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|A.P.I Review:||SYNDICATE WARS|
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|Game Type:||Shoot-em-up||Memory Card|
Bullfrog, the company responsible for Theme Park and Magic Carpet, have had a team locked away for nigh on two years developing the follow up to the popular Amiga game, Syndicate. Released last year on PC, Syndicate Wars has since been receiving graphical enhancements prior to its eventual release on the Playstation. Enough of the griping as it is here now, but has it been worth the wait? Syndicate had you cast as the head of a huge corporation, in a world where each inhabitant has a computer chip implanted in the back of their heads. The player used armies of Cyborgs and technical advancements to grow from fledglings to corporate rulers of the world. Syndicate Wars takes up the story a century later, when the chips used to control the minds of the population are cutting out, and the citizens are awaking to the horrors that have been created around them. With the cities in the hands of notorious biker gangs, many are banding together in a recently formed religious cult, the Church of the New Epoch. There are two ways to play Syndicate Wars. You may choose to be the leader of the corporation with full control over four agents and a mission to return the citizens to their former state. Your second choice is to play the elder of the religious group, who must persuade the people to rebel against the leaders of the Syndicate Empire. There ain't much difference between the two of them but it's nice to know a choice has been included. Syndicate Wars uses a fully rotatable playing area, with the ability to explore and interact with any part of the setting. The cities are set in a true 3D environment, with each building capable of being reduced to a smouldering pile of rubble by using one of the 24 available weapons. Banks and city vaults can be raided to acquire huge wealth for your weapons research team, while one of the twelve different types of vehicle can be used for your getaway. The city environment extends to the ability to even board trains on the underground system which may be used to escape from a tricky situation. There are many ways to succeed in each mission, but if an important person is eliminated, then your objectives may be altered. You must also be aware of the many chain reactions, as one incident could set off numerous events, such as the shooting of a single officer could lead to twenty others racing from the barracks in retaliation. The only changes from the PC version worth mentioning is the fact that you can now rotate the camera viewpoint to keep an eye on your operatives rather than constantly lose sight of them as they wander off the screen. Buildings also become transparent to help your observation while street lights and video screens break up the grey backgrounds. The only polygon presence in the city are the cars which happen to be a nightmare to drive because they will follow at set route rather than adhere to your commands. This usually results in the vehicle being blasted by a dozen enemy agents before you reach your destination. Walk, it's safer. Generally the graphics are not as stunning as I had hoped, but nice enough to look at. It takes a while to get to grips with the game before you soon realize that simply charging in with your guns blazing will rarely lead to s uccess. Use you noggin and understand that most missions will not be successful without casualties therefore sending a couple of your agents ahead on suicide missions will reap the most benefits.
This game will take an age to complete for two reasons. First, there are so many multi button combinations used on the joypad that the old trial and error will eventually take over resulting in your agent death. I mean - R2+Down to get out of a vehicle, R2+Left or Right to pick up a weapon, there are dozens of these to learn before you play. Secondly, there does not appear to be set solutions to the problems. This offers you the opportunity to experiment with each approach and therefore prolong the games life-span. All in all a definite purchase for fans of games like Command & Conquer, Carnage Heart and X-Com.