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 Post subject: HeXen review
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:09 pm 
Cyberdemon
Cyberdemon

Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:45 am
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HeXen: Beyond Heretic is the sequel to Heretic. It was developed by Raven Software and published by id Software in 1995. As was the case for Heretic, I shall share with you my personal experience of the game. I was reading about Heretic on Wikipedia for some reason and found out about HeXen. This was back in 2008. Mum found the shareware demo version. I played through it many times and was disappointed that I couldn't finish the hub. And hence, my introduction to Steam. Oh, what a brilliant day, we bought HeXen, HeXen DK, HeXen II and Heretic Shadow of the Serpent Riders.

Hexen runs on a modified version of the Doom Engine, heavily modified to the point where it's just so brilliant, the quality of the engine itself is to die for. So what do we have? Jumping, yeap, sounds good. We didn't have that in Heretic. Action code scripting (ACS). Player classes, ah yes, brilliant. All of these have since been incorporated into ZDoom. The best one to talk about is the player classes. Each one brings something new into the mix - different weapons, speed, maximum armour and magical power. It is definitely worth picking between different player classes and experimenting, there are significant differences. The Fighter enjoys a close range advantage at the start but will start to wish for a ranged weapon as he progresses. The Mage needs to keep his distance at the start, with the only ranged starting weapon, but will have a marvellous times blasting through hordes of enemies with his marvellous spells. The Cleric is the middle ground, and arguably the best to play, but that is for another day.

The weapons are fun. The Fighter has fists, a magical axe, a hammer that throws hammers and a magical sword. The Cleric has a mace, a long ranged staff, a fire spell and a crucifix that shoots ghosts. The Mage has a magical wand, an ice spell, a lighting spell and a staff that fires homing missiles. Jolly good fun. The ammunition used is called mana. Blue mana fuels the second weapon, green the third and both for the final. The final weapon has its pieces scattered through the hubs. You need to collect all three of them in order to use the weapon. The lack of a tome of power is upsetting, but oh well, you can summon Maulotaurs now.

Maps - the make or break point of any game. They pioneer a new hub system, where you run between levels and back to one central level. You complete tasks, i.e. flicking switches and solve part of the "puzzle" it is fun, but you can get lost quite easily. It takes a lot of willpower to play it after completing it, but it is not impossible.

Enemies are important as well. You have ettins and centaurs from Greek mythology. You have weaker versions of D'Sparil's serpent. Dark Bishops and swamp creatures. There are also centaurs that shoot fireballs. The centaur is capable of reflecting your shots, so I advise caution. We have flying, flaming gargoyles. We have the Heresiarch, which has shields that can deflect anything and it summons dark bishops. It is one of the hardest enemies to kill. Then you fight a fighter, a cleric and a mage. Then you fight Korax, the second Serpent Rider. My only problem with him is that he is too easy. Battles with him are seldom as intense as brawls with D'Sparil.

Plot is also very good. You have three men from the land of Chronos. They lead the world. Korax manipulates them and grants them eternal life. They allow his army in. Three other men rise up and kick out his army. Fair enough.

Weapons: 10/10
Maps: 7/10
Enemies: 9/10
Plot: 10/10
Replayability: 7/10
Average: 8.6/10


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 Post subject: Re: HeXen review
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:52 am 
I remember my father playing Hexen a lot when I was a kid, he played first time the demo version with 4 levels and he played as each class to see differences between each other, the weapons were really interesting but too bad the demo version only allowed 4 levels. But what was weird is that he had actually a beta demo version from a CD with demos which had on top on screen "beta" message. I always thought that the demo version of Hexen had "beta" written on top but I guess I was wrong. There were also no demos playing in background but actually in reality the actual demo version of Hexen has demos running in background.

Well, later my father installed and played the full version of Hexen from the same CD with full version games that had various other games such as Doom 2 1.666 (pirated) and Heretic. I watched him playing through the levels (on first playthrough he played as Fighter, then he tried Cleric and Mage, we will get into more detail later) and I was impressed by the level detail, the "new" monsters, 3rd and 4th weapons for each class, etc.

Unfortunately I remember something that scared me as kid and wanting me to delete the game from hard drive but all I did was delete the MS-DOS shortcut icon ( :lol: ) was when he turned into pig first time by using porkalator against Heresiarch (the first one you fight at hub 3 but I remember later in hub 4 I told him to not use porkalator against him to not do same mistake) and had reflected shots back and saw that viewpoint got smaller and had a different "weapon" which was pig's snout, that really freaked me out! :shock: Not long after, I found out that in hub 4 in Castle of Grief, in middle of castle, there is a trap that fires porkalator eggs and that is another thing that scared me as kid. I had no idea there are traps that also fire projectiles like these.

Later, he finished game as Fighter, then tried out Cleric. At least when playing as Cleric, he wasn't turned into pig at all. However as Mage, on hub 4, I remember telling him to save before going into the castle (that I said in my mind unfortunately) and hoping he doesn't get turned into pig. And well, he actually got turned into pig as Mage is really slow and can't outrun the projectiles and first happened to be a damn egg. I told him "you turned into pig!" and he said "that's it!". Then he just ran around castle wondering when he will turn back into human form but I told him after about 30 seconds. During that time I knew what happened but I asked him what exactly happened, how he turned into pig and he said that he pressed a button (he thought he used porkalator or something). Then when he turned back he killed ettins with the wand and saved game and shortly after when he entered Forsaken Outpost the power cut off and I laughed very much but I was hoping he didn't save, since I didn't want to save after pig morph crap. :lol:

Too bad the Castle of Grief memories of pig morph made me as kid (when I played game myself) to use cheats to skip this hub with "all puzzle items" since I was too scared to get turned into pig but I had no idea that the Icon of the Defender actually protects from morphing, if I knew that, I would use it. Eventually since then, I would have nightmares about playing Hexen and turning into pig. Even these days I still have occasionally dreams about Heretic/Hexen and being turned into chicken/pig because of damn projectile traps.

Recently I've been playing Hexen in DOSBox and the funny thing is that I am actually currently on hub 4 but this time I walked through castle normally and didn't get hit by any projectile. :) I'm playing as Fighter.

To end the post here, I would like to say that I enjoyed reading your review but want to point out that you calculated average wrong. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be 8.6, not 4.6. ;)


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