GoG Release Original Syndicate This Week!

It's really true!

Check the Earth for giant cracks, while demons ride high above the clouds, their red wings raining down fire, because the original Bullfrog Syndicate is to be available once again, via the magic of Good Old Games.

Come this Thursday, prepare to discover just how much was your teenage memory, and how much was Bullfrog’s genius, as the 1993 classic that took sentient form in the shape of one Kieron Gillen, is finally playable on your modern systems. Released for $6, it’s hard to find a reason to complain about anything today. GoG had previously had trouble clearing the rights for the game, with so many mid-90s classics being caught up in confusion over ownership, but finally it’s let loose. Well, in two days.

Um, that’s it. I think we should all dance.


  1. jellydonut says:

    So it’s actually going to work in Windows? It’ll have actual sound?


    • Cooper says:

      It’ll probably be the Dos version using DosBox, which is what GOG do with most nowadays. So there’s not much for your $6 if you already have it on disc, excpet a bit less fiddling to get it to work.

      It’s unlikely they’ve done anythihng like this:
      link to swars.vexillium.org
      link to keeper.lubie.org

      Which are a fully fledge PORTS of syndicate wars and Dungeon Keeper to windows. (Which still need you to own the game data files).
      They completely removed all the DOS requirements an re-wrote the executable so it works on windows.

      These are the kinds of people that deserve attention, and your donations, not a company that, once it has the rights to a game, just packages it with a free emulator completely maintained and built by other people…

      If GoG really were concerned about getting games to run properly on new systems, they’d have bought that port of Dungeon Keeper. Not just added DosBox to the Dos version of a game that has a windows version..

    • Gundato says:

      Yay, Syndicate. And moderation

    • Khemm says:

      There’s only one God.

    • Red_Avatar says:

      Considering it was a DOS game and always worked fine in DOSBox, yes, yes it will.

      And to answer the article: Syndicate was ALWAYS brilliant. Syndicate Wars is the one that has dated more because of the primitive 3D but even that is quite fun to play.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Reply fail.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Probably, it won’t, at least technically, because usually those thingies run in DosBox.

    • Eclipse says:

      @Khemm: the Blood God?

    • sneetch says:

      No, Eclipse, it’s The Emperor, obviously.


  2. mentor07825 says:

    I’m dancing right now!


    I’m so hardcore.

  3. Network Crayon says:

    Oh cool!

    I Love GOG, as time goes by the work they put into optimising games for newer systems is superb.

    I baught Descent 2 off there the other day, i’ve played nothing else since. Syndicate wars is a deffinate buy :D

    • Cooper says:

      What work?
      They package old games with DosBox.

      If you have the old game discs still; get DosBox, it’s free. Get something like D-Fend:
      link to dfendreloaded.sourceforge.net

      And then set up the game -exactly- to how you want it, running perfectly for your personal system. All for the price of $0

      Dungeon Keeper is the good example of this. Rather than using the windows version, which uses DirextX, looks better, has more colours and resolution, but doesn’t run on vista or windows 7, they just used the Dos game and added dosbox.

      The work that goes into something like:
      link to rockpapershotgun.com

      Is not the work that gog.com do.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      I think the article meant Syndicate, not Syndicate Wars… The latter I still have on disk and worked at least in Windows XP.

    • Network Crayon says:

      ^_^ seems i slipped ‘Wars’ in by accident.

      I love a good Wars.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Not to break your bubble, but most of the time they cash in on the work of the Dosbox team and of people from the abandonware community who got the game working well in modern OS’s in the first place… sometimes better than what gets released on Gog. They don’t have access to those games’ source code and can’t modify them anymore than you and I.

      Their only merit is testing the games maybe a little bit more rigorously and making it available to a large audience with convenient downloads. Plus a legal copy if you didn’t have one already of course… but some people buy again on Gog even though they have the original, and I laugh at them. A little trip to the dosbox forums would probably be all they need.

    • Eclipse says:

      if for “optimising games for newer systems” you mean slap ’em on DosBox, yeah.
      (and I’m a GOG user with around 50 titles in his catalogue)

    • Lukasz says:

      sure. you can use your old cd with dosbox but gog offers you discless experience. that’s way more convenient than using your old discs risking them being damaged. so your laugh is silly.

    • Gundato says:

      Mellow: I am one of those people who often rebuy on GoG

      Hell, half the time, I already know how to set it up in DOSBox even.

      I buy for two reasons:

      Convenience: It is always going to be easier to download and run an installer than it would be to insert the floppies (assuming I even HAVE a floppy drive available) and configure in DOSBox (which often involves checking the forums).
      Support: I like GoG (even if they DEFINITELY know how to play the PR game) and me buying crap from them shows support for those kinds of games.

