Syndicate Plus

More than 21300 old games to download for free!

Syndicate Plus

DOS - 1994

Alt name 极道枭雄
Year 1994
Platform DOS
Released in United States (1994)
France, United Kingdom, United States (1996)
Theme Compilation / Shovelware
Publisher Bullfrog Productions, Ltd., Electronic Arts Ltd., Electronic Arts, Inc.
Dosbox support Fully supported on current version
4.75 / 5 - 59 votes

Description of Syndicate Plus

Read Full Review

Vintage Review

You've finally got the kind of job your mum said you should get, namely that of an executive in a large corporation. Looking around your newly acquired office, you seem to have everything you mighty need, a satisfyingly large desk, one of those plastic things for holding your pens and pencils, your "you don't have to be a deranged killing machine to work here but it helps!" poster and the photograph of your cat, Fluffy, on your desk. There still seems to be something missing though. Ah, of course, your squad of cybernetically enhanced psychopaths prepared to murder, kidnap and lay waste to vast swathes of countryside at your slightest whim. Better give the people in personnel a ring. For this is no ordinary mega corporation you are working for. This is a SYNDICATE and when they talk about a hostile take over they really mean it.

Syndicate is over three years old so how can it merit a review in the glorious virtual pages of the GDR? There are several reasons actually which I shall elucidate :

  • It has recently become available (at least in the UK) on Electronic Art's newly revamped CD-ROM Classics budget label.
  • With the appearance of its sequel Syndicate Wars imminent, there is bound to be interest in the original game.
  • It's still a bloody good game and can hold its head high against many of today's releases.

Because the GDR is a publication which takes its responsibilities to its readers, especially those of a tender age, seriously, I will give this warning here and now to any concerned parents who may be reading. You may have been told that DOOM or Mortal Kombat 3 or some such game is corrupting the youth of today and instilling violence into their easily malleable souls. Compared to Syndicate, these games are anaemic wishy washy fluffy walks in the countryside. Sure, a bit of gore may fly when you let a cacodemon have it straight between the eyes with a BFG but in Syndicate you have entire innocent civilian population getting mown down in the crossfire and collapsing in pools of blood, that is if they haven't caught fire and gone up in a cloud of smoke. No one even cares. There's no weepy music when some innocent ends up as an interesting stain on the wall of a building. No Syndicate is not nice at all and any parent finding young Johnny or Jenny playing it should be concerned.

For us well balanced individuals however, the game can provide welcome catharsis at the end of a tiring day. Chuckle as you Uzi the woman who bashed into your trolly at the supermarket! Laugh as your noisy next door neighbour goes down in a hail of minigun fire!! Cry out in triumph as that policeman who gave you a speeding ticket last week catches a Gauss gun projectile on the chin!!! HOWL WITH ORGASMIC GLEE AS YOUR BOSS IS ENGULFED IN A NAPALM SHROUD AND SCREAMS HIS LUNGS OUT!!!! DIE!!!!! DIE!!!!!!!! DIE!!!!!!!!

Erm where was I? Oh yes. By now no doubt, 95 year old Granny Rosycheeks of Sleepy Bottom, Comfyshire has regretfully turned away from her monitor shaking her old grey head at the state of the world today. Meanwhile the rest of you will be baying with barely suppressed bloodlust and shouting "This is the game for me! Tell me more Craig and don't spare the Tomato Ketchup!" Ever eager to please my reader, I'll do exactly that.

How to Get Ahead In Business By The Use Of Extreme Violence

Syndicate is one of those games which spans two genres. Sure there is an real time action game in there where lighting fast reactions and the ability to think on your feet is of vital importance (though as we will see, a fair amount of cogitation is required even here) but wrapped round that game like the dark chocolate round a strawberry cream is a pretty fair management game. You see, it's all very well to go into a mission with all guns blazing but who is going to pay for all the ammunition expended? It doesn't grow on trees you know. No, the perfect syndicate employee, as well as being able to run rings round his opponent in the field must be able to judge to a nicety just how much tax to screw out of his conquests and must equip his troops and develop new weapons from this income. Just remember, if you falter, there's dozens of jumped up hopefuls just waiting to take your place.

