revolves around planning and maintaining a secret underground base, training minions, managing henchmen, and committing acts of infamy around the globe. It plays like a mixture of a very basic real-time strategy game (Ex: Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth),
a simulation game (Ex: Sim Theme Park),
and features very slight puzzle elements. The puzzle elements require the player to think about how to complete a task. The ultimate goal of the game is to research, construct, develop notoriety, and ultimitely deploy one of three possible super weapons and conquer the world.
Evil Genius was re-released by Good Old Games
for $9.99 (at normal non/sales price) with compatability & support for Windows XP, Vista, and 7 for both 32 and 64-bit.
It can also be purchased on Steam
for $9.99 (normal non/sales price).
Evil Genius plays similar to Sim Theme Park, featuring the god game viewpoint, but gives the players the ability to direct minions to complete things using timeclocks, henchmen, and their evil genius. The game starts by requiring the player to map out their base in order to protect him or her from danger. If the Evil Genius is ever killed by the Forces of Justice, the game ends.
As the Evil Genius, the player is limited to giving orders and relying on a staff of minions to carry them out. The game features an alarm to raise the level of awareness. Also, the Evil Genius can set one task or item as important, forcing the AI to interact or complete it right away.
Tasks are given to the player through a simple objective list. To progress through the story, the player must complete these tasks, but the game will continually send foes to the island to keep the player preoccupied during longer tasks. Players can also send minions to other places through the world map. While there, minions can steal items, complete missions, steal money, and kidnap people who can later be interrogated, opening up specialized minions.
Funding is acquired by using the world map, marking locations, and sending minions to steal it. Doing so raises notoriety, opening up missions, and increasing the heat, or threat level, on your island. Raising notoriety is the only way to advance in the game. By raising notoriety, opening missions, and completing missions, you will be rewarded with more notoriety and complete tasks set forth in the mission manager. Another benefit of raising your notoriety, it will allow you a higher limit to the number of minions on your island. Lastly, on regular intervals an increase in notoriety will lead to recruitment of another henchmen into your orginization.
Henchmen are the evil version of super agents. They are given super moves, and three lives. These lives can only be taken away when a henchmen is killed by a super agent. Henchmen can also inspire your minions into a group and lead then to defeat enemies on the island.
Throughout the game the forces of good will arrive to steal items, damage your base, find proof of evildoing, and to infiltrate your base. Another type of hero, the super agent, arrives periodically to cause as much damage and chaos as possible. Several precautions can be made to thwart these events. The setting of traps can eliminite foes, cause them to become confused, lose their intelligence, prevent them from advancing, or outright kill them. Super agents can only be eliminated through missions which lead to performing specific tasks in order to drain eliminate their will. One way to alert your minions of someone on the island is with the use of a security system.
The visual style in Evil Genius
is steeped in the gaudy colors and flamboyant fashions popular in the late 1960's and 70's, firmly establishing a campy, cartoony aesthetic in every aspect of its presentation. Cel-shaded characters are clothed in bright, showy colors and brought to life through a rich variety of whimsical animations as workers dutifully unpack boxes, valets ingratiate themselves to suspicious agents with a quick shoe-shine, enemy thieves elaborately tip-toe from place to place, and brain-washing machines literally suck brains out of people's ears and roll them around in a soapy spin cycle. Minions sent out to lurk on the world map for nefarious purposes appear in the form of board game tokens which topple over when captured or killed, and the game's interface is set in stainless steel and displayed with ticking analogue counters.
Characters in the game speak through nonsensical mumbles and groans reminiscent of Maxis' The Sims
franchise, using basic tone of voice to communicate their fear, discomfort, anger, and suspicion. One exception is the unseen "Number 2" who occasionally delivers spoken information about new goals or shouts warnings about intruders within the compound, all in an imperial British accent evocative of one of James Bond's classic femme fatales.
Featuring A musical score heavily inspired by films like Austin Powers
, Evil Genius
presents a very light-hearted take on its subject matter.
is a heavily character based game, and a lot of strategy comes from cultivating and maintaining the right balance of staff manning the base and working out on the world map.
Players choose one of the following avatars upon starting the game. This avatar can be directly controlled in the base to prioritize tasks or inspire the work force, but the game will end if he or she is killed by the Force of Good.
- Maximillian -- a squat, broad-shouldered man bearing a monocle who enjoys a bonus to research tasks. He starts the game with Jubei, the samurai henchman at his command.
- Alexis -- an elegant, statuesque woman who inspires greater loyalty in all her minions. She begins the game with Eli Barracuda, the gangster henchman by her side.
- Shen Yu -- a mysterious and foreboding figure whose reputation intimidates enemy agents into leaving his island more quickly. His loyal apprentice is Lord Kane, the psychic henchman.
