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Hisymak

What's the most annoying thing in the classic HERETIC nad HEXEN games?

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Posted (edited)

Hi, as a reaction to similar topic (https://www.doomworld.com/forum/topic/115247-whats-the-most-annoying-thing-in-the-classic-doom-games/) I'm creating a topic where we can discuss the same about Heretic and Hexen. These games do not receive as much attention as they would deserve in my opinion, and I'm quite curious about these games.

 

So, regarding me, for Heretic there's probably nothing much to say, but for Hexen, there are several points that pretty much annoyed me:

- Game-breaking script bugs. The WORST thing on vanilla Hexen that pissed me off pretty badly! There are a few incriminated places, the most notable are these two: 1) The ending room in 4th cluster after the Axe Key door. I got stuck there several times because the boss room failed to open up. 2) Six switches to open the portal leading to the final level in 2nd cluster. When I press one of the switches, which are located in the three sub-levels, one icon next to the final portal would light up, and when all of them light up, the portal opens. But sometimes it happened to me, that I pressed the switch, BUT the respective icon did NOT light up and the portal would never open! I ended up saving before pressing every switch and then checking if pressing it had the effect.

- Useless inventory items. Hexen provides many different inventory item types, but majority of them I never ever used during my whole gameplay through the game. There are probably two main reasons for that: 1) The effect of that item is not much useful, i.e. banishment device (would just teleport a single monster out), chaos device, dark servant (too weak and useless), boots of speed etc. 2) There is a limited amount of items of specific type per whole game, and I would psychologically tend to "save the item for later when I would really critically need it", but eventually I would end up never using that item. On the other hand, in Heretic, you lose your items when you enter the next level, which FORCES me to use the items (otherwise I would lose them anyway), so if the same mechanics was applied to Hexen, it would probably encourage me to use the items instead of just collect them as a "treasure".

- Unbalanced weapons. One thing that bothered me the most was probably Mage's Arc of Death, because in some cases it would just kill a monster (i.e. chaos serpent) in single shot, but sometimes it just almost kills and I need to fire a second shot. The weapon is consuming lot of mana (I think 5 points per shot) so I would spend either 5 or 10 mana on a single monster. Also, the Frost Shards weapon felt pretty underwhelming and annoying (it was leaving frozen corpses which obstructed my way). On the other hand, Clerics's Serpent Staff and Wraithwerge felt too overpowered (the first for the drain effect, the second you know).

- Lack of SECRETS. Well, there actually are a few hidden places with some goodies in Hexen technically being secrets, BUT there's no evidence of them. I would appreciate, if for example in every level there was a secrets counter (displayed on automap, for example), and if I found a secret, a message would appear. And there could be a bit more secrets, too. This would make the gameplay more interesting and enjoyable.

- Infinitely spawning monsters (ettins) in levels which I beat. Probably a good idea to make beaten levels not feel empty and dead, but the rate could be reduced a bit, probably.

 

Note that the puzzles and where-would-I-go did not really annoy me too much. I played Hexen as a kid, when I had pleeenty of free time, so I was really not in hurry and when I got stuck, I just wandered around for so long time until I found my way further. I rather remember the satisfying feeling when I found my way, and I overally liked the puzzle mechanics and adventure feel.

Edited by Hisymak

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Hexen has no secrets, because the entire game is basically mandatory secret-hunting.

 

The annoying thing about it is that it's long, and you are stuck with the class you chose throughout the game. By the time you're done, you don't want to replay the same thing again with a different class, so you end up not getting the full experience.

 

I would prefer the Daikatana approach, where your weapons change every few levels.

 

Oh, and there is also the best thing about Hexen - Quietus. Which sounds a lot like "coitus".

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Infinitely spawning monsters aren't too bad in Hexen. In the Deathkings expansion though, it gets pretty ridiculous. Non-stop reivers and stalkers in some maps.

 

I think Hexen would have been better if you couldn't stockpile items quite like you can now. Maybe if you only kept one of each between hubs.

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I really like Heretic, but not that much Hexen.

