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Syndicate Wars - Gameplay

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Published on Dec 1, 2009

Syndicate Wars is a Cyberpunk Real Time Strategy game. It was made by Bullfrog and was published by EA in 1996 for PC and PS1.

Syndicate Wars preserves the isometric view of Syndicate, while adding rotation and pitch controls over the view. Control over one's agents (or acolytes, when playing as the Church) is largely the same as the previous syndicate games, being based on a combination of keyboard and mouse actions.

Agents may be commanded singly or in groups, with simple instructions to assume positions, pursue or attack NPCs, collect items, etc. Agents may be set to behave passively, acting only when commanded, or to react to threats through control of brain and adrenal functions (the effectiveness of this autonomous operation may be improved over the course of the game through cybernetic brain upgrades, amongst others). Notably, the player has access to view the entire area of the game map for a level on first entering it; an area of the map need not be "seen" by the physical characters for its terrain and events to be known. This often allows the player to formulate a strategy and plan routes through the map. Consequently, the player generally has a good idea of the forces opposing him or her before starting the level, aside from cases where opposing elements were previously concealed in vehicles, buildings, etc. The armament of those forces, however, is generally known only by comparison to other recently encountered forces.

The selection of weapons in Syndicate Wars are quite similar to those in the previous games, being principally an array of small arms weapons. The weapon of choice for the early game is the minigun, chosen for good range and damage properties. This is later supplemented by long-range rifles, medium-range Gauss guns, and a variety of directed-energy weapons, from a basic pulse laser to the highly destructive Graviton Gun. Other, more specialized weapons also appear.

There is no ammunition per se; instead, all reusable items draw power from a portable micro-fusion reactor carried by each agent. Sustained use depletes a shared stored energy pool, which is gradually replenished. In general, the more effective the weapon, the more energy it requires, and hence the lower the rate of fire. At later stages of the game, management of this recharging time becomes a significant element of combat tactics. As other weapons or other items are encountered in the game they may be passed to one's research and development teams for productization (any enemy weapon captured may be used immediately and carried into future missions, but must be productized before more copies can be purchased or to reduce the energy cost of using it.) Most of the landscape in Syndicate Wars is destructible in the face of explosive weapons, most notably high explosive charges and even nuclear grenades which can be used to destroy buildings (for example, when robbing banks to secure capital), and kinetic bombardment from armed satellites.

A number of ground vehicles appear in Syndicate Wars. Some are taken directly from another Bullfrog game, Hi-Octane, while others are stylistically similar to those found in Syndicate; these differ in durability, but all have essentially unlimited personnel capacity (for the player's agents and persuaded persons). The game adds a series of flying vehicles as well in some missions, which are used as antagonists and may be captured for use by the player. Vehicles are self-navigating from an interface perspective—the player picks the point on or near a street, and the vehicle will drive or fly there without further intervention, assuming the point was reachable. The self-navigation is fairly robust, almost always choosing an ideal route and avoiding confusion from loops and overpasses.

The game was created using a modified version of the engine used in Magic Carpet. It included in game advertising, for instance ads for Manga Entertainment's Ghost in The Shell and Judge Dredd from 2000 AD.

Source: Wikipedia

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