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The Strife Commando

How Come Heretic And Hexen Aren't As Popular As Doom?

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With Strife I know why. It was released at the time true 3D was a thing in first person shooters, and critics liked that more than sprites. So as a result, Strife was not as well received as Doom. To me, that is idiotic. Strife is awesome, but because of critics, and with the release of true 3D fps titles, people slipped by Strife. So the question here is why Heretic and Hexen are not as popular as Doom. Games that were released at the time true 3D was not much of a thing in fps games. To this day they're still not as popular as Doom. How come?

Edited by The Strife Commando

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Because they were seen as mere doom clones (which it was true to a certain extent).

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It's a simple and boring answer - the majority of people didn't enjoy them as much as they enjoyed Doom. 

 

I did enjoy Heretic 2 though, that's a pretty solid game. It wasn't a clone of anything either. 

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Doom was the trailblazer, Heretic and Hexen  were imitators. They still did okay enough, though, what with Deathkings, Hexen II, Portals of Praevus, and Heretic II -- these wouldn't have been published if Heretic and Hexen had bombed.

 

Another factor is that the setting was less attractive. Some generic fantasy universe, but those are popular in RPGs (Ultima, Wizardry, Might & Magic, Gold Box, Elder Scrolls...) and it's not an RPG, nor is it a spinoff of an established franchise. The weapons, too: Shooting with guns is something most people enjoy more than shooting with magic wands. Looking at all the other FPS games out there, count how many have guns vs. how many have magic weapons.

 

And then the series was kind of neglected. Doom had Doom 3; but there was no Heretic/Hexen 3.

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Heretic was good but not outstanding, a bit too cartoony. HeXen had the right atmosphere and would have been something I played a lot ... but the countless puzzles, monster respawning and the RPG elements killed it for me. If it had been 'Heretic Done Right' in terms of gameplay, it would have been awesome :(

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Doom was revolutionary and popular. Heretic was just a cartoony medieval clone of Doom with inventory. Hexen was darker, but had a lot of obscure puzzles. Inventory and puzzles were groundbreaking back then, but the focus on them led to slower-paced gameplay, something people of 90's didn't like. People were playing games for fun and Doom was simple enough to enjoy. Also the reputation of being "Doom clones".

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1 hour ago, Alper002 said:

Doom was the exception in terms of popularity, not the norm. The popularity of Doom was ridiculous, and it's unfair to expect any game to preform that well in terms of popularity IMO. The way I see it, Heretic and Hexen weren't as popular simply because Doom's popularity was too high a bar to reach.

 

This pretty much, Doom was a game-changer, so naturally the other Doom engine games got overshadowed by it.

 

Besides, the nature of those games might have also played a role. Hexen was very puzzle-centric and many found its puzzles annoying, for one.

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I've noticed the same pattern with Build Engine games.

I think there are two factors:

- Novelty

- Doom came out first obviously, so it's remembered the most in the community.

 

While Heretic & Hexen did improve on many things (Hexen having a different core gameplay, Heretic with inventory/flying etc..), Doom had major impact in FPS genre at the time. It had more dynamic structure than Wolf 3D.

 

Same thing with Duke 3D & later Build games.

 

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Yeah, Duke 3D was a much bigger success than Blood, Shadow Warrior, or the other Build titles, even though the latter titles had engine enhancements and Blood retains an important fanbase who'll tell you it was a better game than Duke 3D.

 

Though in this case, technically the first Build titles were from Capstone, but Witchaven and Tekwar would not really leave a mark out there.

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Gez answered it best. Basically there are 3 reasons why Heretic/Hexen were not as popular as Doom.

 

1) Doom was the "innovator" while Heretic/Hexen were the "immitators" (Though Hexen did have a few innovative things). This can also be observed in other games like Build engine games where Duke3D was more popular than Blood/Shadow Warror (even though many folks, including me, consider Blood as the better game) simply because Duke was the "innovator".

 

2) Doom's (particularly Doom 2's) core gunplay is more exciting than that of Heretic and Hexen. In case of Heretic, the weapons are less exciting and the monsters are not as versatile as Doom 2's monsters like Revenants, Archviles, Mancubus, Chaingunners etc. And in case of Hexen, it not only has similar issues (that I mentioned about Heretic) but also the puzzle-centric gameplay turned off a lot of folks.

 

3) People just like the "Sci-Fi + Demons" setting of Doom more than the medieval fantasy setting of Heretic/Hexen. In the realm of shooters, the Sci-Fi setting is mainstream whereas the medieval fantasy setting is mainstream in RPG games.

