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MTF Sergeant

Your thoughts on Hexen?

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Speaking of Hexen, I should say, it is a far cry from Heretic, featuring the similar good ol' mythical level design, new monsters from alternate mythologies and dimensions, the return of the Chaos Serpent(I love the green ones), and the epic characters and boss fights.

 

So, after reading this much, you guys might say that I like Hexen the same way I like Heretic and Doom. But that's not the case. Doom and Heretic are really awesome games and according to me, Hexen sucks.

 

What I hate about Hexen:

1.Hard maps

2. Terrible ammo system.

3. No instant usage of powerups.

4.Usage of edited sprites for bosses(except for Zedek and Korax

5.Hub system.

6.No upgrading of characters.

 

Now I'm not saying that Hexen's really bad, but I do like to play it when I get totally bored with Doom. Now I wanna hear your opinions. Was Hexen the all-powerful mythos based game that you were waiting to get, or is it just a bunch of crap?

 

 

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I love Hexen, with the hub system you mentioned being one of my favorite parts about it. I also really enjoyed all the neat little traps thrown in and they all worked very well for the most part. Feels a lot more adventure-ish (?) than Doom and I find it more fun to explore for that reason alone. My only real complaint would be how confusing it can be at times with switches activating things not in the immediate area. Lots of wandering back and forth.

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I really like the idea behind Hexen. The hub system was great -- it effectively allowed bigger levels in a DOS-confined Doom engine game by combining several maps into a single level. I think the idea of a more puzzle-centric game than Doom and Heretic was novel, and a wise departure from the other "Doom clones." I also like the dark themes, colors, monsters (generally), and bosses (generally).

 

Things I don't really like about the game:

  • The game engine does not lend itself well to puzzles. They are all switch- and item-hunts, with no real clues to direct you. Hexen 2 did much better in this regard, where text queues or even architecture could suggest where you were supposed to go next.
  • The combat is too easy. I know combat is not the focus of the game, but Deathkings is somewhat more enjoyable because the monsters are an actual threat. This is mostly due to the weapons being dramatically OP.
  • Lack of monster variety. An upper-tier and lower-tier version of the same monster doesn't really count as "variety." (A brown and green variation even less so!) It also doesn't help that perhaps the most dangerous/interesting monsters (wendigos and reivers) are only encountered in one hub each.
  • The game could perhaps have benefited from more RPG elements. I wouldn't want it to rob from the action, though...
  • Balky inventory system, carried over from Heretic. Probably due more to engine limitations than anything else, but it means most of my junk will never get used.

Things I actually hate about the game:

  • Fighting that heresiarch twice. Really? Just... really?? And then Deathkings pulls the same shenanigan. Also the Heresiarch himself. The purple attack is cool, summoning bishops is cool, homing fireballs that never die or crash into a wall or anything are NOT cool, and invulnerability to attack is NOT cool.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the game from start to finish (except certain parts of hub 4). When I try to think of ways the game could be improved, I usually end up concluding that some of the weapons need to be re-worked, ammo consumption needs to be re-balanced, a tome of power added in, and some inventory items removed or replaced. We could introduce a leveling-up system, perhaps adding "perk points" for the player's favorite weapon(s). Then, for balance's sake, we need more and harder monsters.

 

I've actually given a lot of thought to making a Hexen mod, and concluded that I don't have all the creativity needed. But if anyone else wanted to collaborate, I could probably come up with some interesting puzzle designs (I'm a mathematician -- this should be fun! :-D), maybe some level, monster, and weapon designs...

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TBH, I hated Hexen the first time I played it, but after a few replays I started to appreciate it more.

 

In terms of art style, sound and atmosphere, I like Hexen much more than Doom. And I think the writing is awesome as well, sometimes reminding you that the main character is fucking scared, just like everyone else would be in that situation. The option to choose different characters is also cool.

 

When it comes to the level design, I don't think it's that great. I don't have any complaints about the hub system on itself, but the fact that you may (and probably will) miss a switch because it was behind a statue or something gets annoying after a while. And it isn't a game you can play once a week either, because you will forget the little information the game gives you, leaving you completely lost.

 

It isn't a bad game by any means IMO, but I think Doom is a better game overall. I do like Hexen much more than Heretic though, probably because Heretic seems like a copypaste of Doom with a different skin, instead of being its own thing.

