Heretic is a fantasy first-person shooter developed by Raven and published by id on December 23, 1994 for the PC. The first in the Serpent Riders trilogy (followed by Hexen), the game sets the story of the Serpent Riders, a demonic triumvirate who have used to their dark magic to conquer the seven kings of the realm of Parthoris. As the Sidhe elves are immune, they are branded heretics and went into hiding. One Sidhe elf, Corvus, sets out through the City of the Damned in search of D'Sparil, the weakest of the three dark brothers and the only one remaining in the realm, to destroy him.
The game uses a modified version of the id Tech 1 engine, adding new features such as inventory manipulation, ambient sounds, particle effects, and the ability to look up and down. The source code to the game's engine was first released in 1999 (under a license that granted rights to non-commercial use), and then re-released under the GNU General Public License on September 4, 2008 (having it comply with other GPL source ports, such as Chocolate Doom and Odamex).
The gameplay is very similar to Doom in the sense, that you'll have to find three colored keys to progress. Also, the weapons in the game are also very similar. The staff in the beginning is very much like the pistol etc. Items include from simple health potions to power-ups to the "morph ovum," an item that transforms enemies into chickens. Looking up and down come in handy, since some of the enemies have wings or float.
Like Doom before it, Heretic supported four-player co-op and four-player deathmatch games. Matches could be played over modem or LAN, and were also supported by DWANGO.
The most basic melee weapon of the game. Sometimes useful early in the game, but when stronger monsters appear, you should run away and look for ammo.
|If you have these puppies, you don't need the staff. These gauntlets deliver a strong electrical attack.|
|The basic ranged weapon. It fires single yellow crystals. Quite deadly, if you're on lower levels. On higher, you should do the mentioned tactic used for the staff.|
|It fires three arrows at once, good for multiple enemies or concentrating your fire on one.|
|The Dragon's Claw is the perfect weapon for those, who are into machine guns. This destroys everything in your path, leaving you a nice cleared hallway.|
|Powered by Hell itself, this staff is so fast you just see the enemies dying. Another winner for the clear-the-hallway-quickly type.|
|The Phoenix Rod fires an explosive charge and when it hits, dead bodies follow quickly. mmm... Incendiarism...|
|This man-made machine fires small "grenade" type objects that bounce around and explode. Oh joy!|
Items and Artifacts
|The most invaluable friend of them all. This little guy restores your health a little bit.|
|An extra bag is always handy. It increases your ammo capacity.|
Map ScrollHandy little helper, this gives you the map of the entire level. Don't forget to press TAB...
|If you can't find anyone, who will take someone else's punches, this will really help. Gives 100 armor.|
Enchanted ShieldThe enchanted version of the one, who will take the punches. This one gives 200 armor.
|If you've got one and expected to go through an entire boss fight with no vial in sight, you're toast. If you have ten, you're in heaven. This increases your health.|
TorchInvaluable. Never go through a dark spot without it!
|This turns the game into a covert ops mission. Turns you partially invisible. Stealthy kills, here I come!|
|Maybe this contains some guys ashes... don't care! This gives you full health!|
|Handy, when you're overwhelmed. Teleports you back to the start of the level.|
|A delight. Some humor in this eerie place. This turns the enemies into chickens! Do they lay eggs? No... Wish I could throw this into D'Sparil's face and laugh... Bring on the omelet!|
|God-Mode... for a duration of time...|
|Got a second? That's the time you have to get out of this thing's way before it explodes! Be careful!|
|This powers up your weapon, making it all-around useful. Even now the staff seems good... Why... oh why can't you power up the Morph Ovum?|
|Wings. Simple as that.|
Fly me to the moon, let me sing among those stars...
Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders
Similar to Doom, Heretic was only available through mail order as a three-episode game, with the first episode released as shareware. On March 31, 1996, a retail version was released, distributed by GT Interactive, titled Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders. Along with the three main episodes, this version featurs two additional episodes:
- The Ossuary - Takes the player to the remains of a world conquered by the Serpent Riders many centuries ago.
- The Stagnant Demesne - Takes the player to the birthplace of D'Sparil.
After its release, Raven discontinued production of the original version of Heretic, while releasing a patch from their website to update the original game to match the retail version.