Syndicate is a cyberpunk isometric real-time tactical game developed by Bullfrog Productions and released in 1993 to critical acclaim. An expansion pack, Syndicate: American Revolt (1993), and a sequel, Syndicate Wars (1996), have also been released. A reinvisioning of the game as a first-person shooter, developed by Starbreeze Studios, was released via EA Partners on February 22, 2012.
As the world of today slipped into the future, multinational corporations grew in size and profit. They came into positions to own small countries and to exercise direct influence over the world's governments. They practically became the world's governments, undemocratically controlling the lives of people through commerce. These corporations became known as Megacorps.
One of the Megacorps, a European one, invented the CHIP. A device that is inserted into the neck and stimulates the brain stem to alter a persons perception of the outside world. The CHIP numbs a person's senses to the misery and squalor around them better than any drug and sold millions around the world. It could convince a user that the sun shone when it was raining and that they were more beautiful than they really were.
The CHIP, like some drugs, also made the user open to auto-suggestion, allowing them to be manipulated by the Megacorps. The CHIP became a perfect tool for the Megacorps to manipulating the populace and to gain power with. It didn't take long before the Megacorps were corrupted and became crime Syndicates, fighting amongst each other for monopoly over CHIP manufacturing and control over the world.
And in the year of 2096, the Syndicates have not only upgraded the drug they push, but also the way they fight. Instead of using ordinary thugs, they now use teams of custom-built cyborg agents to do their dirty deeds.
The player takes on the role of a young executive in a small European Syndicate. The objective of the game is to spread the Syndicate's control globally.
The world is divided up into 50 territories. To gain control over a territory, the player must complete a mission in that territory. Missions objectives include the assassination of an important person, the elimination of rival agents or kidnapping. Once a territory has been gained, the player can start to collect taxes within it. The taxed amount can be adjusted, but if raised too high, the population can become rebellious against the Syndicate.
The player selects a mission from the World map and can then select and outfit agents with weapons and cybernetic modifications. Between missions, the player can also research new weapons and modifications. This is necessary if the player is to achieve the ultimate goal of world domination.
In the missions the player controls up to four agents from a fixed isometric view. This is to reflect the fact that the player's character is sitting in an airship high above the city map. The player tells the CHIP controlled agents where to move and where to fire. They will not react to any event unless the player activates Panic mode. During missions, the player can kill civilians and destroy many things without consequence.
- Pistol: Very cheap, but basically worthless. Medium range.
- Shotgun: Short effective range, but does more damage than the hand gun.
- Uzi SMG: Fast rate of fire, medium range and comes with plenty of ammunition.
- Long Range Rifle: Very long range and extremely accurate.
- Flame Thrower: Devastating, but with a very short range.
- Mini Gun: Gatling gun with a devastating rate of fire and an incredible range.
- Laser Gun: Will cut through anyone or anything that gets in it way.
- Gauss Gun: Portable rocket launcher. Hell yeah.
- Persuadertron: A short range weapon that fires a small dose of chemicals, which will make the target lose all their free will and follow the agent who fired.
- Access Card: Plastic card that allows some security doors to restricted areas to be opened. Will also identify the agent carrying it as a Police officer to other Police units.
- Scanner: Scans for possible threats and items in the area.
- Time Bomb: High powered explosive that will, after a set time period, blow with devastating force.
- MediKit: Will restore a single agent’s health completely.
- Energy Shield: Will, during a very short time span, completely protect the agent against all projectile weapons.