11 July, 2016

Evil Genius Review

Evil Genius is an excellent, if old game that is not without its flaws. Players are the Evil Genius, leader of the evil organisation that is planning world domination. The evil genius builds their evil lair, on their evil island. He brings in evil minions to do nefarious deeds and generally just manages the organisation's island lair. And he's evil.

You begin by building your base, designing corridors and rooms and placing the neccesary furniture in them. A place for work, a place to let minions relax and recover, a power plant. And then you gradually unlock more rooms and more items, expanding more and more until you've outgrown the small first island. But that will be a while.
During your growth, you're going to deal with agents of the forces of good, investigating your base for wrongdoing, and sabotaging, stealing, or outright assualting you. And for you to defeat them there are varying kinds of traps, misdirection, and just plainly having them taken care of by a minion with a gun(Or indeed, multiple minions)

The basic gameplay is solid, and while it has a few annoyances in the minion and agent AI, it is still very enjoyable. Base building tickles all the right spots for those who want to be creative, and managing your evil base is even immersive in some ways a

The graphics may be a little out of date, but they are still perfectly fine in most cases. It is true that characters viewed up close don't look as shiny as they may be able to with today's graphics, but when zoomed out and inspecting your lair you will not notice much of this, with an artstyle that matches the game's theme. It remains even today a nice sight to see the corridors and rooms with your minions walking around in them.

Sound design is well done, with the music being the best fit for the theme that I could imagine. All other sounds are very much what one expects of them, clean and clear so you can tell what's going on, and the only sound that becomes annoying is your blaring alarm. When you're dealing with a base under attack, you're going to want to keep the alarm on. But your ears will want it off after a while because it is loud and repetitive. More reason to finish off those intruders then!

The game happens to also be laden with humour, as after all, you are a cartoon style villain of sufficient evilness, I highly recommend taking a look at interogations and reading the fluff text of your nefarious deeds on the world screen, almost every part of the game fits seamlessly into the others, with a unified theme that never seems to fail or fall apart except for technical reasons.

But then, there are issues too. As there are always issues with games that will lessen your enjoyment. Luckily for Evil Genius, these issues are few. Specifically, they are twofold, though other flaws exist.
Super agents, and the AI.
The AI is the simplest to find, and simplest to complain about. It is incredibly simple, and even without resistance it will not go deep into your base, or pose a threat to your evil genius avatar. A little planning and you will always be safe, though you may lose all your minions as they too don't think about things. You will see a horde of minions happily run into an attacking army to repair the door that is being broken down, or to use a fire extinquisher on an item that is still being actively attacked.
The agent AI is not much better. For the 'forces of good' they are remarkably bloodthirsty, with some super agents and soldiers shooting everything that moves on sight. They will enter a hotel and shoot all the valets, bomb the tourists' bedrooms, and declare their mission a success. They will destroy a cardboard target and explode the pressure plate triggering it, then get injured by their own explosion and go on alert because they took damage. The AI is, sadly, incredibly simple and completely incapable of making sense or anything resembling planning.
That said, it is still functional, though the killing spree and indiscriminate destruction these agents cause will be most annoying as you can not tell a few highly trained minions to sit back, thus almost guarranteeing that you will be spending the next 30 minutes recovering from AI sillyness. And recovering is a slow thing, as everything is expensive, and income is low.

As for the super agents, I won't spoil them. But I will say the complete anticlimax that is the final super agent is a shame. Instead of an interesting ability like the other agents, the only thing this one has is boosted stats and an interface screw. The best way to deal with his ability is to pause the game and fix what he messed up, which can take a while with bigger bases, and manually set everything back to normal.

In the end, there is a lot I can say about Evil Genius, but even with its flaws it remains a very solid game capable of hours of enjoyment, unique and interesting with all the right things to make you feel like you are, indeed, the evil genius.
s you get to be the big boss cartoon villain for a change. It provides you with every tool you may need to feel like you're in charge, with systems that are neither too complex, nor too simple to enjoy.

 No pictures this time because it's near impossible to add them, instead, here's a link to a few of the things

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