Here's a description of an average mission. One of your syndicate's employees has been captured by a city's police force and is on the point of spilling the beans. He must be silenced at all costs. Unfortunately he is being held inside a heavily fortified police station which can only be accessed by vehicle. Worse still, several rival syndicates have got to hear of this and would like a chat with the agent themselves. You can expect quite a bit of opposition.

In the arming screen, you decide to take the full squad on this one, four agents. Luckily, the R&D; boys have been busy and have just developed the Minigun, a type of machine gun with an awesome rate of fire. Each squad member can carry eight items of equipment but you're a bit strapped for cash and decide to go in light and see what you can pick up within the mission. Each Squad member gets a minigun and two medikits. One agent gets a scanner which allows a wider view of the surroundings within the mission and you blow the last of your cash on a Gauss gun which fires explosive rockets vast distances. It only holds three shots so don't give it to anyone with an itchy trigger finger.

During the mission, the idea is that the player is hovering in an airship over the city where the mission is taking place. This gives you an isometric view of the mission area which can be scrolled by moving the mouse to the edge of the screen (the mouse is the only control used during the game). Your agents come with a handy feature whereby they can be injected with drugs to enhance their intelligence, perception and adrenaline should circumstances dictate and this feature can be accessed through buttons for each agent at the top left of the screen. At middle left is the current agent's inventory and at bottom left is an overhead map of the current agents surroundings. The range of this map which shows items of interest such as civilians, vehicles and squads of heavily armed enemy agents heading your way will vary depending on whether one of your agents is carrying a scanner.

First thing to do is to select all four agents so that you can control them as one. The scanner map shows the location of the target and so you head off in that direction. Movement is accomplished by simply left clicking where you want the squad to go.You can click on either the main isometric view or the overhead scanner map.

After a short while, ominous red dots appear on the scanner map. A rival syndicate's squad and they're not rushing towards you just to discuss working conditions. Desperately, you look around for a defensible position finally picking on a building not too far away. Cranking up your boys' adrenaline levels to the max. gets them moving like Olympics sprinters despite the amount of hardware they have aboard and you make it round the corner of the building well ahead of the opposition.

Once out of sight of the baddies, it's time to unlimber the miniguns and wait for your opponents to step into the trap. Moving the mouse cursor on top of a target brings up a little crosshair cursor. When the cursor is within range of the currently selected weapon, it turns red and it's time to let fly. This is accomplished by holding down the right mouse button. The opposition obligingly walk into the welcome you have waiting for them and are duly dispatched to that great executive washroom in the sky.

As you near the police station where the target is being held, the matter of acquiring a vehicle to effect your entrance becomes uppermost in your mind. Fortunately, a passing hovercar provides the answer. A quick burst from a minigun sends the driver sprawling over the wheel (making a shocking mess of the upholstery) and your boys pile aboard with a click of the mouse button.

Things start to go pear shaped when you drive into the police station. Miniguns blast from all sides and your stolen car explodes in a gout of flame. It's a trap! Your agent number three must have caught the brunt of the blast because he slumps to the floor dead. That non-contributory pension plan was a complete waste of time. The health bars of your other three agents are looking none too healthy either. Time to hit the panic button. Clicking both mouse buttons together send your agent's adrenaline, perception and intelligence levels sky high. Immediately, they draw their miniguns and start blasting at anything that moves, all without any intervention on your part. When the smoke clears, the battlefield is yours. Hastily you reduce your agents levels of adrenaline, perception and intelligence to more normal levels since running them flat out for any great length of time will leave them fit for nothing. At the same time, you make use of the medikits to restore them to vibrant health.

You spend the next few minutes picking up the equipment of your fallen agent and the opposition since this can all be sold for ready cash. Finally, all that remain is to put a bullet through the head of the renegade agent and the mission is successfully completed.

From the above description, it is hopefully obvious that there is more to a mission than a quick trigger finger. Any squad that stands in the open and blasts away is looking for a kicking and will duly get one as soon as the opposition develops lasers and gauss guns. Tactics must be formulated in advance and the best use made of cover when repelling an enemy assault. It may be necessary before charging in the front door of the building where the target is holed up to station an agent at the back door with his intelligence and perception cranked up, lest the object of your attentions tries to do a runner.

