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Evil Genius Member Review for the PC

Tyrranis By:
GENRE Strategy 
T Contains Comic Mischief, Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Unleash your inner evil!

A lot of games nowadays have a frankly un-natural fixation on the side of justice, holiness and other sickeningly good people. The only time where you can truly be evil is in games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which have the option of becoming the embodiment of everything evil in the world. However, as there is also the option of becoming one of those wimpy do-gooders, you sometimes end up only semi-evil, and not becoming the über evil that you always wanted. Fail to kill a lowly peasant, and people may think you're a good man. How revolting.

But now, now we have the glorious path of evil all ready for us. Now, we have Evil Genius!

Evil Genius, from Sierra and Elixir Studios, follows the exploits of your evil avatar as they go about their quest to RULE THE WORLD!!!. On this quest, you do a number of tasks including building your evil lair, commisioning some evil experiments, evilly torturing innocent civilians and agents of Justice, training your evil minions and running a secretly evil hotel, bar and casino.

You do this on your own evil island. Although the one you start on is small, later you can get a larger island. Either of these islands will become the place where you can build your own evil lair. The lair construction is very similar to that of Dungeon Keeper 2, in that you indicate the shape of the room you want built with a blueprint, add in any objects you want for the room, and then approve construction. Your evil construction minions will buy some explosives to use to carve the room out of the rock, and then they will build the room in the new crevace. Any objects you asked your minions to put into the room will then be purchased and placed.

To do all this you will need money. You can acquire money on the world map screen by sending out your minions to 'redistribute' money from the world. The amount depends on where you have sent your minions, how many minions you have sent and what minions you have sent. A security type minion, like guards and mercenaries, will acquire money faster than, say, a social minion, like a valet or spin doctor. However, all your laundering will attract the attention of the forces of justice, and will gain you 'heat'. Heat is used to show you how badly the local authorities want to see you imprisoned or killed. If the indicator is to the left, they don't care. If it's to the far right, they will do anything to kill you. This heat level indicates what kind of agents they will send to your island to try and kill you. Lower levels of heat will yield only investigators, who are useless in a fight, but can raise your heat level if they escape from your island with any incriminating photographs. Higher heat levels will make them send soldiers, who don't care about evidence, but rather the removal of it. With explosives. It can become a real pain if your evil control room is wiped out by a squadron of these annoying agents.

The really annoying part about it is that you cannot control your minions directly. The only way to get your minions to attack an intruder is for you to tag them first. Tags come in three varieties: Kill, Capture and Weaken. The Kill tag orders any nearby combat capable minions (construction workers and security minions) to use lethal force on the tagged agent. Capture orders them to sedate the target, and then carry the target to a holding cell, from which you can order an interrogation, or an elimination. A Weaken tag orders any nearby social minions to use their persuasive powers to calm down the target and make them forget anything they have seen that may ruin your evil plans. This is especially effective on investigators with evidence, as they will forget anything they've seen, and will return to base without raising your heat level.

However, to satisfy your evil desires, an interrogation is the way to go. The developers obviously spent a lot of time thinking up ways for you to interrogate your enemies, as there are quite a lot.  A standard interrogation chair, an oversized blender, a large, menacing laser, and even some automated bookselves can all be used to hammer any vital intelligence out of an enemy. What's more fun, however, is that some of the interrogation devices are used to hammer the smarts out of the victim, not the life. If they survive the first interrogation, you could always chuck them into the cell again, ready to use in another interrogation device! Ah, it's fun being the bad guy.

But, as fun as the game is, it has its flaws. The first one is that you have no power over minions out in the field. You cannot order them to rob any particular bank, or siphon money off a particular millionare, unless it is an Act of Infamy. Another flaw is that there are no indicators to tell you if an object has just been destroyed. Twice I have been surprised by an enemy blowing up the entire contents of a room, and not knowing until I notice the fires. The final flaw is that it can get annoying having to tag all the enemies, but you can always directly order a henchman to kill them, so it's a small problem.

These flaws tarnish what would be a revolutionary game, but as it is, it is still worthy of commanding a spot in your game collection. Being evil has never felt so good!

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B+ Revolution report card
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