Originally, going in to PAX Australia 2017, I never even had New Blood on my radar. I mean I knew about Dusk of course, I even had the game on my Steam Wishlist, but I didn’t know it was New Blood who where responsible for it, nor that they would be at PAX Australia.
Ironic then that as far as digital gaming goes, the New Blood booth in the indie arcade had to be my favourite this year. I spent a considerable amount of time there on multiple visits playing both Dusk and Amid Evil.
Haven’t heard of either? Then let me educate you as to why you need these games in your life, dear reader.
Firstly Dusk. Developed by Dave Szymanksi and published by New Blood Interactive, I thought that originally Dusk was going to be a homage to Quake. On playing it I realised it was a whole lot more than that. In fact I’d go so far as to say that the game is a lot more inspired by the original Blood and it’s sequel from Monolith than the original Quake. Certainly the general look of the engine and how your character moves about feels like Quake and while the levels don’t feel as detailed as a game using the Build Engine they are certainly a lot more complex than those of the original Quake.
From what I’ve played of Episode 1 so far the game also has a tiny pinch of Redneck Rampage, in so much as you are moving through farms and have people attacking you with chainsaws and shotguns.
Speaking of Episode 1, Dave Szymanksi was a top bloke and hooked me up with a copy. I’ve now played this demo for longer than I play most full release games I review. That’s right, it’s a ten mission episode and I’ve already sunk nearly a dozen hours into it with no sign of slowing down.
I put together a short video of myself playing Dusk just so you could see the game in action for yourself. I whizz through the first level and stop early on in the second. It should be enough to wet your appetite.
If you liked the look of that, the cool thing is you can play it yourself as well right now. If you head over to the Steam Page for Dusk and pre-order the game you’ll get access to Episode 1 straight away. Look to the bottom of this article for the link.
While playing Dusk at the PAX Australian booth I mentioned my love of Heretic and Hexen to Dave, who informed me that the team had just announced their new game Amid Evil which was on the other side of the booth and was a homage to those titles. After picking my chin up off the floor I politely thanked Dave for his time and stepped around to the other side of the booth to meet Simon Rance of Indefatigable and his game Amid Evil.
Am I allowed to say throbbing erection without being vulgar? Probably not. Pretend I didn’t say it at all. But that’s exactly the metaphoric reaction I had to seeing this game.
If you didn’t know already, I’m a huge fan of the classic games. I’ve got big box copies of all of them on my shelf, including the highly sought after ‘ID Anthology’ and ‘Tower of Darkness’ (Featuring Heretic, Hexen and the Hexen expansion). I used to play the original Doom with a 386 and 486 computer hooked up with a null-modem cable. So naturally, titles like Dusk and Amid Evil just float my proverbial boat.
If Dusk is a love letter to Quake and Blood, then Amid Evil is a love letter to Heretic and Hexen. While I’m hoping to get my greasy hands on a preview build of the game soon, I spent enough time with it at PAX that I can let you know that the game is fast paced, much faster than Heretic or Hexen ever were, and a little more puzzle light. This is fine, I’m not sure how a modern audience would handle that slower pace today, and besides I can always go back and replay those titles (and did just recently).
Visually, if you were to take Hexen 2, make the levels bigger and include larger areas you’d be pretty close to the mark with Amid Evil. Like its brother Dusk, Simon has incorporated pixelated textures and low poly enemies which give the game that fantastic retro feel. To keep things authentic he’s even using 2D sprites for the weapons, which I think is fantastic.
Speaking of weapons, they are varied and glorious and once you’ve picked up enough souls of the dead you’ll activate a ‘super mode’ where your weapons perform a crazy powerful alternate attack. If anything here, I got more of a Painkiller vibe than Heretic, although the Tome of Power is still a valid reference.
To see the game in action, take a look at the reveal trailer that was dropped during PAX –
As I mentioned in my Dusk video (and it’s really applicable to both games) it feels as though Dusk and Amid Evil were FPS titles built in the late 90’s but got caught in development hell. The code was leaked and a front end written so the games run smoothly on modern machines, making them available to gamers for the first time 20 years later. It’s like finding a previously undiscovered gem on the internet (like Wolfendoom) and frantically downloading it only to lose your entire weekend in it’s retro glory.
As someone who grew up with these type of games, I’m truly excited to see these kinds of titles being produced. A love letter to my childhood. The hype level for these two titles is at 110% and I’m ultra keen to get my hands on the final version. Hopefully you are too.
New Blood Interactive Website – http://www.newblood.info/
New Blood Interactive Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheNewBloods
Indefatigable Website – http://elzee.co.nz/indy/about.html
Dusk Steam Page – http://store.steampowered.com/app/519860/DUSK/
Amid Evil Steam Page – http://store.steampowered.com/app/673130/AMID_EVIL/