Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 51
  2. Negative: 0 out of 51
  1. The excellent balancing of gameplay and humor make this game a worthy companion piece to VU Games' superlative "No One Lives Forever" franchise.
  2. If you love James Bond movies, or Austin Powers, or any of those great gadgets-girls-and-guns flicks, this game will put you right there in the mix. If you like games that have intellect rooming side-by-side with action, you’ll think your fingers off here...This game could be described as "crack on a CD!"
  3. Its excellent production values and clever design make for a very satisfying package. [Dec 2004, p.104]
  4. Everywhere you look there's another cute animation and another cool gadget. Combine this with an addictive research tree and a challenging campaign, and you have yourself a great combination of "Dungeon Keeper" and "Austin Powers" - just not a very long one. [Oct 2004, p.94]
  5. Yes indeed, it is good to be bad. Elixir and Vivendi have seen to that. Evil Genius will not set the world on fire with its graphics or soundtrack, but the game offers a solid challenge and entertaining experience.
  6. Anyone who enjoys constant challenge (the gaming equivalent of juggling with chainsaws) will find much to love in Evil Genius. The majority of the game's features function extremely well and the theme is rock-solid throughout. [PC Gamer UK]
  7. The humour shines through, the base design and the battle against the agents will keep you occupied for hours and hours on end. Graphics, sounds and the whole gameplay looks smooth and solid.
  8. Fans of management and tycoon games should definitely not miss this creative and well thought-out opportunity to play the bad guy. Own this game and it will own you back.
  9. Seems to have been designed itself by an evil genius. A person with above average abilities in the graphics department but a sadistic, or evil, urge to make gameplay very irritating and proceed at a snail‘s pace.
  10. Evil Genius is unique, polished, and more flat-out fun than anything since "Painkiller." [Nov 2004, p.167]
  11. Lots of lovely little details and gimmicks, lots of black humor and lots and lots of evil deeds to perform - what else can an evil genius of tomorrow ask from a game?
  12. The control system is as good as it is mainly due to the well designed interface. As mentioned, the game is reasonably involved so you will have to spend some time learning what does what, but everything, and I mean everything in this game is so easily accessible.
  13. Although the game suffers from various setbacks, it's still hella addictive and fun to play. Not to mention that the single-player campaign is HUGE, so you'll get hours and hours of fun from it.
  14. Like Austin Powers it adopts the faux-Bond villain theme very well, without becoming too camp or dampening the challenges. Above all, it's hugely entertaining and manages to keep dishing out the surprises all the way through.
  15. A sturdy sense of humour, and canny logic to its proceedings, raise Evil Genius above a noisy crowd. [Apr 2006, p.95]
  16. Now RTS's are generally a little slow for me, but Evil Genius has a few elements that you have to control simultaneously, so you won't have to sit and wait long for something to build or develop.
  17. It has it flaws and shortcomings, but it can also make you laugh out loud on more than one occasion, which is truly something for a strategy where the main goal is world domination.
  18. One of the most addictive, amazing, and even hilarious games I’ve seen come out on this quarter of the year. Bullfrog might be dead, and Dungeon Keeper might be dead, but the creative concepts they inspired clearly are not.
  19. There’s some trial and error early on that could have sunk the whole game, but the depth and style overcome that stumbling block.
  20. 80
    A remarkably fun and addictive game that, while not without its flaws, is brimming with enough charm, good humor, and depth to keep gamers occupied for a long time. The bad news is the game has a problem with relaying information to the player that is, at best, annoying, and in one case, almost brings the entire product crashing down.
  21. The lack of tangible information is probably what hurts Evil Genius the most -- alarm systems register for both tourists and spies, minions die without warning, traps are on fire and you often get only one real warning -- generally, it feels like you just don't have anywhere near as much data coming in as you should.
  22. You, as the mastermind, must not only create ways to take over the world, but also develop ways to improve your base so that you have the necessary faculties to do so.
