Review: Evil Genius

Evil Genius Under Mountain Base

Evil Genius Under Moun­tain Base: Island 1

Do you ever cheer for the vil­lain? Does the bad guy deserve to win some­times?  Did you ever want to be the vil­lain … spread­ing mis­chief and evil to the cha­grin of the do-good heroes?  Elixir Stu­dio’s Evil Genius does just that.

The premise is sim­ple enough.  You are an evil genius.  You must assem­ble your army of min­ions, build an evil base, defend your­self against the agents of good, gain noto­ri­ety among your evil peers by per­pe­trat­ing evil acts and last­ly (but def­i­nite­ly not least) devel­op an evil plan to dom­i­nate the world — and exe­cute it per­fect­ly.  Tall order… but you’re an evil genius and this should be easy.

The game itself pro­vides a stag­ger­ing array of tools with which to achieve your goals.  On any par­tic­u­lar play though, you can win the game with only a frac­tion of these tools.  Or you can try to use all of them — because they’re all fun.

The most basic con­straint of the Evil Genius is mon­ey.  With­out mon­ey, you can’t build your evil base and you are restrict­ed to one new min­ion per minute (who arrives based on your evil rep­u­ta­tion).  Luck­i­ly, you can send your min­ions out into the world to steal mon­ey and oth­er items.  The min­ions them­selves are a form of cur­ren­cy.  There are 13 dif­fer­ent class­es of min­ions and each dif­fer­ent class is required to per­form dif­fer­ent duties.  Basic min­ions build things. Social min­ions take care of your hotels (which dis­tract tourists and agents) and reduce the impact of your nefar­i­ous deeds around the world. Sci­ence min­ions fix things, dis­cov­er new things and help “plot” to devise new and devi­ous schemes.  Last­ly mil­i­tary min­ions defend the base and help steal things from the world.

Evil Genius: A Fight Breaks Out

Evil Genius: A Fight Breaks Out

Oppos­ing you are the forces of jus­tice through­out the world.  They will send “agents” and “super-agents” to your island which will try to steal back stuff, kill min­ions and destroy your base.  The com­pe­tence of agents arriv­ing on your island is relat­ed to how much “heat” you gen­er­ate in the world — which is rough­ly relat­ed to how many evil deeds you’ve done recent­ly.

The game con­tains much humor.  As an exam­ple, in the pic­ture at the top of the arti­cle, you can see a square hall­way in an area with no rooms.  This is an exam­ple of a trap.  You can set traps to catch, frus­trate, demor­al­ize and kill agents.  You get mon­ey as a reward for a sin­gle agent trig­ger­ing a series of traps — more mon­ey for each suc­ces­sive trap trig­gered.  This hall­way exploits this mechan­ic by hav­ing blow­ers at the four cor­ners of the hall­way — blow­ers are traps that push agents a num­ber of tiles away.  By mak­ing the hall­way eight squares long on each side, the agents spin around the hall­way gen­er­at­ing mon­ey until they inevitably slam into an out­side wall.  A group of 8 agents can often gen­er­ate sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars, so this trap pays for itself.

The Hub of Activity... the Evil Genius Control Room

Evil Genius Base: Con­trol Room

I could eas­i­ly go on.  I hon­est­ly had for­got­ten how addic­tive this game can be.  This pic­ture shows the main con­trol room of the base with the Evil Genius avatar, con­trol sta­tions and data­banks for mis­sions and some of the ill got­ten loot from the world.  You can also see the freez­er room (where we keep the dead bod­ies), part of the train­ing room (where min­ions are upgrad­ed and part of the bar­racks where lock­ers rep­re­sent stor­age for each min­ion.

The game is fun and rates a “must buy” from me.  Be pre­pared to spend seri­ous amounts of time herd­ing your min­ions and plot­ting to dom­i­nate the world.  The core mechan­ic of build­ing the base and defend­ing it all-the-while pil­lag­ing the world will last sev­er­al play throughs as my cur­rent obses­sion with it to research for this arti­cle.

The game is not with­out bugs, exploits and weak­ness­es, but none of them are fatal and some of them lead to more fun.  The one thing that can be an extra drag on your time is that there is no mechan­ic to con­trol time (as in Trop­i­co 3 and many oth­er strat­e­gy games).  Anoth­er more fatal bug I found caus­es a num­ber of the brief­cas­es of mon­ey to be ignored and when this hap­pens enough, no build­ing can occur in your base.  Oth­er things like the square hall­way trap above exploit the games mechan­ics to play­er advan­tages that were like­ly unin­tend­ed…

… but then you’re an Evil Genius!

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