Minions! Attack!

I don't know about you, but I like games in which you're the bad guy.

Games like Black And White in which you can choose to be bad (I know there are a bunch of excellent computer RPGs that're better examples) are decent, but games where your character is required to eviscerate at least eight toddlers in the process of preparing his breakfast are better.

The trap for this genre is just doing the Bizarro World thing, where there's nothing really mechanically different from a conventional you're-the-hero game, but everything has different wallpaper. Good is bad, clean is dirty, nice is nasty. You can tell a game's going to do this when it presents you with a gnarled little advisor who, unprompted, expresses his utter disgust for fuzzy puppies and clear babbling brooks.

That is exactly what happens at the start of the demo of Overlord. Your advisor's a cross between Yoda and the Brain Gremlin, and he has that standard Antimatter Mary Poppins attitude to the world.

This did not fill me with confidence, but the game itself actually looks pretty decent, from what I could tell from the none-too-long demo. Check the demo out, if you've got a reasonably current Windows PC and can stomach the one-gigabyte download.

Overlord seems to have a similar overall sense of humour to Fable and the Dungeon Keeper games (Dungeon Keeper is obviously a strong influence on Overlord's design). And Overlord's version of third-person action, in which you send your crowd of psychotic Minions to do most tasks, is appealing. See something nice, wave your gauntleted hand at it, watch it get Gremlined to death. Mmmmm.

(The camera went a bit wrong when I was trying to fight the big guy at the end of the demo, but, y'know, I suppose that's why they're not going to be selling Overlord until next month. And the game sort of wimps out on the truly-evil side of things, since your Quest is to kill the seven Great Heroes who have over the years themselves become corrupt. But I'm OK with that as long as I get to burn a lot of halflings to death on the way.)

Oh, and for the benefit of those of you in the cheap seats, or who just can't get enough of slapping chickens to death: You can download the original Dungeon Keeper for free.

[Update: I just downloaded Dungeon Keeper, for old times' sake... and discovered that the Home Of The Underdogs version of the game appears to be missing the sound files. Although it does still have the below-mentioned excellent level commentary. If you're not profoundly deaf, though, you might still want to get it from somewhere else.]

7 Responses to “Minions! Attack!”

  1. rsynnott Says:

    LucasArt's Afterlife was a good example of this; it was a sort of Simcity spoof where you had to build and manage heaven and hell. The advisors were great fun. Unfortunately, it's reluctant to run on modern computers, though the Mac version can be run reasonably stably on a modern-ish PowerPC Mac.

  2. Lord Booga Says:

    The narrator/overlord guy in DK had the perfect match of evil and sarcasm, you wanted to see what he said about the next level (before and after you conquered it)

  3. omgror Says:

    Thinking of bad guy games, did you ever play Evil Genius? That was great fun. You play a Bond-style evil genius building a secret lair full of nefarious trap and doomsday devices.
    Well worth giving a try if you've not played it before.

  4. RichVR Says:

    The original Dungeon Keeper is still one of my favorite games. I have it and DK2 as well (which I didn't like as much. If you want I could send you the sound files, assuming that they aren't too large. Upon checking they seem to be 41.6 MB... Do you want them?

  5. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Reading on through the above-linked thread, someone mentions that you can solve the problem by downloading the easy-to-find torrent of the original DK CD, then just copying the missing files over to the right directory in the fully patched and polished 71Mb Underdogs edition.

    I may get around to doing that, but I think I'd also have to run the game under DOSbox or something, 'cos it's too fast on my computer. And man, but it's low resolution :-).

  6. RichVR Says:

    Well, I'm running it off of a CD-RW using the D3D patch in Win 95 compatability mode. I don't use the original disk because whatever I did back then works fine. If I was going to actually play it again, I would just copy the whole folder off of the CD to a hard drive. That might actually make it run faster, which would be a bit too fast. Then I'd have to use DOSbox (as well as D-FEND to make things a bit simpler). Must... avoid... compulsion... to... play...

  7. g-lock Says:

    Best solution I've found for old games is Virtual PC, which is a free download from Microsoft. Punch up a Win98SE image, and chop the CPU down to something reasonable, depending on the game you're playing at the time.

    Only issue I've had is the sound sometimes disappearing in Jagged Alliance. Oh, and re-learning how to configure hardware in DOS. And enjoying glorious 320x200 resolution. The good old days weren't always good...

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