In this sequel to Piranha’s Majestic, you play an engineer who is stranded in space on the cruise liner I.S.T. Rident. The 140 people previously on board are no longer around due to an attack by the "dog ships." You take it upon yourself to find out what happened to those people. Inside your head, wired to your brainstem, is a SYM chip -- a device implanted in your head that increases your thinking power and talks to you. Throughout the game your SYM will make comments, explain things you are looking at, make jokes, and forget to do things like open doors (you end up running into them). The setting is the future, but no years are ever given, and the dates that you do see are in a weird format.
The "dog ships" are a complete mystery in this game. From the beginning you are wondering why they are called the "dog ships." Do they look like dogs? Do their weapons sound like dogs? Do they act like dogs in a pack? No, no, and no. In fact you will never find out why or how they were given that name, which was one of the things I wondered about most. This is what I most wanted to find out in the game.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
If you have ever played 7th Guest then you know what the gameplay is like. You move through your environment in a series of videos, so you can't just roam around anywhere you want. There are some differences, though. First of all, the window in which you see the world is only a quarter of the screen. The rest is odd metallic-looking stuff with a few things you can click on such as your inventory and the system menu. In most games of this sort, the cursor will change over certain things on the screen such as an item you can pick up, but in Syn-Factor the cursor always remains the same. You use your SYM chip to link with other electronic devices and interact with them and you need that to solve most of the challenges you face. I found that most things that could be picked up or interacted with were a little tricky to see. I suggest that you scan the screen with the cursor to see if any words appear ("item" will appear just below the playing screen if something can be picked up and "link" will appear if you can link with it).
During the game the SYM chip will make comments and explain things you click on. These comments can be humorous at times and add a little more entertainment to the playing experience. As the game progresses, however, there are considerably fewer things that it will give explanations for.
Some of the challenges were really easy and some were really off the beaten path. In case you get stuck there is a help system built into the game. Go into the database and type "hint;" it will then give you instructions on how to get past the current challenge. I found this help system to be odd, though; it will give very exact instructions for some challenges and very vague instructions for others. To make matters worse the challenges for which you are given vague instructions are usually the ones that are furthest from the beaten path.
I'll have to say that the graphics by artist Istvan Pely were very nicely done. I particularly liked the change of scenery as I would go from place to place. Some locales were cold and metallic while the next would be clean, well-lit, and cozy. The 3D rendering was smooth and matched up well when I "stopped walking" and it changed to a still image.
There wasn't much audio in the game to critique on. Music was limited to only certain areas, such as when you come across a dead body. There were a few sound effects in the game, mostly depending on the surface on which you were walking. In conclusion, the audio wasn't bad, but wasn't something to make a big fuss over.
Recommended: 486-DX 66MHz, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, SVGA display at 640x480, Windows compatible sound-card, Windows 95
Reviewed On: Pentium 133MHz, 32 MB RAM, 6X CD-ROM drive, Matrox Mystique 4 MB
I wouldn't really recommend buying Syn-Factor. It can be fun for a little while, but its obscure challenges will start to get on your nerves. The plot of this game is very good and ends very nicely, other than that, the only thing good about Syn-Factor is the 3D graphics. This game rates a 59.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP