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Syndicate Wars (DOS)/Unguided Campaign

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This is a sub-page of Syndicate Wars (DOS).

The Unguided are the punk rock-styled citizens rebelling against both the oppressive Eurocorp and sinister Church of the New Epoch after their controlling Utopia chips fail, seen throughout the final game.

Little is known about the Unguided campaign, why it was cut, or how it would work in-game outside of the actual missions. A preview feature in the magazine Maximum claimed that the campaign would be unlocked only once the player had completed the Eurocorp or Church of the New Epoch campaigns (and possibly this is why the game continues only with no more missions when either campaign is completed in the final game). The article also suggests that the Unguided would not have any research ability and would have to rely on scavenging their enemy's equipment during levels. It's not clear if there would be any persistence of characters or weaponry between levels - the idea seems to be a spontaneous anarchistic uprising, so it would make more sense if this was not the case. That some levels only feature a single unit also suggests there would not be unit progression. The punks in the levels left in the final game all have the same low stats and don't seem to ever have any body upgrades, with only half the shield that the Agents and Zealots possess. The end result is levels being more set puzzles where the player needs to get the most out of the equipment provided, or from massing attacks by finding more swarms of friendly Unguided to assist.

Levels themselves seem to lean towards two extremes: one where a single very vulnerable unit has to rely on other Unguided to survive (e.g. "Rescue", "Ferocity"), or ones with a full complement of punks, but bring in mass numbers of NPCs to even the odds and deliver more firepower (e.g. Communication, Mission 65). That said, there are still many other levels that offer a more traditional Syndicate Wars experience (such as "Clean Up") where there are just 4 units to work with, and perhaps this was the Achilles heel - the gameplay was not different enough to the other campaigns to be worth implementing.

There are no briefings included for the Unguided missions, and none even have custom objective text in-game. It's clear that any briefings for these levels would likely be delivered by the last of the original ten EuroCorp scientists who became the Nine, Paul Vissick, or guru Ko-Paull Vissick as he apparently styles himself as at the point the game begins, but it's not clear what kind of character he would be.

It seems the unguided were abandoned as a faction around the time of the game moving into Beta, as the last work on missions from it was around the end of July 1996.

While none of the levels have official names defined in ALLTEXT.WAD, they do have work-in-progress names present in the ALL000.MIS files, so these are recorded below when present.

Unguided Mission 1 - A Tale of Two Cities

Mission Index Number: 103
Name: A Tale of Two Cities
Objective: Destroy Buildings
City: Anchorage

A very playable mission that seems to have been added to the game pretty late in development. Specifically, it's from around the time the game's demos were being created (with the actual demo mission being the literal next one added, mission 104), and has a (cut) mission briefing assigned to it - it's likely this was created to be a demo Unguided level that was never released. It also doesn't have any comments saying which level of the Unguided campaign it would be, further suggesting it was intended as a demo. However, it's a perfect introduction to the possibilities of the Unguided as a faction as it's a very polished level. Based on weaponry available, it would likely be a mid-game mission.

After being flown in by hovercar, the Unguided must make their way up a cliff face to the tip of a town defended by soldiers and Police using Cerberus IFFs. On the periphery there is another group of Unguided by a motorcycle who will join them to break into the town proper. Inside, there are soldiers with LR Rifles and clone shields. The mission is to blow up numerous buildings (group names suggest the first of which is a nightclub), so the clone shields can be one way to sneak in undetected - or a little more force can be used. There are constant surprises and detail all along the way (for example, the Police cordon around the crashed Bullfrog van). Even once the mission is complete, there is an intriguing base to the top-left accessible over the monorail where two scientists are heavily protected by soldiers that would likely be a secondary mission.

Unguided Mission 2 - Clean-Up

Mission Index Number: 80
Name: Clean-Up
Objective: Protect Group
Map: Detroit

Presumably the plot of this level is Eurocorp violently supressing citizen protests. There are two large groups of citizens massed in a park to the west by a big screen, and another between some buildings to the south. Once the bottom drive-in area is entered, after around 30 seconds cars full of Eurocorp agents will pour into both locations attacking with miniguns. The ones to the west actually seem to come for the Unguided rather than the civilians, but the southern group will definitely massacre the civilians there, failing the mission. This is a really difficult mission as the Unguided are inherently very low-level and have very weak weaponry. The only area effect weapons given are KO Gas canisters...which don't work on the Agents. There's also a need to be in two places at once due to the trigger at the bottom causing Agents to attack both locations at the same time. Enemy Agents only seem to carry miniguns which limits their damage, but also means there is nothing to loot to assist.