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7 minutes ago, KVELLER said:

When it comes to the level design, I don't think it's that great. I don't have any complaints about the hub system on itself, but the fact that you may (and probably will) miss a switch because it was behind a statue or something gets annoying after a while. And it isn't a game you can play once a week either, because you will forget the little information the game gives you, leaving you completely lost.

This is exactly what is wrong with using the Doom engine for a game like Hexen. The game can't just put the switch out there in the open, or else it's just Doom. But there aren't many ways for the game to tell you, "there's a switch in this room -- keep poking around until you find it."

 

10 minutes ago, KVELLER said:

It isn't a bad game by any means IMO, but I think Doom is a better game overall. I do like Hexen much more than Heretic though, probably because Heretic seems like a copypaste of Doom with a different skin, instead of being its own thing.

Agreed -- Doom has more re-play value than Hexen can ever dream of having. Solving the same puzzle over and over again is just pointless and dull.

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I must be one of few that loves Hexen...and it's understandable in many points. I like the dark ambience of the maps, the music. It's challenging if you play as the fighter or the cleric, especially in the hardest difficulty (mage is OP, you can perfectly finish the game with only the sapphire wand). Everyone says that the weakest point of the game is the puzzles and the hubs. For a first time of gameplay, yes, it's confusing. But if you decide to take the time investing the game then you realize that it's not like that. The use of items is a specific point is crucial, like the disks of repulsion and the flechettes for the enemies or the bosses. Heck, even the porkalator is useful in certain situations if you want to save mana. And I bet that the most hated enemy in the game for all players is the Centaur/Slaughtaur and for obvious reasons....entering to invincible status each time you hit them, repeling projectiles (careful with the Wraithverge) and a powerful projectile attack. 

 

For RPG mechanics, everyone can try the Wrath of Cronos mod just to add a layer of fun gameplay, you know. Or try the Serpent: Resurrection mod for a great experience. By the way, there's not a lot of mapsets or mods for Hexen and that's a shame because the game itself has potential imo.

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Hexen is a good game. It's atmospheric and exploration-oriented, the art and music are nice, and the monsters and environments are cool. The pace is slow, but that's more to support it being atmospheric and exploration-oriented rather than making it a fast, constant-action game like Doom. The puzzles can be annoying, but the game is highly replayable once you know where to go because it becomes quick, easy, and casual. Some people have mentioned here and elsewhere that they hate that the Heresiarch is reused, but I like that there is a combination of reusable (Heresiarch, Wyvern) and non-reusable bosses.

 

The only real problem is that it's such a one-off game. It's perfectly self-contained. It has puzzle items that are only fun to use in their original context, and it gets all the mileage that it is possible to get out of the limited monsters over the course of the game. The weapon and monster balance is pretty terrible unless you view it as a casual, self-contained game, which means that it's extremely difficult to create interesting pwads with what is available. The engine is versatile and could be adapted easily to make interesting mapsets if you were willing to invest in custom content creation, but otherwise, there's very little that you can add to the game that wasn't already done in Hexen itself.

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I hated it as a kid, but it has certainly grown on me enough to appreciate it over Heretic. The levels were well designed, and though some of the puzzles were outright obscure, the backtracking wasn't always that painful. The hub execution was better done in the first three hubs, with linearity becoming a little more pervasive in the last two, but it kept my interest all the way through. The limited arsenal was a shame, but was somewhat made up for by having three classes and an inventory with items that could be used to push monsters off cliffs, cause infighting, etc. 

 

Out of the three classes, I enjoyed the fighter the most due to the weapons being less reliant on mana, the hammer being great for crowd control, and how melee fighting kept the gameplay a little more dynamic versus chipping off HP from a distance with the sapphire wand. About the sapphire wand, I hate it for its grindy nature and annoying SFX, and I also hate the mage class.

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I love hexen more than doom. Hexen is the bee's knees. It has more atmosphere than any other old FPS, hands down, and the gameplay really isn't as flawed as doom-centric players would have you believe. Before you criticise hexen's ammo system/monster selection/etc, take a second to think about the many bizarre problems in doom that we've managed to work around for twenty years. Doom's ammo system is broken. Doom's palette is an unplanned mishmash. Doom has whole maps dedicated to melee gameplay even though the melee weapons in doom literally do not work properly. I could go on like this for several pages tbqh.

