The Rules of Lethal Engagement in SWAT 4, is a set of rules and regulations that dictates the conditions and the degree of necessity required in order to legally employ lethal force on subjects. The primary aim of these guidelines is to value the worth and sanctity of an individual's life to preserve it. It is this feature of the game that distinctively draws a line between it and numerous other FPS games that do not adopt such conditions for justifying deadly force. The firm rigidity of these guidelines in the game is widely evident as the player is heavily penalized when he utilizes such acts of force in the absence of any valid authorization.

The purpose for adhering to the Rules of Lethal Engagement is clearly specified in the game. SWAT is essentially a life-saving organization and hence it would be ironic if SWAT itself recklessly ended the lives of others regardless of their moral status.

In the Game Edit

The Rules of Lethal Engagement are predominant in every single-player mission while naturally excluded and ignored in multiplayer games. The Rules of Engagement cannot be "disabled" in the game hence denying the Player a chance to be enticed into massacring every individual at sight while simultaneously attempting to comply with the rules of the game.

In SWAT 4, lethal force can only be legally justified by the following conditions stated below,

  • If a suspect has resolved to force / shown any acts of hostility by aiming his firearm at either you or any other person: This is the most common occurrence in the game which demands for quick reflexes from the player.
  • If a suspect has already fired his weapon as an act of hostility: Since this act of hostility was capable of injuring or threatening the life of another including you, the player is entitled with the authorisation to adequately return fire effectively in order to promptly end the threat.
    • While considering that the above condition has taken place and has resulted in the injury or incapacitation of an individual including either a hostage, Officer or you: The individual responsible for such acts of hostility is a potent threat to the life and safety of nearby people and therefore it is deemed necessary to exercise lethal force on such targets to prevent any further casualties. The aforementioned individual is deemed to be neutralized either by lethal or non-lethal force depending upon the circumstances offered.

However, the player is not authorised to use force under the following circumstances briefly explained below,

  • If an armed threat has rejected to comply with the Officers and has subsequently chosen to flee but has not shown any acts of hostility prior to this: Since the threat has not chosen to endanger the life of the people around him, the player must restrain himself from using lethal force on this subject.
  • If an unsuspecting armed threat proceeds into a room while appearing to aim with his firearm, however, in reality does not particularly aim at a specific subject with the intention of causing harm: This instance may often occur when a suspect inspects a room with great curiosity after hearing a loud commotion in an adjacent room. In most occasions, they will appear to aim their firearm as they proceed into the room. This is only an act of caution and preparation on the path of the suspect and therefore the player is unauthorised to fire his weapon unless the threat seems to explicitly intend on harming an individual.

In regard to Less-Lethal weaponry Edit

The Rules of Lethal Engagement hardly impact the usage of non-lethal weapons since the reason for it is clearly implied. Most less lethal weapons are incapable of heavily injuring subjects to an extent where they may either die or incapacitate, and hence the life of the target is preserved irrespective of whether the weapon was fired with valid justification or not.

However with respect to the changes made in the Elite Force mod, the careless use of the Less Lethal Shotgun may invite penalties regarding unauthorized use of (deadly) force since the weapon was made capable of incapacitating or killing a target when fired at point blank range. (Read effects of Less Lethal Nova for better understanding).

Conclusively, it can be easily inferred that if the lethal force inflicted results in significant physical damage then the motive for proceeding to cause such damage must be sufficiently reasonable enough and the justification of such a motive can be determined by the points mentioned earlier.

Penalties Edit

When the player violates the terms of engagement during a mission, the violation is considered an offence and points are deducted from the main score for compensation. Depending on the extent of illegal force used, the player loses a specific amount of points determined by the magnitude of damage caused by the Player. The offence at the end of the mission is dictated as "Unauthorized use of (deadly) force" followed by the points lost.

In the table below are stated the many offences related to force used without valid authorisation.

Offence As a result of.. Point Deduction Point Deduction in SEF
Unauthorised use of force incapacitation of an

individual without any

valid justification

-5 -5
Unauthorised use of

deadly force

death of an

individual without

complying with the

rules of engagement

-10 -20
Killed a hostage death of a hostage

due to the actions

of the team

-15 -50
Incapacitated a hostage incapacitation of a

hostage due to the

actions of the team

-5 -20
Injured a fellow officer self-explanatory -5 -10
Incapacitated a fellow


self-explanatory -15 -25

It may have come to the reader's attention that the point deduction in the Elite Force mod is far greater than in the un-modded version. This was done in order to both raise the difficulty as well as move the player to very seriously consider the rules of engagement when utilizing lethal arms.