How many agents should you take on a mission anyway? One may be able to move around undetected whereas four are bound to be spotted. Then again, if the balloon does go up, only massed firepower is going to get your squad out intact.

The management side of the game can occasion some hard thinking as well. Researching new weaponry is vital to keep up with the other syndicates but research costs money. Your agents can be kitted out with cybernetic limbs and organs to improve their survival chances and increase the load they can carry but once again, these cost money, both to develop and install. Even gaining extra information on the upcoming mission costs money. The simple answer may be to raise taxation but overdo it and you'll find countries revolting all over the map. Not good.

This budget release of Syndicate includes the American revolt add on disk. This is more of the same but instead of taking over the world, you only have to conquer the good old US of A. These missions are significantly harder then the majority of the original missions, despite the addition of a new weapon, namely the airstrike which can devastate half a city with one shot. I haven't really played American Revolt yet, the original game being more that hard enough for me but you can find a review of it here.

Presentation

On starting up the game an atmospheric cut scene demonstrates the syndicate's recruitment methods for new agents. Forsaking traditional methods such as university milk rounds and adverts in the newspaper (Wanted - deranged maniac for challenging clean up job involving lots of travel. Must have own flame-thrower), the syndicates employ that recruiting tool beloved of the old press gangs, namely the blunt instrument to the back of the head. Once inducted in this way, recruits are kitted out with various mechanical appendages, have a microchip installed in their head to control their emotions and are sprayed with a rubber coating, presumable to prevent rust.

After the cut scene, the interface is remarkable consistent. I think the idea is that you're seeing the display from some holographic projector thing mounted on your desk. This produces green vector graphics (remember the Vectrix? That sort of idea) along with a nice 'zippy' sort of noise between screens. The presentation is simple but effective.

Care has been taken within the action sections as well. There are numerous little touches which add to the class of the game. For instance, if you blast away at a building, all the windows will shatter and lights behind the windows will go out. If a tree gets caught in an explosion, it will burst into flames and blaze away merrily. Minor things but nice to see.

All Syndicate missions take place within an urban environment and few games give a better impression of taking place within a living city. The Cities themselves are a jumble of buildings joined together by roads, canals footpaths, catwalks and tunnels and while the mission is taking place, life goes on around the squad. Citizens walk by, cars drive past and if the target is too far away to walk, many cities feature a monorail which the squad can use to move from one end of the city to the other.

Be careful out there though because the future is a dangerous place. On one mission my squad was returning to the pick up point after a hard mission, secure in the knowledge of carnage well done. They were walking through a tunnel which suddenly dumped them straight onto a monorail line. Before I could rescue them, thee quarters of the squad had suddenly found new careers as figureheads on the 17:15 commuter special. Haven't these people ever heard of level crossings?

Graphics

Syndicate was one of the first games to run in SVGA mode and even today it looks good. Bullfrog have managed to strike a fine balance between legibility and getting lots of information on the screen. Your squad members who favour a sartorial style based on long black trenchcoats are finely animated and boast a range of animations designed to cover the eventualities of a squad member's life such as walking menacingly, running away very quickly and catching a magazine full of minigun rounds in the chest. There are also separate graphics for each item of hardware your lads and lasses (the syndicates having a policy against sexual discrimination although once you've been sprayed with rubber, I don't suppose it makes a lot of difference anyway) can wield. The syndicates must use the services of one hell of a tailor since the squad can carry unfeasibly large amounts of hardware on their person, all without disturbing the snazzy lines of their apparel.

Other citizens are equally well represented though sadly their lives seem to be limited to 'walk about', 'get shot' and 'die horribly'.

Sound

There is music constantly playing in the background as you go about the syndicate's business. There is only one tune which becomes slightly wearisome after a while but it is not too obtrusive. In addition, in true movie style, the tune turns into something much more sinister when an enemy agent appears on the scanner and this early warning has saved my agents' bacon more than once. Sound effects are sporadic but well done. Doors whoosh open, police shout 'put down your weapons!' an instant before being obliterated and each weapon has an individual sound effect which suits it perfectly. The blare of the minigun and the whoosh of the gauss gun are particularly effective.

