Amid Evil, another retro FPS game inspired by the likes of Heretic and HeXen, proves that DUSK wasn’t a fluke. Amid Evil is chaotic, beautiful, and fiendishly clever. It has the same understanding for its source material as DUSK did and manages to sidestep most of the issues that classic FPS games were plagued with.There are also power-ups, like Invisibility or Invincibility. There’s no Quad Damage equivalent, Quake’s quadruple-damage power-up, but there is a soul-mode that activates once you’ve collected enough souls from fallen enemies. It’s like the charge-mode out of Painkiller, and you can choose to engage it manually or have it begin automatically.First person shooters can live or die by their weaponry, especially those that are solely action-oriented like Amid Evil. I’m pleased to say that Amid Evil’s range of weapons is fun. Unfortunately, there is nothing incredibly stand-out, and most of the selection is of the type you would expect. For a game in a fantasy setting, I was expecting more melee weapons. But aside from your trusty axe, the rest of the weapons you’ll come across function much like guns. . There is the spike throwing mace, that works a little like a shotgun, and the electrical throwing trident that in analogous to an assault rifle (or something similar).
The weapons themselves are okay. They weren’t unsatisfying, but I never found a go-to weapon. The soul power mechanic does a lot to remedy this.Seriously, Amid Evil’s weapons are both literally and figuratively fantastic, to the point where I don’t want to overly spoil what it feels like to use them for the first time. Instead I’ll give you a vague rundown. You start out with an axe that you’ll hardly ever use, despite it being pretty good at slicing enemies into sushi. During the first level, you’ll quickly pick up the Staff of the Azure Orb, which forms your basic weapon.Enemies upon being killed will drop souls. The size of the soul depends on the power of the enemies you kill, ranging from small souls to large souls and even legendary souls (although the legendary ones never drop from enemies and instead show up as normal pickups, of which I am grateful).No matter whether you’re just touring through these realms of magic or going for full mastery, Amid Evil is a blast from start to finish. Everything from the moody soundtrack to the heart-pounding circle-strafing just clicks.
The soundtrack and sound design is done by Andrew Hulshult who I feel once again have outdone himself. Rather than sticking to his (somewhat boring) rock and metal style he’s gone for a more synth-heavy ambient soundtrack that is stunningly beautiful at times. It definitely fits the otherworldly and magical levels of the game in the same way Nine Inch Nails’ soundtrack for Quake fit that game perfectly. I was really impressed by the work done on the sound here and would easily recommend picking up the game soundtrack alone. The game is downright beautiful at times with dark and colorful lighting. It manages to look both retroes in its use of baked shadows and simple colored lighting but also somehow more beautiful than a lot of photorealistic games released today. Its retro style evokes very dream-like and abstract imagery at times that most modern games don’t bother with.
Amid Evil really doesn’t have any deal-breaking issues. The lack of multiplayer is disappointing, but it doesn’t hurt the campaign by any means. The endless horde-styled mode is fun but doesn’t detract or enhance the experience in any way. Amid Evil makes up for these flaws in the last two episodes, which elevate the game’s design from generally excellent to utterly spellbinding. The final episode, in particular, is one of the finest examples of the abstract 3D design I’ve ever seen, a bamboozling void of glittering purple glass that you navigate almost entirely through feel and intuition.