 

- For Heretic, the monsters are too tanky to the point of just annoying and the first levels are not that great for progression and the OST kinda gets repetitve. After that, not really much, I think it's an awesome and very unique game. There's not a lot of ''Heretic'' style games.

 

- For Hexen, the whole goddamn game is one big switch-hunting session. It did not age well, at least for me. The classes feel kinda ''unnecessary.'' I would rather have all weapons than just a few in one class and I also felt that the classes were not very well balanced.

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26 minutes ago, dr_st said:

By the time you're done, you don't want to replay the same thing again with a different class, so you end up not getting the full experience.

As a kid, I replayed whole Hexen on every class more than once, but that's because I had plenty of free time. Nowadays, when I would play some Hexen wad (mappack). I wouldn't play through it more than once, so I'm having dilemma which one to choose. I tend to use Fighter and Cleric most often.

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For Hexen

-No high HP monsters: Hexen has the exact opposite problem of heretic. Most of Hexen's monsters can dish out massive amounts of damage but all of them (Minus the bosses) could be killed in 2-3 hits of Timon's axe/frost shards. The game needed a least one tank enemy that could take real beating (6-7 hits from the axe to kill).

 

-The Death Wyvern should have become a normal enemy just like the Barons and Iron Liches did.

 

-More weapon types: Each class should have had five weapons plus the tome of power.

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Heretic:

- Not enough textures and flats (seriously I think you've seen nearly all of them by the half-way point of episode 2).

- Half of the weapons feel really weak to use, especially the ethereal crossbow.

- If a flying enemy lands on your head you both get stuck (and that is very easy to do).

- Episodes 4 + 5 are sadistic in difficulty compared to episodes 1 > 3.

 

Hexen:

- Slaughterers.

- The fact you have to play it 3 times to see the 3 endings.

- Castle of Grief.

- The puzzles making literally no sense. (You completed 1/3 of the puzzle. On the seven portals *Was the FOURTH switch I pressed for that message*)

- Heresiarch (I literally had to copy-paste that). To this day I still have no idea when to hit this git so I just whale on him hoping something lands and kills him off.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, RomDump said:

The Death Wyvern should have become a normal enemy just like the Barons and Iron Liches did.

This kind of happens in Deathknights expansion. In one "normal" level there are 4 of them, IIRC.

19 minutes ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

Slaughterers.

Uh, How I could forget this! Centaurs conut as well.

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Heretic:

 

- generally weak weapons and monsters with too high health points.

- all the good weapons contain special coding to make them useless against the bigger monsters

- lack of texture variety.

 

Hexen:

 

- cpoor weapon balance of the separate classes. When playing the Cleric or Mage the game feels like a chore because they do not have single good weapon against Centaurs - no, blasting poison clouds does not count -, and those are one of the most ommon type of monsters.

- Slaughtaurs

- underwhelming bosses. Both the Heresiarch and Korax pose no genuine threat. The Heresiarch is a joke once you have figured him out and Korax just needs to be pumped full of ammo - and normally you should have enough Icons of the Defender to never feel his wrath.

 

A few comments to previous issues:

 

19 minutes ago, RomDump said:

-The Death Wyvern should have become a normal enemy just like the Barons and Iron Liches did.

 

I don't think so, It's not only exceedingly hard to set up but also far too deadly for a regular monster.

 

16 minutes ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

- Heresiarch (I literally had to copy-paste that). To this day I still have no idea when to hit this git so I just whale on him hoping something lands and kills him off.

 

It's actually quite simple: When he's being circled by those purple thingies he is invulnerable. Which, unfortunately, is most of the time.

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For Heretic, my main issue is the weak weapons and the underwhelming enemies, which makes it an unbelievably boring game to play in its original forms. I've almost literally fell asleep on my chair playing it a few times.

 

Hexen generally did not have this issue, but introduced a lack of monster variety, leading to Slaughtars being used excessively in the later chapters, and the players only have 4 weapons this time around, the Cleric being incredibly bad for starts thanks to his useless mace.