 

Incidentally, anyone who likes hexen should play Shadow of Chronos. It's the one genuinely excellent hexen pwad out there.

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11 minutes ago, Grain of Salt said:

I love hexen more than doom. Hexen is the bee's knees. It has more atmosphere than any other old FPS, hands down, and the gameplay really isn't as flawed as doom-centric players would have you believe. Before you criticise hexen's ammo system/monster selection/etc, take a second to think about the many bizarre problems in doom that we've managed to work around for twenty years. Doom's ammo system is broken. Doom's palette is an unplanned mishmash. Doom has whole maps dedicated to melee gameplay even though the melee weapons in doom literally do not work properly. I could go on like this for several pages tbqh.

 

Incidentally, anyone who likes hexen should play Shadow of Chronos. It's the one genuinely excellent hexen pwad out there.

There's Wolfen, Tower of Chaos and A New World...great mapsets...Necrosis, Centromere...

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11 minutes ago, leodoom85 said:

There's Wolfen, Tower of Chaos and A New World...great mapsets...Necrosis, Centromere...

I played Tower of Chaos, and it's the best fan-made map pack I've played. (For Hexen, that is).

 

I tried Wolfen, but it bugged on me. I found a book, tried to place it on the bookshelf, but it just wouldn't "place." :-( So I didn't get to finish. Didn't seem as awesome as ToC though...

 

I also played one called Shannara.wad, which had a highly memorable castle map in it. There were dungeons and sewage at the lower levels, as well as ornate dining halls and bedrooms at the upper levels, towers and battlements.... You really could forget that there were no rooms-over-rooms! The rest of the WAD was kinda meh; couple of bugs, one of which could break the game. I was just really impressed with the castle. :-)

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Also...one more thing. Everyone who played Hexen knows the pro and cons of the classes.

  • Fighter is powerful, less mana consumer. The fists are great, the axe is great with more power and insane range and the hammer is perfect for cleaning hordes in seconds. Quietus is......ok, not much useful. Even without mana, you can STILL use the axe and the hammer and also you can save mana with the hammer if you get close to those poor bastards. And it's faster...great use of flechettes as "grenades". The only time that I use the Quietus is if you encounter the wyrm (that's in some mapsets).
  • Cleric has the worst initial weapon....the mace....damn. Serpent Staff is really useful thanks to that leeching ability. The firestorm plain sucks and it uses a lot of mana, not worthy. And.......everyone knows the Wraithverge and how it works (be careful on centaurs/slaughtaurs/Heresiarch's shield). Flechettes are really useful though and you can have fun with the disks of repulsion :D. 
  • OK....the mage...really, you don't need the other 3 weapons for the entire game. Use the Arc of Death on bosses or more important targets. Mage is like the sniper of Hexen. Unlimited ammo for the initial weapon, flechettes sucks and he's slow and weaker just to compensate how OP he is...

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11 minutes ago, leodoom85 said:

Quietus is......ok, not much useful.

I think this weapon is a bit underrated. (Just a bit.) It is good for bosses, but requires you to get close to them. IMO, this is very much in keeping with the whole fighter philosophy, and requires some aggression that is lost by the hammer. It's also OK for hordes of tougher monsters at close to medium range. Mana cost is a bit much, though...

 

13 minutes ago, leodoom85 said:

flechettes sucks

Ah, but they don't! They are one of only 2 attacks in the game which ignore the shields of centaurs/slaughtaurs and the Heresiarch -- the other being the cleric's flechettes. So you can actually dispatch groups of centaurs/slaughtaurs fairly quickly by stunning them with the wand, running forward and planting one or two flechettes, then running back. Due to this trick, I find the mage's flechettes to be the most valuable of all. :-)

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It's okay, but I could never really get into it. Something about it feels...hollow. I'm not sure how to describe it. Maybe it felt like an arcade-like Heretic while not really accomplishing either very well. For those who like TL;DRs, here's my thought: Doom > Heretic > Hexen

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While i like heXen, i like heretic better since it's a more straight forward game. Definitely demands way more atention from the player. Not your average FPS for sure.

There a lots of things that annoy me, such as the infamous "A door has been unlocked somewhere" or "A fourth of the puzzle has been solved" messages, but it's a good game, i have fond memories of playing heXen coop sessions and laughing my ass off because we kept falling off on some parts and the falling sound it's hilarious. My favorite class was the cleric, specially since the flechettes were quite overpowered and i loved to drop them on the centaurs and hear them howl in pain.

