Thursday, March 15, 2007

Progress must be made

Amost every game these days has some form of research or upgrades or ages or something. Basically, you pay a bunch of resources to get some sort of improvement or new unit or building or something. Evil Genius is no different, but this research system has a twist.

We looked at the tag system in my last post, and briefly touched research. Now let's look at it full-on. Basically, to do research in evil genius, you need a research lab, research machine, one or more research tools (the most cliched of which is the big laser you can strap prisoners to, which every evil genius has on their Christmas lists), and, of course, science minions. Basically, what happens, is your idle science minions wander throughout your base taking notes, until they have that eureka moment and find that the chalkboard in your lab might have research potential! When this happens, you get a flashing notifier that something is available for research.

You go to the research screen, and then select what you tool you want to use to research with. Let's use the Impact Stress Analyzer for our example, because a machine that hits glass sample jars with big hammers and leaves them undamaged is awesome. So, you order your research, your minion runs to the chalkboard, gathers samples, then runs to the Impact Stress Analyzer and runs the samples through it. After they've been pounded, he puts them in the research machine for analysis, and viola, you get the plans for a nuclear reactor. Don't ask me how a chalkboard hit repeatively becomes a nuklear reactor, but aparently Iran should invest in chalk and big hammers if it has nuclear ambitions.

I am torn on this form of research for two main reasons. I like this form of research because it feels like there is no limit to the amount of stuff that can be researched. Also, the loot you steal often has research potential, making it fun and beneficial to take things that aren't yours.

The problem with it is waiting. Don't get me wrong, I can wait patiently in-game, but waiting for your minion to think that running parts of the big screen through the centerfuge is a good idea is just boring as hell. Not to mention the fact that if you want to research everything, you often have to have at least one of everything sitting around your base, which leads to space problems. Heck, the loot I have sitting in my staff room takes up way to much space, and they don't even want to research any of that.

So, the basics of it. The research form is good, in that it seems limitless, and you never quite know what you're going to get. It keeps the game fresh, and strategies innovative. On the downside, however, you run the risk of waiting a very, very, very, very, very long time for that little technician to decide that shooting everything in your base with the big laser might be cool.

Next time, more Evil Genius. We'll look at those dastardly super agents that are just far enough away from James Bond characters to avoid a lawsuit.

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