Please Help Support E-Mods.net by Donating

e-mods.net

  • 2020-09-30, 18:08:05
  • Welcome, Guest
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search

News:

Looking for VTMR Modding Tutorials? Check out the Modding Tutorials section of e-mods.net.

Author Topic: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!  (Read 4097 times)

Old Fecker

  • Lord of Awesome
  • Member
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 207
    • The Gaming Hive
[Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« on: 2006-11-30, 05:40:45 »

Syndicate stands out from Bullfrog's back catalogue of excellent, friendly God-games and dreadful carpet-riding rubbish. It's dark, brooding and remarkably brutal. It's a vision of a future world entirely controlled by a few uber-corporations, where you are a 'marketing director' for one such company, responsible for improving your business' standing. By violently murdering the competition!!  ;D

Not only was it a superb satire of capatalist greed, but also an excellent isometric cyberpunk action game. Mission-structured, it's dark humour and refined level design make it stand out as an all-time classic for good reason. Read on!!!



SYNDICATE

A ninja dressed in gaudy blue has just grabbed the eye-sockets of his opponent and torn his head clear of his body, dangling a couple of feet of glistening wet spinal cord after it. Cue screams from the horrified tabloid press. Gamers, on the other hand, laughed at it or with it, depending on their temperament.

It's 1993, and Mortal Kombat, in terms of press controversy, is the GTA of it's day.

But only in those terms. Anyone who has actually played the game knows it belongs purely to the tradition of video nasties, a comedy fountain of gore. Mortal Kombat was just slapstick with a very sharp stick.

It wasn't bad to the bone.

Syndicate, conversely, was the meanest bastard the world had ever seen. If you want to find out about the road that leads to Grand Theft Auto, you start with the four gentlemen with trenchcoats, mirrorshades and miniguns, sitting in the corner.

Syndicate didn't get the bad press of Mortal Kombat for a handful of reasons. Firstly, it was a game for the PC and Amiga, with a correspondingly lower public profile. But more importantly, to really understand how immoral it was, you had to play it. And playing a game? Well that's one thing the reactionary end of the press will never consider.

Syndicate put you in the role of a commander of four cybernetically enhanced goons, in the employ of a global corporation. Your task was that of building a new world order, one hostile takeover of a country at a time. Once you'd been given your mission and let loose in the city, it was up to you to achieve it by any means necessary. normally, this would revolve around wiping out opposing corporate agents, but other things to see and do in the near future included rescue, escort, brainwashing and assassination. Syndicate distinguished itself by being one of the earliest examples of a 'living city' game. People wandered around, going about their everyday business before having their routine (and often their bodies!) exploded by corporate conflict in the high street. Cars patrolled the roads and could be commandeered with a burst of Uzi fire. Caught in the middle, the cops desperately tried to keep the peace...

Back then, this was all shockingly new. Emphasis on the word 'shocking'.

My first experience of Syndicate was the demo on the coverdisc of Amiga Format. My friend and I were already excited: for the time, the game had been beautifully marketed. Photo-led adverts of hands hanging off a chainlink fence, a pollution-painted city in the background. They were - in fact, still are - a few steps classier than the competition. We both loved cyberpunk fiction, and in a world dominated by bright platformers we were ready for some of the dark stuff.

Witihn seconds, we're running rampage through isometric streets. I'm in control with my mate shouting suggestions of what to do next. Automatic weapons are pulled from jackets and any of the civilians who see them scatter, running for their lives. Coppers start firing and are dropped with a burst of fire. A car pulls around the corner and we open fire again. The car slides to a halt, it's passengers getting out and fleeing. Another couple of bursts and the car itself explodes, sending debris and civilian bodies flying in all directions.

We're both wearing our biggest Bad Boy grins when something makes our faces fall. It's a noise. High-pitched and sharp, it cuts through the general aural melee of a city firefight. We realise it's coming from the tiny people. They're on fire. The explosion must have sprayed them with petrol or something, and now they're reduced to living torches.

We sit, dumfounded. My mate is the first to speak. "Kill them."

I open fire, trying to put them out of their misery...

