- Xbox Live Marketplace Update: May 21st, 2013
- Metro: Last Light Gets 4 DLC Packs Planned, Season Pass Available
- Ryse Confirmed as Xbox One Exclusive
- Battlefield 4 Will Be Available this Holiday for Next-Gen
- Call of Duty: Ghosts Xbox One Media
- Forza Motorsport 5 Xbox One Screens & Trailer
- Xbox One Specs
- Mornin '13
- No Backwards Compatibility with Xbox One
- Xbox One Does NOT Have to Always Be Online
- Call of Duty: Ghosts Shown On Xbox One, Timed-Exclusive DLC
- Halo TV Series Announced
- Watch Live TV with Xbox One [Updated]
- Microsoft Announces Its Next Console: Xbox One
- REVIEW: Metro: Last Light
- Peter Molyneux's Godus Going Mobile
Evil Genius Preview
publisher: Vivendi Games
developer: Elixir Studios
PIII 800, 128MB RAM, 300MB HDD, 16MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Sep 28, 04 (released)
|» All About Evil Genius on ActionTrip|
I had a dream once of becoming an evil genius. I mean, I had the basic prerequisite for it - I was an evil kid. But as it turns out (and years of experience have shown me this), I missed the second prerequisite, which was the genius part. As it stands, my dreams of becoming an evil genius like Doctor Evil or Goldfinger went up in smoke when mom explained to me that, "killing small kittens isn't exactly evil, it's just f-ing sick." Well on the bright side, I had loads of fun with them kittens (I've learned a lot), and I still do it from time to time... nah, I'm just kidding. Now I usually settle for playing as evil genius in a videogame, which is exactly what the latest game from Elixir Studios is all about. We were lucky enough to get the latest preview build of Evil Genius and we wasted no time in putting our nefarious plans into motion.
Now you may remember these guys from their work on Republic: The Revolution. I had the pleasure of reviewing that one, and from what I can remember, it took me quite a bit of time to figure out the ins and outs of it. You see, Elixir has this knack for creating incredibly sophisticated and complex management strategy games, but while Republic tried to deal with the subject of dirty politics in a relatively serious manner, Evil Genius is a spoof on 60's spy movies. Think of it as an eclectic mix of Dungeon Keeper, No One Lives Forever and Republic: The Revolution. The game puts you in the role of an evil mastermind who is trying to build the ultimate Doomsday Weapon. Along the way towards your goal, you rule over your minions with an iron fist (hence the Dungeon Keeper reference), expand your evil empire and keep the James Bond-like agents off your property as you try to achieve your ultimate goal. And you'll do all this in a world, which ultimately feels lighthearted and very similar in style and character to what Monolith's done in No One Lives Forever.
It's interesting to note here that Demis Hassabis, the dude that runs the show at Elixir Studios, has actually worked with the legendary Peter Molyneux at Bullfrog. This should help to shed some light on how the idea for this game ultimately came to be. Even though, generally speaking, there are a lot of references in Evil Genius to other famous titles, Elixir's latest project does have its own unique character, as it provides the player with the kind of game play depth that's become synonymous for Elixir's work. But that's not to say that the developers haven't tried their best to make things easier for the average Joe gamer.
Right off the bat, I noticed that the interface in Evil Genius is a lot more streamlined and intuitive than the one in Republic: The Revolution. Obviously, Elixir has worked hard on making this game more user-friendly, and although I still haven't fully figured out how everything works, it didn't take me longer than a few minutes to kind of get into the groove of things. In any case, the game does provide you with a detailed tutorial as well as tutorial videos, which should guide you through the process of being acquainted with the game play mechanics.
The real fun in Evil Genius comes from the fact that you'll be constructing your empire through a Sims-like building interface. This interface will allow you to not only devise fiendish underground layers (including armories , control and torture rooms [I hope] and so on), but also place a myriad of traps and security devices to keep the pesky secret agents from entering your compound. Let me put it this way - if Cate Archer ever came to your evil island, she'd have a boatload of poisonous gas traps, touch sensors, confusing pop-up traps and other ambushes to deal with. You don't want Cate in your lair - period.
Essentially, the game plays on two screens. One is a more up-close type of map where you actually build your lair and manage your minions, and the other a global map where you send off your workers and henchmen to do your evil bidding. The more evil deeds you achieve globally, the more you'll piss various government agencies off, and when you REALLY piss them off, that's when they send their best agents after you. And you had better be ready when that happens.
Committing crimes all over the world is how you make money, and depending on your notoriety, you attract a certain number of henchmen to your cause. These henchmen are your No. 2's, so to speak - your main operatives. You use them to assassinate agents and carry out whatever evil plans you set out to perform.
This new and more offbeat approach that Elixir has taken with Evil Genius clearly indicates that they've learned a few things from their last title, Republic: The Revolution. We all know that they're capable of creating complex management games, but what was kind of lacking from their previous title was more solid fun for the players. And what better way to have fun than to play in an wacky 60s setting, taking on the role of an evil character that looks like Cruella DeVille (she's just one of the available characters), with a henchmen that's the spitting image of OJ Simpson's (younger) character from Naked Gun. Think huge afros, but PLEASE disregard any reference to OJ's private life.
Evil Genius seems to be powered by the same engine that was used in Republic: The Revolution. At this point, outdoor scenes need more detail, but the characters are nicely animated and the indoor scenes look much better. I'm having some weird clipping problems on the terrain map, but you have to bear in mind that I'm playing a preview build.
Voice acting is nicely done and quite in character, but the background music seems off. It doesn't seem authentic for the type of mood Elixir is trying to create with the visuals and game play. Actually, the soundtrack reminds me an awful lot of the one in Republic, but I guess there's still time for Elixir to put in some fresh, funky tunes before this one ships to stores.
According to our latest information Evil Genius is supposed to ship to stores in the US near the end of September. Something for all you aspiring evil geniuses to look forward to. And remember, strangling small kittens is not evil (let alone genius), it's just f---ing sick, man!
BACK TO TOP