Edited by ReaperAA : Fixed a few typos

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14 minutes ago, ReaperAA said:

3) People just like the "Sci-Fi + Demons" setting of Doom more than the medieval fantasy setting of Heretic/Hexen. In the realm of shooters, the Sci-Fi setting is mainstream whereas the medieval fantasy setting is mainstream in RPG games.

Fun fact, the Softdisk Catacombs trilogy features a mixture of medieval setting and sci-fi in the final game (Apocalypse is set in the distant future, with obvious futuristic/cybernetic rooms and enemies), even although your protag Petton Everhail is still as medieval as the first two games. The first (Abyss) is set in the medieval time, the second (Armageddon) is set in the "present time" (which I assume to be 1992-1993) and surprisingly enough, it still looks very medieval.

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Here's my personal honest feelings towards the other main 3 DooM engine titles:

 

Heretic:

Spoiler

Mostly the same as DooM though it did come with some cool new features like an inventory system, floors that move the player, Height hitbox checking allowing for enemies to pass over each other (though more often than not they'd get stuck). The big problems here though is that levels felt a little boring after a while, mostly due to how low the texture/flat count is compared to DooM. Heretic's weapons mostly feel weaker than their DooM/DooM II counterparts (I think Heretic came before DooM II?) and, in the case of episodes 4 + 5, levels got WAY too hard (Like Perfect Hatred levels of difficulty).

 

Hexen:

Spoiler

 

If you thought E4M2 of ultimate DooM was hard, buddy you've not touched Castle of grief! That aside, Hexen introduced multiple characters to play as from the melee orientated fighter to the range based mage all the way to the OP AF cleric. Here, we got introduced to basic scripting, aka: ACS! :D Though ACS here used common.acs not zcommon.acs (not as dynamic). Hexen sadly suffers from the problem that it tries to be a puzzle game but more often than not you'll spend half your play time just trying to find where the bollocks you're meant to go to and end up dying in the process. There's little to no hint on what any switch does other than "You have pressed one third of a switch... on the seven portals" and yet you've done it like 8 times. ._.

It's true Hexen also introduced the world to the polyobject, allowing for sliding and swinging doors to finally make their debut appearance in the DooM engine but once 3D objects came around with late ZDooM / early GZDooM, polyobjects aren't as useful anymore. (not worthless though. :) )


 

Strife:
 

Spoiler

 

Honestly, what DID strife add apart from expanding the limitations of the engine further? Well... for one, it added friendly NPC's, allowing for people to casually walk around or for a merchant to stand casually at a shop, simple enough. Secondly, you can display overlays to the screen like how you talk to an NPC and you see a mugshot of them with some text boxes you can select. Thirdly, strife has proper "cut-scenes" which showed still images and voice overs depending on which ending you got.

 

But what cock ups did Strife make? WELL!

For once, the accuracy system is completely stupid. Unless you're willing to go out of your way to 100% EVERY. SINGLE. AREA. you'll never end up with all the upgrades, which is a major problem later on when accuracy would play a much greater role for conserving ammo. I know you wont fire your rocket launcher dead centre every time IRL but I doubt you'd be firing it wider than the surface of Jupiter.

 

Secondly, this game is relentless with it's difficulty. Even on the lowest difficulty I can't beat this without cheating. The main flaw here is that they expect you to buy health items to take into areas, yet almost never give you said gold to actually give you a fighting chance. Any health items you'll find will either be the small or medium variety and only ONCE did I find a surgery kit.

Ammo is almost non-existant half the time and when you do find it, it's likely for the gun you don't want to use at that point. (Just gonna say this, poison arrows suck against robots so why give me a ton of them).

 

Lastly, they T R I E D to add a "stealth" mechanic to Strife. As far as I can tell though, you're guaranteed to activate alarms and traps just simply because there's no way around them. It'd be awesome if the game came with 2 play styles where one is gung-ho and nuts whilst the other is slow and methodical in it's approach. At best you can walk around without triggering a guard until you inevitably have to trip the alarms and get killed. :l

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

Heretic's weapons mostly feel weaker than their DooM/DooM II counterparts (I think Heretic came before DooM II?) and, in the case of episodes 4 + 5, levels got WAY too hard (Like Perfect Hatred levels of difficulty).

 

Then I highly recommend checking out Wayfarer's Tome if you haven't already. It makes Heretic's weapons more satisfying to use and because of the balance changes, it might make Episodes 4 and 5 feel less difficult for you (though E4M1 might still be hard).

 

1 hour ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

If you thought E4M2 of ultimate DooM was hard, buddy you've not touched Castle of grief!

