AGH Jaguar Review: SYNDICATE

by Ocean

No, this game is not about the running of a women's lib syndicate, or a lottery syndicate for that matter. What this is about is a syndicate of violent maniacs, large guns, explosives and world domination.

It's your job to coordinate this syndicate in its quest to take over the world and destroy opposing syndicates. Just take up to four well hard androids, equip them with some major hardware, and perform several strategic missions in an attempt to put the rival syndicates out of commision.

Basically this is an excuse for some blatant violence and carnage which we all know and love.

The game is viewed from an isometric perspective (up above and at a 45 degree angle). From here you can see a good portion of the city or complex surrounding your androids. On the left of the screen is your tactical display which shows the status of your androids, weapons held, ammo and a map. All looks pretty much the same as the computer versions, exept the map is slighly larger and easier to follow.

Now the fun starts. You start off with the bog standard droid (you know, no brains, no armour, no hardware) and only a small pistol at your disposal. From here you must build up funds by completing missions and research into the fields of new weapons and droid equipment. Oh, and by the way, you can steal weapons from unfortunate enemies who stood in your way!

Te missions themselves range from assasination, kidnapping, set-ups and general carnage. It does get worryingly addictive, wandering around the local shopping mall, shooting innocent bystanders or flaming them and watching the burning bodies run around screaming. Pretty disturbing stuff. However, the violence is not graphic as the sprites are small and you cannot see detailed gore as in games such as Mortal Kombat.

The Jag version is identical to its PC cousin, with smooth multi-directional scrolling and excellent detailed scenery, far outclassing other console versions. An added bonus for Jaguar owners is the new Zoom function. This allows the view to be zoomed out so you can see FOUR times as much of the city. Also you can zoom in and view the action up close, although this mode is a little bit pixelly. Not even the PC has this function, way to go Jag! There is some slowdown, something I wish Ocean could avoid.

The joypad configuration uses just about every button. This can cause some difficulty to begin with but will be overcome after a bit of practice. This is a minor quibble that does not spoil this quality game.

Overall, this is the best version of Syndicate yet. An original, addictive and long lasting game from the creators of Populous, Theme Park and Magic Carpet.

Title Syndicate
Publisher Ocean
System Atari Jaguar
Graphics 7
Sound 8
Gameplay 9
Overall 9
Reviewer Darren Bates

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