Friday, January 25, 2008

Retro Review: Evil Genius

So, usually I like to post a review of whatever game I've been playing lately, but this one seems to be reaching a little. Evil Genius was released in 2004. I was actually playing it when I started the blog, but I wasn't writing about video games back then. Being as old as it is, the game is probably hard to find anymore, but I'd still recommend getting it if you see it.

In the game you're, guess what, an evil genius bent on world domination. Using your wealth and endless supply of minions, you build up a base and commit vile deeds around the globe until you've effectively cowed all the governments of the world.

While that might sound out of character for me, it's all very cartoony. I'd say it has a "James Bond" style to it, but it's closer to an "Austin Powers" theme. This shows through in the music, in the artwork, and the general structuring of the game. It's really quite fun.

The game is essentially a base-management simulation. You have to structure your base in certain ways and order your minions around in others to make everything work just right. Build essential operations too far apart, and your minions might collapse while trying to perform essential tasks. Build too many, and you might run out of money. Steal too much money, and the forces of justice will hassle your island home non-stop. It's a delicate balance.

I enjoy the game a lot. I suppose that's obvious, since I'm playing through a second time. It's very easy to lose several hours to the game and not realize you did so. The downside is that the game can be brutally frustrating at times, even on the simplest of settings. Towards the end of the game, the difficulty ramps up considerably, and even the most cautious of players can find themselves quickly swamped.

Don't let that dissuade you from pulling the game off the shelf, however. It's a lot of fun. I would say that system requirements shouldn't be a problem, but I'm not sure who I'd be kidding with that. Despite the simple graphics, the load times are ridiculous and even my relatively beefy system gets choked up every so often. Still, it has theoretically low system requirements, so go ahead and pull it out of the bargain bin if you find it.

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