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40oz

H!Zone's Original Heretic Episodes

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From what I've heard, the Heretic Shovelware CDs were just compilations of Doom pwads lifted from the the internet and converted to Heretic with map conversion tools. I don't own Heretic but decided to do some research to find out more about it, to see if the levels actually look any good when converted over from Doom.

Now this could be embellished, and I haven't actually played these maps to verify for myself, but apparently the H!Zone CD claims to come with twelve (12!) new, original custom Heretic episodes designed for the game that weren't snatched from the internet, including new textures, graphics and sprites!

I found this video of a short playthrough of the first couple levels of the first original episode: Northern Dwarven Mines and the levels for these episodes appear to have evidence of being designed and not methodically converted over from Doom. Has anyone played through these maps? They look a little silly but definitely better than Doom maps converted over to Heretic. I'm curious to see the remaining maps and episodes.

While were at it, I may as well ask my original question: What are Doom maps converted over to Heretic like? I'm sure the texturing looks janky. Does the gameplay translate well? I'm curious to see what a really nicely designed Doom level created today might look like when converted over to Heretic using DM2CONV.exe but I don't actually own Heretic to see. I'd also like to see how well heretic levels convert back to Doom, and perhaps Doom to Heretic to Doom :P

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A lot of lazily converted maps end up looking and playing like shit thanks to no changes to any Thing#ID. So decorations become powerful monsters, weapons become decorations, keys become weapons and all sorts of other stupid crap that renders things unplayable.

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I just used DM2conv on SFoZ911's "Town of Aquafort"

It thinks those gargoyle things best translate to lost souls so in my experience so far you kill a lot of lost souls with the pistol for most maps.

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40oz said:

That is my video, and I can confirm there are indeed 12 original new episodes included in H!Zone. However, the quality does decline as you go through them. All of the custom textures and flats, of which there are few mainly to create the snow and inn environments, are essentially only used in the first episode. The only other new graphic content not show in the video is the Iron Lich replacement which is a hand drawn water serpent monster, probably because it needed the fewest frames. As far as the mapping goes, they range from decent to well below mediocre with a number of questionable design decisions. D'Sparil tends appear on maps other than E3M8 for no particular reason. You definitely get the feeling that different authors of highly varying degrees of competency produced these levels, or they really had to churn out a lot of filler during the proclaimed six months of development time to achieve 100+ maps.

I suppose it's worth noting that the Simply Silly Software developers behind these new Heretic episodes is the same company that developed a couple Duke Nukem expansions.

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Looks better than the original version, maximum doom materials right there!

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You can download H!Zone from https://archive.org/details/cdrom-hzone.

Running it in DOSBox, based on H!Zone program these are:

  • Northern Dwarven Mines
  • From Here to Hell.
  • Road to Aragon
  • World Of Sin
  • Desperations
  • Dream Worlds
  • Caves and Castles
  • Outerworlder Assault
  • Destiny's Children
And for Deathmatch
  • 9 Mighty Arenas
  • Best Place To Die
  • Fight For Your Life
These are in H!ZONE\CUSTOM\HERETIC and are only individual WADs without text files.

I would suppose that the names are the ones which were in the order given on the CD which I listed.

Using them you must perform actual work merging them into HERETIC.WAD. The given flats, sprites, and patches are not in any marker zones so you would have to add them and merge or run it in a port which does not care if they are not between markers.

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GhostlyDeath said:

You can download H!Zone from https://archive.org/details/cdrom-hzone.

Running it in DOSBox, based on H!Zone program these are:

  • Northern Dwarven Mines
  • From Here to Hell.
  • Road to Aragon
  • World Of Sin
  • Desperations
  • Dream Worlds
  • Caves and Castles
  • Outerworlder Assault
  • Destiny's Children
And for Deathmatch
  • 9 Mighty Arenas
  • Best Place To Die
  • Fight For Your Life
These are in H!ZONE\CUSTOM\HERETIC and are only individual WADs without text files.

I would suppose that the names are the ones which were in the order given on the CD which I listed.

Using them you must perform actual work merging them into HERETIC.WAD. The given flats, sprites, and patches are not in any marker zones so you would have to add them and merge or run it in a port which does not care if they are not between markers.


Is it legal though?

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BaronOfStuff said:

A lot of lazily converted maps end up looking and playing like shit thanks to no changes to any Thing#ID. So decorations become powerful monsters, weapons become decorations, keys become weapons and all sorts of other stupid crap that renders things unplayable.

Sounds like a mess up Terry WAD...Oh hell no.

I don't have Heretic, so far, the maps shown looks awesone to play through.
I wonder if it will run normal Doon...

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UNERXAi said:

Is it legal though?


If it were not, the massive army of anti-archive.org lawyers would have squashed it already.

I cannot tell you if downloading an upload of a freely released shovelware CD that was distributed for free or for a small free about two decades ago is legal or not, but you should contact your lawyer.

Although, you can steal and pirate software which is free in price and even free in source.

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Oh I thought it was a commercial release kinda like Hell 2 Pay. Didn't know it was a free release.

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GhostlyDeath said:

If it were not, the massive army of anti-archive.org lawyers would have squashed it already.

Yep, if they happen to be representing the copyright holders, otherwise they're just blowing hot air.

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40oz said:

While were at it, I may as well ask my original question: What are Doom maps converted over to Heretic like? I'm sure the texturing looks janky. Does the gameplay translate well? I'm curious to see what a really nicely designed Doom level created today might look like when converted over to Heretic using DM2CONV.exe but I don't actually own Heretic to see. I'd also like to see how well heretic levels convert back to Doom, and perhaps Doom to Heretic to Doom :P

They're terrible. Ammo balance is out of whack (particularly with levels that expect you're going to kill sergeants to get your shotgun, since Heretic enemies never drop weapons, only ammo/artifacts) and converters that change spectres to Heretic ghosts can cause big problems if you run out of ammo since the melee staff can't hit them. Contrary to popular belief, Heretic really isn't just reskinned Doom.

H!Zone is definitely one of the better Heretic shovelware discs; it's mostly stuff that was actually designed for the game. Heresies is also ok. The really bad disc that you probably get this notion from is Magic & Mayhem which is all conversions (though from what I can gather, Maximum Death for Heretic is full of conversions too).

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