Unguided Mission 2 - Zealot Attack

Mission Index Number: 68
Name: Zealot Attack
Objective: Eliminate Group
Map: Detroit

This is one of the early pre-alpha build level files, using version 12 of the level file format. These files do not work properly in the final game. However, converting the level to final game format using a fan-made tool reveals it was likely the first mission of the unguided campaign. Seemingly set just after the first mission of the Zealot campaign, a small group of punks (with some helpers) move to wipe out the zealots fleeing the now compromised Harbinger base. This is a very simplistic level and feels unfinished or an early draft, but can be fully completed. Weapons are limited only to uzis in the level, but the two groups of zealots that pile out of their fleeing car can still easily overwhelm the player. If their abandoned car is acquired to perform drive-bys against them, it's simple to even the odds. The final stage is then to return to the IML link.

Unguided Mission 3 - Guns Guns Guns

Mission Index Number: 77
Name: Guns Guns Guns
Objective: Eliminate Group
Map: Riyadh

The first of two levels present as a fork for the third mission of the campaign. The player is given a single Unguided next to a huge central Church base and a second smaller Church outpost. In the one to the north is the target - a lone scientist. However, the base is sealed off. To the east is a car that can be used to get inside the base, although its Zealot owner lurking nearby might disagree. This is actually an extremely difficult level with just the equipment provided - a single punk is no match for any of the enemies and the only crowd control weapon is KO Gas, which is nowhere near enough to take on such a large group of cultists. Presumably in the final game there would be something a little stronger. Once the scientist is dead you have to return to the station, so it's not even really possible to try a kamikaze run.

Unguided Mission 3 - Guns Guns Guns

Mission Index Number: 60
Name: Guns Guns Guns
Objective: Eliminate Group
Map: Riyadh

An earlier and very different version of the above mission, defined as number 60. This is a version 12 pre-alpha map that doesn't run in the final game, but if converted turns out to actually be a much more interesting and fun level. The setup is similar - The large central base and the smaller satellite are occupied this time with Eurocorp agents. Looking around the city reveals two large gatherings of punks. If the first one is approached, they will move to the central base and start a huge fight with the occupying Eurocorp agents. The second group by the hospital are likely intended to engage in similar behaviour, but instead just stand still once approached, which may be a bug. Once the central base is cleared out there's a problem - there are several Nuclear Grenades and a soldier set within the actual walls which are presumably the ultimate goal. However there is no way to get them. Having said this, there is also a lone soldier who starts wandering around outside the base walls and gets into a (losing) fight with police. He is armed with a rocket launcher, so this can be picked up and used to destroy the walls. Once collected, the grenades seem to trigger the dropships in the satellite Eurocorp base to attack. They're no problem for the now armed-to-the-teeth unguided, however. The remaining agents in the small base are also now easy pickings. Despite this mission having its own ALL000.MIS entry, oddly there are no mission objectives set for it, so it's impossible to know for sure if that would complete the mission.

Unguided Mission 3 - Unknown

Mission Index Number: 64
Name: Unknown
Objective: Assassinate
City: Bangkok

The level file set for mission 64 doesn't actually work as it's a pre-alpha level, but a neighboring file c003l007.d1 does. Replacing the level set in ALL000.MIS with this file (or renaming and overwriting the original level file) results in a simple but fun and challenging early level.

Four Unguided armed only with uzis and miniguns are in downtown Bangkok that's swarming with similarly-armed Zealots and Police. Any movement results in attacks from the lurking Zealots. The objective is to assassinate a Church scientist in a distant Zealot base; the only way in is via monorail. Funnelling incoming Zealots through the station gates is an effective strategy while waiting for the train. Once in the base, waves of more Zealots have to be battled through to the scientist. Once killed he drops an LR rifle, essential for the next part of the mission. Now the acolytes of a nearby Church have to be eliminated. Riding the monorail back and sniping them results in the final objective triggering, to evacuate via the second monorail leading off-map.

