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Syndicate Wars (PlayStation)

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Title Screen

Syndicate Wars

Developer: Bullfrog Productions
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PlayStation
Released in US: July 1997
Released in EU: July 1997


AreasIcon.png This game has unused areas.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.


ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article

Hmmm...
To do:
Detail new unique levels of the PS1 version.

The awkward PlayStation port of the futuristic corporate amorality simulator.

Sub-Page

Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototype Info

Unused Music

The file MOVIES/INTER.STR contains all the game's music, the PlayStation version has them in stream rather than as CDDA tracks as in the PC version. The file contains an extra track not present in the PC version, and also not actually played in the PS1 game. What is interesting about it is it seems to be an experiment in adding the "tension" music from the PC original into the PlayStation version. The track is simply the game's first music track only with the repetitive tension notes playing over the top of it. Presumably it would be intended to jump between the original track and this track at the same points in time to go in and out of "tension" mode. The fact this track is never played in the final game and only the first track was attempted in this fashion suggests the idea didn't work and was abandoned.

Cut Graphics

Hmmm...
To do:
Try and get proper rips of these files

The files F/PSXAxxx.TIM contain the game's graphics in a custom version of the PlayStation .TIM image format. While convertors cannot export the original image data correctly, enough is visible to see that these contain lots of cut graphics from both the DOS version and earlier iterations of the PS1 version. Visible are:

  • All the DOS version animated menu icons. This includes the Public Access Network icon. The icons have redrawn borders compared to the DOS version so probably were no longer intended to sit at the bottom of the screen anymore. The PAN icon seems to be from an earlier iteration and has a rectangular icon, whereas the other icons are square.
  • Early HUD graphics visible in pre-release footage. This is similar in design to the DOS HUD. An example of these graphics can be seen if the cut weapons are hacked into the game, as per below.
  • Cybernetic body mod graphics. These seem to be the same as the original high res DOS graphics.
  • Various early fonts that are not used.
  • The cut objective icons also present in the DOS version files.
  • Odd symbols/buttons not seen in the final game, including ones with the Roman numerals I and II on them, and also the letters "SS".

Cut Weapons

The PlayStation version includes the same remnants of cut weapons as the DOS version. Once again the video for the same unknown weapon is included and visible on the equip screen for two cut weapons at the end of the inventory list.

Synwarsps1-Cutweap2.png

More interesting is that if these weapons are selected in-game, as in the DOS version their designated icons overflow into what are now other pieces of the HUD art. In the PlayStation version of the game, that means you can see a piece of the early console HUD visible in preview screenshots.

Synwarsps1-Cutweap1.png

Cut Levels

The PlayStation version of the game has a lot fewer levels included on disc compared to the literally hundreds shipped with the PC original, with all the PC version's cut levels removed. However, there are still a few level files present that are not defined in the CALL000.MIS file (and are therefore not playable):

MAP40L31.MUL - Simple early Church of the New Epoch Level. Zealots must eliminate a civilian protected by a number of Police. After killing the target there is a small ambush by soldiers on the way out of the target's house. There's also a bank that can be robbed, and a lone Syndicate agent ripe for the persuading.

MAP04L31.MUL - Peculiar bugged level. It begins with a cutscene of a male civilian walking around town. The civilian bumps into others pushing him off course and ends up stuck against a wall. This breaks the entire cutscene and it's impossible to play the mission as a result...

MAP22L33.MUL - Empty map. Mission fails as soon as it starts. No NPCs.

MAP69L01.MUL - A unique test level. Various weapons are laid on the ground (although they don't seem to work), and a flying car, a tank, and a mech can be boarded. heading right there are a handful of zealots to fight, including a flying car that attacks. The goal is simply to walk to a point to the left of the start.

MAP46L32.MUL - Empty map. Mission fails as soon as it starts. No NPCs.

MAP46L45.MUL - Empty map. Mission fails as soon as it starts. No NPCs.

There's also a new PlayStation only level called "TEST1" defined in the CALL000.MIS file that would have the filename MAP40L53.MUL. However, this is not present on the final game's disc. Possibly MAP69L01.MUL is the same level or another version of it, as it's clearly a test level.

Cut Campaign Levels

The PlayStation version actually includes 53 level files on the disc. However, the final campaigns are a cut down version of the original DOS game's, and only comprise of 36 levels total. Aside from the totally cut levels listed above, there are lots of levels that are in the DOS game actually included on the disc and defined in the CALL000.MIS file, in theory fully playable in the PlayStation version but unused. However, actually running these shows they do not work, they load up to show an empty map and the same "Mission Failed" message as seen on some of the completely cut levels above. All the levels are different file sizes, so it's very unlikely these are just dummy files or blank maps - it's likely these used some kind of incompatible earlier level format much like the change in format that took place with the DOS version of the game.

Version Differences

Differences from the original DOS version of the game:

  • The PlayStation version has a totally different intro FMV depicting Syndicate agents robbing a bank and then escaping in a flying APC, chased by Police
  • Completely different title screen and presentation screens.
  • It's no longer possible to research items. Instead the player is automatically rewarded with new items after certain missions are completed. As such there is also no need to persuade scientists either (and indeed they are removed from all levels).
  • There is no map screen in the PlayStation version. It's not possible to choose the next mission.
  • Mission briefings are simplified. They now consist only of text, the "Netscan" area at the bottom left of the PC briefings with hints and information have been cut.
  • The Playstation has a different graphical engine with a new lighting system that looks a lot darker and gritter than the PC version.
  • The PlayStation version lacks the high resolution mode of the PC original.
  • The PlayStation version is designed to be primarily played only with a controller. However, it actually supports using both the PlayStation mouse and a controller to mimic mouse and keyboard controls.
  • Multiplayer mode is removed in the PlayStation version. However, it's still possible to play the single player missions in co-op mode with up to four human players (using a Multitap).
  • There are fewer NPC designs used in the PlayStation version, likely due to lack of video RAM. Many of the civilian graphics have been removed, as have the scientists (male civilians with briefcases are used as stand-ins for these) and all female Unguided.
  • The Playstation version starts with new unique levels not in the PC version, and some other levels have changes in them compared to the PC original.
  • Playstation level files now include the entire map and mission objectives (the mission objective text is still pulled externally, however) inside them, unlike the PC version where the map files are separate and reused by each level file set on them.
  • New sound effects for weapons.
  • The PlayStation version has the trains cut from all cities. Instead transport tubes replace them for essential travel in missions.