Clear out those test tubes! Hide those bunsen burners! The evil scientists are in town and this time they mean business.
Of course, the notion of evil scientists only ever crops up in the likes of games, films, and books.
Rarely will you come across a police statement asking you to look out for men in white coats intent on taking over the world. When was the last episode of Crimewatch where a reenactment showed a series of jewellers held up by men donning plastic goggles?
It doesn’t matter that mad scientists aren’t real, because they’re important to games like League of Evil in communicating two key concepts: not only is your foe fearsome, but he’s also incredibly clever.
Appearances can be deceiving
The ’s simplistic action doesn’t immediately convey the same level of sophistication, but by keeping levels clean and crisp – laid out as such to encourage you to speed through them – League of Evil delivers more than a few heart-in-mouth moments.
No doubt playing with psychology and luring you into a false sense of security is exactly what an evil scientist might well do. Although the roster of rogues feature as virtual finishing posts, their appearance is nonetheless fitting.
Your goal to wipe each and every one of them off the face of the earth is not without reason, of course. Said scientists are planning to unite, putting their collective heads together to outsmart the rest of the planet and take control.
It’s something of a superfluous plot, but delivered in good humour with an obvious nod to games of old, further underlined up by the game’s retro style.
Equally old skool are the controls. At your disposal is the ability to run left and right, jump or double-jump great distances, and charge. The latter is the only way to kill weapon-equipped guards (ninjas too).
Despite the game’s intentionally archaic feel, the controls are especially well tailored to the touchscreen. Failure is solely down to a lack of skill, rather than a flaw in the design. Dexterity is key, too. Most of your time is spent jumping from platform to platform, but also over lines of spikes and up the walls.
Given the small size of most of the levels, deciding the best way to proceed is an ad-hoc affair. As a result, you often fail, but it’s none too frustrating to be sent back to the start of the stage because it’s often mere centimetres from the site of your demise.
Quickly does it
League of Evil is less about delivering a long journey and more about serving up short, sharp moments of gameplay.
Indeed, upon finishing each stage you’re given a star rating, top billing often only unlocked if you manage to complete the stage in ten seconds or less. League of Evil is most definitely a series of sprints, rather than one long marathon.
That’s a factor that will, in some cases, leave you yearning for more. While there are more than 50 levels on offer in all, there’s an undeniable feeling that, if League of Evil strung some of its maps together to form more lengthy stages, it might gain much in terms of depth.
Nonetheless, as things stand, its action-packed and pacey play fits the bill for taking on during a spare five minutes.
Both simple and astute at the same time, the game’s evil scientists might only feature in token form, but there’s evidence to suggest there’s just a little bit of genius behind this old skool adventure.