This was the first time a game had provoked such a sensation of, well, moral repugnance at myself! In the end, the burning people from car explosions were cut from the final game, saved for the later appearance of the flamethrower. It was still a uniquely brutal effect - especially at the time. The choice of SFX was masterful, and I can still recall the pitch and attack of that noise (which I've zipped at the end of this post in the attachments) as I have the very same SFX as my message-alert on my mobile phone!!  ;D   The tiny animation was gruesomely suggestive enough to let your mind fill in the gaps of flesh melting away from bone.

It's one of the reasons why Syndicate still sticks with me. It was phenomenally ahead of it's time. While I'd argue that Syndicate's cities were more advanced than anything previously, even if they weren't that far ahead, the way the game used them was. Forget the slaughter and the realistic response of the environment to what was happening. Think of ideas such as the way you manipulated your agents by pumping their bodies with different drugs depending on what you wanted them to do. Or the Persuadertron, which enabled you to assemble a mass of consumerist zombies as a ready-made army.

I suppose that's one of the things that keeps Syndicate precious - even in these days when everything is borrowing from GTA's rampage-in-a-freeform-city mandate. For all the nihilism, there was a brain to it, a satirical edge. Multinational agents leading hordes of consumerist zombies to achieve corporate aims? As a pulp object, Syndicate makes it's point forcibly. What makes it succeed as a game is that while all the critique is still there, it simultaneously explains all too well why anyone would want to wield this amount of power - through the sheer illicit transgressive thrill of playing it. Pulling the trigger on the sniper laser that reduces to a smudge of ash the politician who wouldn't play ball. Stealing a police car and getting through prison security to rescue someone, and then mowing down every single prisoner for no reason other than to see their bodies fall in piles at the end of the prison yard. And the final Gauss-gun painted confrontation of the Arctic Accelerator mission, still one of the most famously challenging end-of-game missions of all time.

Bad to the bone. But the most evil thing about Syndicate - the thing all it's players will answer for if they're ever stopped at the gates of heaven - is how good being so bad was!

Syndicate: a holiday in somebody else's misery - and, best of all, a misery you caused!  :D

But it didn't stop there, oh no! A while after the release of Syndicate, an expansion disc called American Revolt came along with all new missions to undertake! Heaven-in-a-box!! Syndicate Wars came along in 1996 and expanded the original isometric engine to one of full rotatable 3D!!


In Syndicate you played as one of many Syndicates who wished to control the world. Since then, one Syndicate has risen to that position - Eurocorp. Through their UTOPIA chips they control the population, or at least most of it. A rival group, The Church of the New Epoch, has risen up to destroy UTOPIA and overthrow Eurocorp. You will take on one of two roles, an exectutive for Eurocorp or a disciple for The Church of the New Epoch.

The game is played in a similar manner to the original game. You control a team of four cyborgs, and with them, you will take on various missions for your organisation in a number of locations around the world. But as in Syndicate, it is not just the missions that you need to think about. You need a strong team, so it is important to buy improved parts for your cyborg characters. Also, the better weapons they have, the stronger they will be. At the start you have limited knowledge of technology so you must assign funds to research and also pick up any new technologies you find out in the field and send them to your research team. You start with a limited amount of money and the early missions won't generate any real income for you, so be careful with the cash at the start.



Now, trying to get hold of the gem that is Syndicate nowadays is bloody hard! If you're lucky enough to be able to find a copy on eBay, i'd buy it! I personally have gone down the abandonware route and have downloaded the games!  ;D    They took forever to download due to the fact that 99% of the torrents are dead but I have both Syndicate, Syndicate American Revolt and Syndicate Wars installed on my PC! As theyre ancient games by todays standards, they only run in DOS, so i use DOSBOX to run them. As i have a powerful PC i can run them with no slowdown whatsoever and theyre all mint games to have a blast on every now and then when i feel nostalgic!

If you'd like me to burn copies of the games for you onto DVD then just reply to this message with your email address and i'll mail you to confirm your postal address.





Sen
« Last Edit: 2006-11-30, 05:49:49 by Sengoku »
Logged

Old Fecker

  • Lord of Awesome
  • Member
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 207
    • The Gaming Hive
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #1 on: 2006-11-30, 05:54:05 »

Balls, forgot to add the SFX file! Here it is!  :P




Sen
Logged

ORI

  • Member
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 365
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #2 on: 2006-11-30, 12:37:43 »

Syndicate was revolutionary in its days, and while it is a classic game for its interesting combo of cyberpunk-crime theme, gamplay wise, nowdays its just another squad based  strategy game similar to Jagged Alliance 2, Commandos,X-Com, ect.