 

To be honest, Castle of Grief is easier than E4M2 of UDoom. However, it is definitely a very very tedious map

 

1 hour ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

Secondly, this game is relentless with it's difficulty. Even on the lowest difficulty I can't beat this without cheating. The main flaw here is that they expect you to buy health items to take into areas, yet almost never give you said gold to actually give you a fighting chance. Any health items you'll find will either be the small or medium variety and only ONCE did I find a surgery kit.

Ammo is almost non-existant half the time and when you do find it, it's likely for the gun you don't want to use at that point. (Just gonna say this, poison arrows suck against robots so why give me a ton of them)

 

While Strife is definitely harder than Heretic/Hexen, it is still very manageable on easier skills. I played Strife for the first time just recently. I played it on Skill 2 and I was mostly stocked on health and ammo. Though I did make sure to look for almost ever corner of every map (I tried doing 100% every map).

 

1 hour ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

Lastly, they T R I E D to add a "stealth" mechanic to Strife. As far as I can tell though, you're guaranteed to activate alarms and traps just simply because there's no way around them. It'd be awesome if the game came with 2 play styles where one is gung-ho and nuts whilst the other is slow and methodical in it's approach. At best you can walk around without triggering a guard until you inevitably have to trip the alarms and get killed. :l

 

This is definitely a big issue with the game. Stealth is mostly useless because while the "human" enemies cannot detect you, the "robot" enemies will immediately start firing at you. There are like a grand total of 2-ish occasions in the game where stealth is actually useful.

 

However, you are yet to mention the biggest issue with the game. The unsatisfying combat is a much bigger issue than the hard difficulty and the stealth mechanics. There is a complete lack of shotgun-type weapon and the machinegun (your standard workhorse weapon in Strife) is underwheming. The missile launcher is probably the most pathetic rocket-type weapon I have ever come across. The grenade launcher is extremely clunky and you can often end up harming yourself if not careful. The standard arrows are cheap in cost but are weak as shit.

 

I am almost tempted to make a similar "balance mod" for Strife that I did for Hexen

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9 minutes ago, ReaperAA said:

There is a complete lack of shotgun-type weapon

The starting crossbow functions similarly to Doom's shotgun I think.

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24 minutes ago, TheNoob_Gamer said:

The starting crossbow functions similarly to Doom's shotgun I think.


In Heretic, kinda.

In Strife, not at all, its just a single missile-type weapon.

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18 minutes ago, P41R47 said:

In Strife, not at all, its just a single missile-type weapon.

Well, it "reloads" similarly to the shotgun.

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Heretic and Hexen aren't as popular as Doom because sometimes people make mistakes and that's okay

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1 hour ago, TheNoob_Gamer said:

The starting crossbow functions similarly to Doom's shotgun I think.

 

Not quite. The weapon takes 4 to 5 shots to kill even basic soldiers/acolytes.

 

What I meant is that there is no weapon in Strife that can compare to the single-shot burst damage of Doom's shotguns. I guess the Mauler exists, but that is a late game weapon and it also has scarce ammo.

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2 minutes ago, ReaperAA said:

Not quite. The weapon takes 4 to 5 shots to kill even basic soldiers/acolytes. 

The electric crossbow isn't designed to kill human enemies. The poison crossbow is.

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Honestly I think its a shame Heretic and HeXen are not as well remembered. Heretics 3 base episodes are better overall than DooMs and HeXen had some of the greatest art design of any 2.5D game and did things with the DooM engine I didnt even think were possible at that time.

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3 minutes ago, InDOOMnesia said:

The electric crossbow isn't designed to kill human enemies. The poison crossbow is.

 

Yeah. But:

1) The poison crossbow has extremely scarce ammo.

2) What about the robot enemies? They are still an issue.

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Hexen can be considered an Action RPG with more emphasis on the action.

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because doom is more famous, and easier. It's like asking why Rise of Triad isn't more popular than wolf 3d, despite being WAY better

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I dunno, I liked Hexen just fine. Hell, I had the worst console port of it (the PSX port) and I still enjoyed it pretty good.

 

Heretic, on the other hand, I could just never get behind. I tried but it wound up boring me, and feeling really like a medieval Doom mod with a few nice tricks.

 

Hexen at least strayed from the classic Doom formula by having weapons systems work fairly differently, the whole hub and revisiting levels concept, etc.

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I never understood why people called them Doom clones when they were in fact running on the Doom engine... weird

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9 minutes ago, Kizoky said:

I never understood why people called them Doom clones when they were in fact running on the Doom engine... weird

Because the term "First Person Shooter" didn't exist yet, so any fps game released on the 90s was called a doom clone.

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