Syndicate – Review

(and another blast from the past)

In the future, wars will be between huge corporations, not countries. Syndicate throws you into the battle for global supremacy.

Syndicate is set in a future where the world is run by huge corporations. Your job as an executive in a syndicate is to gain control of world territories. This involves sending your cyborg agents out on missions which if successful, enable you to ultimately conquer the world.

You start each mission by equipping your team with weapons and equipment. At this point you can also invest money in research to upgrade your cyborgs later on. It’s best to keep an eye on the corporations balance and each mission should be carefully budgeted. When you are happy with your team, you can start the mission.

The missions involve such tasks as killing other agents or coercing enemy scientists over to your syndicate with your Persuadertron. To achieve this you can use individual agents or group them together. You then try to find your targets. A scanner is pretty much an essential piece of equipment for your cyborgs as it helps  to identify who’s who. Guards can be easily killed but enemy agents can be a bit tougher. A good way to handle them is to travel in a vehicle and use it to run them over. Your agents can have their perception, intelligence or speed temporarily boosted by drugs. Beware of overuse though as they become used to the drugs and start to need larger doses to achieve the same effect. The various missions can take considerable time to finish although some such as assassinations can be quickly completed. As you progress you gain access to better weapons and equipment such as gauss guns and pass cards which can get you into secure areas as well as identifying you as an enemy policeman.

After a successful take-over, you can adjust the taxes in your new territory to help fill your corporations coffers. Don’t be too greedy though as higher taxes can unsettle the population making it easier for competing corporations to retake your land.

You can save your current position after each mission has been completed. There is only one save slot though so you can’t have different saves at the same time.

Every button on the Jaguars controller is used to manipulate you team. There are even several key combinations resulting in a bewildering array of options. It’s probably best to have the manual handy and open on the controls page. Syndicate doesn’t come with a controller overlay which is a major omission in such a complex game.

The graphics don’t really do the Jaguar justice unfortunately. They have been slightly improved over other versions but are still fairly basic. There is a new zoom feature which can be very useful. The scrolling is done in jumps although the animation of the agents is nicely done. The various still images look rather chunky and have few colours. The sound is better with a suitably moody soundtrack and lots of spot sound effects and samples.

It’s good to see 3rd party games beginning to appear for the Jaguar but it’s a shame to see straight ports of existing games with little attempt to make use of the Jaguars powerful sound and graphics. There is a lot to do though and there are enough options to keep you busy. Syndicate is a competent game but  whether it’s worth nearly fifty pounds is questionable.

Product Name:    Syndicate
Publisher:            Ocean.
Telephone:           0161 xxx xxxx
RRP:                   £49.99

Pros:  50 plus missions. Plenty to do.
Cons: Graphics could be much better. Fiddly to control.
Score 6