Heretic (DOS)

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Written by  :  Medicine Man (374)
Written on  :  Oct 09, 2009
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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A masterpiece created with the Doom engine, but isn't it really just a Doom clone?

The Good

By December of 1994 we already had a legendary FPS game called "Doom", and a great sequel to it. It seemed as if like "what more did a gamer need back then?". But then a bit later after the release of Doom 2, Heretic was released, as a new game with a modified version of the Doom engine, bunch of new ideas and, most importantly, lots of monsters to shoot at.

Even after the first Doom, Heretic's visual look isn't too impressive, in fact, Doom's animation looked a lot more serious and gory than Heretic's cartoonish animation. However, Heretic had some really good improvements in its engine. Besides little things like when you jump in the water a wet splat is made, Heretic was the first game ever to include in it self a feature of looking up and down. Again however, the Doom engine didn't handle that exactly like it should have because of its 2D levels, the first games which included a "real up and down looking" weren't released until 1995. As for some other notes about the graphics, for the most part the monsters, levels and weapons look quite beautiful and descent, so the visual look is quite positive.

As for the sound, this is where Heretic kills Doom by being serious. Though using fictional and fantasy based weapons, they make more realistic sounds than those from Doom, monsters in Heretic also sound creepier than in Doom, the soundtrack is also pretty descent, however by the most part, not so memorable like Doom's soundtrack. Heretic also included some sound effects of water drops falling from the ceiling, creating an atmosphere which is a lot more creepier than the one in Doom.

Now for the gameplay. The game has some new really original ideas in its table. First being the introduction of the inventory, where you can carry portable items with you and use them whenever you want. It included in itself some really cool power-ups, like the Morph Ovum, which allowed you to turn enemies in to chickens, or the Tome of Power, which gave your weapons a more powerful secondary fire. Heretic is also the first FPS game which allowed you to fly, though it didn't have the ability to jump. Now i should talk about the goodness of the gameplay itself, but from here on, only the flaws of the game begin.

The Bad

Though it did introduce some new original ideas to the table of the gaming world, Heretic is a serious copycat of Doom in a lot of aspects. First off - look at the weapons list. Didn't get me? Okay, now compare the weapons from Heretic to the ones from Doom. Get me now? Every weapons is basically an analogue to a gun from Doom. The weapons aren't the only thing, most of the items are just ripped off from Doom, even some enemies. The best example is the Maulotaur, he looks almost like Doom's Cyberdemon, he is just as big, and like the Cybbie, is the boss of the second episode. And while the storyline is quite different from Doom, like in the last one, you also take a visit to Hell while you progress through the game. So in conclusion, Heretic's main flaw is that it is a really big clone of Doom.

The Bottom Line

Those who happened to not play Doom may find Heretic the "best game ever". As for most gamers who did play Doom, i can describe this game with the following sentence: "If you're looking for a Doom clone or mod with a medieval scenery, you'll find Heretic a masterpiece, if you wan't a really original game created with the Doom engine, you'll find Heretic average at best".