Progress in tooling now allows the original pre-alpha level to be played. This shows that the actual level set here is actually an earlier and far less polished affair, and that in fact the objectives set are explicitly for the above level file c003l007.d1 and not the one set in this slot. This earlier version has the player starting at what was the exit IML link in the later version. The city is dominated by large groups of both zealots and agents, but they are easy to avoid and the train can be taken to what would presumably be the same ultimate mission: assassinate the scientists. This time the base is occupied by soldiers, who quickly escalate the danger level as some of the first pairs are armed with lethal plasma lances. Past them is a final group armed with launchers for the few who survive. Finally there are many scientists presumably to shoot, who are unarmed. The objectives don't work correctly for this level file so it's hard to say if it was intended to work exactly the same way as the later level or not.

Unguided Mission 4 - Communications

Mission Index Number: 78
Name: Communications
Objective: Eliminate Group
Map: Anchorage

While this level is set to play on the Anchorage map, it actually seems to be a mission for a cut game map, as few to none of the units match the actual terrain, with enemies floating in mid-air or stuck underground, and the player's Unguided starting stuck floating above the ocean. Experimenting shows that no maps in the final game match the enemy placements in this level with actual terrain. The closest match is map 79, Reykjavik, but this still doesn't seem to be the correct map. Hacking the level onto this map mostly approximates the correct heights, but crucially also has enough open spaces and roughly-correct areas for gameplay events to work. Interrogating the actual level file reveals that this mission seems to have been some kind of assault on a Eurocorp power station by the Unguided, with NPC groups with names like "AGENTS - POWER STATION" and "POWER STATION PROTECTORS".

Playing on the Reykjavik map, a huge crowd of Unguided mill around until the player starts to move, whereupon they head slowly up the map to the top-left corner. This is the location of the first objective, to eliminate the Agents here. However, midway three flying cars full of huge numbers of enemies fly overhead before landing and releasing their troops. This alone usually decimates the weak Unguided. If this ambush is survived, then on approach to what must have been the power station, two Agents will run forward to throw KO Gas at the Unguided horde. Once vanquished, the other Agents must also be killed. This then leads to the second mission objective, to recover an item that turns out to be some explosives. Presumably these would then be used to blow something up, but the explosives spawn high above the terrain in every map, so they cannot be taken to continue the mission. This still leaves an enormous number of enemies alive, so this would likely have been a lengthy and extremely difficult mission.

There's also what appears to be a second version of this level used as mission 61. However, it's a file version 12 map so does not work with the final game. Analyzing the file shows it's an interesting looking but very different level that would likely play out similarly to the unused scientific base area of 'A Tale of Two Cities'. There's some kind of Eurocorp "Chemlab" with scientists in it it seems the player would have to breach with a large group of unguided. The .MIS file does not include objectives for this level file, both the mission definitions here point to the first level file outlined above only.

Unguided Mission 5 - Unknown

Mission Index Number: 70
Name: Unknown
Objective: Destroy Building
City: Hong-Kong

Yet another non-working version 12 file. If converted to the modern file format this is quite a fun early level. Four unguided must destroy a piece of corporate art on a small island. They start off with only miniguns however, which makes this objective somewhat difficult. Exploring the map results in some firepower upgrades from the many laser-armed police in the area, but also reveals a hidden nuclear grenade in the middle of a Eurocorp chemical lab. Stealing a car to get inside (and taking out the guards on the way) allows the precious grenade to be collected, and finally lobbed at the statue to finish the mission.

Unguided Mission 6 - Unknown

Mission Index Number: 66
Name: Unknown
Objective: Eliminate Agents
City: Singapore

Another version 12 file, which therefore does not work at all in the final game. Converting it reveals what seems like an early version of a level that was never finished. The barbarians - or at least punks - are at the gates with Eurocorp walled up in their base and the entire city taken over by Unguided. However, two squads of agents stand by dropships, and within seconds the first takes off to attack. A death squad of Eurocorp agents is dropped off outside the walls and quickly works through the city massacring the unprepared unguided while their APC hovers overhead giving more fire support. The player's Unguided start off separated, and trying to unite them without immediately getting smeared by the agent's heavy firepower is a challenge. Oddly the punks also start with Persuadertrons, despite this seemingly being against the lore of the Unguided. Possibly this was an early attempt at the "gathering" mechanic seen in other Unguided levels, which is accomplished there through group joining commands. As such it may have been intended for the player to gather a big blob of milling unguided to have enough combined firepower to overcome the agents and survive.

