Thanks to Evil Genius 2, I now understand why so many criminal masterminds are bald. It’s because they’ve torn all their hair out through sheer frustration. When a James Bond knockoff rocks up to your secret lair and murders a bunch of henchmen with an exploding cufflink or whatever, that’s all well and good for the henchmen, who are now on a permanent lunch hour, but nobody considers the administrative headache it causes for the boss.
Now you’ve got to train new henchmen to replace the old ones, which means dipping into your pool of workers and sending them to the equivalent of thug university. This in turn means hiring more workers, which costs money you don’t have because you spent it all on replacing the traps that doublenot-seven also broke. This means spinning more moneymaking schemes, which cost yet more henchmen to set in motion, thus starting the whole cycle over again.
Being a master villain is one big headache for your big bald braincase, and it’s this villainous bureaucracy that Evil Genius 2 replicates. Mostly for the better, but sometimes for the worse. When all’s said and done, it’s a fine management title that balances brilliantly presented base-building with some genuinely challenging plate-spinning. But thank goodness it features a mechanic that lets you randomly shoot your minions, because otherwise at times I might have ripped my own skull out and thrown it at the screen.
Placing you in the role of one of several cackling megalomaniacs, Evil Genius 2 sees you constructing a secret lair on a volcanic island out in the Pacific, then using that lair to sow chaos through the world. You’ll construct rooms to service both your minions’ needs and your dastardly desires, recruit various types of underling to help realize your nefarious plans, lay traps and obstacles to bamboozle enemy agents, and ultimately construct a terrifying doomsday device to make the world bend at the knee.
This starts with a base-building bonanza. Unlike, Dungeon Keeper or Two Point Hospital, which mete out the different rooms you can build across multiple levels within the game, Evil Genius 2 more or less lets you build all of its rooms at once.
From barracks for your minions through cafeterias and training areas, all the way up to your genius’ gold-plated inner sanctum, you’ll have the basic layout of your base established within the first five hours.
This part of Evil Genius 2 is pure entertainment, not least because the base-building both looks and feels superb. Like Two Point Hospital, Evil Genius 2 boasts a vibrant, cartoon style, and although it’s less Aardman it still bears some resemblance to the original and considerably craggier Evil Genius. Your minions mine out rooms with bulky, underslung laser cannons, then use those same cannons to put objects and furniture into rooms, which fall into place with a mighty whomp.
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