Moby ID: 21987

Description official description

The world has been attacked by the three Serpent Riders from the Abyss. Their mysterious power makes people obey and follow them like sheep. Only the ancient Sidhe elves are immune to the Riders' influence, which led to them being branded heretics. With most of their work done, the two elder Riders leave, leaving only D'Sparil, the youngest and weakest Rider, behind to oversee the oppression. He sends the armies of the Seven Kings against the Sidhe, who have no choice but to extinguish the Seven Candles, vanquishing the armies. The retribution is swift and hard, and most of the elves are destroyed. Now, one of the last remaining Sidhe must take the fight to D'Sparil himself, being the only hope his world has left.

Heretic is the first game in the Heretic / Hexen franchise. It uses the engine from id Software's DOOM and transplants that game's first person shooter gameplay into a fantasy setting.

Like DOOM, Heretic consists of three distinct episodes, playable in any order, the first being available as shareware. The hunt for D'Sparil begins in the City of the Damned, continues in the alternate dimension of the Hell's Maw and comes to an end in The Dome of D'Sparil. Every episode consists of nine levels, one of them a hidden one. The goal in each level is to find the exit, killing everything standing in one's way. Keys must be found and buttons pressed to advance. Enemies include gargoyles, golems, undead knights, sorcerers, ophidian beasts and more. Most enemies exist in several varieties: some have additional range attacks, others have ghost forms and are impervious to certain weapons.

The weapon arsenal is large and varied: the basic weapons are a wooden staff and the Elvenwand that shoots low-damage magic bullets. More powerful equipment must be found: the Ethereal Crossbow dispenses a spread of arrows doing high damage, but at a low firing rate. The Dragon's Claw and Hellstaff shoot with a higher frequency: the Claw hits enemies instantly, the Staff's energy bullets need to travel to them first. The Phoenix Rod fires explosive charges and must be handled with care. The Firemace unleashes steel metal projectiles that bounce across the room towards the enemy. A better melee weapon than the wooden staff are the Gauntlets of the Necromancer, which dispense deadly energy.

Heretic goes beyond DOOM in certain aspects. The engine has been enhanced with the ability to look up and down and the ability to fly, and wind currents pushing the player in (often unwanted) directions have been added. Also new is an inventory system. Many different power-ups can be collected and then be used at the correct time. These include health flasks, invisibility and invincibility upgrades, time bombs, and torches to light dark rooms. The Morph Ovum transforms enemies into chickens for easier dispatching, the Wings of Wrath allow one to fly, and the Tome of Power gives all weapons a substantial upgrade: projectiles become more powerful or split up upon impact; the Phoenix Rod becomes a flamethrower and the Gauntlets remove life force from an enemy and transfer it to the player.

Heretic includes the same multiplayer options as DOOM: both cooperative team play and competitive deathmatch are included.

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Credits (DOS version)

16 People

Project Director
Level Design
Sound Effects
Executive Producer
Engine Programmer
Engine Tools Programmer
Audio Drivers
Cover Illustration
Package Design by
  • Louis Saekow Design



Average score: 81% (based on 16 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 60 ratings with 7 reviews)

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".

DOS · by Medicine Man (328) · 2009

Doom + medieval scenery = Heretic

The Good
Raven introduced here some interesting gizmos to the game - you can look up and down and fly. There's also an inventory, so you can carry with you some magical items, for example:

  • quartz flasks, which heal you
  • tomes of power, which make weapons work in a different way
  • morph ovums, which turn your enemies into chickens (and you, if you're not careful)
  • and torches, rings of invulnerability, and more.

Unlike Doom, Heretic has more detailed plot, however in the end it comes to "one-against-everybody" scheme. This time you will massacre monsters in caves, medieval castles and underwater fortress. They are varied - you'll encounter golems, wizards, gargoyles, ophidians (half snake, half human) and undead knights.

Music is brilliant (however not so brilliant as in Hexen), it's scary and gripping. My personal favourites are tracks from E1M4 and E2M4. Map design and graphics are as good as those from Doom.

The Bad
It's sometimes too similar to Doom - most of weapons are just repainted Doom weapons, and gameplay is almost unchanged - you run through rooms fulfilled with monsters and from time to time you search for keys. Also, multiplayer is the same as in Doom - only cooperative and deathmatch are present here.

The Bottom Line
Most of people look upon Heretic as modification of Doom. However, it won't hurt to play. Today you can download a source port which can add 3D models and hi-res textures, so the game will be much more enjoyable.

DOS · by Sir Gofermajster (485) · 2009

A decent and fun game.

The Good
Heretic is indeed a good game. Based on id Software's famous Doom engine, Heretic is built on a similar kind of gameplay but in a completely different setting: a fantasy world, as opposed to a futuristic horror/sci-fi universe.

To put it simply, Heretic features:

  • Decent graphics. Although I fail to see how the guys at Raven so-called improved the Doom engine (as quite frankly Heretic doesn't look nearly as good as the Doom series).
  • Great controls and reasonable inventory management.
  • Good level design; the game does not get tedious.
  • Reasonable music. 'nuff said.

The Bad
Again, it doesn't look nearly as good as Doom does; also, the variety (or lack thereof) of weapons is quite possibly the game's least positive aspect.

The Bottom Line
A fun game to play and replay. If you liked Doom, you will more than probably like this one as well.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2000

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Macintosh RaVeN RaVeN (32) Dec 15th, 2010



  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #3 Best Way To Die In Computer Gaming (being turned into a chicken)

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by John Romero.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Patrick Bregger.

Game added April 9th, 2006. Last modified November 23rd, 2023.