There's also another version of this mission in file c044l015.dat. This is an earlier version with no player groups defined yet, so will crash unless the beta demo executable is used. It's mostly the same, only the agents simply fly around aimlessly rather than landing in this iteration.

Unguided Mission 7 - Godfather

Mission Index Number: 81
Name: Godfather
Objective: Eliminate Group
City: Singapore

From the name and the setup of the level this is presumably a mission to take on some kind of crime boss in the area - possibly to do with the Tang Assurance company as mentioned in Mission 34? He is safely sealed away in his secured compound near a car, and surrounded by his men. The group of punks must cross town to get to him, with a handy APC available to breach the compound (the spider bots nearby are actually Police faction and don't attack unless provoked). However, once inside he immediately flees, leaving the player to deal with most of his men. It's pretty tough taking on so many enemies with such low-level units, but the KO Gas canisters can help with the crowd control. The final conflict occurs on a small island protected by the Police. You did peacefully walk past them all earlier, right?

There's also a bank, but destroying it does not yield any money.

Unguided Mission 8 - Rescue

Mission Index Number: 62
Name: Rescue
Objective: Collect Item
City: Rome

An intriguing level where it's not clear if the level isn't finished, or if the final level would have included a briefing that would have made more sense in regards to what actually needs to be done.

As per the level name, it's a jailbreak where a lone scientist must be recovered from a heavily guarded Eurocorp base.

The player starts with a single unguided unit level, starting in a small area with some others. There are three flying APCs filled with Unguided here, and some others patrolling on foot. At this point the objective is recovering a briefcase from a nearby scientist protected by a handful of Eurocorp Agents. Equipment is only a rocket launcher with which to negotiate with. Either way, after about 3 minutes the player's unguided comrades start getting into a big fight with the agents in the base to the east. Getting the item from the scientist leads to the second objective of the mission, which seems to be to spring an imprisoned unguided from the base to the east and bring him back to the start. However, as the jailbreak kicks off, the mission fails. Analysing the level file reveals what is actually going on - one of the Eurocorp agents has a command to lock the bunker door once the unguided start to attack the base. If the scientist is still in the bunker at this point the mission is failed.

As such, counter-intuitively, carrying out the initial objective as directed will inevitably result in failure as there isn't enough time to kill the first scientist and save the second. However, if the player heads to the are at the very top left of the map, there is a small group of agents who can be sniped with the launcher. Once they're all dead, venturing into the bunker results in a further lurking agent rushing the player, but more importantly in the scientist following the player out. The unguided mob usually slaughter the rest of the base shortly after this happens, making the rest of the level very easy. Finally, commandeering one of the flying dropships it's simple to take out the other scientist, collect his briefcase, and then deliver the rescued scientist to the buildings near the start.

Unguided Mission 9 - Dumped

Mission Index Number: 82
Name: Dumped
Objective: Assassinate Group
City: Matochkin Shar

A difficult level involving destroying several flying APCs. The initial group are four flying APCs in a sealed compound with lots of scientists inside. Stealing a car and driving in causes them to flee to a heavily-defended Church base, and causes two other flying APCs to attack. This is such a difficult level that it may not even be possible with the provided equipment. There's also an annoying oversight early on: it's required to acquire a car to get inside the sealed base the APCs begin in, and there are a handy line of them parked in a street. However, trying to drive anything but the far left-end one results in the car getting stuck against the others with no way out other than blowing it up - which usually results in unintentional suicide. Progressing to the Church base and attacking the parked APCs results in one fleeing, positioning itself above a group of parked cars on a ridge, and approaching them leads to huge numbers of Zealots spilling out of them to attack. Destroying the final APC completes the mission.