 

The progression could've also been more intuitive at times, but I never had too much issues navigating Hexen's levels.

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I remember every time I played Heretic, whenever I tried to use the item from the inventory, it will just highlight the previous item & it puzzled me so hard. I had no idea what it was causing till much later I noticed it was due to holding left shift down to run in the game.

I never caps-lock.

 

As far as I know, there is no fix for it if you use Chocolate/Crispy Heretic.

 

It was one of the most annoying things that has ever happened to me.

 

47 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:
1 hour ago, RomDump said:

-The Death Wyvern should have become a normal enemy just like the Barons and Iron Liches did.

 

I don't think so, It's not only exceedingly hard to set up but also far too deadly for a regular monster.

They are a regular enemy in the expansion. Very annoying to hit unless you use mouse look with GZDoom.

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Heretic feels just enough like Doom to make you want to like it, but is balanced rather poorly - it basically feels like all of your weapons are too weak, but at the same time the enemies don't feel too threatening in the base game. It's a strange experience, but definitely the worst part of the game.

 

HeXen feels like it would've been better with just one player class that had more weapons, I think. The lack of variety in combat caused by only having (at most) 4 weapons and not having too many different types of enemies makes that aspect a chore. When you're off on a lengthy switch hunt, you really need interesting combat to keep you wanting to go on.

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1 hour ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

- The fact you have to play it 3 times to see the 3 endings.

...Um, isn't there just one ending in Hexen?

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1 hour ago, RomDump said:

-The Death Wyvern should have become a normal enemy just like the Barons and Iron Liches did.

 

As someone who mostly plays as Fighter, I just say NO. They are extremely difficult to hit as a Fighter.

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Posted (edited)

axe key glitch: yes, it's a serious problem, you have to kill the chaos serpents one at a time. however, the n64 port fixes this bug.

inventory: it's easy for stuff to accumulate, but it does give you options sometimes. the boots of speed are particularly useful for the Mage, and the chaos device is useful for escaping pitfalls or other dire situations (if you equip it first).

arc of death: it dissipates if the monster hits a wall. as long as you work around that, it's fine.

frost shards: when using the projectiles, you should be at a moderate distance to the enemy to maximize damage. there's also a melee form, 'frost touch' which does greater damage, I find I can 2-shot ettins with the frost touch, which makes it much more effective.

centaurs/slaughtaurs: the slaughtaurs are overpowered for sure. while I'm ok with the concept of centaurs, I think in practice they hold their shields up too long. if the interval were shorter, they'd be better.

one class: it is kinda limiting, but there are ways to change classes during a game. there's a code for the pc version, and I discovered an exploit on the n64 port using the cheat menu.

 

I agree that the game could've used more weapons and enemy types, and the occasional tank enemy should've been thrown in. also, I think Korax was originally supposed to be more like D'Sparil, but they rushed at the end and used his mount instead. you can also see this in hub 5 generally, it feels a bit slapped together compared to the earlier hubs.

 

almost forgot to mention, about the Cleric's mace. I see what they were going for, but they screwed up on execution. you see, to kill an ettin, it takes 8 hits from sapphire wand, 6 hits from mace, and 4 regular hits from gauntlets, so they were going for 8/6/4 distribution. but in practice, this doesn't work. the fighter's power punch means that it only takes 3 hits to take out an ettin. the sapphire wand may be a peashooter, but it has a rapid fire rate, pierces enemies, and gives the Mage a ranged attack with no mana cost, all of which make it a useful weapon throughout the game. the mace, on the other hand, has a slow attack rate combined with lower damage, and it's long melee range comes nowhere near making up for its weaknesses. it really should've been powered up.

Edited by Xcalibur

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The only thing that truly bothers me about Heretic is this:

TheOnlyThingThatBothersMe.PNG.dc236b365ade5ad3c81c29d7d4331efa.PNG

While this isn't present in zdoom-based ports from what I can tell(thankfully), it is present in vanilla and chocolate and it can be quite a nuisance.

