Amid Evil aims to be a spiritual successor to Heretic

Amid Evil

As the years pass, we find ourselves wiser every day, sliding ever-closer to absolute truth. Given the time to reflect, and perspective to offer clarity, surely we can all finally agree on one thing: Heretic was a way better fantasy FPS than Hexen.

Doom modders turned indies Indefatigable clearly agree, because their debut game, Amid Evil, looks very much like Raven’s 1994 fantasy FPS, albeit with a few more polygons and a little extra splatter. Take a look at the announcement trailer.


Amid Evil should look familiar to fans of Doom-era shooters. While the architecture and enemy models are clearly a little more Quake-ish than they used to be (built on the Unreal 4 engine, but ‘optimized to run on a toaster’, say developers Indefatigable), the gameplay on show in the trailer above is pure Heretic, and I couldn’t be happier.

For those unfamiliar, Heretic was Doom in a LARPer’s tights, sharing an engine and much of its design with Id’s classic, but set in a more colourful world of swords n’ sorcery. Instead of a pistol you had a wand and instead of a shotgun you had a triple-barrelled magical crossbow. While there was nothing as pure and straightforward as a sawn-off, it was a fun set of weaponry to use, and offered plenty of monsters to use them on.

Best among Heretic’s powerups was the Tome Of Power, an immensely satisfying pickup that briefly transformed all your weapons into super-powered variants, firing bigger projectiles at a much faster rate. Amid Evil looks to be cribbing that pretty directly. The marketing blurb thusfar promises seven distinct episodes each with their own palette of environments and monsters, but also a set of remarkably familiar weapons that can be ‘overcharged with the souls of the dead’. Sounds pretty Tome Of Powery to me.

Publisher New Blood Interactive (also releasing the pleasingly Quake’y Dusk this Halloween) say that a playable demo will be coming soon, presumably to be found on the Steam page for the game. In the meantime, check out Return Of The Triad, the Rise of The Triad fan-game/mod that led the developers to doing this professionally. Or Heretic, if you’ve not played it. It’s even compatible with the GZDoom engine, if you want to make it a little shinier.

25 Comments

  1. Artist says:

    Meh. I dont need AAA graphics, but this looks too amateurish.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Hexen was fun. “A door has opened somewhere”. Oh good! I get to go searching ten square miles of nonsense for a tiny door!

    But really it was fun. Neat looking levels for the time, a feeling of interconnectedness, weirdo monsters, and everything else.

    It’s a good thing to play through with a modern engine.

    Dunno about this Amid Evil thing, but maybe it’s worth a shot?

  3. Herzog says:

    Will keep an eye on this. But in this case I would prefer the AAA treatment. Why can’t Machine games or Raven make a new Hexen on the newest idtech?

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Would be nice, but it was a minor miracle that Wolfenstein was even rebooted. Plus, nice as 2016’s Doom was, it lacked the pace and scale of its 90s counterpart. You want big, constant swarms of enemies, you gotta go low-fi.

      As for Raven, they’re long gone, at least as far as we knew them – absorbed into Activision’s Call of Duty DLC farm many years ago.

    • Blake Casimir says:

      AAA dev of this type of game is unlikely to happen any more. Take off your graphics elitism glasses and focus on the artistic style and gameplay. Because that’s what this kind of title is about.

      Indies are where it’s at now for innovative / immersive / proper retro-style arcade first person gaming. Between these guys, OtherSide and Night Dive … Single Player First Person Games are alive and well my friends!

      • Herzog says:

        No elitism here at all! It’s just Hexen and Heretic were running on the most advanced engines back in the day.
        The Doom and Wolfenstein reboots from last years were great fun – so I think a modern reinterpration of Hexen/Heretic done by a truckload of artists and backed by a lot of money would be nice to see!

        Also shame to hear about Raven – always hoped they might come back one day. The perfect 7/10 studio.

  4. onodera says:

    Will it have colored keys or one-way corridors?

  5. Michael Fogg says:

    I’m currently playing through the Quake mappack Arcane Dimensions (also recently heralden on these pages), so I’m very much in the mindset for this.