Checking inside the level file there are various groups of NPCs defined as "DUMPER FLYING VEHICLES" and "DUMPING ZEALOTS 1/2" that seem to be related to the name of the mission, but it's not clear what the titular "dumping" is all about. Possibly this is some kind of ecoterrorism mission to stop them littering!?

Unguided Mission 14 - Massive Assault

Mission Index Number: 65
Name: Massive Assault
Objective: Eliminate Group
City: Hawaii

The mission starts with control over several large groups of Unguided and the objective is to... kill them. This doesn't seem right, and checking the level using the older ALL000.BEN file reveals this is a mistake; using that file the objective is to eliminate Eurocorp Agents. There is a Eurocorp base to the west of the start position and another large group of Unguided to the north (who will join if approached). However, even using the .BEN file version the objectives are not quite right. Once the base has been cleaned out (which is not too tricky), there is an Uzi to the north that has to be collected as the next objective. Taking this to the remaining marker in the mission completes that mark, but there is still another collect item objective to complete. Going to this location reveals that the marker flicks back and forth between... two chimneys of a large dome. It seems it's actually a civilian stuck under the ground here, sometimes she can be cajoled out. She does not have an item on her, possibly she has to be persuaded to complete the level. Either way it does not seem to work any further. Checking the .BEN file this seems to be some kind of bug seen in other levels to do with collecting items, as the only objectives in the file are to kill the agents, collect a single item, and then head to the exit point.

This is actually mission 14a - it seems there would be a branching point here. However, the levels for 14c crash, and those for 14b are entirely missing from the final game. In the .ben file this is called "PUNK1", so was presumably at some point intended as the first mission of the Unguided campaign.

Checking the final game ALL000.MIS file, it seems there is a simple mistake where the wrong group is targetted. Changing position 000037B3 of ALL000.MIS from 05 to 03 in a hex editor will fix this with the agents set as the targets in the level. However, this is the only objective, so seems to have been simplified from the original .BEN mission.

Unguided Mission 15 - Ferocity

Mission Index Number: 75
Name: Ferocity
Objective: Assassinate
City: London

The Unguided conclusion to the trilogy of levels that starts with the Zealot mission "Audacity", and continued with the Eurocorp mission "Duplicity". This shows a third version of the events around the attempted assassination (and kidnapping) of Eurocorp's Professor Drennon during a public presentation from the point of view of the Unguided, who were the enemy in both the other missions.

Another single unit mission starting off unarmed next to a Cop who cannot be put to sleep with the sole KO Gas weapon provided. Evading him causes a car to land and a female unguided to get out. She has an LR rifle and will be putting down Agents left and right. A Eurocorp agent with a rocket launcher follows after her. Whoever wins, the result is an LR Rifle and Rocket Launcher from both. There's a scientist here who is a target that the female Unguided usually kills. Finally the real target is the crowd of scientists and civilians at the podium surrounded by police. However, to the very southwestern corner of the map via car, there is an Shady Guy pacing back and forth in an alleyway; when approached he drops a very useful Nuclear Grenade. There are also various other Unguided raids on targets across the map that can be watched and have chaotic outcomes. Oddly, if the large group of Unguided assassinate the scientist near the start it fails the level, even though that's the entire point of the level.

It's also possible to see Mirabelle Lucy De Saxo beginning her mission from the Zealot counterpoint of this level "Audacity" walking across the map.

Unguided Mission 16 - Talks Ambush

Mission Index Number: 67
Name: Talks Ambush
Objective: Go to location
City: Buenos Aires

Again a version 12 file that is impossible to play. Converting the level file reveals a tough and innovative mission. As alluded to by the title, it seems this would be some kind of phoney attempt at finding peace between Eurocorp and the Unguided. The player controls a group of four Unguided, all of whom are unarmed - demonstrating that there really would be no persistance of weapons or equip screen in the Unguided campaign. It seems the player would be tasked to go to a point to meet the Syndicate for talks. Once inside the narrow alleyway, the unarmed agents with their guns on the ground grab them before opening fire on the punks as more hidden agents pile out of a building because - surprise - it was all a ruse. The next objective is to run for their lives across town to a nearby Unguided stronghold where various weapons are laid out in the courtyard. Further groups of reinforcement punks are hidden away in the buildings, but they don't seem to emerge as expected, suggesting the level is unfinished. Outside, the pursuing Eurocorp agents arrive for a violent showdown, and while the initial groups only have miniguns, tougher squads patrol the town in their vehicles armed with devastating plasma lances.

