[Review] Syndicate


REVIEW # 00000000 01000001

Welcome To The Dawning of a New Empire

My heart says…

Very often in my gaming experience, happens that when I think about a game, immediately I match it with another one. And usually when it happns means that I like bith of them very much. When I think about Syndicate, for example, I immediately link it with Crusader: No Remorse. I love their beautiful and well detailed isometric visual and I love even more the isometric style RTSs. My first encounter with Syndicate was in the mid 90s when I found it in my famous pseudo-legal compilation of games borrowed by a friend of my father. I loved the distopic plot and the way they thought the world could have been in the future!

Splash screen

A screen that finally “means” something. I can’t explain but the spèlash screen has something that really puts you in the mood of the game. Somehow makes you feel like you’re only a mere object in the hands of a big corporation. And then…then there’s the intro sequence, Wonderful and teally appropriate. Something not to miss.

Graphics

Put together my love for early 90s graphics and my passion for isometric games and you can understand why a grade so high. Isometric games are always been one of my Achilles’ heel and Syndicate does and excellent jobwith the visuals. You can always control the situation through the mini-map in the side and check the equipment and helth of your units. The details are pretty much perfect and they ensure a great gameplay.

Narrative

Probably the best part of the gae. Although Syndicate is not the first game to explore the relation between politiucs and corporation in a distopic future, is for sure one of the best in doing this. Let’s say that is the graphically enhanced and polished version of another masterpiece of political games, Balance of Power. But while BoP was based on something real, the Cold War, Syndicate goes further and tries to figure out what will be the world in a (maybe not so distant?) future in whic the countries will be replaced by the corporation and the soldiers by people tuned into cyborg, biotechnological weapons to use against other corporations.

Syndicate is an amoral videogame and for this reason was very criticized. It had some issues even with its gratuitous violence and the possibility for the players to shoot and kill anybody without a reason, only to pursuit the plans.

Gameplay

Syndicate has somehow something to do with Risiko! We see a world map divided in “sectors” that do not correspond to any existing country in the world of today. We are in the future and the corporation took over the world so the “classic” war has become a commercial war. Every corporatin control a specific part of the world, with itrs own population and its own taxation. The goal is, obviously, to overlook other corporation and in order to fo so every mission has various objectives such as assassinate other companies executives or persuading scientists to join one side of the competition.

First of all you have to choose your name, the name of the company and its logo, then you can start the missions. The first one is obviously the easiest: kill. Your team consist of 4 special agents; you have to provide them weapons, medikit and other equipment you decide before each mission. This is a crucial point of the game, especially when the missions start to be more difficult since you have to choose carefully what you need with nthe resources you have.

Then you can start to play. You control only one agent at a time and you can choose your own way to accomplis the mission: you can be precise and reach your goal or you can be a badass and kill everyone in your way. The choice is yours and the only thing important is to complete the mission. The controls are intuitive: you control your agent with the mouse, left click to indicate which way to go and left clock to shoot or use other items such as medikit.

The game, a must-have among the RTS, has also some stealth elements that we will be more evident in some later game, like the Commandos saga.

Sound

Syndicate has no music and the restricted range of sounds are the “enviromental” sounds: noises of the bullets, people screaming, cars moving, doors opening and so on. However this lack of effects doesn’t penalize the gameplay. Better yet gives the game a thriller-stealth atmosphere that fits perfect with the missions goals.

Longevity

The game is not so easy and to complete it you’ll have to work a bit, a common thing for good RTSs. You have to plan carefully the mission, choose wisely the equipment of your agents and try not to do stupid things while in action and this will ensure hours and hours of play.

Final Score 83/100


Year: 1993

Developer: Bullfrog

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Genre: Strategy, Real Time Strategy

Game Mode: Single Player

Original Platform: MS-DOS, Amiga

From the same developers:

  • Flood (1990)
  • Magic Carpet (1994)
  • Theme Park (1994) and other chapter of the “Theme” saga
  • Hi-Octane (1995)

From the same publishers:

Inspired to:

  • Polupous (1989)

If you liked it you can also try:

  • Cannon Fodder (1993)
  • Jagged Alliance (1994)
  • X-COM 1 U.F.O. – Enemy Unknown (1994)
  • Crusader: No Remorse (1995)
  • Command & Conquer (1995)
  • Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines (1998)

Other chapters of the saga:

  • Syndicate Wars (1996)
  • Syndicate (2012)

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I have played this game. I do not think I completely understood the story, I think I realised the factions were corporations and it set in the future. I enjoyed the idea of fulfilling objectives to complete levels and planning how to assassinate or capture an enemy. One of the ways I tried to make the game easier was to avoid missions involving eliminating enemy agents as they could fight back, instead I used to select levels which involved shooting a defenceless politician. I agree that the level designs were interesting (which always seemed to resemble a grimy, industrial setting) and I enjoyed the opening sequence. There is a way to control all four players at once by selecting the bar that separates the two rows of agents. I also vividly remember the phrase “Welcome To The Dawning of a New Empire”.
    On the same CD as the Syndicate game was another game called American Revolt, do you know anything about that game? I do not remember the sound effects, were they included on all versions of the game?

    Like

    1. benez256 says:

      American Revolta s far as I know is the expansion of Syndicate, so probably you own the “full” game. The version I had for PC featured music and sound effects and I think even other versiolns featured them

      Like

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