Each Evil Genius starts with one henchman in their employ, but can select more, by completing their mission on the world map, as they become more notorious on the global stage. Henchmen can be directly controlled while on the island, employ special powers in combat, gather nearby minions into a mobile fighting force, and excel at missions conducted on the world map. They can be temporarily subdued by enemy characters in combat, but if killed by an enemy super agent, henchmen will lose one of their three lives. These lives are irreplaceable, and if a henchman is killed, they are gone for the remainder of the game.
Construction workers arrive on the island at a monetary cost set by the player. They are used to construct rooms and are your only initial minions in the game. Through training, the construction workers can develop in one of three fields, military, social, and science.
All minions can move furniture, loot, bodybags, and other items, but later in the game the social minions will be put in charge of these tasks. Each specialty is in charge of certain tasks on your island. Social minions are tasked with putting out fires and running your casino and hotel. Military minions are in charge of security and island and base defense. Science minions are in charge of research and repairing items around your base.
Lowly construction workers arrive on the Evil Island periodically looking for work, forming the backbone of the labor force by excavating rooms, shuttling around briefcases full of money, and unpacking equipment. They can carry pistols and engage in basic hand-to-hand combat, but are easily defeated by more advanced enemy agents. However, with access to the proper training facility and a mentor to show them the ropes, workers can advance into more specialized careers.
- Soldiers -- the Evil Genius' own private military force. Soldiers are best at laundering money while on the world map.
- Guards are trained in shooting rifles and have higher health than normal workers.
- Mercenaries can carry heavy machine guns and flame throwers.
- Marksmen excel at precision shooting from a distance.
- Martial Artists can take down even the toughest foes at close range.
- Researchers -- the division responsible for uncovering new Acts of Infamy and developing new gadgets. Researchers are best at plotting new Acts of Infamy on the world map.
- Technicians perform repairs to damaged equipment and can perform basic research.
- Scientists are used for more advanced research.
- Biochemists can research things fastest of all.
- Quantum Physicists deliver the most devious schemes.
- Public Relations -- minions responsible for maintaining a respectable front and misdirecting suspicious enemy agents. When assigned to the world map, PR minions reduce the amount of heat generated by other operations.
- Valets provide a screen of distraction and are the only minions capable of using fire extinguishers to put out a blaze.
- Spin Doctors bewilder investigators and convince them to discard their suspicions.
- Playboys and Diplomats whittle away at the do-gooders' sense of morality through seduction and outright bribery.
There are also two special classes of minions who appear under specific circumstances.
- Freaks -- enormous blue-skinned homunculi who wander randomly about the island, brutally attacking anyone outside the Evil Genius' employ. They are extremely resilient in combat but do not respond to alarms or commands of any kind. Freaks are created by mutating a corpse in the science center's biotank.
- Bodyguards -- superior combatants who linger near the Evil Genius at all times and will gladly die for his or her protection. Bodyguards are rare and only appear as certain notoriety milestones are passed.
Each of the world's five government agencies has a unique and especially deadly special agent at its command. These elite characters can be temporarily disabled through the use of extreme force, but will only be truly defeated through elaborate investigation available late in the game.
- Mariana Mamba -- a stunning female agent who can seduce even the most loyal minion into betraying the Evil Organization.
- Jet Chan -- a shirtless martial artist in the vein of Bruce Lee, his fatal melee attacks are capable of striking down dozens of armed minions
- Katarina Frostonova -- a Russian saboteur who can turn invisible to infiltrate the player's base and strike directly at vital equipment
- Dirk Masters -- a giant muscular, bandana-wearing commando who wields massive machine guns in each hand
- John Steele -- a suave tuxedo-wearing spy able to scramble the base's security systems at random and fire his silenced pistol with lethal accuracy
- In its initial release, Evil Genius received criticism for some stability problems and a poorly named "Load Save" option which left some gamers with the impression that they could load an existing autosave, but not create a new one manually. A patch was released which helped resolve miscellaneous crashes and retitled the option "Load / Save."
- Even after the official patch, gameplay bugs remained which prohibit players from properly researching certain advancements and cause Henchmen to interfere with missions on the global map when they should be tremendously helpful. Fans of the game have released an unofficial patch to resolve many of these lingering issues.
- The custom trap system was specifically designed to preclude systems which could lock enemy agents into an infinite loop, but dedicated players nonetheless uncovered specific and extremely intricate exploits which allowed them to permanently snare dozens of foes. These "ubertraps" are nearly impossible to implement by accident, and break the game balance by generating an infinite stream of revenue while simultaneously ridding the Evil Island of all enemy interference.
- Shortly after the release of Evil Genius, developer Elixir Studios closed down operations. The rights to the franchise were purchased by Rebellion Developments in March of 2006.