Syndicate: American Revolt
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Syndicate is probably not a game your mother would like, unless of course your family name is Borgia. It is extremely, no, gratuitously violent, amoral and devoid of any humanity. It is also hugely entertaining, highly addictive and worryingly enjoyable. The scary thing is that there is a perverse pleasure to be had, after a lousy journey home at the mercy of Network Southeast, in blowing the crap out of a bunch of civilians, enemy cyborgs, trains, cars, and anything else that moves.
Mission objectives can be achieved with as few or as many extra casualties as you may wish. Some missions need a little discretion, but most are unaffected by the body count. Once your research teams have developed the hardware, you can take on anything you want with impunity. Just send your bio-engineered psychos out into the world, crank up their adrenaline levels and kill everything that you see. Okay, so there is quite a strong tactical element to the game, and you do need to think, as well as shoot, your way out of some situations, but generally after a couple of tries the missions become quite simple and, eventually, a little repetitive.
American Revolt addresses these problems in a characteristic. Syndicate sort of way. The enemy cyborgs are now seriously hard to kill or outwit.
They are armed to the teeth and often start firing at you before you've even worked out which weapon to use. They have also realised that by working together they can beat you more efficiently than if they fight amongst themselves.
Bullfrog has also added a superb touch. Those of you fortunate enough to have a particularly broad minded administration at work now have the opportunity to install Syndicate on your Novell compatible network and play against up to seven other human opponents, each controlling their own teams of cyborgs. There are ten missions to complete, each with the sole goal of being the last alive. This adds a great new element, and makes the game as a whole far more challenging, as human opponents will not always react in the logical and predictable way that the computer will.
To help you assist the opposition into the next world, a couple of new gadgets have been added. These become available, as usual, after spending suitably enormous amounts on research and development. First of all, a holographic device which allows you to disguise your agent as a normal civilian and so infiltrate enemy squads with impunity. This only works against human opponents, though, as the computer always sees through it. Even more amusing is the facility to call in air strikes once you have developed the technology, though, this is a great way to stock up on new entrants to the afterlife if you so wish.
To sum up, Syndicate: American Revolt is excellent if you have access to a Novell network and an understanding boss. If not, the extra challenge of tougher, smarter and better equipped enemies will either provide lasting appeal or it won't. Personally, I think I preferred the original. But that may only be because I could win at it.