Wanna use an item while running? Whoops, activated skip inventory, now I have to use more time just to fiddle my inventory back to the item I actually wanted to use!

Thankfully you can cycle through items in a paused state by way of the pause key, so it's not too annoying.

 

I didn't find Hexen (or deathkings) all that frustrating to progress through, All the switch hunting did was force me to be more generally alert to find the progression. Only thing that even slightly bothered me there was how items carrying over across hubs essentially trivializes the game by the end. The lack of weapon and monster variety aren't great, but they don't bother me like my issue with Heretic.

 

1 minute ago, JudgeDeadd said:

...Um, isn't there just one ending in Hexen?

Text-wise, there is only one ending. However, the final chess screen changes it's picture slightly depending on which class you picked. It's also slightly different if you're playing multiplayer.

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Posted (edited)

I actually realized just now after reading this thread, that I really hate the concept of inventory in these games. It is just bad and annoying. In fact it's useless in every FPS I've seen it in (like Quake II). The skill progression system like in Daikatana, and Doom (2016) tends to get more heat, but I find it works much better than an inventory, where half of the items are useless junk and the other half can be hoarded to eliminate any form of challenge from the game.

 

The inventory in Duke3D / Shadow Warrior, limited to specific items that you might want to use in particular points and can actually toggle on/off to avoid using them all up at once, does work.

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Posted (edited)

Mage ice weapon freezing monsters, forcing you to switch weapons and break them so you can hit the ones behind it. Hate that...

 

Also, centaurs being completely invincible (except to certain items) when they block. Would have been more fun if you could make them drop their shield, or hit them in the back.

 

I actually don't think Heretic's weapons feel very weak at all. Sure, the enemies are a little too damage-spongy, but I feel the same way about Doom, Quake, Duke3d and a lot of other games as well :p

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1 hour ago, dr_st said:

I actually realized just now after reading this thread, that I really hate the concept of inventory in these games. It is just bad and annoying. In fact it's useless in every FPS I've seen it in (like Quake II). The skill progression system like in Daikatana, and Doom (2016) tends to get more heat, but I find it works much better than an inventory, where half of the items are useless junk and the other half can be hoarded to eliminate any form of challenge from the game.

 

The inventory in Duke3D / Shadow Warrior, limited to specific items that you might want to use in particular points and can actually toggle on/off to avoid using them all up at once, does work.

 

The inventory system in Heretic/Hexen/Strife adds a certain strategic depth to combat that is not present in Doom/Doom 2 (Do I use the item now or do I save it later for a more dangerous encounter?). It's true that the inventory hoarding can make the final fights too easy but this too is only an issue in Hexen and Quake 2. Heretic doesn't suffer from this issue because you can't bring more than 1 instance of an item to the next map and Strife's late game is pretty much balanced around the health/item hoarding.

 

Though I do agree that the Build engine games handle inventory system much better than the above mentioned game.

 

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29 minutes ago, ReaperAA said:

Though I do agree that the Build engine games handle inventory system much better than the above mentioned game.

cough - cough - Holoduke - cough - cough

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Weak point of Heretic is the regular firemace attack. Raven went out of their way to make it appear like a rare uber weapon, but it's not. It's a really weak weapon, acting more as filler than as a real asset. It can't even be used against ghostly monsters, who become really common in some later maps.

 

Otherwise I consider it a very well balanced game from the start to the very end, but I play it on skill 5, not 4, so it's more like Doom -fast (but the monsters are less damaging than in Doom, thus compensating). A great deal of its enjoyment is the inventory. All items are useful. Also, having quartz flasks means that you can stay in combat a lot more before you run looking for health.

 

Hexen is a somewhat weaker game than Heretic, but I love its quest and puzzle (albeit more of a switch hunt) solving gameplay. There's a lot of exploration in Hexen and awesome music. Here are its weak points:

- Centaurs are pretty boring to fight.

- Bishops are annoying damage stingers who zoom around.

