Evil Genius is a single player real-time strategy and simulation video game developed by Elixir Studios and published by Sierra Entertainment, released on 28 September 2004. The game is inspired by the spy thriller genre (notably the James Bond film series). Similarly to Dungeon Keeper, the game turns the traditional plotline on its head, with the player acting as the villain, evading the comically stereotyped forces of justice. Gameplay revolves around the player building an island fortress and achieving clichéd world domination.
The game received generally favourable reviews, scoring an average critic rating of 77% on Game Rankings. Evil Genius' music score, composed by James Hannigan, received a BAFTA nomination for Best Original Music in 2004.
The intellectual property rights of the game are since March 2, 2006 confirmed to be owned by Rebellion Developments. The game is now available for purchase on GameTap, Steam and Good Old Games.
Evil Genius focuses on building an island lair and the management of your minions, allowing you to progress through the main storyline and achieve world domination. The use of historic regions (the Eastern Bloc) and events (like the Cuban Missile Crisis) within the game suggest that it is set in the 1960s and that you are leading the world through an alternate timeline.
The player is represented in game as one of three selectable evil geniuses: Maximilian, Alexis or Shen Yu.
Similarly to Dungeon Keeper, Evil Genius has the player construct a lair and employ minions to defend against protagonists (the forces of justice). The lair is built on a remote island and is composed of a number of different rooms and objects which perform various functions. As the player progresses through the game, new rooms and objects become available.
There are two islands that the player inhabits through the course of the game; the first is a desert like island that contains small shacks and steer skulls, and the second is a larger, more tropical island with palm trees and Tiki heads, with a volcano in the middle of the island.
There are several different rooms that can be constructed over the course of the game, which serve a variety of functions. There are various rooms for your minions which restore their stats and determine how many minions you can recruit. Training facilities allow you to train more advanced and specialised minions. Research is conducted in a laboratory and is needed for scientists to conduct experiments in, allowing for new items, and progress in the game's storyline.
Traps and defences
Traps and other defences are used to prevent enemy agents from entering your base to gather evidence, steal money or sabotage equipment. Some traps can harm or kill the interlopers, while others can confuse them, eventually making them leave the island empty handed. Traps include a large flamethrower, a palm tree that drops explosives and an electro shock trap that uses a Tesla coil to spark electrical currents at agents that will bounce from one agent to another. The player is rewarded with money when an enemy agent triggers a trap and will receive extra money for combining traps to form a chain reaction.
Minions and Henchmen
Players have no direct control over minions but can interact with them using Henchmen and the Evil Genius. Construction workers are the basic minions and can be trained to specialize in one of three fields: military, scientific or social. Each field has three successive minion levels with the third level having two unique branches.
Henchmen are the only units (other than the Evil Genius) that the player has direct control over. Henchmen are stronger than conventional minions and can be upgraded with two special moves after gaining enough experience. If a Henchman's health is reduced to zero, he or she will simply collapse for a short time before becoming active again. However, if a super agent kills a henchman three times, the henchman dies permanently.
These agents of justice are the only units that can take your Henchmen permanently out of the game. If played strategically it is possible to take out each Super Agent using their unique weaknesses before the next agent starts investigating as each is induced based on your infamy.
World Domination and Acts of Infamy
The ultimate goal of the game is to construct a "super weapon", a device insidious enough to make the world capitulate to the evil genius's will. To achieve this, blueprints and parts must be stolen from particular regions and brought to the island, by committing "Acts of Infamy". These missions are carried out off the island. The player has no direct control over the mission, but can increase the chance of success by allocating more minions to the mission.
Aside from the main storyline, other missions are available with the objective to steal loot, kidnap civilians, or simply to cause general havoc in the world at large. All of these Acts increase the notoriety of the player, by varying amounts. Some Acts of Infamy are references to historical events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, while others are comical, such as a mission in which the player must destroy Nashville, Tennessee in an effort to rid the world of country music. Funds can also be earned by deploying minions in regions of the world to steal from them.
The world is divided into five regions controlled by different government counter-terrorist agencies. Stealing from a region, along with committing acts of infamy will accumulate "Heat", based on the severity of operations. The alliances controlling the region will respond by dispatching agents to the player's island, with more skilled and more dangerous invaders being sent from regions of high heat.
Each alliance has a Super Agent, parodies of the protagonists found in many action movies, spy films, and martial arts movies. Some notable examples are Jet Chan, a parody of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and John Steele, parody of James Bond and Remington Steele. These Agents are more dangerous than normal, as they cannot be killed by normal means and can kill henchmen over time. The player must complete a special mission related to each Super Agent to be able to remove them from play, usually in an equally satiric fashion.
|Computer and Video Games||8.4/10|
Upon release, Evil Genius was praised for its originality and engrossing content; however, the game also contained many bugs of varying severity. Most of these bugs, such as random crashes and the notoriously poorly titled "Load Save" screen, were fixed in an official patch soon after the release of the game. Some small bugs and minor character and object problems still exist, however. Some bugs include:
- Several objects cannot be researched properly.
- Henchman code is bugged, resulting in henchman having negative effects when conducting Acts of Infamy.
- Each Evil Genius has a benefit to playing as them. Maximillian's should be 90% off research costs. This however, does not affect gameplay and the benefit never becomes active.
An unofficial patch has been made to remove some bugs which were not fixed in the official patch, as well as other gameplay modifications.
Other criticisms[ included repetitive gameplay which could be rather slow at times, and lack of player control and interactivity with regards to minions and several gameplay events. ]
- ↑ Bedigian, Louis. "Evil Genius" and "Freelancer" Composer James Hannigan is Determined to Score Part 1. GameZone. Retrieved on 2008-09-25.
- ↑ Bedigian, Louis. "Evil Genius" and "Freelancer" Composer James Hannigan is Determined to Score Part 2. GameZone. Retrieved on 2008-09-25.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Evil Genius Review - GameRankings. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Rebellion - Bought EG Rights! (March 2, 2006). Retrieved on 2000-09-06.
- ↑ Sefton, Jamie (July 14, 2006). Demis Hassabis, part two. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on 2009-09-06.
- ↑ Evil Genius Review - MetaCritic. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Lee, Garnett (October 1, 2004). Evil Genius Review - 1UP. 1UP. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Jojic, Uros (September 29, 2004). Evil Genius Review - ActionTrip. ActionTrip. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Evil Genius Review - Computer and Video Games. Computer and Video Games (September 21, 2004). Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Bramwell, Tom (October 1, 2004). Evil Genius Review - EuroGamer. EuroGamer. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Parker, Sam (September 28, 2004). Evil Genius Review - GameSpot 2. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Rausch, Allen (September 28, 2004). Evil Genius Review - GameSpy. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Adams, Dan (September 28, 2004). Evil Genius Review - IGN 3. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-09-28.
- ↑ Unofficial patch by "walking fishy"
- Dungeon Keeper, another video game which puts the player in charge of a den of evil.
- Dwarf Fortress