League Of Evil 3 is evil. Really, truly evil. Evilly fun, evilly hard, but above all, evil.
League Of Evil 3: On the plus side
League Of Evil has some kind of semblance of a plot, but I’m not even going to pretend to tell you that I know what it is. It really doesn’t matter; you’re a secret agent; there’s a level filled with deadly traps, a briefcase, and a bespectacled evil scientist. Grab the briefcase, evade the traps and punch the scientist’s head off — quite literally — in as short a period of time as possible to get all three stars on each level. That’s the plot of League Of Evil 3… and it was the same thing for the first two games, as well.
As with its predecessors, League Of Evil 3 is a hard game. Genuinely, astonishingly, brutally hard. In fact, I’d go so far to say that it’s not just hard. It’s harder. Much, much harder. It presumes you’ve played the originals, and if you haven’t, you’re going to be stuck on the early levels for a very long time indeed just trying to reach the scientist. You’ll die, over and over again, and if you’ve got ghosts enabled — and you should — you’ll see your failures play out as you progress (or fail) through each level in turn.
It’s a fine psychological device that spurs you on to keep on trying, albeit the same one that makes games like Super Meat Boy so terribly addictive. Each level has a par time that’s typically under 10 seconds, and there are 80 levels to traverse, but don’t think this is a game you could realistically complete in about an hour and a half. If you’ve never played the earlier games, you’d be lucky to be through the first 20 levels in that time, and that’s only with the scientist found. Getting the briefcase and getting the par times takes even longer, because an attempt only counts if you complete the level. Failure is character building, or at least I hope it is. I feel like I’ve stacked up a lot of character along the way, in other words.
Developers Ravenous Games nailed touch controls with the original League Of Evil, and in its third iteration, they haven’t broken anything significant. The look is from the second, more cartoony game, and the soundtrack feels like it’s being pumped through Michael Dudikoff’s left bicep the whole time you’re playing. In other words, everything fits, everything works, and you just died for the fiftieth time because you failed to jump over that sawblade precisely enough. Did I mention that League Of Evil 3 was tough?
League Of Evil 3: On the minus side
League Of Evil 3 takes everything that Ravenous has applied to previous League Of Evil games… and does it all over again. Is that a gaming design sin? It’s certainly worked well for Nintendo over the years as they’ve tweaked, refined and honed the 2D Mario experience, for example. Still, it’s undeniable that as you play through League Of Evil 3, if you’ve played the previous games, you’ll realise that you’re fundamentally playing the same game. League of Evil 2 was recently free, and if all you want is a bit of hard platforming action and you’ve got the previous titles, it’s still much the same thing, even in the same wrapper.
League Of Evil 3: Pricing
League Of Evil 3 will set you back $1.99 on the iTunes store.
League Of Evil 3: Alex’s verdict
There are few things in life that I really, truly hate. It’s such a strong word, and one that I don’t use flippantly. But I hate that smug little scientist dude at the end of every level of the League Of Evil games. I actively look forward to punching him into oblivion when I reach the end of each and every level. Generally, that’s after several hundred deaths.
The irony is not lost on me that he looks an awful lot like me. It’s a very good metaphor, in a way, because League Of Evil 3 is so brutally hard that in many ways it’s a form of masochism. The reward for finishing a level with all three stars takes some genuine, serious, pixel-perfect work. I find it rewarding, but I’m not going to pretend it’s for everyone.