Evil Genius represents the cheapest eighty hours of fun I’ve had since I bought your mum a drink. The game was developed in 2004 by Elixir Studios and originally published by Sierra Entertainment, now a part of the ever growing mass that is Rebellion. The game is set on the villain’s end of every 60s spy movie ever, as such it has a mountain of cheese as its foundation. I would make a James Bond quip here but I’ve only ever watched Casino Royale, so in the immortal words of Dr. Evil, “Throw me a freakin’ bone here!”
The three genius.
You play as one of three mastermind bastards in your quest to take over, destroy and generally do unpleasant things to the world. In order to do this you enter a very Dungeon Keeper-esque isometric base-builder which would allow for a bit of creativity if I hadn’t already looked up the most efficient base design. Unfortunately for you, the governments of the world have formed five factions dedicated to fighting evil and they know where you live.
I chose to play as Maximilian, a short-tempered German with a heart of stone and trousers of purest gold. Each baddie has their own skill set that will give you a hand in gameplay, they also bring along a friend to aid them in their conquest.
As a true evil mastermind your character doesn’t like to do their own dirty work, in keeping with this you start off with a henchman. This henchman will follow your every order, these orders usually being “Kill that chap, will you?”. As they follow your orders henchmen will gain points which can be spent on new powers. These powers will eventually allow them to take on the super spies you’ll be facing, but we’ll get to them in a bit.
Your main method of getting things done is hiring minions. The minions start off as construction workers who are feeling a bit fighty. Your workers will remain this way until you get the resources to kidnap skilled workers who, after going through the opening chapters of ‘The CIA Guide to Comedic Torture’, will tell your minion everything they know about valeting.
Something you probably haven’t considered is that all of this mountain base building, sycophant hiring and police bribery can get very expensive, in order to solve this problem you must build yourself a control room full of computers which rival the size of your giant death laser. These computers can be manned by your minions who will proceed to monitor any possible atrocities you can commit from around the world.
Unfortunately for your staff, with crime comes notoriety, with notoriety comes government attention and with government attention comes increasingly talented secret agents with the singular goal of foiling your evil plans. Enemy agents come in a few forms, most of which are the garden variety CIA, KGB and UFC, but within their ranks are five super agents. These agents won’t die quite as easily as the normal troops. In addition to being tough as titanium nails the super agents also have special requirements, such as having their faces shoved into a blender, before they succumb to your clear superiority and die of falling over.
I know I haven’t said much against this game, and that’s because it’s perfect. It definitely doesn’t have a major flaw that stopped me playing it. Not one. Nope. Perfect game.
Perfect game with no time acceleration. This is probably a modern luxury that I’ve become too used to, but it grated at me. The lack of time acceleration does help with immersion though, in that your avatar spends most of his time sat alone in an empty room watching the minutes crawl by out of fear that the outside world will hurt them. Sound familiar?
I give Evil Genius ‘Slightly Depressing Turn to the Review’ Out of Ten
PS: Apparently there’s a free-to-play version now.
I give Evil Genius Online ‘A Special Seat in Hell’ Out of Ten