Ok I admit it. Growing up I had always been partial to the bad guys. While my friends were rooting for Duke, Beach Head and Sergeant Slaughter, I was secretly pulling for Cobra Commander, Destro and the rest of the Cobra gang. While all the other nine year olds idolized Optimus Prime, my heart swooned for the Decepticons. Oh how I lamented week after painful week as those blasted Smurfs outwitted the hapless Gargamel. When details about Evil Genius, Vivendi Universal’s latest real time strategy game were revealed, I knew that my darkest fantasies of achieving world domination would finally be realized. We’ve spent some time with the newly released demo, and so far we’re pleasantly surprised with what’s in store for those gamers who would see justice punished.
Evil Genius is a dream come true for all aspiring social deviants such as myself. Essentially it is a charming throw back to the famed spy thrillers of the 60’s and 70’s. Aspiring world-dominators-to-be will be able to construct their layers and hatch their evil plans to hold the world hostage with terrifying weapons of unmatched power. Of course, as everyone knows, genius never goes unpunished; so much of our evil mastermind’s time is spent defending these hidden lairs against the likes of “Super Agents” and “Soldiers”. In order to ward off these pitiful miscreants, the player will be able to train and hire his own army of all too willing minions to carry out his malevolent orders. Some of the different types of minions include Technicians who build and expand your lair depending on the blue prints that you create. There are Guards that serve to protect the corridors of your base against any unwanted guests, as well as advance Mercenaries and Valets. It is up to the player to use the various skills that these minions provide to fortify his or her base against the forces of justice and to construct their ultimate doomsday device. In addition to minions, you also have direct control over your Henchmen. It is these henchmen that act like what some may call “hero units” providing you with added bonuses and extra fighting abilities.
Mission goals will vary from simply fending off an attack of special agents to stealing famous land marks, beautiful works of art, or simply kid knapping high ranking officials. Complete your mission goals and you’ll be one step closer to that allusive prize; world domination. In order to assist you in completing these goals fledgling masterminds-in-the-making will have at their disposal an array of different tools, weapons and traps to ensure victory.
Evil Genius’ sound and graphics are both wholly appropriate. They immediately take us back to a simpler time when the good guys wore flashy suits and the bad guys all sported some sort of physical deformity. Colorful and bright, the interior of the master mind’s layer and the look of his minions all posses just the right amount of camp.
So far Evil Genius is shaping up to be a fun and unique addition to the real time strategy and simulation genres. While we haven’t seen all of the tricks of the trade as of yet, Evil Genius has revealed enough to get us excited about the possibilities of growing our own Evil Empire. Those of you with delusions of grandeur would do well to keep an eye on this megalomaniacal title. Hatch your own evil schemes this October when Evil Genius finally runs amok.