Evil Genius First Look - E3 2004

Many games give you the opportunity to rule the world, but few let you do it from the side of pure evil. Evil Genius will be one of those games. In designing the game, developer Elixir Studios began with a three word design philosophy that has driven the entire game’s development, “Be Dr. No”. Those three words should tip you off that the James Bond thrillers (the 1960s versions that is) served as a source of a lot of inspiration for the game. Evil Genius takes a satirical look at its source material, though, so the result is more of an Austin Powers of computer games, minus all of the phallic humor.

Evil Genius is a strategy sim in which you take on the persona of a Dr. No/Evil type. Your ultimate goal, of course, is world domination and to obtain this lofty ambition you’ll need to construct a fiendish doomsday device with which you’ll be able to blackmail the entire world. To achieve this goal you’ll need to focus on five fundamental areas of evil master planning: constructing a secret base, developing traps to protect your base from interlopers, training your minions, executing missions to gain notoriety and funds, and developing the aforementioned super weapon.

The evil genius admires his latest invention.

Base building will be a familiar process to sim players. You decide which type of room that you want to add to your base – armory, lab, prison, counterfeiting center, etc. – and as long as you have the necessary funds and prerequisites, you just need to select the room’s size and location to get the construction process started. Your construction minions will come in and blast the rock out, excavate the room, and add all of the necessary accruements. Everything that you need to build and run your evil empire is created in your base’s rooms, so a big part of your strategy is adding the right rooms at the right times.

Not only will you need to build your base, you’ll need to defend it as well. As your notoriety grows you’ll attract the attention of world leaders who will do what they can to put an end to your plans. This invariably means that they will send secret agents to attack your secret base (apparently it’s not so secret after all). A variety of agents will attempt to infiltrate your base from Jackie Chan/Jet Li Kung Fu types to suave secret agents who prefer their libations shaken and not stirred. Should they penetrate your base they will sabotage your equipment, kill your henchmen, and, if you’re not careful, eliminate your threat permanently if you know what I mean.

Lucky for you you’re not a defenseless evil genius. Your minions can be trained in trades and specialties, so you can surround yourself with an army of security goons and ninjas. And what’s an evil genius without his equally evil henchmen? Evil Genius will allow you to have your own Odd Job or Jaws to take of secret agent headaches for you with their own specialized, fiendish attacks. For example, on henchman is so funky that he can seduce invading agents with his fly clothes and super funky beats (yes, the game is all about the humor).