Syndicate is one of my all-time favourite computer games and that makes it a little weird to review the SNES version of it. It’s similar enough that it feels familiar, but dissimilar enough that it feels wrong. It’s kind of like looking at yourself in a funhouse mirror, assuming you were a cybered-up assassin working for a giant corporation in the future, and you had time to stop and contemplate your appearance before firing your gauss gun into a crowd of civilians.
I’ll start by saying that the computer version of Syndicate is way better than the SNES version. Controlling your agents with a mouse and keyboard is a far better setup than doing it with the awkward SNES controller (in this case emulated with a keyboard). In a similarly disappointing vein—like the kind I can’t find anymore, so riddled is my body with the dirty tracks of heroin abuse—the graphics of the SNES port of Syndicate are garish and unfinished in comparison to the original. They lack the gritty atmosphere of the (VASTLY SUPERIOR IF I HAVEN’T MADE THIS CLEAR YET) PC version of the game.
I cannot stress this enough: basing a game around sending drugged-out cyber assassins out to wander the streets and blow things up is a brilliant idea. Why aren’t there dozens upon dozens of games like this for the SNES instead of a million permutations of soccer or baseball? The mind boggles. Once it stops boggling, I go back to revewing the SNES version of Syndicate.
I just thought of an apt analogy: the computer version of Syndicate is like a Transformers toy, and the SNES version is one of the Gobots. Sure, they’re very nearly the same thing, but if you’ve ever played with those toys side by side (as a child or as an adult, I won’t judge you, you loser) you KNOW that you’re missing out if there’s a Gobot in your hand. Similar yes, but one is of such superior quality that you can’t help but feel disappointed and a little ripped off.
Reviewing the SNES version of Syndicate on its own merits and pretending the computer game doesn’t exist is a exercise in futility because I HAVE played the computer game, and I HAVE played it enough that the impression has been irrecoverably made. I would need new and fresh eyes to try and judge the SNES version of Syndicate with anything approaching fairness. Luckily, I never made the claim that I’m reviewing these things with any sort of fairness, so we’re all good.
I simply can’t recommend this game knowing that there’s one superior to it in every way waiting for anyone enterprising enough to look. I can’t. I tried and failed. And now, the honour-killing. HURRRRRKKKKKKK
Now I’m a ghost.