Chicago Syndicate

Game Gear

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 2


Chicago Syndicate (JUE)-01.gif (7677 bytes)Great concepts, especially like the one under Chicago Syndicate, should never be stuck with a game engine like this. Chicago Syndicate's fighting gameplay is just awful, far too ambitious for its own good. Toning this down, or better yet, moving it to the Genesis, would have made this one playable.

Injecting some life into what would otherwise be an unplayable platform beat-em-up, this Game Gear exclusive uses Larcen from the deep and under appreciated Eternal Champions as its hero. The idea is to clear Chicago of gang activity in one year (in game time of course). Each section of the city has specific attributes of gang activity. This is where some strategy comes in.

You'll obviously need to find the weakest gang, and begin your assault there. Make a mistake, and you can exit the stage and try somewhere. It's this surprisingly open-ended design that makes Chicago Syndicate scream potential. Once into the individual city sections waiting for action, the entire package collapses.

Combat is performed with a combination of button presses and the d-pad. Jumping is done by pressing up. Every possible combination of button and d-pad is used. You cannot just press a button and attack; it needs to be connected. It's an aggravating set-up, pushing way too many maneuvers onto a system not built for it.

Chicago Syndicate (JUE)-02.gif (6652 bytes)Maybe to make things more painful, the inaccuracy and touchiness of the controls means you'll rarely do what you intended. As if that wasn't bad enough, you can't turn around. Larcen is stuck facing right for the action sequences, regardless of the threat behind him. Animation is sluggish, giving the player an even weaker sense of control.

There is credit due. Someone on the design team had a decent idea; they simply shouldn't have wasted it on the Game Gear. There truly is a superb variety of ways to take down the few enemy sprites. Unfortunately, there's no way for Larcen to defend himself. Couple that with the control problem(s), a single life to beat the entire game, and the only health restore point back at the police station, and you have found a game that becomes the definition of unplayable.

Expanding the universe of Eternal Champions is a welcome addition too. Like everything else, this game even fails to do that too, with none of the over-the-top ridiculous violence Sega's Street Fighter II-killer was known for. This is an awful video game, and one of the most promising ever to fail this miserably.


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Last updated: Saturday, October 01, 2005 09:14 PM