EA are apparently working through their Bullfrog back catalogue for their “On the House” giveaways, because it’s now the turn of Syndicate to be given away for free. It replaces Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital, which has been free for the past few weeks.

This is the 1993 original, not the Starbreeze remake from a couple of years back. Which is fine, because the original is better. Except at co-op. The Starbreeze Syndicate is definitely better at that (and not just by default because it actually has co-op.)

Bullfrog’s original put you in control of four, upgradable cyborg agents who could be pumped full of drugs to help them perform their tasks better. Their tasks generally being along the lines of “kidnap this guy while shooting all of his guards” or “shoot all of the guards” or “shoot.” There’s a lot of shooting.

Shooting, and persuading. One of the most powerful devices in Syndicate is the Persuadatron, which allows you to brain-wash a group of hapless civilians (and guards, and enemy agents if you have enough people) into taking up arms and aiding you as human shields. It’s great. The flamethrower weapon is also great.

Some of the UI and top-down-ish control stuff might seem a bit primitive now, but if you have an Origin account (or don’t mind getting one,) Syndicate is one of those classic games that you should at least try to play. Your sinister corporation needs you.

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