I think they screwed up with the followup to Syndicate, resulting in the game dying down right after, it could have had a brilliant sequel.

As for violence, only the intro graphic showed true animated violance while the game itself kept it on the 'idea' level, so no room to compare it to mortal kombat (where the player expect to see gory animated violance during gameplay).

Logged

Old Fecker

  • Lord of Awesome
  • Member
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 207
    • The Gaming Hive
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #3 on: 2006-12-01, 02:31:20 »

How can you say that only the intro had true violence? What do you classify as violence?

Personally i think running pedestrians over in a car, shooting pedestrians with various weapons, shooting police, setting people on fire and watching them walk around burning and screaming etc is violent.

As for the comparison to MK, you seem to have missed the point. MK was the GTA of its day in the way that it got widespread media coverage of the bad kind, just like GTA or Canis Cadit Edim/Bully is getting nowadays. Syndicate didnt get bad press because of the formats it was on at the time, but it was a more violent game for the reasons i stated above...MK was just two badly-digitised actors/characters hitting each other followed up by a lame Fatality in which loads of comedy blood was slapped around.

Syndicate is still revolutionary nowadays. You compare it to Xcom etc. but without it they probably wouldnt have existed (wasnt Xcom turned based strategy though?). Also, the way the game is played is unique. I dont think ive ever played a game since (apart from Syndicate Wars) that plays like Syndicate. True, games like Commandos use a similar game structure but they dont usually advocate mass-murder to complete their missions - Commandos is more stealth than balls-out gung-ho murder sprees...thats why Syndicate still holds its own today and why its deemed such a classic and probably the game that Bullfrog is remembered for (along with Dungeon Keeper - which incidentaly i have both DK Gold & DK2 *cough* downloaded *cough* from *torrents* cough), its definitly the game that i think was the high point of Peter Molyneux's game design career. Black & White and Fable are good, but not as good or successful as Syndicate was.

The fact that Syndicate is still not classed as Abandonware and copyright protected by EA must say something.



Sen
Logged

ORI

  • Member
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 365
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #4 on: 2006-12-01, 04:56:56 »

Syndicate and X-com came around the same date so I dont think they got insipered by eachother so Syndicate is not the father of All Squad Based games as you try to make it, X-com is  :P, yes X-com is turned base but the common ground is that it is a squad based game with a world domination map and resource allocation.

As for MK, for its time it was good graphics, and not "Badly digitized", remember you are talking about 1993/1994(Syndicate release date), the first MK was released in 1989-1992..
My point was that Syndicate Visualy present violence as a civ or an enemy agent turning into ketchop after you run them over which is brutal in the 'idea' level but you dont see his head flying off as you do in MK.

Like I said Syndicate is a classic in its settings and ideas(cyborg agents that work for competing crime organizations) thats why EA want to keep protecting the rights to it.
I bet we would have a Syndicate 3 now if syndicate wars(AKA Syndicate 2) had better implementation.

Instead there is GTA, that picked up many of the gameplay tech and ideas in the original Syndicate and patched them up to create something else, IMO Bullfrog missed the train on that one and Rockstar Games is now considered as the revolutionary startup
 
Logged

Old Fecker

  • Lord of Awesome
  • Member
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 207
    • The Gaming Hive
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #5 on: 2006-12-02, 02:06:31 »

You are comparing a turn-based, stop & start strategy game to a free flowing, realtime game that has more in common with god games than any other genre. Remember, at the time Bullfrog were churning out nothing but god games - Syndicate had more in common with their other god games like Populous or Dungeon Keeper.

