Thunder crashes, lightning flashes, and howling rain beats vehemently against the fortified walls of a ghastly mental institution looming high above the docks. Chilling screams of terror shriek through the darkness from a room within where a doctor has apparently gone mad. Despite the nurses' objections, he lets nothing hinder the execution of his murderous scheme. Gothic industrial music starts as the title of the game is presented, "Synnergist".
It's 2010 A.D. and you are Tim Machin, a newspaper reporter for the New Arhus Chronicle. The game begins with you being hollered at by your boss Hallmags. He's upset with the time it has been taking you to complete your restaurant articles for the paper. However, Hallmags is giving you an interview with Mr. Ambrose because Steve, another reporter, is sick and can't attend. You are motivated that you are actually going to meet THE Mr. Ambrose, one of the most charitable businessmen in the city. Finally you'll get to write something besides a restaurant review, but you still are required to complete a story on the new Skyline Restaurant downtown.
Not too long ago, you had busted a big case for the police and had written up an article that won you some awards. You were offered a job with the Global, but because of your five year contract with the Chronicle, you were forced to refuse. Since then, your boss has been giving you these lousy restaurant reviews which you feel don't use your full potential. You wouldn't mind receiving another lead to write up a big story again, especially with all the mysterious killings that the city has been experiencing. Nick, a friend who provided you with clues for the big case you solved, says he has another big tip for you to write about. Your goal in this game will be to discover who is responsible for the killings and try to solve the mystery.
Controls for Synnergist are done with the left and right mouse buttons. Using the mouse you will point to where you want your character to move to. Looking at objects simply involves a left click, and to use an object you right click it. As your cursor moves overtop of the different items that you can click on or use, the name of the object will appear at the bottom of the screen. Your inventory appears at the top of the screen as small icons for each object along with another for saving and loading games. One other icon in the upper left hand corner represents the subway which is your mode of transportation within the game. The subway only appears when you are close to a subway stop, but these are available all throughout the game making traveling from place to place much simpler.
Five years went into the making of Synnergist which is a DOS only game and has VGA graphics. When compared with the majority of games being released today in SVGA, the graphics appear as a lower quality. However, for VGA graphics, they are quite good and contain many details. Most of the backgrounds in the game were hand painted to give a gothic and futuristic look and feel to the game. Some 3D effects are found within the game for certain animations. Because of the VGA graphics style, your character and other graphics are not crystal clear on the screen, but have a more fuzzy look to them. When speaking with other characters, a digitized video of the person speaking will appear providing a more distinguish image of the character.
The music score that accompanies the game also provides for the futuristic and mysterious feel of the game. There is only one area in the game where the beat to the music was so strange that I thought my sound card was acting up, otherwise the music was fine. When you speak to others in the game and their video appears, you'll also hear them speak as the text appears along the bottom of the screen. You never actually hear your own voice except in the introduction or when you are thinking to yourself. When answering back to others, various sentences will be available at the bottom of the screen for you to select.
There are two difficulty levels for playing the game, Challenging or Novice. The default mode is Challenging. During the first half of Chapter one (there are five chapters in the game) you can press the F1 key to switch between difficulty levels. The Novice mode will provide you with extra tips when viewing an object or trying a specific action on what you should do next. I found the game to be quite challenging even in novice mode because it was not always evident on how you should perform your next move. There are a few puzzles in the game that don't have the most obvious solutions, and some items are there to throw you off a little. It will also help if you can read some Latin as some clues are given in that language.
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The storyline to Synnergist is much deeper than it appears to be. There are some hidden Easter eggs in the game that will reveal the secret to the game quite blatantly if found and you'll know what Synnergist actually means. The hidden areas will include new video sequences, rooms, puzzles, etc. To give you a start to finding these Easter eggs, don't always assume that the word GO, goes to where you think it will.
Synnergist maintains a good story line throughout the game, keeping the player's interest high in wanting to solve the mystery. Game play can last anywhere between 50 to 60 hours in total giving a game that should last awhile. Some of the puzzles can be a little difficult to figure out, and once you are stuck, the game can be slow. If you enjoy mystery solving and a good story line, then think about giving Synnergist a try.
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