Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This? (Badman from here on out) is the potential offspring of the unholy union between Evil Genius and Dig Dug. Badman allows you to create underground mazes full of monsters with the intent of thwarting heroes from the surface in their quest to defeat your underling, drag him to the surface, and do dastardly things to him.
You will play as the God of Destruction and as Badman, your bumbling overlord. There are a lot of things to consider while playing Badman, but your only interaction with the world at large is through a pickax that you use to destroy blocks of dirt. Destroying these blocks not only creates the maze that heroes will hopefully get stuck in, but it also spawns monsters that will hopefully defeat the many heroes that come down from the surface to steal Badman from you. The strategy comes from deciding which blocks of soil to dig. Blocks with more nutrients and soil will yield more powerful monsters to defend your helpless overlord.
To get started you will need to dig up a slimemoss, one of the most useful units in the game, since their job is to pick up and redistribute nutrients to places on the map where they will be more useful to you. Once you have enough slimemosses moving nutrients around you will eventually find a soil block with enough nutrients in it to create one of the best units in the game – the insect-like Onmon. You can also use nutrients to create sword-wielding lizardmen. Mana is handled differently in that it requires heroes to traverse your dungeon and cast magic. As they do mana will build up in nearby soil blocks, and you can dig them to spawn spirits. These spirits do for mana what slimemosses do for nutirents. To make matters more complicated there is an in-game food chain and economy system. This can be frustrating at first, but since you can only interact with the world by digging up soil you will soon stumble across the solution to your problems.
Badman features two modes of play – challenge and story. Challenge mode makes a good tutorial since you can run the same scenario over and over figuring out the best way to overcome a particular setback. Story mode is the real meat and potatoes of the game. In it you stave off hero after hero (who hopefully leave you the ever-useful mana) and create the best labyrinth you can. To make things a bit more challenging you have a preset amount of dig power (the number of soil blocks that you can destroy) to use per level. In between levels you get some dig power back and can choose to use what you think you don’t need to upgrade your units. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback about story mode is that once Badman is captured it is game over. No restarting the current level – you’re just done.
Badman is challenging – very challenging. The heroes in story mode ramp up in difficulty very quickly, and like Nethack before it defeat carries the huge penalty of a game over screen that actually means game over. Despite the difficulty, however, I can’t stop playing it. And with its being a downloadable title I can always start up a game regardless of which UMD I have stuck in my PSP.
Pros: Challenging, good challenge mode that doubles as a tutorial
Cons: Very difficult, very unforgiving
Plays Like: Evil Genius + Dig Dug + Nethack
ESRB: T for animated blood, mild fantasy violence, mild language, and mild suggestive themes