Documentation

Come on, what do you expect? This is a budget release after all. What I certainly didn't expect was that the game would come with what appears to be the original full price documentation! I assumed that this was a mistake in EA's production department for which someone would get fired in due course but I have now bought three titles in EA's CD-ROM Classic budget range and they've all come with the original documentation. Amazing. Anyway Syndicate comes with a 64 page executive brief featuring a snazzy dark grey on black colour scheme, just like really expensive hi-fi equipment and a sixteen page reference card which covers installation and the extra features of American Revolt. The manual is very nice indeed being both informative and entertaining to read and as a bonus featuring some nice artwork

A SHORT GUIDE TO KILLING

At first the young executive will only have a few types of weapon to kit his squad out with but throw cash at the R 'n' D boys and they will soon be producing a veritable cornucopia of high tech death. Here as a service to the reader are a few of the highlights :

  • Pistol: A lightweight weapon with the singular advantage of being free! Sadly, once the first few missions are past, anyone going into the fray armed only with a pistol is going to end up impersonating a colander.
  • Shotgun: Beloved of the police, this is an inexpensive short range weapon. OK as a backup.
  • Uzi: Once again cheap and light so your agents can carry a few of them. Really only a stand in until you can develop the..
  • Minigun: The weapon of choice for the nutter about town, you know you're in trouble when the opposing syndicates start using these babies. Featuring awesome firepower and fairly long range, its only drawbacks are that it is quite expensive and very heavy so unless you want your squad crawling on its knees, you'll have to invest in some cybernetic enhancements.
  • Gauss Gun: Heavy duty support weaponry, the gauss gun can launch a high explosive missile across the screen with devastating effect. Only holds three shots so keep your finger light on the trigger.
  • Laser: Long range weapon which kills with a single shot. This is just as well since the laser only holds five shots. Expensive and difficult to aim.
  • Flamer: Or a flame thrower to you and me. Excellent close range weapon. Trouble is, if you've got a flamer and the opposition's got a minigun, you're never going to get close enough to singe their tootsies.
  • Energy Shield: Provides protection against all weapons. It has two drawbacks:- the batteries go flat very quickly and your own squad cannot fire weapons while the shield is switched on.
  • Time bomb: I have never found a use for these. The time bomb is a lump of high explosives which starts beeping when dropped and goes off with a loud bang shortly afterwards. Sadly the bang isn't quite big enough to blow holes in walls and fences. Opposing agents carry a lot of time bombs. This is unfortunate because when an agent carrying a time bomb is killed, the bomb considers itself to have been dropped and unless you can get your squad out of the way fast, damage will occur. The up side of all the is that quite often enemy agents get caught in the blast as well. Of course they then drop any bombs they might have been carrying...
  • Persuadertron: Not strictly speaking a weapon, the persuadertron allows you to bend other people to your will! Anyone falling under the influence of the persuadertron will follow the agent carrying it, powerless to resist. Normal citizens can be nobbled at any time but guards, police and members of opposing syndicates are made of sterner stuff and a number of civilians must be persuaded before the persuadertron will work on these toughies. The model of brain fitted to the agent carrying the persuadertron also has an effect on how easily people can be swayed.

Occasionally the aim of a mission will be to use the persuadertron to lure an employee of an enemy syndicate to come over to your side but the persuadertron has an even more important function. The action in the introductory cut scene notwithstanding, the only way you have of recruiting new agents is to recycle enemy agents by having them under the influence of the persuadertron at the end of a mission. Since at times you will find yourself going through agents at a remarkable rate of knots, it pays to persuade enemy agents whenever the opportunity presents itself. Of course wandering up to a heavily armed enemy agent waving a persuadertron in the air rather than cutting loose with a minigun from the other side of the street can be far more hazardous to your own agent's health.

Bugs and Moans

Syndicate suffers from the curse of all isometric games, it is all too easy to get an agent stuck out of sight behind a building and loose track of what is happening to him. The ability to move agents by clicking on the scanner map can come in handy for extricating people from this predicament and it's a fault of the genre rather than Syndicate itself.

The player has a choice between controlling one agent or the whole squad. It would be nice to have the option to split the squad into two teams of two.

This comes under the category of useful bugs. During a mission, if you hit the escape key, you are deemed to have abandoned the mission and taken back to the main menu. When you come to arm up your team for the next mission, you will find that ammo used in the aborted mission has mysteriously been replenished.

