Genre | Action, Strategy
Developer | Bullfrog Productions
Platforms | PC, SNES, Acorn Archimedes, Atari Jaguar
In Syndicate the player takes control of an eponymous syndicate and battles against rival syndicates in an effort to gain territory and ultimately profit. The player must manage the strategic side by choosing which missions to go on and which technology to upgrade while also managing the tactical combat in the missions they send their agents on.
Syndicate features eight weapons, six kinds of equipment, and six kinds of cybernetic implants. Each implant has three versions, ranging from the least to the most powerful. There are three kinds of combat enhancing drugs. Weapons, equipment, and implants are unlocked by spending money earned from controlled territory on research. Research can be expedited by capturing equipment or items from enemy agents during missions. The player controls up to four agents from a top down perspective during missions.
One piece of equipment available to the player’s agents is the Persuadertron, which is able to mind control civilians and enemies. Some missions require a certain character to be captured via mind control. The player can also use mind controlled civilians to block enemy bullets. There is no penalty for causing civilian deaths. The player can adjust the drug level of their agents during a mission. Bumping up the drugs an agent is receiving enhances their speed and accuracy, and it can also cause the agent to act more intelligently when the player is not directly controlling the agent. A higher rate of drug consumption will cause the agent to become acclimated over time, reducing the effect of the drug.
The graphics in Syndicate are in an isometric pixel art style. They depict futuristic cities that feature lots of tan, orange, and black. There are many explosions and dead bodies. There are some prerendered cutscenes. The sounds in Syndicate include gunshots and a robotic voice that says “selected” when the player selects an agent. The music is futuristic. The controls in Syndicate are mostly mouse based.
Syndicate gives the players a number of options that they can take when it comes to how they approach a mission. They can outfit their agents with long range weapons, upgraded cyborg chests and eyes, and MediKits to keep them alive and minimize collateral damage, or they can outfit their agents with weapons that cause a lot of collateral damage like miniguns and flamers and make use of the self-destruct function of the third level cyborg chest. The player is in a blimp which explodes if the player loses.