S.W.A.T. the Movie: 3D Game is an on-rails whack-a-mole game disguised as a shooter. As Jim Street, a rookie member of Sgt. Dan Harrelson's elite SWAT force, it is your duty to shoot a lot of people in the head. This is accomplished by pressing one of nine buttons on your keypad, which correspond to their location. Simple gameplay like this can be executed well on the cell. Unfortunately, S.W.A.T.'s slow, monotonous action-- characterized by numerous small firefights--never really provides the frenetic pacing a whack-a-mole game should.
Before each mission, Sgt. Harrelson, played by the commanding Samuel L. Jackson, apprises you of the dangers ahead and makes it clear that he doesn't tolerate monkey business or clip-on neckties. After staring for a while at a 3D model of Sam's head, accompanied by scrolling ungrammatical text, you'll be thrust into a live fire situation. Terrorists (not present in the movie), who, for whatever reason, invariably sport jungle camouflage, will spawn before your eyes and then fire heavenward. Mysteriously, these ill-aimed blasts always manage to hit the squad member you're currently controlling, depleting his or her life bar. The game's characters serve as lives for the player, the third and final of which is the movie's hero, Jim Street.
You can return fire by pressing the button corresponding to your enemy's location. It is rare to encounter more than a couple of enemies at once. Apparently, terrorists are big proponents of the buddy system.
After each of these short and civilized confrontations, you'll be whisked along to the next hostile area. Although you never pass hostile units while moving, these groups of terrorists must proliferate in S.W.A.T.'s urban battlegrounds. Partly due to load time between firefights, each mission takes much too long for a single mobile play session. You can fortunately save the game between missions, however.
While your gun's report makes it sound like a long-range bolt-action rifle, it's apparently a handgun with eight bullets to a clip. You'll have to reload pretty often, but doing so seems to incur a lengthy load time, even when you're not in the heat of battle. A player's natural inclination is to reload during the on-rails movement sequences; however, these annoying load times might prove to be a deterrent.
S.W.A.T.'s major asset is its graphics, which are powered by Superscape's Swerve engine. The game's few character models look very impressive, particularly during their death animations, which could be described as "faux rag doll." However, an unfortunate collision-detection bug causes these models to deform when they meet the ground, melding into the rooftops on which, in life, they stood. In any event, as compared to those of the VX8000's current batch of 3D titles, S.W.A.T.'s graphics look great and are the game's primary draw.
S.W.A.T.'s sound is quite a bit less robust. Apart from the game's opening house beat and your gun's resounding report, you won't hear much--not even a satisfying scream from a slain foe. What audio is included in the game is pretty nice; it's just too bad there isn't more of it.
S.W.A.T.'s best asset, which is its impressive graphics, is probably also its ultimate downfall. Due to technological limitations, it may have been impossible to simultaneously display a sufficient number of enemies onscreen. The game's oppressive and frequent load times are also likely a product of the game's graphical engine. These problems, combined with overly-simple gameplay, make S.W.A.T. a sluggish, dull game.