Elixir Studios' upcoming strategy game will let you play as a criminal mastermind.
You know that suave and debonair secret agent who always manages to defeat the bad guys and save the girl--and the world? In Elixir Studios' upcoming strategy game Evil Genius, he's finally going to get his comeuppance. This unusual strategy game will let you play not as the dashing hero, but as the villain--much like the supervillains of so many classic, over-the-top spy thriller movies from the 1960s, such as the bald, cat-stroking Blofeld from Thunderball and the genial German Auric Goldfinger from Goldfinger. And when you do capture that no-good secret agent, you'll be able to gloat at him before you do away with him--and you won't even have to reveal the details of your diabolical scheme before you do.
Evil Genius' basic design seems inspired by Bullfrog's humorous 1997 strategy game Dungeon Keeper, since both games will let you take a god's-eye view of a base full of henchmen and order them to do what you wish. As you might expect, Evil Genius will be powered by Elixir Studios' proprietary Totality engine, which was used for the developer's current project, Republic: The Revolution--another sweeping strategy game that will let you control the fate of many individuals. However, instead of Dungeon Keeper's dank dungeons and devilish monsters, Evil Genius will put you in charge of a sleek, sophisticated criminal's lair from the 1960s--equipped with cutting-edge technology, such as gigantic mainframe computers, nuclear submarines, and a control center, where your character will be able to sit at the head of a huge conference table and open the top panel of the table to reveal a to-scale replica of major landmasses such as Europe, America, and Asia.
In fact, you'll have quite a few options when it comes to building your headquarters, inside and out. In the setup we watched, the base was located near the beach on a tropical island amid a quaint little village of straw huts. To complete the disguise, the setup even had a lavish multistory hotel nearby to draw in clueless tourists--because no place that attracts tourists could be evil. Or so you'd think, until you see the roof of a nearby hut split open to reveal the titanium-walled entrance to an underground complex that features computer rooms, prison cells, and all manner of torture devices.
Evil Genius' torture devices can be used to do away with pesky secret agents and military operatives that infiltrate your base--and true to the game's tongue-in-cheek setting, they'll be as humorous as they are cruel. For instance, you can build a cafeteria for your base equipped with a gigantic mixer that spins the hapless victim in the bottom of its bowl with an oversized egg-beater blade, leaving him dizzy and disoriented. You'll also be able to send your victim to the library, a room with tall shelves that close in and smash their victims; sure, they'll valiantly straddle each bookshelf with their hands and feet in one last-ditch attempt to resist, but they'll get squashed flat despite their best efforts.
Some of these can actually be strung together with several other torture devices to create a kind of sadistic Rube Goldberg puzzle, especially if you happen to build a wind tunnel at the end of a corridor. In fact, laying various traps and torture devices along the confines of your base will be something of a minigame in itself: You can try to set up a perfect bank shot, bouncing that smug secret agent off the corner and into the row of spinning saw blades along the floor. Unfortunately, the most highly trained secret agents may be wise to these tricks and will nimbly dodge saw blades in their determined quest to capture you and shut your operation down. Fortunately, you'll at least be able to fine-tune your traps by using your own nameless, faceless minions (which you'll have quite a lot of) as guinea pigs--and as a paranoid supervillain, you'd figure that at least a few of them might have been thinking about the possibility of eventually considering maybe being disloyal at some unspecified point in the future, anyway.