Sending up the spy genre is an age old tradition. In fact by the time I was born this genre had already been firmly established AND firmly dismantled AND given the full satire treatment. Growing up I learned about spy satire well before I learned about the spy genre itself. I loved Austin Powers before I even knew who James Bond was.
In Evil Genius 2 this development team has jumped on that train again, with a sequel that keeps all the things that worked, deletes the things that didn’t, and gives players what I believe will be a world ripe for evil takeover in multiple creative ways. In my behind closed doors demo I got to see some of moving parts of this beautifully evil sequel.
The core of Evil Genius 2, the plutonium core if you’ll allow me, is base building. Your base is comprised of two main parts. First is the “front” of your evil organization. A harmless looking island resort and casino eagerly welcoming tourists from incoming cruise ships. The unaware tourists can drink, gamble, and visit the beach without a care in the world, exactly how any Evil Genius would want it. Just behind the front is your evil lab where all the real sausage is made, via torturous methods I believe.
Your evil lab will become a reflection of your own evil creativity. An excellent addition to this game is the ability to build rooms within rooms in the same shared space. Want your evil lackeys to have a training area inside their barracks? Not a problem at all for Evil Genius 2.
With four different evil bosses to choose from you’ll have several paths to unveil your particular evil flavor on the world. There is however, the catch.
The Forces of Justice are your foil and they’re using a variety of methods to sneak their way into your evil lair. Any unprotected entry point will be exploited and the “good guys” will even disguise themselves as mild-mannered tourists to infiltrate your front, literally from the front. Using traps to stop them is one of the pillars of Evil Genius 2, and using traps creatively is the heart of showing your own evil flavor. A fan trap that blows a good back into a shark pool is one creative example of how to “take care of business.”
The “good guys” will be mostly hard to spot, with only subtle animation differences as giveaways. You’ll need to keep your evil eye fixed on your operation at all times. Obsession and hyper-awareness are, after all, pillars of any Evil Genius.
One lovely evil wrinkle is the ability to “turn” the Forces of Justice to your side. Sure, any Evil Genius could dispatch of their foes in a creatively dastardly way, but a wise Evil Genius knows better. Whenever possible try trapping your foes and brainwashing them. You’ll gain new high-level henchmen with special abilities. I cannot tell you the number of games where I’ve wished I could turn enemies to my side. It’s such an excellent mechanic for gaming and it fits the Evil Genius persona like a glove, an evil leather glove obviously.
Leaving the lair you’ll also have dozens of missions to complete. Building a doomsday weapon, capturing and selling the royal family, or even literally baking Alaska (yes you read that right) could be one of the many missions you’ll find yourself in. The possible mission objectives number in the hundreds and each one will test your evil mind in new and creative ways.
There is a morale mechanic for your henchmen and they can eventually get wildly unhappy. I was stopped when I tried to prod here during the interview, but rest assured there are some dire consequences for those who don’t keep their henchman happy. What those consequences are however, remains to be seen. Your henchmen will need areas to relax, socialize, and yes even play video games if you expect to keep them bent to your evil will.
Come 2020 keep an eye out for Evil Genius 2 and I recommend adding it to your Steam wish-list if you’ve got even a single evil molecule in your body.
Nathan is the co-host of the Splash Damage Bros. Podcast and can be found at @thenatejc and @splashdamagebro