      And if I don’t own the game: legality. Abandonware is just another word for “warez”.

    • LionsPhil says:

      sure. you can use your old cd with dosbox but gog offers you discless experience. that’s way more convenient than using your old discs risking them being damaged. so your laugh is silly.

      I’m afraid your attempt to be smug about that has been horribly undercut by the fact that “disclessness” is provided by DOSBox. Mount and imgmount work just great for copied files and disk images.

      You didn’t even try the “I’ll pay $6 to save having to faff with dosbox.conf”. At least that one’s just a value judgement. (Unfortunately, for the most part I’ve found GOG’s setup to be pretty shoddy, and it’s better to yank the data and stuff it in my own DOSBox environment.)

    • Network Crayon says:

      Well all that in mind, I still love what GoG offers, it Does save faffing around with dos-box and i have no problem with anyone trying to breathe life into wonderful old games. which can never be a bad thing.

      im sure all they offer is acheivable for free or with just dos-box but i dont have any problem with supporting whats otherwise a good place to buy games from. fairs fair.

    • bill says:

      I love GOG too, but the dosbox thing is also true. They are usually more convenient though.

      As for the testing, I’m not so sure on that… they’ve released several (usually non-dosbox) games that are unplayable – and often due to bugs that were well known before they released it.

      I sometimes get the feeling they have 3 test machines – an Xp, a Vista and a win7. If it works on those then they chuck it out.

  4. Sp4rkR4t says:

    meh, I’ve still got the Amiga version and it was better.

    • The Tupper says:

      I played the Amiga version, but I seem to recall that title being the first to make me realise tech specs were passing me by: it ran a bit chuggily (new word!), I think.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Any real differences between those two versions?

    • The Tupper says:

      Can’t help there – I only played the Amiga version.

    • Cooper says:

      Yes, the Amiga version had a lower resolution, but was full 256 colours. MS-DOS was a higher reasolution, but less colour.
      See the mobygames screenshots:
      link to mobygames.com
      link to mobygames.com

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      The Amiga port was basically rubbish. I remember buying it immediately after seeing the PC version at a friend’s place and it was a massive disappointment. If you want a list of things that were lost:

      – The graphics are downgraded from 640×400 to 320×200, which is actually understandable as the lower end Amigas had flicker problems at high resolutions. However, for some reason they also decided to change the colours around. Instead of the black and metallic grey look of the DOS version the Amiga version was reimagined in an eye-searing combination of cyan, orange and purple.

      – The music is missing altogether, resulting in a huge loss of atmosphere. The cutscenes are completely missing the audio as well.

      – Most of the graphics have been stripped out, so that all the different vehicles and civilians are represented by identical sprites. This results in mass confusion in levels like the one where you have to destroy two APCs and then escape in an ambulance.

      – Likewise, all of the enemy Syndicate agents now wear the same coloured hats, making it impossible to tell which faction they’re from.

      – There was no framerate limiting, meaning that the game would drastically speed up and slow down depending on how much is happening on-screen.

      – The business/menu section was cut down too, with all the animation and sound missing. Research now happens in blocks of an hour so you can’t fine tune it like you can in the DOS version.

      That said, mechanically it’s nigh-on identical to the DOS game, so it still has it where it counts. It’s testament to how good the original game is that you can throw all of that stuff out the window and still be left with something that’s regarded by some as a masterpiece.

    • Eclipse says:

      nope it wasn’t, Amiga version look, sound and play worse. Syndicate is a game of the 486 era, where PC was the superior beast. That version wasn’t even directly ported from Bullfrog I think.

      link to games.seantcooper.com
      “Syndicate was Bullfrog’s first game to lead on PC, an announcement that led to cries of anguish from Amiga users (later mollified by Mike Diskette’s excellent port). “I think the decision to switch was based purely on the fact that the PC allowed us to do all of the cool city stuff that we wanted to,” explains Trowers. “The Amiga, bless its cottons, just wasn’t powerful enough.[…]”

  5. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Awesome. It’ll be good to see what the fuss was about.

    • atticus says:

      I predict thousands of bubbles of nostalgia bursting, accompanied by a choir of “meh”.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      This. It’s not as good as I remember, and I didn’t enjoy it very much even back in the day.

    • Avish says:

      I remember Syndicate being quite disappointing. It was an extremely easy game, except the last level, which was impossible to finish.

      It was also very short (for its time) and repetitive.

    • lhzr says:

      i liked it back then, but when i replayed it some years ago it didn’t manage to do much for me. it was fine, but not fun enough to stick with it for more than a couple of levels.

      i think i’m gonna wait for the firaxis remake (assuming their xcom doesn’t flop, ofc).

