Review by Tmansdc
"A nice update to the doom engine. This game will provide you hours of entertainment."
Hexen is a game made by Raven Software. The same company who brought you Star Trek: Elite Force and Soldier of Fortune. This was the company's second and last game to use the doom engine. It's the sequel to Heretic. It takes place after Heretic and before Hexen II. Anyways on with the review.
Surprisingly for a first person shooter game that came out three years before Half-Life did this game had a good story. Two years have passed since D'Sparil (the villian in Heretic) died at the hands of some brave warrior (i don't know the name of the guy from Heretic.) D'Sparil was the first of the three Serpent Riders, a trio of powerful wizards devoted to taking over the world. Two years after D'Sparil's death, the second Serpent Rider who went by the name of Kortex, decided to try his luck at taking over the world. Since the guy from the first Heretic was trapped in another dimension, three brave new warriors, a warrior, a mage, and a cleric join forces to bring down the evil Kortex and restore piece to the world once again. Overall, I thought it was a very good story for this type of genre.
Graphics without HexenGL: 6
Okay, I'll admit it, even without HexenGL Hexen still manages to have the best graphics out of all four Doom engine games. The enemies and textures weren't as pixelated as they were in Doom 1, Doom 2, and Heretic. It was also the first FPS game to use fog. The fog effect was very nice. The game also didn't have as much of a jaggie (stair-step effect) as the previous Doom engines did. Of course when it was released back then the game was very good but it looks incredibly bad when compared to today's FPS games such as Doom 3.
Graphics with HexenGL: 10
There is a program that you can download off the internet that will make your Hexen game a visual feast. It requires you to have an OpenGL compliant card though. This engine removes all of those nasty pixels and jaggies that plagued the original Hexen. It also will make the fog look more real. It won't have the color bleed effect that the software Hexen had. Overall if you have an OpenGL card, i highly suggest that you get this engine so that Hexen will have better looking graphics.
The sound effects were very good in this game. From the whooshing sound of a fireball zooming right past your head to the sounds of a Fire Gargoyle's swipes. It's all superbly done.
There is no music included with the game. If you want to hear music while you play this game then you must put in an audio CD while playing the game.
It's very simple to use. The directional buttons move your character around, the PgUp and PgDn buttons enable you to look up and down, 1-4 allows you to switch in between weapons. The control key makes you use your weapon while space bar opens doors and the A key enables your character to jump while the Z key allows your character to duck.
In this game your allowed to choose from three different classes. The Warrior is the fastest, strongest, and best jumper out of all three while he stinks at using magic. The cleric has average stats in all four classes while the Mage is good at using magic but isn't so good at running or jumping. Also this game had 20 different inventory items that you could pick up and use whenever you wanted to. And one of the items had a different effect whenever you used it. The Warrior would throw the flachette, the cleric would leave it suspended in mid-air and it would act like a time bomb, and the Mage would throw it and let it bounce around on the ground for a while before it exploded into a stinky gas cloud. Each class also has their own set of different weapons. The enemies in this game were much smarter then they were in Heretic. They would gang up on you and hit you with all their might. Of course, like in other Doom engine games, if a monster of one type hit a monster of a different type then they would start attacking each other. There was also a hub type system where you would go around different hub levels and from there you would enter different levels. So overall an 8 out of a ten score.
Replay Value: 8/10
The main replay value comes from the different classes. Also there are some sites which will allow you to download Hexen levels to use with this game which will boost the replay value.
This game is a classic to me. It is very fun to play. Sure the graphics might be the game's weakest point if you don't have an OpenGL card but that doesn't matter because even if you don't have an OpenGL graphics card you can still enjoy the rest of the game. The sweet sound effects, good replay value, good controls and excellent gameplay are what makes this game good. I think I can see it sold at certain Target stores for less then $5 now! And it even comes with the expansion pack which adds on two more hub areas that come with twelve levels which equals six per hub. Overall I suggest you get this game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/02/01, Updated 09/02/01
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