- Bad errors in the main campaign preventing progress

- Boring mid-boss

- Weak final boss

- Too strong mage basic attack and too weak blue ammo weapon

- Crashes when attempting to record a demo (I kept trying to record an encounter where many Heresiarchs in a group would overload and get ALL nuked, just to prove that it happens, but it would always crash).

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As others have said, its the underwhelming of the monsters and weapons that really sort of ruins Heretic. Also nerfing the tomed weapons against boss monsters and the inventory system made hoarding quite a dealbreaker.

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6 hours ago, Alper002 said:

The only thing that truly bothers me about Heretic is this:

There's a -noartiskip command-line parameter. (Do you actually not use autorun though?)

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4 hours ago, Hisymak said:

cough - cough - Holoduke - cough - cough

 

You got me.

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1 hour ago, plums said:

There's a -noartiskip command-line parameter. (Do you actually not use autorun though?)

1) Thank you.

2) Nope, I don't use autorun, even if I tend to run a lot. Probably not the best way to have it set up, but it feels better to me to hold a button to go faster than holding a button to go slower.

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What bugs me is that a lot of the sound effects don't have enough "oomf" or aren't present at all. The only enemy projectile in the entire game that makes any sound when it hits a wall is the Undead Warrior. The sound from a Iron Lich making a massive stack of fireballs sounds pathetic compared to the sound of an Afrit shooting a single one of them. Lots of enemy melee attacks play a sound when they initiate and then play the same sound again when they hit or miss which sounds silly.

 

Also the only enemy in the entire game that is dangerous in any capacity is the maulotaur and sometimes the iron lich.

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Heretic: Spongey enemies. Undead Knights are as frequent as Doom's Imps but take 3-5 crossbow blasts to kill. And Golems are heartier than pinkies. Gargoyles are about the same as Lost Souls, but there's absolutely EVERYWHERE so they feel like a chore. Imagine if every room in Doom had 5 Lost Souls floating around (and you had no SSG).

 

Hexen: Centaurs (as the Cleric or Mage). You dont get a satisfying & efficient way to dispatch them until the 4th weapon as the Cleric (at least hub 3, possibly later), or the 3rd weapon as the Mage (at least hub 2). Theyre not a horrible enemy in concept but there shouldve been more ways to break their defenses. Like the Cleric's Firestorm (how can a shield protect from flames circling all around them?).

 

Hexen 2 (bonus): The busted Egyptian floor pattern puzzle. You have to step on a 3x3 grid of buttons in a specific pattern or you're teleported away (not even to the same room). In another level there's a texture that shows 3 possible patterns. The kicker is that none of them actually work.

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2 hours ago, Wagi said:

Also the only enemy in the entire game that is dangerous in any capacity is the maulotaur and sometimes the iron lich.

Do you play on the highest skill level then?

 

4 hours ago, plums said:

There's a -noartiskip command-line parameter. (Do you actually not use autorun though?)

Thanks for the info, I had no idea about that. I forgot to mention THAT misfeature as really annoying. I guess experienced players like it because it beats using [] and enter just to choose one, but it can throw you off.

 

2 minutes ago, whirledtsar said:

Heretic: Spongey enemies. Undead Knights are as frequent as Doom's Imps but take 3-5 crossbow blasts to kill. And Golems are heartier than pinkies. Gargoyles are about the same as Lost Souls, but there's absolutely EVERYWHERE so they feel like a chore. Imagine if every room in Doom had 5 Lost Souls floating around (and you had no SSG).

Then use better weapons than the crossbow. Use bombs, tomes and ovum to clear them out. Also lost souls are worse than gargoyles because of more health and stupider behavior. Heretic gargoyles are more agile.

 

3 minutes ago, whirledtsar said:

Hexen 2 (bonus): The busted Egyptian floor pattern puzzle. You have to step on a 3x3 grid of buttons in a specific pattern or you're teleported away (not even to the same room). In another level there's a texture that shows 3 possible patterns. The kicker is that none of them actually work.

You know you can just save before that encounter and retry until you pass. No point wasting time without saving.

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