  23. 78
    Had there been more interactivity with during acts of infamy on the World Domination Map, less micromanagement for taking care of enemies, more information passing between the map and the base screens, and more useful information about why things happened the way they did, Evil Genius really could have been genius... but in a good way.
  24. Evil Genius is a flawed strategy title very much in the Dungeon Keeper mould, but that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had. It’s certainly entertaining enough to keep you playing, but the numerous faults do serve to irk throughout, which ultimately strips away some of the pleasure.
  25. 76
    The quirky nature of this game is its strongest point. Evil games are great, but evil games with a little humour are even better.
  26. Timing and game issues aside, Evil Genius is one of those great strategy games that will appeal not only to strategy fans, but to players who like operating on the wrong side of the law in their games.
  27. 75
    Breaks new ground with its style and premise, but the delivery comes off a bit stale, and there’s no reason to pick this game back up after the first play-through.
  28. The rare success of style over substance. It has everything an Austin Powers movie offers, but draws it out over twenty hours instead of two. There are sparks of genuine delight that make you wish the game was balanced better.
  29. The micromanagement portion of lair maintenance and minion development is intuitive and entertaining. [Nov 2004, p.87]
  30. It has its enjoyable moments and trap design can be a lot of fun, but overall the game’s pacing and interface issues can make world domination a test of patience.
  31. Evil Genius is hampered by some frustratingly haphazard pacing as well as issues with the artificial intelligence of your minions.
  32. While there are awkward moments on this malignant management escapade, it’s never less than charming. The exaggerated ‘60’s spy-movie design is familiar and entertainingly fresh, and although flawed, it’s still far more appealing than Republic. [Nov 2004, p.104]
  33. Evil Genius overcomes its flaws and ultimately satisfies. Building an evil empire is a good idea, and the way Elixir's constructed the game is thoughtful, enterprising and occasionally inspired.
  34. Granted, it may be the thick vein of very British humour running throughout the game that takes some credit for holding frustration at bay. However, Elixir has learnt much from the overly-ambitious Republic and, as such, everything about this title feels far more rounded and polished. [Nov 2004, p.112]
  35. The high difficulty level in particular manages to cause immense frustration as your intricately laid out plans are once again foiled and you’re forced to start all over again.
  36. 70
    Surprising enough as it is for a modern strategy title, the lack of any multiplayer support rubs the last bit of salt in the wounds for a title that could have benefited so much from human competition to cover its weaknesses.
  37. 70
    If you’re a keen gamer and not a big fan of the strategy simulation games, stay clear of Evil Genius as it won’t bring you any satisfaction as opposed to a leading FPS game out on PC these days.
  38. So, what is it really like to be an evil genius? Well you can have a fantastic lair, hordes of loyal workers and tons of money but to be honest, it can be boring at times, you see, the truly evil one never gets to do any of the dirty work, they just sit and watch; and what makes it worse is workers that don’t seem to have much between their ears making the ‘watching’ a frustrating task.
  39. Extremely effective in immersing you in the world of world domination and espionage, while maintaining a wonderful sense of humor... Nonetheless, the slow pacing, imperfect sense of direction, and extensive micromanagement can interfere with your enjoyment.
  40. Its heart is in the right place, but all the funny interrogation scenes can't make up for the fact that you're doing the same thing at the end of the game as you were in the beginning.
  41. In spite of its missing sandbox mode and the crappy economic meta-game, Evil Genius has a groovy conceit, bright and unique art direction, and a rewarding and well-conceived base-building component. [Dec 2004, p.87]
  42. 68
    Just an average game. It started out strong, but then it simply lost steam toward the end.
  43. Despite all it's going for it, Evil Genius just isn't fun. The gameplay is dull, and there is nothing left after you get beyond the initial novelty. [Nov 2004, p.140]
  44. The building and base development aspects are fun but the more you play the more the global overview feature feels like an unwanted distraction.
  45. As a micromanagement/god sim, it makes a fair effort with its source material, although you'll often find yourself bogged down in petty details, and it can lose a bit of charm in its eventual endgame phase.