Unguided Mission 19 - Trash Church

Mission Index Number: 69
Name: Trash Church
Objective: Destroy Building
City: Christchurch

Another version 12 file that must be converted to be played. However, the file has no player units defined, so will crash the final game executable. If loaded with the beta demo executable it will run, with the executable recovering by adding four agents for the player to control. And reveal there is a single zealot in a car to kill.

If the files are explored it's still confusing as to what this would actually be, as the level has clearly been barely started. Only 20 NPCs are defined, consisting of almost entirely civilians with briefcases, and cars for them to drive. A lone Zealot seems to be the only possible antagonist. From the mission objectives it seems likely that the idea was to destroy the church building as unguided, and there are various objectives to kill all the defined Zealot groups once the building is destroyed. This just seems to have been abandoned early on in its development.

Interestingly, the objectives in the ALL000.MIS file show there are multiple groups of zealots to be killed. There's a surprising amount of work put in considering the level itself is mostly empty, so possibly this is not in fact the final version of the level.

Unknown Unguided Mission - C007L007.D1

Mission Index Number: N/A
Name: Unknown
Objective: Unknown
City: Santiago
Level file: C007L007.D1

This is a well-developed but completely cut level file that is not even defined as a mission in the final game. It's for map 7 Santiago, but has no known objective in any of the files. The level itself consists of four Unguided versus a city under dense Eurocorp occupation. As well as agents, there are also a handful of Zealots patrolling the church on the map. It's not clear what was intended here, but based on the layout of the map and the groups defined in the level file, it seems this was a simple eliminate all mission, to clean up the city of all agents and zealots. Despite the huge odds, the enemy are actually only equipped with Miniguns/Electron Maces, suggesting this was intended as an early mission.

Indeed the clues suggest this might actually be the mission known as "Clean Up" rather than what is defined as mission 80 in the final game. The summary text states that level would take place on map 7 and would be the second Unguided level, the former of which makes no sense with the level actually in use there. This level file is the only Unguided level on the 7th map. That said, the mission objectives defined for mission 80 are definitely for the map there in the final game, so perhaps this level was cut early on and replaced, with just the summary text remaining. There are no mission objectives at all in any files for map 7 level 7.

Either way, the player must kill an obscene number of agents and then use the monorail to penetrate into the heart of the well-defended city to kill some more. It's unclear what the starting loadout would be due to no mission definition, but even with cheated-in weapons it's tough due to the dense waves of agents and the Unguided's low health.

Unknown Unguided Mission - C047L015.D1

Mission Index Number: N/A
Name: Unknown
Objective: Eliminate Group
City: Tokyo
Level file: C047L015.D1

Another pre-alpha loose file that was completely cut from the game. Once converted, it can be seen to be a well-developed level (check out that police station!) that seems light on actual gameplay content. While there's no objectives due to the level never being defined, it seems the mission would be to take out the small Eurocorp contingent with the player's single unguided. Somewhat challenging with only one unit, but as the lone punk is given a persuadertron and several grenades, it's not too taxing.

Unknown Unguided Mission - C004L007.DAT

Mission Index Number: N/A
Name: Unknown
Objective: Eliminate Group
City: New York
Level file: C004L007.DAT

Another pre-alpha level that must be converted to play. While there is a large group of zealots on the map, it seems the real objective would have been to eliminate a group of soldiers guarding a bank. Once the first few waves of enemies are killed, the final soldiers make a run for it in three APCs. They flee to a compound high on top of the freeway (which can only be accessed by vehicle) and from there get into a waiting flying car that flies to the edge of the level. Presumably the objective is to kill this soldier, and if he reaches the level edge the player fails. Oddly if the player dies here then player units turn into agents on respawn (although this might be a convertor bug). The level groups show they are meant to be Unguided, however. The soldier's motorcade here amusingly causes the entire road system in the level to eventually grind down into one gigantic traffic jam.

C004L007.D1 is an earlier version of this level, it's not clear what is different aside from fewer NPCs on the map.