An amusing, easily-paced, strategy game.

User Rating: 8.1 | Evil Genius PC
An amusing, easily-paced, strategy game. (Reviewed on a P4 3GHz, with 1MB RAM, SoundBlaster 24-bit Extigy, ATI Radeon 9800 256MB, DirectX 9.x) SUMMARY: Evil Genius is a fun, stylish game, modeled after the uber-criminals of the James Bond movies. Evil Genius requires patient planning and game play, avoiding the usual click-fests that most RTS games become. The graphics and sound, while not earth-shattering, are well done and add greatly to the atmosphere of the game. Evil Genius is very addictive, even though some of the gameplay aspects could be improved upon. GAMEPLAY: 8 First and foremost, Evil Genius is straight-forward. The interface is easy to use and streamlined. The game requires almost no micromanagement, and accomplishes most tasks on its own, following general orders issued by the player. Once one gets used to the mouse setup, controlling your minions in the game is easy. Evil Genius takes place on one main screen—your island lair—and two separate screens—your control room where you direct your minions against global targets—and the minion management screen—where you select the occupation each of your lackeys will follow. The island lair portion is where you spend the majority of your time. It is here you construct your underground lair, order your lackeys into action against intruders, interrogate hostages, stash ill-gotten gains in your inner sanctum, and train lackeys into higher-skill occupations. Everything is pretty easy to order and straight-forward to accomplish. There are no interface frustrations in Evil Genius. The minion management screen is an easy way to set your recruitment speed (slowest is free, as you recruit faster it costs more and more), and determine your training levels. Once you have recruited generic workers, they can train up to higher-level positions, provided you have a suitably-skilled trainer available. You can create trainers by kidnapping, then interrogating, appropriate civilians. The world-map screen--where you send your lackeys out on jobs to gather money or criminal influence--is the weakest part of the game. There is really nothing more to it that selecting a province, waiting for your minions to show up, and then let the cash or notoriety flow into your coffers. You can also order your lackeys to “plot” in a particular province. Plotting uncovers missions and rewards that you can use back on your base. You have to occasionally check the screen to order your minions into hiding if law-enforcement appears, but that is the extent of interaction in the world-view. More functionality other than mildly deploying and recalling your forces would have made for a much more fun game. GRAPHICS: 7 Evil Genius has nice graphics that fit will with the tongue-in-cheek atmosphere of the gameplay. That being said, they are also somewhat pedestrian. The dynamic lighting and reflection effects are good. The animation is smooth and solid, but there isn’t much to be excited about in the graphics department—especially since other recent releases (Sims 2, Warhammer 40K Dawn of War) have much smoother, vibrant graphics. SOUND: 9 The music is one of the best parts of Evil Genius and really sets the mood for the game. Your orders are confirmed by the ubiquitous female-voiced speaker found so often in science fiction and spy movies. The arrogant, fatuous commentary by your avatar could be lifted right out of a 60’s action movie. Evil Genius is atmospheric and addictive in no small part due to the sound. VALUE: 7 If this game retailed new for $40.00, I’d be more impressed. At $50.00, I’d say it’s a touch overpriced. It’s a good, fun game, but in light of recent releases and the lack of interactivity in the world map, $50.00 is a little steep. REVIEWER’S TILT: 9 This game is a lot of fun to play. Evil Genius has some lulls in the action that allow you to regroup, think, plan, and execute. It is challenging at times without being an exercise in seeing how quickly one can click the mouse. It is funny most of the time, and the idea is very original. I’ve been having a lot of fun playing Evil Genius.