Heretic (PC) Review

By Athanasios 30.08.2017

Review for Heretic on PC

Remember the term "Doom-clone?" Yeah, those who grew up on the Call of Duty franchise might be unaware of it, but there was a time when Doom came into existence, and pretty much changed the world of gaming forever - and thus, everyone tried to imitate it. One of the most notable Doom-clones (in essence, first-person shooters using the same game engine) was Raven Software's Heretic, which was basically a Might & Magic version id Software's bad boy, and one of the finest examples of old-school FPS fun.

Let it be mentioned one more time: Heretic is Doom. The "only" difference? Instead of pistols, shotguns, rifles, and rocket launchers, we have spell-spitting/throwing/shooting staffs, bows, and gauntlets, and instead of a space marine that fights demons, we have an elf that fights gargoyles, golems, undead knights, and… well, more demons. The plot? What about it?! It's Doom with a fantasy setting, what is it that you don't get???

Screenshot for Heretic on PC

This uses the same exact engine as its source of inspiration, therefore, those who can't stand those pseudo-3D, 256-coloured, and low-resolution-fuelled visuals… better stay put, because, while definitely old, Heretic looks great. The bestiary is quite varied, the death animations are awesome, and, finally, the levels range from simple crypts and catacombs, to water-themed "temples" filled with mosaic murals, and all look beautiful, although the use of lighting is not as imaginative as in Doom.

Moving on to the sound section, not only every single effect is - pleasantly - loud, but also of insane quality. Furthermore, Heretic is one of the first (if not the first) in the genre that has environmental ambient sounds, whether that's water drops, or distant screams from some unknown horror. The cherry on top? A fine, almost hard rock-like, symphonic assortment of medieval tunes. Of course, all this talk about the visuals is nonsense, because it's the battlefield where this is at its best.

Screenshot for Heretic on PC

Those who loved [i[Doom[/i] will simply love this too. The "gunplay" feels good and fast, and the enemies have a pretty decent variety, ranging from the cannon fodder flying gargoyles, and punching golems, to multi-skilled bosses. Somehow, though, it feels somewhat inferior to Doom, and that's probably because enemies can take more hits, so don't expect any one-hit kills or group-blasting fun here, which, as a result, makes the pace marginally slower.

Thankfully, this isn't just a blatant copy, as it introduces a mechanic of its own. Apart from the standard weaponry, the elf hero of this adventure can also pick and use all sorts of items, which greatly enhance the gameplay, and add a pleasant layer of strategy. These range from simple healing potions, bombs, and trinkets that make you invisible, to major game-changers like the Tome of Power, which briefly enables your weapon's, vastly more powerful, secondary mode.

Screenshot for Heretic on PC

Once again, however, it's the level design that actually makes this kind of FPS games great, and, luckily, Heretic do delivers. That isn't to say that it's perfect, but, like Doom before it, it manages to provide a nice balanced diet of pure shooting to do, plenty of secrets to find, traps and hazards to avoid, and all sorts of labyrinthine levels to brave.

If there's one big flaw here besides the fact that this definitely doesn't reinvent the wheel, that would be the fact that many will find this to be a bit too easy. While it might seem like an exaggeration, the only way to have fun with Heretic seem to be the last two difficulty settings… and even them won't really suffice - but, hey, that's why Shadow of the Serpent Riders is here for!

Screenshot for Heretic on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Heretic's only true flaw is the fact that it is a marginally less perfect clone of Doom. Other than that, it's awesome - simply one of the best old-school FPS games ever made. It exchanged shotguns with magic staffs, and sci-fi demons… with plain demons, but it shares the same, fast-paced, action-packed beating heart.

Developer

Raven Software

Publisher

id Software

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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