Civilisation has fallen into the hands of syndicates, who each control several countries of the world. Your mission is to take over the whole world by defeating the other syndicates. This is achieved by taking people from the streets and converting them to your cause with a conveniently placed chip to the back of the neck. You can now control these new recruits via satellite.

While the first few levels can be completed with the initial team and equipment, later levels require further recruits, more advanced equipment, and better weaponry. This is where your Research and Development team come in. In between missions, you can instruct your R&D team to begin work on new weapons. Basic weapons include the shot-gun and Uzi, while later in the game you get lasers. As well as weapons, you can research bionic parts for your team. New limbs, hearts, eyes and brain implants can help quicken reaction times, improve armour and persuasive powers – which can be used to recruit more members for your team.

The sprawling isometric layouts of each mission cover many screens. “Borrowing” vehicles is a useful way of passing barriers and covering large distances. Finding your target is aided by the scanner on the screen, which leads you towards the objective. Strategy plays a part in the game as you decide whether to split your team into separate groups. Each one can carry a different weapon at the same time.

Despite looking quite different to the Amiga and PC versions, the Mega Drive’s presentation is excellent with some moody Blade Runner style graphics. The only downside to the game is the lack of variation when it comes to the graphics: there only seems to be a couple of civilian sprites, so they all look similar. Sound is well covered with some great spot effects and sombre tunes that play during the missions.

Syndicate is a great game and one that is made even better when two players are involved. One of the few games to be succesfully converted from the home computer to the console without losing too much of the gameplay.


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3 Responses to “Retro Respect: Syndicate”

  1. gnome says:

    Never knew that Syndicate made it to the Megadrive. Can’t really imagine playing it without a mouse. Still, it does look the part, though definitely different.

    Fine game, fine write-up!

  2. Duffman says:

    Thanks, Gnome. Yeah, it would be kinda weird if you went from the computer/mouse version to the console/gamepad version. I missed out on a lot of computer classics back then. :(

  3. gnome says:

    Awww… Well, it’s never too late you know. Abandonware sites, eBay and of course are here to help.

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