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Have You Played... Evil Genius?

A worthy twist on Dungeon Keeper.

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

It's a little baffling that nobody's tried to make Evil Genius [official site] again. A transparent derivative of Dungeon Keeper, it did more than enough to distinguish itself from that noble luminary of base building and evil overlording.

Every time I reinstall it, I adore the detailed and spritely animations, the bright, shiny double-faux-seven aesthetic of its characters and the bases you can build. I picture my elaborate headquarters in all its glory, but then get stuck for what seems like days, waiting for money to trickle in and interesting toys to unlock. By then of course, my base is too full of necessary rooms to fit in all the fun things I want to add, 90% of which are absurdly elaborate traps for the many, many do-gooders constantly snooping around the place.

Evil Genius did a few too many important things wrong, but the traps? Oh my. That's the one area where it put Dungeon Keeper to shame, and playing with that fiendish system of pressure pads, trapdoors, wind tunnels and pop-up surprises that horribly mangle, startle or confuse, was an unusual delight.

I have a suspicion that everyone who played Evil Genius has much the same opinion.

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