    • MuscleHorse says:

      It’s still a great game and enjoy booting it up now and then. The isometric camera system, with its inability to see through walls, is somewhat maddening though.

  6. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Surely this is a harbinger of the End Times as foretold by Nostradamus.

    Syndicate on GOG – Check.
    X-Com being remade as an FPS – Check

    The Third Seal shall be the remake of Cannon Fodder.

  7. Frostbeard says:

    You can dance if you want to
    You can leave your friends behind

  8. Jesse L says:

    I would love to see an RPS review.

    I’ve never played it; my system was too modern by the time I got around to it. A modern review would be really useful.

    • Icarus says:

      Didn’t KG review it for Amiga Power or something? I honestly don’t remember.

    • lhzr says:

      too modern? i remember it working fine with dosbox when i tried replaying it a couple of years ago.

    • fallingmagpie says:

      Apparently not: link to hol.abime.net

    • Jesse L says:

      I had sound and speed issues that I couldn’t resolve in an hour of tweaking, which is about my limit for an unknown quantity.

  9. deadly.by.design says:

    I feel like I’m the only guy who preferred Syndicate Wars.

    (still, this is good news!)

    • SooSiaal says:

      Oh no, we are not alone.
      But yeah, I will probably get this anyway, nostalgia and such

    • Monkey says:

      I preferred the Syndicate Wars, although i loved the original too. I remember seeing the intro sequence (possibly one of the best ever) in a HMV in manchester and thinking, i must have this

    • mouton says:

      Both games were glorious. There is no need to have a nostalgia fight to establish some arbitrary primacy.

    • BobbyFizz says:

      I definitely enjoyed swars more, infact I never completed the first one.

      I dug the old cd out and tried to play swars not too long ago, but it ran too fast. Is there some way to sort that out?

  10. Rob Maguire says:

    I was hoping the “most requested classic that starts with an S” they were teasing on Twitter would be System Shock, but this works just fine.

  11. Oozo says:

    The perfect opportunity to share with even more people the best thing that I have seen today:
    link to drunkronswanson.com

  12. Khemm says:

    Awesome, will buy. Fvck the new “Syndicate”.

  13. buzzmong says:

    I never played the PC version of Syndicate so I might buy it despite still having a boxed copy of the Amiga version and working Amigas, as it’s just not the same on an emulator.

  14. Brun says:

    Bullfrog, how I miss thee. Remember Magic Carpet? I spent many an hour blasting Wyverns with fireballs in that game.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      That game was super-awesome! And extra-difficult: damn bees!

      Fun fact: one of my friends played the game a lot, and for 6 month he didn’t realize that you respawned at your castle after death, because each time he was so frustrated that he ESC’d the game :P. Hardcore mode!

    • Brun says:

      The sad thing is that I was so young when it came out that I didn’t really appreciate it for what a good game it was (I think I was 6 or 7 years old at the time). It’s only been since I’ve played it a second time that I recognized it as a great game.

    • Wonko the Sane says:

      Ah, Magic carpet… Never owned myself, but had great fun on someone else’s computer.

    • Prime says:

      …and in the game, Wonko?

  15. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Thank the GOGS!

  16. sephiroth says:

    WOW best news of the year, you should pack up and go home lads you won’t be topping this story in 2012 job done.

    bout ffffing time too its been toooo long since I’ve had a working copy of this game and that name theif of a shooter was turning me in to some kind of depressive. this and a new x-com good times.

  17. MadTinkerer says:

    Oh boy, can’t wait to play four player co-op…

    Oh wait, this isn’t the shiny new 2012 shooter!

    In the trashbin.

    • Bfox says:

      Oh man, if the original had 4 player coop that’d be shweet.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      The original did have a multiplayer mode by way of the American Revolt expansion. Unfortunately it was a deathmatch thing which didn’t really work.

  18. RiptoR says:

    Sweet, got great memories of this game. I wonder how the game holds up these days.

    Also, I came across the Freesynd project recently, which aims to create a multiplatform engine for the game. Though it seems this project is not really bugfree though according to the changelogs.

    More info here: link to freesynd.sourceforge.net

  19. Moraven says:

    Is this Syndicate Plus tho, which includes the expansion?

    • Delusibeta says:

      No mention of any expansions on the game page. However, the GOG box art is an edited version of the expansion box art, so who knows?

      [Edit] Official: expansion not included. link to gog.com

      About to be expected from an EA GOG release, but still. What a shame.

  20. Christian says:

    And haven’t there been news about Carrier Command being remade re-released sometime soon?

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:

      Yes, but I haven’t heard anything ever since a delay a while back. But it was going for 2012, I think.