    • MattMattMatt says:

      Yep, me too! Loving the quake-era revival… Devil Daggers does a great job of evoking the style, pleased to see more games recreating that aesthetic!

  6. Urthman says:

    Surely we can agree on an even more important truth, that Heretic 2 was way better than Hexen or Heretic, was in fact one of the very best third-person shooters of that era, has been unjustly forgotten, and is one of the more tragic gaps in older games available from online services.

    • Thankmar says:

      I just logged in to point out that this looks much more like Heretic II than I.
      And it is a pretty good game. I liked how the PC put his foot up on a ledge if you stood nearby it. Its the details that matter.

    • Blake Casimir says:

      Glad I’m not the only one that remembers Corvus fondly, even with his dorky acting. Heretic 2 was indeed a gem of the wonky-Quake 3-physics-third-person era.

      • Urthman says:

        Heretic 2 was actually built on the Quake 2 engine and came out long before other similar-style id3 engine games like Jedi Knight 2 and Heavy Metal FAKK.

    • Menthalion says:

      Poor Corvus, no-one can even revisit him nowadays thanks to some absurd rights issues. Ah well, System Shock is back as well so who knows what will happen.

  7. Premium User Badge

    DantronLesotho says:

    I really liked Hexen (Heretic too of course) and don’t see why it gets maligned. I would love a game like that with modern sensibilities.

  8. jusplathemus says:

    Heretic was a way better fantasy FPS than Hexen.

    Agreed. I never could finish Hexen, but I still go through Heretic at least once a year.
    As for the trailer, there’s indeed some Heretic vibe going on here, but I can’t tell if I’m going to like it based on this. I’ll have to wait for some gameplay videos.

  9. Blake Casimir says:

    More hand-crafted abstract 90s level design + old-school Doom-style arcade FPSery is what I lived on in the 90s and it never, ever deserved to die like it did in the 00s. I’m very, very ready for this!

  10. fish99 says:

    Heretic was fun, great even, but it felt too much like a reskinned Doom. Hexen on the other hand really changed things up with it’s hub structure and classes.

    • mitrovarr says:

      Eh, I found both the hub structure and the classes to be to the game’s detriment. The classes just meant that while the game might theoretically have 12 weapons, you’re only getting four, which is pretty weak for a game from that time period. And the hub structure just meant lots of backtracking and “where am I supposed to go?” searching through already completed areas.

      Whereas Heretic is a Doom reskin of similar quality to Doom. So while it’s not very different, it’s more of an excellent game that is also excellent.

  11. BewareTheJabberwock says:

    Incidentally, Heretic and Hexen were the last FPS games I actually enjoyed.

    And I’m glad a AAA dev hasn’t yet got their mits on this. They’d find a way to shoehorn in lootboxes and other such drivel.

  12. BeardyHat says:

    New Blood also publishes (also developed?) Dusk, which is my favorite shooter of the past few years. It’s a beautiful throwback and makes me really look forward to this, even if Doom was my game and not Heretic.

  13. gabrielonuris says:

    Heretic was a way better fantasy FPS than Hexen.

    Oh no no no no… As mitrovarr said, Heretic was good, but it was a reskinned Doom; Hexen has some new and neat ideas, like a hub system, more immersive levels and classes to chose from.

    Besides the gameplay itself: all those “you’ve opened a door somewhere” puzzles were awesome. I’m replaying Hexen 2 right now and I was just about to kill a Crystal Golem to get to the first boss, Famine. But first, to kill the Crystal Golem, I had to pass through a blessing portal and gain the ability to inflict damage on it.

    To reach the blessing portal I needed a magic lens;
    To get a magic lens, I needed a bead of glass;
    To make the glass, I needed a special kind of sand found in the Stables;
    To reach the stables, I needed a key;
    To get the key, I needed to reach a magic Famine Altar;
    To reach the Altar, I needed a special pendant;
    The Special Pendant was in a locked treasure room;
    The key was buried in a garden;
    To reach the treasure room, I needed a spell to break a magic barrier;
    The spell was locked behind a closet;
    The key to the closet was in a corpse, inside a spider hive.

    Yes, I love Hexen.

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