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Game Over Online ~ Pizza Syndicate

GameOver Game Reviews - Pizza Syndicate (c) Software 2000, Reviewed by - Jove

Game & Publisher Pizza Syndicate (c) Software 2000
System Requirements Pentium 133, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 55%
Date Published Tuesday, July 20th, 1999 at 11:42 AM

Divider Left By: Jove Divider Right

We all long for unique and innovative games, which unfortunately, but logically are very difficult to come by. Building your own pizza empire would seems to fit this innovative game type, however for some strange reason, Pizza Syndicate is not the first game with the premise of building your own pizza parlor. I never actually played Pizza Tycoon (the other title with this premise), but from what I heard about it, it was a poor use of the "tycoon" name with which we associate great games such as Railroad Tycoon and Transport Tycoon. How a game about pizza could be interesting whatsoever boggled my mind and hence I decided to throw on my chef cap and toss some dough as I prepared myself for what could have been the greatest restaurant simulation ever created! Fortunately, I was not inspired to open my very own pizza parlor, but I was inspired to wonder who in the hell came up with the idea and the mechanics for Pizza Syndicate.

First of all, the interface is extremely f*cked up, to say the least. While the artwork was fresh and the animation of the menus was tastefully done, the actual navigation of the interface so incredibly counter-intuitive that I found myself randomly clicking on the icons. To get a description of what each button does you can rest your mouse over it and then it scrolls the description across the screen about as fast as the average sumo wrestler runs down the street. Thus combining these two ingenious features we have one of the most pathetic interfaces in any game I've seen.

I described the artwork in the interfaces as "tasteful" which is true, but for me to explain what happened when the art team decided to make the in-game graphics is a frightening task. If any of you were graced by the intensely horrible graphics of beatdown, you will know the value of Pizza Syndicate's in-game graphics. Not only are the graphics terrible, but the people walk so damned slow that it takes a full minute for them to cross your very tiny restaurant. To top it all off, I'm pretty sure that each character has an entire 4 frames of animation dedicated to them, making for some extremely detailed waddling. I was sorely unimpressed with Pizza Syndicate's graphical effort and I still wonder how game companies can even contemplate releasing something with such dated graphics.

Admittedly ambient sound in Pizza Syndicate was well done, other than the fact that it didn't reflect what you actually saw in the city. The quality was high, and there were even semi 3d audio effects. As I expected however, the remainder of the sound was extremely bland, uninspired and was not even worth including. While definitely not the worst sound in a game, it seemed that no effort, or little talent was put into this aspect of the title and thus it dramatically affected Pizza Syndicate's final rating.

Detail seems to be the primary design element of Pizza Syndicate as there is an extreme amount of it in the game, as hard as that may seem. A ton of elements in running your business are required to be managed, such as loans, advertising, staff, renovations, pizza creation, menus, etc. Not only that, but later in the game you can start becoming involved in illegal activities such as money laundering and even good old fashioned beatings. Unfortunately, the huge amount of detail detracts greatly from the gameplay, as when coupled with the O-So-Great interface it makes managing your pizza empire extremely difficult. Stats are hard to understand, and often are shown with icons instead of information making it necessary to squint and guess just to see which topping is the most popular with each target market group. Managing staff and inventory is also extremely difficult; I couldn't even find out how to fire any employees or how to stop renting a building or why my food was bad. The tutorials are essentially useless as they only explain the very basic elements of gameplay, which I managed to figure out quite quickly on my own. The underworld, or criminal aspect of the game is much less exciting than it sounds. It suffers from the same interface and detail problems as the business aspect of the game and despite the interesting concept of including a criminal element in the game, the implementation failed miserably. There are plenty more details I could gripe about, but the key is that the gameplay failed and I highly doubt you will find it in any way fun.

Multiplayer was absent which is not surprising when comparing it with the rest of the game, but in this day of gaming almost every game should have a multiplayer option, and Pizza Syndicate didn't, so 0 out of 5 for that.

Playing Pizza Syndicate creates headaches due to its extremely boring gameplay, poor interface and mediocre sounds. There is no group of gamers that I feel would enjoy this game, and while I'm sure a few select individuals will find it an engrossing experience, I would chance a guess at the stability of their mental health, so please PLEASE, stay away from this game.


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