Heretic is a fantasy first-person shooter developed by Raven and published by id on December 23, 1994 for the PC.
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 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 gameplay is very similar to Doom; with many weapons, items, and enemies having direct analogs to those found in Doom.
Unlike Doom, however, in Heretic, players have the ability to look up and down. As well as this, players have the ability to store items in their inventory; items include from simple health potions to power-ups to the "morph ovum" - an item that transforms enemies into chickens.
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. Only viable as a last-ditch effort weapon, as it's ineffectual in almost all situations.|
| A melee weapon that delivers a strong electrical attack. Like Doom's chainsaw, it latches onto targets. |
| The basic ranged weapon. It fires single yellow crystals. |
| A spread weapon similar to Doom's shotgun. It fires three arrows at once - the central arrow deals significantly more damage than the other two. Effective for multiple enemies or concentrating fire on one.|
| A hitscan weapon that functions similarly to Doom's chaingun. When powered up, on impact, each shot splits into spiked balls.|
| A rapid-fire, projectile-based weapon akin to Doom's plasma gun.|
| A rod which fires explosive projectiles. When paired with the Tome of Power, the Phoenix Rod sprays a stream of fire instead of explosives.|
| A weapon that lobs a barrage of bouncing balls.|
Items and Artifacts
| A potion that restores 10 units of the player's health.|
| Doubles the maximum amount of ammo for each weapon. Also, adds ammo for most weapons.|
Map Scroll A scroll that reveals the entire map of the current level.
| The game's most basic form of defense; sets the player's armor to 100.|
Enchanted Shield More effective than the Silver Shield; sets the player's armor to 200.
| An inventory item that can be used when needed; immediately provides the player with 25 health.|
Torch Fully illuminates the gameworld when used; lasts for two minutes.
| Grants the player partial invisibility for 60 seconds.|
| When used, sets the player's health to maximum.|
| Instantly teleports the player back to the start of the level.|
| Shoots a spread of projectiles that transforms all targets into chickens, reducing their health significantly. Enemies turned into chickens are still dangerous to the player.|
| Makes the player impervious to damage for 30 seconds; causes the screen to gain a sepia filter.|
| An explosive device that deals a large amount of damage to everyone in its radius (including the player). However, its time limit is roughly one second.|
| Powers up all weapons for 40 seconds. Every weapon has its own unique attributes when under the influence of the Tome of Power.|
| Grants the player flight for 60 seconds, is required in certain levels to find all secrets.|
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 features 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.