both good games.

    • walrus1 says:

      If you want a harder game that requires more strategy SWAT 3 is your game. If you want less thinking SWAT 4 is your go to.

      I personally think SWAT 3 is better. But SWAT 4 is worth a playthrough.

      • heretic says:

        Same here, I have more fond memories of the hours spent in SWAT 3. My god the random generation was crazy as well, sometimes a civilian would be injured on the floor, other times the same civilian character model had an uzi and was a terrorist! You have to be VERY careful before you pull the trigger.

      • jonfitt says:

        Interesting. I only played SWAT3. I really liked it, but people always go on about SWAT 4.

    • Sin Vega says:

      They’re both excellent but different enough that it’s well worth buying them together. 4 does several things much better (it has more non-lethal options, better levels, better shooting and in particular better sound and voice acting, and is crazy atmospheric and tense), but loses a few things that made 3 great. 3 has a story connecting the missions, a roster of lackeys you have to keep safe, it tracks your performance with reputation and medals, it has more wide open areas so a bit more tactical variety, and the custom mission mode has a bit more variety. But it doesn’t have the same environments, the storytelling within individual levels, unpredictable AI or unbearable tension.

      Most people prefer one or the other. Personally I like 4 more overall, it’s a little less dry and better at conveying the constant threat that things could spiral out of control at any moment. But it’s absolutely worth trying both.

    • Elric666 says:

      I strongly prefer Swat 4 because of the fantastic controls that result in fluid gameplay. Swat 3 is way more fiddly and for me it often gets in the way of enjoying the experience.

  15. Thirith says:

    Since Gamespy is no longer around, is there a preferred way to play the game in online coop?

    • slerbal says:

      Check thedosbox’s post above. I’ve used the new server and it works great.

      Soooo pleased GOG got SWAT4 back out there.

      • Thirith says:

        Thanks, I somehow missed that. (Lack of coffee, most likely.) Port forwarding is probably still necessary, but I’ve also seen that there seems to be a “Direct IP” option, which in itself would be exactly what I need.

        • Fnord73 says:

          Damn it, PC Elite, when you write stuff like that you should also include a small “This is how you play Multiplayer” guide in 5 easy bulletpoints. Because most of us are going “huh?” Think of us as the Trump-voters of the PC you need to educate.

  16. killkenny1 says:

    Finally, my all time favorite co-op has made it to GoG!

  17. whitebrice says:

    Does it still have in-game ads? Seeing Beavis & Butthead on every single screen really added to my immersion when I played years ago.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Wait, what? Are you sure? The only adverts I remember were posters for made up films like Kickpuncher (before Community, and presumably a coincidence) and Irrational’s other games like the Freedom Force arcade cabinet.

      I mean, SWAT 4 came out, what, a decade after Beavis and Butthead stopped being relevant?

      • KillahMate says:

        Dan Harmon’s a pretty big gamer – I wouldn’t be surprised if he (subconsciously) picked up the Kickpuncher thing from SWAT 4.

  18. int says:


    Which is also the name of a porno.

  19. jonfitt says:

    Do you get to flashbang a baby, and shoot the dog? For extra realism you should lose points if any dogs are left alive.