Syndicate Wars, Bullfrog's follow-up to their prior bestseller Syndicate, allows you to take control of a four-man squad of EuroCorp Syndicate enforcers, or disciples of the Church of the New Epoch, in a real-time, mission-based excuse for all-out death and destruction.
Featuring a 3D engine, a fully-destructible and rotatable environment and an array of weapons powerful enough to take advantage of said environment's destructibility, Syndicate Wars offers fans of the original a pleasant, if not wholly new experience. One of the exciting aspects of the game overall is the ambiguity of your role. As a EuroCorp Syndicate executive, your primary interest is maintaining your control over the fully-destructible citizens of the world. And as a disciple of the Church of the New Epoch, your primary interest is to sabotage the EuroCorp Syndicate and brainwash those destructible citizens into following your cause, even sacrificing themselves for it. Not exactly a flattering portrayal of what you might call corporation penetration, or of organized religion. But alas, we have nothing to fear, for the events depicted in this game don't take place until the distant future, in a dark, Blade Runner-like world hardly recognizable as our own, where the sun never shines and the cityscape blots the horizon in every direction.
There are over twenty mission for each side, but these missions begin to lack originality after the first few. Stealing cars, rescuing scientists and making meat pies out of blue-haired punks is fun the first few times you do these things, but after that the missions became repetitive and you'll find yourself itching to get through them and move on to the next.
Aside from the violence, the quality of this game's graphics is what gets your attention. The cut-scenes and secondary interface/menu screens maintain the game's futuristic, claustrophobic atmosphere, with a good deal of sharp color and motion. For instance, when you equip one of your cyborg agents with a new titanium skeleton, it appears on the agent's paper doll and starts heaving up and down to illustrate the agent's breathing. This adds a nice sense of realism to the research and development element of the game. The in-game screen is immense; each city is splendidly rendered in 3D and your agents, while somewhat dwarfed and occasionally easily to lose track of because of the size of the cities, are unique in appearance, with customizable trench coats. The map screens -- understanding the different blips and shapes, as well as navigating your agents through them -- can be daunting at first, but everything in this game becomes more manageable with practice.
If you're a fan of the genre, or of controllable violence in general, then Syndicate Wars might be the perfect title for you. It certainly represents an early high-point for innovative, real-time-strategy games, incorporating a nice blend of some of the elements that made Diablo and Command and Conquer so popular.
Graphics: The high-point of this game. Excellent visual detail and color, as well as a number of customizable features. The actual agents and citizens on the screen were a bit simple in appearance, but their colorization made them appear unique, in a future-punk sort of way.
Sound: Sound effects and music were adjustable and provided a superbly dramatic and moody ambience. The occasional "Get them!" and "Aaaagh!" voice plants didn't do much for me, but I did like the weapon and weapon-contact sound affects. Games that have separate adjustments for Music and Tension are going to get better scores from me.
Enjoyment: The level of detailed information that's provided and the number of missions make this game seem immense and well-planned. Unfortunately, the missions offer little variety from one another. The interface is completely smooth and adds to the enjoyment.
Replay Value: After you've had your fill of "Go kill, go rescue," you'll want to put the game away for a while.
In the sequel to the dark isometric action / strategy game Syndicate, you control either Eurocorp Syndicate or Church of the New Epoch. These two sinister forces are battling for world domination. You must help them dominate the world across 60 violent missions spread through 30 cities - you receive e-mails containing the mission plans.
After selecting a squad of four men from your roster, you direct them through the rotatable 3D city views, shooting foes as the situation dictates. Nuclear grenades and psycho gas are among the new weapons. Tubes, a monorail system and unimpeded Antigrav vehicles give a futuristic feel to travel. In the PC version, 8-player battles over modem and network are available.
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Syndicate, Syndicate Plus, StarCraft, Syndicate, Theme Hospital, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, UFO: Enemy Unknown Collector's Edition, Theme Park
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