I've played dozens of boomer shooters in my day, but if you were to ask me what my favorite game in the genre is, I wouldn't hesitate: It's Amid Evil, of course. Needless to say, I was very excited to try out the brand new prequel DLC for this outstanding shooter, Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth.
Developed by Indefatigable and published by New Blood Interactive, Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth is a short, punchy experience that reminds me why I fell in love with the shooter in the first place. A near flawless experience is replicated with this expansion and delivers outstanding level design, atmosphere, and brutal gameplay.
Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth Knocks Atmosphere Out of the Park
I had the absolute weirdest epiphany while playing Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth. This expansion, and by extension the main game, feels a lot like Disney World. You might laugh at this, but I get the same feeling of joy and wonder playing this expansion as I do when I'm at Disney.
Disney puts a lot of effort into atmosphere for its rides. Even waiting in line is an experience. Everything is themed and deliberately placed. These rides are a combination of props, music, and imagination in one brief burst. Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth's incredible visual and level design have that same exact fleeting feeling.
This expansion is short, and that is also my biggest complaint with it. But instead of quantity, you're provided with a quality experience. Indeed, the quality is most evident through Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth's level design. It's simply wondrous, surpassing and often subverting my expectations.
In this trial, you'll explore mysterious ruins, ominous seaside caves and luxurious castles in this expansion. The eponymous Labyrinth makes an appearance, with the maze constantly throwing one surprise after another. There were several instances where innocuous switches I had to press turned into deathtraps. Every minute offers more surprises.
Truly, it feels as though Indefatigable put everything they had into creating a brief but impactful experience. Visually, this expansion is just as remarkable as the level design. The environments are marvelous to look at, and were I not constantly hounded by enemies, I'd probably stand and soak in the atmosphere for much longer than I'd like to admit.
Complementing Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth's impressive atmosphere is Andrew Hulshult's latest masterpiece of a soundtrack. I don't say that lightly, as Hulshult's composed various other wonderful soundtracks for games such as Prodeus and Doom Eternal's expansions.
But it's hard to say this isn't his best work yet. The orchestral score is epic in scale, like something out of a Christopher Nolan film. The music is booming, omnipotent, and powerful. Some tracks are more ethereal, while others songs are adrenaline-inducing.
Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth Doesn't Pull Punches
The combat in Amid Evil is already fantastic, so The Black Labyrinth doesn't do much to deviate from the main game. Most weapons even make a return, so you can expect to sling spells with the sword Whisper's Edge, sling spikes with the Star of Torment, and fling literal planets with the Celestial Claw.
While it's great to return to these weapons once more, two new inclusions to your arsenal certainly make an impact. The Axe of the Black Labyrinth, your melee weapon from the main game, is obviously absent, since this is the story of how the Champion obtains it. But in its place is something that, in my mind, surpasses the axe.
Those weapons are your fists. With spikes at the end of the Champions gauntlets, his fists of fury are absolutely devastating to enemies. You swing fast, and each hit is powerful enough to kill enemies in just a few hits. It's truly a wonder why the Champion uses the Axe of the Black Labyrinth when his fists do the job just fine.
Once you gather enough souls, your alt fire makes these fists an even more devastating (and satisfying) weapon. You'll throw out fists faster than your eyes can really keep track of, so you end up punching things to death in a split second like you're out of some outrageous anime series.
New enemies are introduced in Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth, and while they don't deviate too much in behavior from the main campaign, a few frequent baddies are designed to be best dealt with using your fists. One pesky enemy has a shield that reflects projectiles, so my go-to strategy was to flank around them and punch the snot out of them.
One other weapon is added to the roster, replacing the BFG-adjacent Aeturnum with the Voidsplitter. The Voidsplitter is a scythe that is so powerful, it seems to tear at the fabric of reality with its insane alt-fire mode. The regular usage of it is pretty powerful in its own right, sending devastating waves of energy that cut enemies in half.
Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth | Final Thoughts
Just like the main game, I can't find much to fault The Black Labyrinth with. My only issue, other than the relatively short length (especially for the first two levels of this episode) is that some areas can be quite dark. Visibility was an issue multiple times, and yes, I know it's called "The Black Labyrinth." Still, some more lighting would help.
Once I reached the end, I wanted more. I want to see what other worlds Indefatigable can conjure up with their insane creativity. Nonetheless, if The Black Labyrinth remains the first and only DLC episode we're getting for Amid Evil, I couldn't have asked for a better sendoff.
Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the publisher over the course of 2 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review. It is available for purchase now.
- Level Design and Atmosphere are Top Tier
- New Weapons Pack a Punch
- Soundtrack is Andrew Hulshult's Best Yet
- A Bit Brief
- Sometimes a Bit Dark