    • Prime says:

      Was mentioned in the big 2012 list of Upcoming Awesome:

      link to rockpapershotgun.com

      But yeah, more news on this would be nice. Jim promised some was coming a few months ago but then…nada. C’mon, Rossignol – spill!

  21. Moraven says:

    Also, just found out PSP had a re release of Syndicate of the sega version. But rather have the PC game.

  22. Guvornator says:

    Ahhh, Syndicate. This gives me a warm, happy glow inside that will last as long as it takes me to have to direct my agents inside something, at which point (if I remember rightly) the game become pretty much unplayable due to not being able to see inside. Still, give me a pursuadatron and a group of civilians and I’m a happy camper. TO ME, MEAT SHIELDS!

  23. razzafazza says:

    i remember i really enjoyed it back when it was new but going back a few years ago when i replayed it it wasnt that great anymore. for me definitly a case of nostalgia ….

    ….BUT i d still have loved to see a new take on syndicate with huge cities, tons of civilans to “persuade”, replacable agents you control & upgrade, tech research between missions …. could have very well been a shooter and i was pretty excited when the first rumours of new syndicate beeing a “GTA-wannabe”.

    too bad the new game is a story-focused heavily scripted corridor shooter where none of the above matters. still cant believe how they take a franchise about replacable agents and let you play some douchebag with a retarded name and probably even more retarded background story. its almost like saying “hey we ll make another Jedi Knight game ! ” …. and then make it a point & click adventure where you control C3PO. my last hopes for this game died when even the CO-OP characters were announced to have fixed personalities….

  24. Dana says:

    Like with plenty of dos games, it needs only a graphics remake to support high resolution, and you can sell them again.

  25. BobbyFizz says:

    I still have the original CD for this, and did get it to work but it wasn’t as much fun as I remembered.

    I also have Syndicate Wars (anyone remember c:\games\swars), it runs too fast but still has a great feel to it.

  26. Frosty840 says:

    Did American Revolt come out for the PC version?

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Yeah, in fact it’s the only platform it was released on. An Amiga one was half-finished, abandoned and then given away as a magazine freebie (a bonus for subscribers or something similar I think), but never formally released.

  27. Bhazor says:

    More importantly does this mean they’ve freed up the Shock license from the bank that owned the old EA IP’s?

    Last I heard both franchises were co-owned by the same bastard factory (or bank).

    • Wonko the Sane says:

      Every time I look at GOG I type “system”, and get sad when I see “no results found.”

  28. Slyboots says:

    For the folk that are asking..

    Was American Revolt released on the PC – Yes
    Is it included in the GOG version – No :(

    • Bhazor says:

      A continuing trend on GoG sadly especially with EA games.
      Also see Alpha Centauri, Dungeon Keeper 1+2.

      My best guess is that somehow the add-ons are actually owned by a third party. Which does boggle the mind a little.

  29. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    There is more than one mythical origin story of Kieron Gillen, isn’t there?

    • Chris D says:

      Many stories. Personally I suspect the truth lies hidden somewhere deep within Clan Moulder’s breeding pits.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well I heard he’s some kind of harsh metaphor.

  30. JackDandy says:

    I never played this-
    Is it true it’s kinda similar to the Cannon Fodder games?

    • Risingson says:

      Heh, actually it is. There are more similarities between Syndicate and the later “Crusader: no remorse/regret” games, and it is even more similar to one obscure, flawed game I love a lot called “Gender Wars”. Syndicate is a good game, a groundbreaking one, but a game that bored me back then, the first time when I reinstalled it, the second time I did, and so on. I’ve given it some chances to grow on me.

  31. fuggles says:

    This can only mean that Wars is on the way! Would love to try that in hi-res mode (F8 was it?). Loved that you could blow up banks in that to get cash, once you fought off the law. Saddelide rain…CATACLYSM.

  32. Dakia says:

    So somebody up there DOES listen to my prayers!

    *prays for TIE Fighter*

  33. LordHuggington says:

    Hurray! This almost makes up for last week’s anti-climatic new publisher announcement.

  34. darylicked says:

    hope they do american revolt and syndicate wars next!!b :D

  35. Stellar Duck says:

    I wonder if it holds up? And if the PC version is different from the Amiga version I played for so many hours?

  36. bear912 says:

    I wonder if that means EA will let them release System Shock 1 and 2 sometime…

  37. Deadly Habit says:

    awww man it worked fine already in dosbox with some tweaking. I was hoping for System Shock 2

  38. timespike says:

    I have WAITED for this day… I’m SO glad I can get this game legally and with DOSbox pre-configured for me, because I am going to play the HELL out of it when I do! :)