Xcom is and always will be a strategy game - its turn based for fuck sake!  ;D    You cant pigeonhole it into another type of game, its not a squad based game...squad based games are things like (nowadays anyway) Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six. Comparing gameplay in Xcom to that of Syndicate is like comparing say, fighting in Dynasty Warriors games to that of Final Fantasy games - its completely different! (plus, Syndicate was released in August '93, Xcom's release date was December 31st 1993. In a time when games took under a year to make, 5 months could make a lot of differences)

MK had terrible graphics, i remember seeing it in the arcades when it was released in 1992 (MK was not released in 1989, the concept for the game was thought up in '89, it was released in arcades in '92 and home consoles in '93 - hence the reason why '93 was the example as it had penetrated the mass market due to being on console - it was inside people's houses, hence the controversy - Syndicate was released in August '93 on  formats that were in the home but it didnt receive the bad press due to the formats not being as wide spread as that of consoles), the graphics weren't anything to shout about...the Fatality's were the talking point. The badly digitised actors were of the quality of the FMV games that were around at the time - EG. shit  :P

Regardless of what the violence actually looked like, Syndicate was an incredibly violent game - just like GTA/Saint's Row etc. is today. GTA/SR aren't in the least bit realistic, but theyre still violent. same goes for Syndicate - unrealistic but ultra-violent.

EA want to keep the rights to it so they can earn some money from it. Its no secret that Peter Molyneux wants to remake his classic games again (he's already gone on record a couple of months ago that he's wanted to do another Syndicate for years - an online version, as well as redo Populous and Dungeon Keeper - but as these names are all under the banner of EA they need to get the suits in to sort it out), but because these games are classics that still hold up today they are still copyrighted. Also, Syndicate 3 was never released because Peter Molyneux didnt want to make another one at the time instead concentrating on founding Lionhead Studios as he left Bullfrog in 1997 (little under a year after Syndicate Wars was finished). Bullfrog continued along with the Dungeon Keeper expansion pack and then DK2 - then the team split up. Some going to Lionhead and others leaving to form Mucky Foot Productions. Bullfrog was then absorbed in 2004 and was sucked up by EA UK.

Xcom is Abandonware now - totally unsupported by the people that made/published it - Microprose doesnt even exist anymore as Atari shut it down in 2003. Microprose only released strategy games in the early 90's btw!!  ;)

Rockstar is considered to be the Holy Grail by your common, teenage gamer because of GTA3 etc. Most of these people dont realise that Rockstar was called DMA Design when they first made GTA1. You cant seriously try and compare Syndicate gameplay mechanics to the GTA games? They are so widely different its unreal - the only thing they have in common is ultra-violence...something that Syndicate started. Like i said before, if you want to find out about the road that leads to GTA, you have to start with Syndicate - it was the first seriously violent game. Im not lying, its the truth!!  ;D



Besides, im right and youre wrong!!   :-*




Sen
Logged

Javokis

  • Horses Dick
  • Member
  • *****
  • Karma: 22
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2389
    • E-Mods.net
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #6 on: 2006-12-03, 22:15:27 »

I never actually played Syndicate wars fully. I looked at it a little bit, but never really became involved. I was mostly into X-Com, which was HIGHLY addictive for me. I used to spend entire days inside playing X-Com on playstation, which had better graphics than the pc version, but has really slow load times and required the ps mouse to play properly. X-Com would randomly crash if you used the ps controller. I had to use the mouse.
Logged
"There's nothing wrong with horses dicks, there's nothing wrong with sucking horses dicks." -Signo

Old Fecker

  • Lord of Awesome
  • Member
  • *
  • Karma: 1
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 207
    • The Gaming Hive
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #7 on: 2006-12-04, 06:37:54 »

To this day ive never played Syndicate Wars on the pc...not got around to playing the dos version i downloaded ages ago!

I used to have it on the Playstation though. It was a lot better using the mouse and the joypad together.




Sen
Logged

Bloodywolf

  • Malkavian
  • Team
  • Member
  • ******
  • Karma: 0
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 464
  • 7th Gen
Re: [Syndicate] Games that changed the world!
« Reply #8 on: 2006-12-04, 14:19:26 »

How can you say that only the intro had true violence? What do you classify as violence?

Personally i think running pedestrians over in a car, shooting pedestrians with various weapons, shooting police, setting people on fire and watching them walk around burning and screaming etc is violent.


GTA ;)
Logged
William - Bloodywolf - Me
Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, Wrath, Envy, Pride and Lust.
Which one shalt thou pick today?
 

Page created in 0.141 seconds with 31 queries.