A blast from the past

Hin und wieder kommt es vor, dass ich zwar gewillt bin etwas zu schreiben, aber mir kein aktuelles Thema einfällt. Deswegen gibt es ab sofort mit “A blast from the past” eine neue Kategorie, in der ich mich vergangenen Dingen widmen werde. Seien es nun alte Filme, Spiele, Musik oder Ereignisse. Doch dieser Eintrag liefert nicht nur die Erklärung für die Kategorie, sondern enthält zudem auch ihren ersten Inhalt:

Syndicate Title Screen

In einer optisch an Ridley Scotts Blade Runner Film angelehnten düsteren Zukunft haben einige gewaltige Megakonzerne die Aufgaben der Regierungen übernommen. Die europäische Staatengemeinschaft zerfiel, und der Kontinent versank im Chaos. Einer der letzten dortigen Großkonzerne, EuroCorp, entwickelte daraufhin einen Chip, der das Problem löste und fortan weltweit zum Einsatz kam: Eingeplanzt in jeden Bürger, vermochte er deren Wahrnehmung zu kontrollieren und zu manipulieren – Wolfgang “Stasi 2.0” Schäuble wäre erfreut.

Doch schon bald wurde EuroCorps Chip-Monopol von verschiedenen Verbrechersyndikaten geknackt und die Konzerne unterwandert. Während die Bürger der Welt durch den Chip ein friedliches Leben vorgegaukelt bekamen, entbrannte zwischen den Syndikaten ein hoch-technisierter Krieg um die Weltherrschafft.

[youtube qw2W_Ap7m2k]

Vor diesem Hintergrund übernimmt der Spieler die Leitung eines dieser Konzerne. Eingenommene Steuern lassen sich an die Forschungs- und Entwicklungsabteilungen verteilen, die daraufhin neue Waffen (Shotgun, Uzi, Minigun etc. ) und kybernetische Körperteile fertigstellen. Letztere ermöglichen unseren Agenten beispielsweise genaueres zielen oder schnelleres rennen. Den Großteil der Spielzeit nimmt jedoch das ausführen von Missionen ein.

Syndicate Screenshot
Die vier Agenten bei der Arbeit...

Bis zu vier Agenten können gleichzeitig durch die Metropolen gesteuert werden. Die Aufträge reichen dabei von Attentaten über Eskorten bis hin zur Rekrutierung neuer Mitarbeiter. Letzteres lässt sich mit dem Persuadertron (im deutschen Überzeugstrahler genannt) erreichen, einer Handfeuerwaffe die ihren Namen nicht zu unrecht trägt: Sie überzeugt Menschen davon, den eigenen Agenten blind zu folgen. Je mehr Menschen auf diese Weise beeinflusst werden, desto einfacher lassen sich weitere hinzugewinnen, später auch Sicherheitskräfte und Agenten feindlicher Konzerne. Nicht selten dienen die Opfer auch als menschliche Schutzschilde.
Als wäre all dies nicht schon moralisch bedenklich genug, kann man die Agenten auch noch über deren Chip mit Drogen versorgen und beispielsweise ihren Adrenalinpegel erhöhen. Günther “Killerspiele verbieten” Beckstein hätte wohl an Syndicate ebenfalls seine helle Freude gehabt ;-).

Doch warum schreibe ich das alles? Natürlich weil ich das Spiel geliebt habe. Nicht wegen der Brutalität oder der amoralischen Handlung, sondern weil die düster-industrielle Atmosphäre so gelungen ist. Natürlich wirkt das alles heute sehr altbacken, aber damals war Syndicate sowohl optisch als auch spielerisch ein Meilenstein. Atmosphärisch spielen bis heute nur wenige Spiele in der gleichen dark-future Liga, eines davon ist ironischerweise Westwoods Spiel zum Film Blade Runner.

Wenn ihr noch einen alten Computer (PC mit MS-DOS oder einen Amiga) im Besitz habt, schaut es Euch doch mal an. Auch die Konsolenversionen (mit Coop!) und der Nachfolger Syndicate Wars sind einen Blick wert, auch wenn sie nicht an das Original heran reichen.

Ich hoffe EA erkennt eines Tages, welch großartige Lizenzen noch immer in ihrem Besitz sind…

P.S.: Eine sehr gelungene Syndicate-Fansite ist hier zu finden.

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