Years later i tried to finish it again and play it by myself but i lost interest mid game and i didn't finished it.

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What I hate about Hexen can be summed up very simply: pixel-bitching.

 

"Search the whole level for the brown switch in the corner of two brown walls behind a brown tree if you want to continue" is not my idea of fun.

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3 hours ago, 42PercentHealth said:

The combat is too easy.

Especially that. I can remember killing the centaurs, as a cleric, with just the mace (it was just ok as a weapon), to save mana, even though it was enough I think. And your other points are also true.

 

Now to answer your original question @TFK, after the classic Dooms, my favourite shooter is Hexen and I explained the reasons in another thread, so here it is (it was more of a <<what Hexen did well>> post, but it should do the trick):

Spoiler

I liked Hexen, which nailed the fantasy setting, in my opinion. It added classes and the inventory system, with many interesting items (dark servant, porkalator, wings of wrath, e.t.c.), providing more variety and customizability. Also, the music added the needed feeling of dread and the game did very well on the <<You are alone fighting hordes of enemies>> scenario, with its plot about the corrupted kings, the elves and everything else. And I will never forget the whole earthquake-explosion thing, that happened after beating Heresiarch in the third hub. I couldn't believe my eyes. The only similar thing to this I remember seeing is Duke Nukem 3D in the second stage, where the building collapses after a few button presses.

 

Hexen was a bit of a late comer to the party though, being released on 1995, yet I find it amazing what Raven did with this game for its time.

Then you have the weapons (I can tell you only what I had as a cleric):

Mace: Ettin Destroyer and savior of the ammo.

Serpent staff: My personal choice against most enemies. Very useful weapon in combat. It drains health from the opponent and it throws poison. Beware of the Centaurs.

Firestorm: I used it only to snipe, kill Serpents (if that is what they are called or kill the afrits in one shot (unless they were bastards and needed more shots).

Wraithverge: Nothing to say about it. It was easily worth all the searching for its pieces and although it drains from both ammo types simultaneously, again it is worth it having a weapon of mass destruction at your disposal.

Magnificent arsenal of weapons as a whole.

 

What I hated about Hexen:

(Spoiler at this one)

Spoiler

At the final boss, when you kill Korax (it was a cool boss fight), he releases some souls, similar to the Wraithverge and that almost got me, but I managed to end it, just in time. It was a bit too much, having gone through the whole boss fight and I wouldn't want to replay it, just because of a stupid trap. Heressiarch's explosion was great though and it left you a lot of time to escape.

Cleric's flechettes. They didn't deserve to be used and I was full stacked of them the whole time. Except when I first faced Heressiarch, where they ended up being useful.

(Spoiler here too)

Spoiler

When you face the three leaders, each in a tomb, I would have preferred more space at the Cleric's tomb (the others had ok big rooms), when facing him and maybe some technique in killing them, other than <<press mouse 4 times while equipped with Wraithverge>> (maybe it was different for the Mage and the Warrior). It is a bit crappy knowing that these undead men were very strong while they lived and when resurrected by Korax, more powerful than they ever were, they got destroyed so fast, by the last survivor, who is being hunted down, hopeless, by legions of monsters.

 

Overall, I loved Hexen and I will replay it sometime (it is like I played 2/5 of the game, by choosing the cleric and there are two more choices), once I finish some of the wads I am playing currently (I started playing too many of them, at the same time). And I now have the whole Heretic/Hexen collection, so this is going to be a really fun trip.

 

 

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@ShotgunDemolition, FYI, the ghosts released by Korax when he dies only last a few seconds, and only swirl around his corpse. They won't chase you down or anything. Game's not quite that mean. ;-)

 

4 minutes ago, ShotgunDemolition said:

When you face the three leaders, each in a tomb, I would have preferred more space at the Cleric's tomb (the others had ok big rooms), when facing him and maybe some technique in killing them, other than <<press mouse 4 times while equipped with Wraithverge>> (maybe it was different for the Mage and the Warrior). It is a bit crappy knowing that these undead men were very strong while they lived and when resurrected by Korax, more powerful than they ever were, they got destroyed so fast, by the last survivor, who is being hunted down, hopeless, by legions of monsters.

Yeah, the cleric's final weapon puts the other two to shame. Fighting the three mini-bosses in that last hub is not quite so easy with the other classes...

