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Sunday, July 31, 2005


Syndicate computer games

The Syndicate series was a series of violent isometric science fiction computer games created by Bullfrog Productions. There were two main titles in the series: Syndicate (1993/1994) and Syndicate Wars (1996), with an expansion pack for the former, Syndicate: American Revolt.

Syndicate was released for the following platforms:

Mega Drive
Atari Jaguar
The expansion pack was available for the Amiga and PC, while the sequel, Syndicate Wars, was a PC and PlayStation only title, due to the significantly more demanding graphics engine, a heavily modified version of which was used in Dungeon Keeper.

The series was critically acclaimed, but reached the peak of its popularity before mass adoption of the internet, hence a relatively small online community compared to later less influential games.

Both games put you in charge of a player-named corporation - also issued was a wide choice of symbolic, simplistic logo. Syndicate Wars also provides a second playable entity, the Church of the New Epoch. Gameplay involves ordering a 4-man (or woman) team of cyborg agents around gritty cyberpunk-themed cities, in pursuit of mission goals such as assassinating executives of a rival syndicate, rescuing captured allies, "persuading" civilians and scientists to join your company, demolishing buildings, or simply killing all enemy agents. You were also required to collect the funds to finance the R&D of new weaponry and cyborg upgrades, by means of taxing conquered territories in the original game, or robbing banks in Syndicate Wars. Unlike some games, which either punish the player for civilian deaths or reward him for violent actions committed, Syndicate remains ambivalent.

The Syndicate series, particularly Syndicate Wars, was noted for its attention to detail and the intricacy of its narrative. Notable features of both games were the use of context-sensitive background music which changed to suit the mood of the on-screen action, and a high degree of interactivity, in that many objects in the first game and nearly every object in the second game could be destroyed. The visual aesthetic of both games borrows heavily from films such as Akira and Blade Runner.

12:23 PM


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