In 1993 Bullfrog released a squad based, Isometric view, real time strategy game that took the gaming world by storm. It incorporated elements of shooting, resource management and tactical planning in order for players to accomplish missions. This was back in the time when Windows 95 was non existent and most games ran on DOS.
The overall objective of the game?, nothing short of Total World Domination. You play a young executive in a Corporate Syndicate that aims to control the world through assassinations, mind control of key personnel and utter banditry. For each mission you accomplish you take control of a country and earn your keep via taxation of the general populace. Be wary however that an over taxed population can lead to revolution. Attempting to foil your plans are rival syndicates with their own agents in place that are out to eradicate with extreme prejudice your own agents. To aid you in your quest are weapons and body modifications that you can add on to your agents. These mods and equipment however aren’t acquired right away as your team of scientists will have to research them for you (that’s where the tax money comes in)
The missions are basically 4 types: assassinate, mind control somebody into submission, protect personnel or pick up items.
One great thing about the game is that the missions aren’t following a straight-line plot, the player could choose to side step a difficult mission for an easier one in order to build up monetary resources, personnel or research modifications. This in turn added a certain level of strategic planning to the game play. A total of 50 missions await you. The game can currently be downloaded from an abandon-ware site : here (be sure to scan with an anti-virus software before running)
You can play it right away in Windows XP by clicking on synd.bat after extracting using an .rar extractor (7zip worked for me). For the purists who want sound, you can download Dosbox at sourceforge and run it in this environment.
After the success of Syndicate it was followed by Syndicate Wars. The sequel however failed to live up to the success of it’s predecessor.
Peter Molyneux, one of the creators of the game said in a recent interview that
he would like to develop the next generation of Syndicate (and other popular Bullfrog games) but only after some licensing
complications are sorted out (EA owns the rights to Bullfrog’s game titles after it was bought out, plus his company Lionhead Studios house got purchased by Microsoft) So here’s hoping that there is third installment of the Syndicate franchise that fans can look forward to, something in the mold of Ragnarok and WoW… but with Guns *snicker*