Now you won’t have to choose the lesser evil.
Lately we’ve had a flood – no, a deluge – of first-person shooters molding themselves on classic shooters of the 1990’s. Many of these don’t quite hold up to games of yore, often fusing with other genres and generally not understanding what made antiquated FPSes so great. The Heretic and Hexen games are an especially large sore point, as we’ve yet to find anything that’s a true spiritual successor to their brand of sorcerous shooting. Until now.
Enter Amid Evil. There’s some plot about your realm being invaded by hostile spirits. But all you really need to know is this: you’re armed with magical weapons and you have to kill all manner of ugly, demonic creeps in a distinctly fantasy world with only the vaguest resemblance to real-life locations. And we got to play an early build, custody of New Blood Interactive, who you might remember as being the publisher of another retro-stuff FPS, Dusk.
It’s a kind of magic.
True to its inspirations, the game’s speed is absurdly fast, with the player character feeling like he’s moving around on roller stakes. Enemies are equally speedy, often reducing the player to red chunks if they’re not quick enough in their responses. This even applies to melee enemies, who are able to rush towards the players with alarming speed. And they all populate a world filled with locked doors, spiral staircases, creepy castles, haunted hallways, and traps galore.
Right off the bat, it’s blatantly apparent just how complex and three-dimensional the maps are. Crisscrossing ledges are the order of the day, as are walkways that move under and over obstacles. Far from merely cramped rooms, the game frequently has the player fighting out in wide open courtyards. Not to mention the fact that there are a number of underwater sections too, which the player would be wise to explore for hidden rooms, weapons, and items. Along the way, you’ll need to activate switches and find keys for locked doors to continue.
Swords, sorcery, and souls.
In other words, it’s your standard 90’s shooter, only with magical weapons. And let me tell you, there’s a fine arsenal on display here. You’ll get to swing around a monsterous axe, a trident that shoots lightning, a tangle of crystals, and even a claw that summons miniature planets to hurl as projectiles. These are powered by different-colored mana scattered throughout the maps, and while the game is generous, you still need to keep an eye on your ammo count. Enemies also leave behind souls, and collecting enough of these activates a mode where your weapons behave differently and display new powers, similar to the Tomb Of Power from Heretic and the soul mechanic from Painkiller. Deadly magic is the best magic, indeed.
It’s all wrapped together in a very unique looking package, which juxtaposes low-poly models with gorgeous lighting and effects. Ambient music and fantastic sound effects all help to bring Amid Evil‘s to life, despite the low-fi aesthetic.
Amid Evil is still unfinished, but there’s still a rock-solid gaming experience here. It has managed to wedge a comfy little place for itself in the ongoing “retro FPS renaissance”, and it ticks all the right boxes: fast movement, creative weapons, and superbly complex level design. A few games have come and gone over the years which claim to be a spiritual successor to the Heretic and Hexen titles, but Amid Evil is the real deal, folks. It’s set to be released “soon”, and you’ll know all about it if you keep your eyes on the game’s official Steam page.