Published on July 1st, 2014 | by JC Richardson1
Notorious Inc Review
I’ve long had a dream of crushing my enemies and ruling the world from an island fortress. The therapy has helped, admittedly, but Notorious Inc. is more fun.
As a manager in an evil conglomerate, your job is to travel the world buying and selling guns, torture equipment, narcotics and casual clothes, making the biggest profit you can from human misery in order to advance your own evil ambitions. It’s essentially a Dick Cheney simulator, but instead of Blackwater Holdings, you’re running Notorious Inc. – the biggest, baddest evil corporation around.
Being an evil plutocrat, you spend money to make money: buy sackloads of drugs in Thailand and flog them to British, then buy South American guns and sell them to the Russians. Buy low, sell high and when someone tries to expose your schemes, terminate them with extreme hilarity. Yes, there are plenty of exotic enemies to deal with, ranging from foxy No-one Lives Forever type spies, through to Satan himself, and they all want a piece of you. Luckily, you have an army of young executives willing to die for your cause, or at least help you with the paperwork, so keeping up recruitment is essential for your evil business to survive.
As your Notoriety rating climbs, you can upgrade your island base to cause more buying locations to appear, and hence more opportunities for profiteering: new apartments allow for a bigger army of executives, a new communications array lets you pick up tips on what’s hot and where, etc. If your tyrannical instincts haven’t been aroused by now, then this isn’t the game for you, basically.
Notorious Inc. does have its faults, though. Firstly, it’s pretty short and actually quite hard to fail at. A play-through lasts about an hour, but with various endings to uncover there’s quite a bit of replay value for a paltry price.
The second troublesome issue is the lack of a coherent market: there’s no way of working out an efficient trade route, as the cost of items is seemingly randomised over time, regardless of where it’s being produced or sold to. Every good dictator knows that the British make excellent torture equipment at a fair price, and that the Middle East buys it at extravagant prices: in Notorious Inc, there’s none of the real-world markets that these people traditionally exploit. There’s just not enough economics in what’s billed as an economic comedy, and that’s a bit of a missed opportunity.
Summary: I was hoping Notorious Inc would be a ‘shark with a frickin’ laser strapped to its head’, but it’s unfortunately lower down the evil food chain. It has ambition though, and you’ll certainly be entertained by its wicked sense of humour and cartoonish super-villainy.