Written by  :  Evan Kerr (10)
Written on  :  Jun 03, 2004
Platform  :  DOS

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Another classic Bullfrog game, this time set in a cool cyberpunk dystopia.

The Good

The sheer thrill of sending your four fully armed, minigun-toting, adrenaline-fueled psychotic death machines into a crowd of defenseless civilians has never been surpassed. Customising your trenchcoat-clad death squad with all manner of cybernetic enhancements and high-tech weapons is good clean fun.

The atmospheric music and crisp, clear graphics greatly add to the feeling of immersion into Syndicate's dark, disturbing world.

There is a large assortment of missions on offer, ranging from generic "kill everything in sight" to the slightly more subtle "persuade this scientist type person to join our illustrious organisation's R&D department."

The game really draws you in with its very atmospheric and moody music and graphics. I remember great elation and excitement after assassinating my assigned target quickly turning to horror as my elite squad is ambushed and ruthlessly mown down by the forces of an evil enemy syndicate (fully equipped with trenchcoats and multicoloured hats).

Syndicate allows you to enact all your antisocial activities in the safe, private, reprisal free world of the computer game. Stealing cars, arming civilians, laying waste to entire cities with horrendously powerful weaponry, all this and more awaits you.

(Technical nit picker note) - The laser is realistically invisible! And it also vaporises people in a rather disturbing way.

The Bad

Once you get to the point that you can afford energy shields and miniguns, the game becomes slightly easier, as you can activate the shields in succession, and become effectively invincible. This doesn't really make the games easier though, because you must still drop your shields to attack.

The isometric viewpoint looks very nice, but can make things confusing when your agents are on different levels or moving around inside buildings.

It doesn't seem fair that the player only gets to play with four agents, whilst the AI can throw hordes of mindless killing machines at you. Then again, they all drop guns for the looting.

The Bottom Line

Syndicate is an excellent game with few faults. The story is absorbing, the features are well thought out and numerous, the difficulty level is almost spot on and the gauss gun is supremely satisfying. What else do you need? Buy this game, lock yourself in your room, don your trenchcoat and prepare to perform a "Hostile takeover" (of the world).