Title:

  • Evil Genius

Genre:

  • Real Time Strategy

Developer:

  • Elixir Studios

Publisher:

  • Vivendi Universal

Release Date:

  • September 28, 2004

System(s):

  • Windows

Box Art Credit:

  • Wikipedia

Systems Used:

  • Windows running on MacBook

Trivia:

  • GOG created a Mac wrapper since I wrote this

On Wikipedia:

One of the great games released under the Sierra label (actually Vivendi Universal) in 2004 (one of which was the immensely popular Half-Life 2, something I hope to get to a later date), Evil Genius puts you in the place of a 1960s-styled cartoonish supervillain going for world domination, allowing the choice of three would-be evil geniuses: the default bald, short guy with a monocle and scar, a tall redheaded woman in fur, and an Asian kung-fu master type guy.

There's two main "components" of the game: the first is building a supervillain base, initially in a desert island, then a volcano later. I've never seen a review that didn't compare this to Dungeon Keeper, but I've never played Dungeon Keeper so I can't really say anything myself. This base contains a place to hold your stolen stuff, to house your minions, monitor the world, and to imprison and torture (er, interrogate) anyone who comes snooping around.

The other component is sending out your mooks to the world map to do stuff, whether it be just committing "acts of infamy" (such as clubbing baby seals or crashing economies) or attempting to steal items or kidnap people. Your minions start as basic construction worker-types but can be trained through three pathways: Social (who help lower "heat" from the rest of the world), Military (serve as guards and fighters), and Science (scientists to help make the doomday device). These are required for the Acts of Infamy.

Between monitoring the world map and building your base, the world will send people to investigate and bring up your "Heat" level, or end up sending "Super Agents", which end up doing tons of damage to your base, these will have to be dealt with unusual ways--sending them through the usual interrogation devices (the biotanks, the centrifuge, etc.) usually won't do. The final Super Agent, John Steele, a handsome and suave James Bond parody, can't be beaten this way. Other Super Agents include a Rambo parody, and a Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee mash-up.

The best part is your "Henchmen", who are smarter, stronger, and one-of-a-kind guys you can rely to help do your dirty work. And I'm not even mentioning traps, which can help you dispose of those pesky agents. Really, it is a bit difficult describe without giving away too little or giving away too much.

I was introduced to Evil Genius in early 2012, around the time my cousin got married. Given that he and my other cousin both recommended it, I had to try it. I finally beat several months ago as of this writing. I recommend picking it up from GOG.com and not Steam, as GOG gives you DRM-free stuff and a bonus disc that gives you access to an extra minion (and some wallpapers and stuff, but who cares about that?)--it also comes with it fully patched.

That DRM-free-ness was why it was the first game re-installed when my Windows installation went kaput several months ago (and it's out again...) It's not a perfect game: there's still some significant bugs left (there's descriptions out there, so I'll let you and Google figure that out)--and it struggles with pacing, so it seems to go very slowly in the first few parts but is rather fast toward the end.

This game cries for a sequel, but what I think should be in that sequel will be reserved for another day. For notes that will help you get going check out my Evil Genius notes (finally online after some nine months of promising it). There's also this large fan-site. It includes a wiki, too.

- May 7, 2014

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