Evil Genius, the 2004 minion-gathering, Bond-defying base-builder is free right now, if you link your Rebellion account to Steam. This is of course to whet appetites for the upcoming Evil Genius 2, which is expected out this year.
You’ll need a Steam account and a Rebellion account, and to answer a few questions, but then it will be yours to keep for free. You can get started with that at Rebellion’s site. It normally goes for £7/€10/$10 on Steam. Rebellion say this offer is available for “a limited time” but not when it will end.
Evil Genius was always good, and has aged pretty well. It compares best to Dungeon Keeper, as you play a villain who must build a base and fill it with jumpsuited mooks, that you may do cartoonish crimes like abducting scientists and shrinking the Eiffel tower. Goodies will constantly pry into your base looking for evidence, and you must see them off with violence, deception, or best of all, laying a needlessly elaborate network of interacting traps. Rebellion have posted a brief guide to go with the announcement:
Interestingly, they recommend using cheat codes to hurry income generation and item unlocks along, on the grounds that it lets you play at your own pace. This is good and candid advice of a kind I wasn’t expecting from a publisher’s official account. As I’ve said before, Evil Genius has a couple of flaws that sadly hold back its fun concept, traps, and excellent art style. But it’s still often great, and well worth trying. A little light cheating to hurry things along does indeed slice off some of its weaker bits.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination is still expected later this year. It’s a promising game to revisit, and it aims to be more than a mere retreading, as Brendan (RPS in peace) learned when he spoke to the developers last year. They wouldn’t be a Bond villain if they didn’t come back for another go, would they?