One machine I played Syndicate on, a DX33, crashed every time I entered a mission after a lot of graphical glitching. The solution to this turned out to be to turn turbo mode off. I was apprehensive about the frame rate I would get after this somewhat drastic act but in fact the game ran fine, only becoming jerky when there was a great number of things going on at the same time. A testament to Bullfrog's programming skills.

This really hurt. It is a mark of the high regard I have for Syndicate that it is one of the few games I have played right through to the end. What happens when you finally conquer the world? You get a couple of screens full of credits and that's it. I felt a bit let down.

Conclusion

Syndicate may be an old game but in every respect, it can hold its head up in the company of today's latest releases. In addition, it will run pretty well on a high end 386 and doesn't require massive amounts of memory and disk space. Bullfrog will be very hard pressed to better it with the forthcoming Syndicate Wars. Anyone who has the slightest interest in this type of game and who doesn't become ill at the sight of liberal amounts of gore should rush out and buy a copy of Syndicate right now. At this price, you simply cannot go wrong.

Review By GamesDomain

External links

Captures and Snapshots

Comments and reviews

x 2021-07-14 1 point

This is no longer listed one GOG, can we please get the files back

IsofNoConcern 2021-06-28 1 point

Has just been delisted on GOG.com.
No word yet if and when it's going to return, maybe under new ownership?

grindbastard 2017-11-09 0 point

1) Extract the archive
2) Move the Syndicat folder to the C: drive and rename it SYND. (C:\SYND)
3) Mount the folder to the C: drive in DosBox (mount c c:\SYND)
4) Navigate to C:\SYNDICAT in DosBox.
5) Run Main.exe

Frank 2017-05-12 1 point

Most will not have noticed it, but in my Dosbox sound effects does not work. You have to start synd.exe in sb16, then saving and sound effects work.

zerdrakon 2016-12-25 2 points

Test in DOSBOX on W10, extract RAR, the main folder MUST NAME "SYND" and put on your virtual C Disk (where you mount C unit with command mount c xxx) play from folder SYND and save/load perfect

Poch 2016-05-12 -2 points

Any way on playing this on iOS???

Savior! 2015-06-19 1 point DOS version

It is possible to save... only on Drive C.

Example: you put the game on a USB stick, drive F:\SYND (folder)

In DOSbox, type:

mount c c:\
mount f f:\
f:
cd synd
synd

You run the game from drive F but it will be saved on drive C, in a folder named SYND.

aNDRE 2015-04-29 -2 points DOS version

download, unpck, open in dosbox Syndicat/SYNDICAT/main.exe... all in ubuntu 10.04.
Game works almost perfect - save not work... but who need save in this game :p

lc704x4 2015-04-29 0 point DOS version

Good day, I downloaded this file and also a DOSBOX and yet I cannot run the game

Fabi 2014-08-05 -5 points DOS version

I want an APP for my iPhone!

challenger99 2014-03-27 0 point DOS version

super game and site

Dave 2014-03-01 -3 points DOS version

Does not run

sloryder929rr 2014-02-23 1 point DOS version

One of my all time favs, just something about having a team of uzi and mini-gun toting cyborg thugs that no other game has really satisfied.

chad 2014-01-06 -3 points DOS version

pls help me where to download this game. syndicate...

Asrael 2013-08-06 1 point DOS version

One of the best games EVER!!!!

Cap. Asdolbo 2013-02-17 -1 point DOS version

I remember pretty clear of plaing this exact version back at 96, on a screwed up computer...

It blew my mind on how such a clever game could be so violent and aggressive. Imorallity never have been so addicting in a game before.

Play this forgoten gem ASAP!!

Cheers!!

Licurg 2012-04-24 -1 point DOS version

Awesome!

Write a comment

Share your gamer memories, give useful links or comment anything you'd like. This game is no longer abandonware, we won't put it back online.

 

Buy Syndicate Plus

Syndicate Plus is available for a small price on the following website, and is no longer abandonware. GOG.com provides the best release and does not include DRM, please buy from them! You can read our online store guide .

Ad Consent Terms About Contact FAQ Useful links Contribute Taking screenshots How to play

MyAbandonware utopiaweb