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by Azoloth in
Classic Gamer Corner Review

Evil Genius is one of those games that is very easy to lose yourself in. You take on the roll of an evil genius who is bent on world domination. You get to build a base, recruit henchmen, send them on missions, acquire notoriety and power, and fight the forces of justice.

Surprisingly Evil Genius did not make its way onto Azoloth’s Top 10 Favorite Games. This was due to how many other great games I wanted to showcase there. Honestly it could easily have made the cut because I enjoy it so much.

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Buy Evil Genius on Green Man Gaming

Buy Evil Genius on Gamers Gate

Evil Genius Rating 4.0

I first found Evil Genius on Gamersgate an instantly fell in love with it. The game has such a great 1960’s James Bond feel to it.

Quick 30 minute game play session to showcase how awesome this game really is.

I myself was never into the entire cold war era spy genre of entertainment. However, something about the way this game was designed just makes me love it. I think my favorite part of the game is hiring henchmen and researching new devices. They both leave you with the feeling you are actually accomplishing something as you play.

Game Play 4.0

The Good

Evil Genius has everything I would expect from an evil villain simulator. You get to order your henchmen to build a base and defend it. Laying out your base has to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. It can be a challenge the first time you play since you will have no clue what other rooms you may need in the future. That is why it is a good idea to start small and expand as needed.

Then you must defend it from the forces of justice as they snoop around. Want to make an example of one of your minions to ensure the rest stay in line? Easy, just execute one. Feel a minion is getting a bit to uppity for your tastes? Easy, arrest them and send them to a torture device. Even torturing enemies comes in a fun cartoony way. All of the cartoon violence is fully animated so you can see exactly what you are doing to the poor person you put in the chair, or in the mixing machine in the kitchen. If someone happens to die while dance at them… the will stand up and promptly fall over then fade away.

Starting the game you only have access to a very few rooms and items. As you begin completing missions more rooms and more items open up. Then you get to start sending your minions out into the world to steal, spy, and complete missions. Missions can gain you new followers, infamy, or even fancy treasures.

As you move forward you can kidnapped and interrogate those with the skills you need to train your henchmen to be more useful. Useful henchmen fall into 3 types.

  1. Fighters: Defend your base and help conduct dangerous missions
  2. Social: Help distract the enemy and put them at ease
  3. Science: They repair your base and research new things

The scientists have to be my favorite henchmen. They will wander around your base getting ideas, then you will get the option to select items for them to research. They will then begin to research the items as you instruct them. New traps, rooms, items, and upgrades are all available through research.

As you move forward in the game you must deal with and eventually defeat super agents that are sent against you by the various world factions.

Each of the super agents has only one way they can be killed. You must spend many hours and tons of resources capturing and investigating them to find out what those methods are. The most powerful of the super agents of course is the one from Britain who is obviously James Bond. If you are not careful though captured super agents will escape and destroy a good part of your base while they are at it… they may even capture or kill you if you are not careful!

Your end goal? Total World Domination!

You will eventually research and construct a super weapon which will allow you to take over the planet..

The Bad

There are two aspects of game play I do not find fun, that is the money grind and limitations on the number of minions you can have.

By default the number of minions you get is very low. Honestly, when I play I edit the config files so that I can have many more minions. In my opinion I shouldn’t be limited to how many I can have. I am an Evil Genius after all.

The money grind is insane, and at times you actually have to devote many of your minions to the money grind. I usually cheat here as well using a cheat I list below to get extra cash. I will say the money grind can easily be off set by hacking the number of minions… however, that has its own issues I will cover in the User Interface Section

Visual 5.0

I love the visuals here. From the cut scenes to the graphics it all has a very pleasing ascetic to it. Even the comic like task completed announcements that come up on screen look great.

Audio 3.0

The audio for Evil Genius is  nothing special for the most part. There are some truly great pieces like the intro, and some sound effects when events happen. Those sounds make you feel like you are really playing in an old Bond film. However, I find most of the background sounds in the game just so-so. Honestly, if some of the music and sound effects were not so amazingly perfect, I would probably have given this area a 5.0; If not for those perfect ones I would not have realized how lacking the other areas were.

User Interface 3.0

The user interface is nice looking and mostly functional. However, I have a few issues with it.

First the mini-map isn’t very good and it make traveling around the screen feel very clunky.

Secondly, when you want to add new minions you have to click once for each minion of each type you want to recruit. That can get tedious. Admittedly I cheap to have more minions than they intended. However, I still feel the ability to more easily adjust the number of minions you wish to recruit for each area would be useful even in a normal game.

The map to send minions out into the world feels clunky, even worse  is if your minions get killed you have to micro-manage and send new ones. Since minions stealing in the world is your main source of cash flow this just feels like I always have to micro-manage my minions to keep the money coming in. This isn’t a fun aspect to the game it is just a grind.

Story 5.0

The story is a  fun and non linear one, at least not completely. There are stages to the game you have to pass through. So you cannot just do whatever you like whenever you like. However, in each phase you can pick the missions you want to in any order. In fact many missions you can take anytime you want in the game. So it has both an open and a linear narrative. The parts of the story driven by the linear narrative need it to make it feel like you are playing through a movie. Yet there is enough openness to let you build your own story within the world they give you.

You will quickly find that each ruling power and super agent has their own distinct feel and way of doing things. I give a brief outline of the story itself in the Game Play section. This is one of those games where the Game Play elements and story you move through are very closely wound together.

Final Thoughts

This is a really enjoyable game. When I want something to relax to with very little stress and a lot of fun this is a go to game. I have only beaten the game once or twice. It is a fairly long game with everything you have to do.

Even though I could only give it a 4.0 due to what it is lacking in some areas, it is still one of my favorite games of all time. For the price os 9.99 on Gamersgate I would say it is well worth buying for anyone wishing to explore the world of Retro and classic games. I hear they have an Evil Genius 2 in the works too, and from what I have heard it seems like it will be a lot like the original so I can’t wait for it to come out.

Cheats

Type in HUMANZEE on the keyboard anywere in the game. Then use CTRL + C to get more cash. There are some other commands you can issue by holding CTRL and pressing buttons but I will let you explore those for your own… just try not to blow up anything.

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