  46. But where "Dungeon Keeper 2" was graceful, elegant, superbly tuned - possibly the perfect RTS - Evil Genius is clumsy, boorish, frustrating, and frankly not worth the price of admission.
  47. 60
    The concept behind Evil Genius is a great one, but the individual pieces of the game don't balance as well as they could. [Dec 2004, p.128]
  48. 60
    It has tons of potential and just begs to be liked. And we do like it. After all, this may be the first game that can play itself while you’re playing something else.
  49. It's a shame to see all this potential wasted. It takes a true and determined criminal mastermind to get through this game with all its flaws.
  50. Players have no real interaction with the despicable duties beyond sending out waves of underlings who can be attacked without warning. Progress requires patience, juggling priorities and micromanagement. Fortunately, the flaws are softened by many clever ideas; it feels good to be bad.
  51. Could have been great. Instead, it's a near miss - a great idea poorly presented and inadequately explained. And that ain't my bag, baby. [Dec 2004, p.94]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. Feb 13, 2014
    Playing Evil Genius reminds me of why I stopped buying computer games. It came out at a time when the people who made them got their jollies from making things frustrating and then mocking the users after release if they complained. And I loved it! Games these days have all sorts of conveniences for the fluoride generation that has hijacked gaming. These are the people giving EG a low score here btw. Go back to CoD you wreckers!
    In the decade since it was released gaming has taken an amazing nosedive, with everything being "casual friendly", which is code for never frustrating anyone ever, which is code for making boring games.
    Anybody who wants a classic example of how PC games used to deliberately use frustration to make games fun should buy Evil Genius. It`s one of very few Dungeon Keeper derivatives released which is good, and the graphics and sound are still great after all this time. And so is the game play. Once you get the hang of base construction and learn how to use different traps, doors, cameras and guards for the best result it is amazingly addictive.
    As for the negatives it really is time consuming and occasionally little happens. But on the other hand you can control this yourself to a certain extent: By being active plotting and carrying out crimes on the world map you attract hordes of agents and you`ll never be bored. Of course you won`t be able to defend your base either, but finding the right balance between world map activity and base security is one of the joys of the game, although never easy.
    There is an exploit which is hard to resist at the end of the tutorial, when your task is to kidnap a maid. If you just don`t do this at all and instead send all your people off to plunder on the world map you can just go to bed or get drunk and you`ll have millions of gold when you wake up/come back. This neutralizes what would otherwise have been the hardest part of EG: getting enough gold while being harassed by super agents But since it`s an alternative that requires patience, which is what my enemies in the "casual" gaming community do not have at all, I am prepared to forgive this crutch.
    The only real negative is that not only is it hard and long winded, but it is almost a must to have played through the game before you can know what to do when, how much and in what order and so have a reasonable chance at finishing the campaign. If you haven`t you`ll aggro all five super agents to your island at the same time and die, place entrances, rooms and hotels in bad places, get the wrong henchmen or an endless number of other things you`re just not likely to get right the first time around.

    Other than that it`s great fun, and highly recommended foo anyone sick to death of "casual" gaming.
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 4, 2013
    One of the greatest base builders ever made. Still fantastic and totally playable to this day. Atmospherically this captures the feel of the 60s bond movies perfectly and who doesn't want to build their own evil volcano lair, I ask you! Full Review »
  3. Aug 7, 2013
    A very fun game. think Dungeon Keeper, but where you play a james bond'esque villain where you try to take over the world. You get henchmen to buld your base, guard it and even fool turists to try and keep your activities unknown.

    Sadly there are only 2 levels, but with all the reasearch and the length of time missions can take this is a game you can play for hours on end with the many different traps and science devices you can strap agents too, uncluding a laser like the classic bond film, Gold Finger. One hell of a buy if you ask me :)

    I highly recommend altering the gaming code for more minions as 100 is very small when you start getting secret agents coming on your island and massacreing everyone.
    Full Review »