Syndicate: American Revolt

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The Americans are revolting. Can you bring order from the chaos in these fiendishly tricky Syndicate missions?

Review by Andy Hutchinson for Amiga Format, Issue 60, June 1994, p.p.56-57

(Frame from Mission Complete animation)
It is almost a year since Syndicate first nuked its way on to the Amiga scene. Its brutal gameplay fused cyberpunk with the god game - the end result a game so violent that Saddam Hussein would have disapproved.
And now it is back, only more so. Bullfrog have released American Revolt for all those die-hards who refuse to die hard. This data disk con tinues the story of the syndicates as they grapple to retain power of the Americas.

In order to play American Revolt you have really got to be able to finish the original game because the datadisk's missions are at least three times as hard as the originals, so if you are new to Syndicate you will be as much use as a one legged man in a penalty shoot-out.
No offence, but unless you have played the original to death, you will just get very frustrated with American Revolt very quickly.
In all there are 25 new missions on the disk. They range from the difficult (The Rockies) to the downright impossible (The South American countries). Even with fully-equipped agents with a complete set of Version 3.0 modicifations you are still going to die jolly quickly.

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09 out of 10
The usual shocking rivers or blood, cyberpunk citizens, and funky TV screens.

09 out of 10
Lots of swooshes, plenty of screaming, and a healthy dose of machine-gun fire.

10 out of 10
If you were hooked on Syndicate, be prepared to sacrifice all of your free time to this.

09 out of 10
It is all very playable but almightily, extremely, extraordinarily hard.

"25 new missions for Syndicate fanatics with a difficulty rating equivalent to climbing the north face of the Eiger in your underpants."

Mission bleedin' difficult
The secret to completing these missions lies in using each agent's drug intake carefully. If you got through the first game by simply yamping around in group mode killing everyone in sigh, then you are not going to do very well at this game. Quite often you are going to have to split up your agents, sending two to take out the enemy while the other two get on with the missions itself. The actual missions range from the usual combat sweeps where you destroy everyone in sight, to the escort-type where you have got to keep someone alive. The escort missions are the trickiest, because it is very easy for the enemy to pick off your detector, which means you have got to keep your agents in the line of fire at all times.

By way of illustrating just how hard these missions are, here is what happens in Columbia. You are sent in to eradicate a double agent. The city is split into two sections and the agent won't reveal himself until you have dealt with all enemy agents.

There are about 20 agents in the southern sector and each one is just as well equipped as you. Having depleted all your firepower and picked up a few extra weapons, you locate a vehicle with which to make the journey into the north. When you spot the vehicle's guard, you head north, and encounter the 50 other agents who are protecting your target. Then you die. Swiftly.
If you though you would be helped by new technology which would give you the edge over the other syndicates, then you would be wrong.

Protect and survive
There are not any new weapons available in the game (unlike the PC version), these are purely new missions. Bullfrog designed them in response to the number of people who complained that the original was too easy. Alex Trowers (who designed the levels) also wanted to stop people from wandering around in group mode.

This is definitely not a game you will finish the first weekend you have it and even the Syndicate programmers have trouble completing some of the levels.

While playing these missions it became obvious to me that the Amiga Format readership should be protected. So, if you are really sold on the mission disk and the cheque is already in the post, please follow these nuggets of advice:
 Have the telephone number of a good therapist handy.
 Give loved ones plenty of notice before you start playing, so that they can evacuate.
 Encase your TV in foam, just in case it should suffer some sort of heavy blow.
 Remove all sharp objects from the room you are in.
 Use an industrial strength mouse.
 Do not get interviewed by a researcher from a TV programme about video games.
 Do not phone us when your whole life falls to pieces. You have been warned.
Andy Hutchinson