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Hexen is a beautiful game, with a deep fantasy theme. Everything in it is dreamy, reminds me of Lord of the Rings and similar stories. And it's not garish like Heretic: places actually look like they were inhabited by simple people and then devastated by wars or plague. They don't look like spoiled rich mage playgrounds, as in Heretic.

 

The gameplay is also really satisfying, cutting through all the meat, with every monster gibbing spectacularly and making crunch noises. I love the magic attacks of the cleric and mage as well.

 

Problems with the game? Here they are:

- Game isn't the most bug-free out there. It has a well-known unwinnable situation near the end (when you're almost done!) of Gibbet.

- Heresiarch is really weak, totally lacks the threat rating of the maulotaur or cyberdemon. Yet he's a pet favorite of the Hexen designers.

- Korax is really weak compared to his younger brother, mad scheming crazy-prepared D'sparil.

 

I admit I did visit gamefaqs.com once or twice to find some obscure puzzles. Most notably it was that circular cascade in gibbet which didn't look like a portal. But it wasn't generally that bad. Most switches were actually quite visible or behind obstacles you were tempted to break anyway. And failing that, they were simply visible in the automap, because Hexen switches are always recessed in special boxes, easy to recognize in the map.

 

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2 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

FYI, the ghosts released by Korax when he dies only last a few seconds, and only swirl around his corpse. They won't chase you down or anything. Game's not quite that mean. ;-)

 

Oh, I didn't know that. I was going to fool around and say: <<Yes, I beat Hexen. Eat that Korax!>>, but then the souls started damaging me and I immediately proceeded to finish the game, with low health.

 

Also, did the ending seem to you a bit on the more evil side of things? I mean, I was expecting something like: Korax is dead, you destroy his powerful tool (that thing under his possession, that controlled the entire battlefield) and you live happily ever after, until the next rider approaches. Instead, I got: Korax is dead, you use his tool and the tide turns towards your favour. But couldn't the character I chose get evil, while having so much power? (sure the character did good for all the world, but he is no god, so he could be changed and tempted). I believe it could have been done in a better way, as an ending. And I think the game showed a picture of Heresiarch at the end (IIRC), which was weird to me seeing him again, but I will see about that in the expansion.

 

Lesson of the day: Don't tease your enemies, until they have played all of their cards.    :)

9 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

Fighting the three mini-bosses in that last hub is not quite so easy with the other classes...

Another thing I learned today. I guess that cancels 2/3 of my point, so good job Hexen on having less negatives, I guess!   :D

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15 minutes ago, ShotgunDemolition said:

Also, did the ending seem to you a bit on the more evil side of things? I mean, I was expecting something like: Korax is dead, you destroy his powerful tool (that thing under his possession, that controlled the entire battlefield) and you live happily ever after, until the next rider approaches. Instead, I got: Korax is dead, you use his tool and the tide turns towards your favour. But couldn't the character I chose get evil, while having so much power? (sure the character did good for all the world, but he is no god, so he could be changed and tempted). I believe it could have been done in a better way, as an ending. And I think the game showed a picture of Heresiarch at the end (IIRC), which was weird to me seeing him again, but I will see about that in the expansion.

Obvious sequel hook is obvious! Yeah, they couldn't destroy the chaos sphere in the end of Hexen because it's needed for the end of Hexen 2. Also, the Heresiarch is shown at the end of Heretic; the hand at the chessboard in Hexen's closing screen belongs to the third Serpent Rider, Eidolon, whom you get to fight at the end of Hexen 2.

 

Play Hexen 2, buddy! It's every bit as good as 1. :-)

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The only thing I couldn't really get behind in Hexen was having only four weapons.  I'm sorry, but I love my needlessly huge arsenal of big boomy things.

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21 minutes ago, 42PercentHealth said:

Yeah, they couldn't destroy the chaos sphere in the end of Hexen because it's needed for the end of Hexen 2

Not to derail this with lore discussion, but I'm pretty sure that *each* Serpent Rider has its own Chaos Sphere, so there are three total, and the one in Hexen/Deathkings is separate from the one in Hexen II. The real question is, what happened to D'Sparil's?

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I love Hexen. It's like, a real shitty FPS with such amazing atmosphere I don't mind. Also punch punch PUNCH!ing stuff as the fighter is amazetesticles, as the kids these days like to say.

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