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I just finished the 3rd episode from Heretic on the 4th difficulty and I wanted to write down my thoughts (something like a review, although not that serious). I guess the first 3 episodes are the base game and the expansion is the next 2 episodes, so my opinion should be the same for the next 2 episodes, more or less (unless the game pulls a <<Thy Flesh Consumed>> on me).
First of all, the game was fun to me. The atmosphere was just nice. It stands perfectly between Doom and Hexen. The music fits the game, although I don't find it especially memorable. After playing 3 episodes, I can pretty much remember 2 or 3 tracks.
Also, the levels are well designed I guess, but they can be somewhat abstract. I feel like they are a playground filled with toys for me to come and play, compared to Hexen's levels that seem dilapidated (they conveyed a more believable setting). And the secrets were mostly easy to find and I almost always got all of them.
For the ambushes, I can say the game is based mostly on closet ambushes and they work pretty well. From a point and after you will look everywhere, after hitting a switch, getting a key or opening a door.
Now for the weapons, my main gripe is that I didn't feel like the game gave me an ultimate weapon. Doom had the BFG, Hexen had the Wraithverge, or the Quietus or the Bloodscourge. Heretic had what? Was it the Phoenix Rod? I don't know.
To be honest, I never had an ammo problem in the game. It was plentifully distributed in each map and I got many secrets on my way.
Here is my opinion on each weapon:
- Gauntlets of the Necromancer: Way cooler than the Doom chainsaw in my opinion.
- Staff: Your typical melee.
- Elven wand: Like the Doom pistol, but it is still viable later in the game, so I think it is better (I used it for the Gargoyles).
- Ethereal Crossbow: The Doom shotgun in other words, although it didn't feel as satisfying as the shotgun to me. However, it helps in the entire game and it can be used against many different opponents, so it is ok.
- Dragon Claw: The Doom Chaingun. Faster than the Elven wand and useful. Cool weapon.
- Hellstaff: I don't know if this is the Plasma rifle, but I love it!!! It is my favourite weapon and ammo for it is pretty easy to find. Great weapon! Thank you Raven for such a masterpiece!!!
- Phoenix Rod: The Doom Rocket Launcher. To be honest, I'm kinda disappointed with it. I wanted so much more from this weapon and it doesn't satisfy me, but I used it in very few situations, so I can't complain much. Very useful against Iron Liches (3 to 4 shots).
- Firemace: What is this supposed to be? Why should I use this, instead of the Hellstaff which has 100 more ammo units, when full stacked? I don't know.
And the enemies:
- Gargoyle: A fun little flying enemy, that is not a threat even at the start of the game. There are also Fire Gargoyles, that can shoot... you guessed it, fireballs.
- Golem: Something like a Pinky or an Imp. You can take care of him with the Gauntlets, if you want to save ammo. Golems also have a variation, which is called Nitrogolems. And you can't tell the difference most of the time, except from when they attack (they are not that dangerous in either form). What does this remind me of, hmmmm? Maybe Hexen has something similar. Like, let's say Centaurs and Slaughtaurs. Who else does this thing except Raven?
- Undead warrior: Tall skeleton guy (Revenant in disguise), throws green and red axes, with the red ones dealing more damage. An easy to face enemy with the crossbow.
- Sabreclaw: Its scream is like having nails tear apart metal or something. It is easily the most terrifying thing in the game. Luckily, they die in 3 blasts from the Crossbow and they are knocked back by the Crossbow.
- Weredragon: An enemy with a cool design, that can melee and shoot fireballs. Something like the Hell Knight. I like those guys!
- Ophidian: A lizard like being that throws projectiles from its staff. It is best to take those guys out as fast as you can. And they look good.
- Disciple of D'Sparil: A mage who throws 3 purple energy balls, while talking in an ancient language or something (similar enemy in Hexen). In groups they are dangerous and they too have a lot of health, despite them being mages.
- Iron Lich: You can see those guys pretty often, as a mini boss of sorts. They have 3 spells and if you play the game a bit, you will get used to them. They are ok I guess and they die pretty quickly with the Phoenix Rod.
- Maulotaur: He is the king of bulletsponges. He might have the largest health bar in the whole game. His attacks are devastating and if you get hit by 2 of his ground attacks, you are dead (I died one shot this way, in E2M8). Even with the Power tomes he takes a lot of time to kill. Probably the only time I found the Firemace useful (combine with a powertome).
- D'Sparil: An ok boss that deals the right amounts of damage and he teleports somewhere around 5000 times. I was chasing him around the battlefield to kill him.
Generally, I can say the enemies in Heretic have variety and are great, but they are all, more or less, bulletsponges. That's the one thing I disliked about them.
Additionally, the items are good and most of them are pretty useful, especially the Power tomes and the Invulnerability ring. The healing items I used very rarely and the Wings of Wrath were useful in getting some secrets or escaping a damaging floor.
Now for the Power tomes, they are easily the best mechanism in the game. I was only disappointed about the Phoenix Rod's secondary mode, which was a flamethrower and it didn't help that much. The other weapon modes were awesome.
My favourite things in the game are: The Cathedral (a map in E1), the Weredragon, the Power tome, the Hellstaff and that wave-like texture, used mainly in E3 (it looked really good).
Overall, I can say Corvus is a true badass and Heretic is a nice and enjoyable game, but almost everything in its formula got improved in Hexen. Still a nice start for Raven and I am going to play the next two episodes too. After that, Hexen 2!
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I've done it quite a few times, but there is the rare occasion when he damages me faster than I can heal. Otherwise, if you start hitting him right as you use the tome of power, you should easily kill him before the power wears off.
Sorry, but today I couldn't reply to the rest of the posts, until now.
First of all, @Ichor, those tips about the Firemace will be especially useful for the rest of my run in the game. I may finally have the right purpose for it as a weapon and I will try to use it a bit more, despite it being somewhat boring of an ultimate weapon.
Also, thank you @Fonze for saying that you enjoyed my thoughts and stuff.
About BPPT, I may try that in the future, but only for the first 3 episodes, since killing all enemies in E4M1 was hard and I guess more toughness is waiting for me. Also, don't enemies respawn like in Nightmare on Doom? Because if so, then it may be more doable and fun (and challenging). Besides, it said in the wiki that you get more ammo from the ammo pickups (50% iirc), with the enemys' health staying the same. It's just that the enemys will be more offensive, if I could guess.
And for the tomed Firemace, I used it only in E3 on a Maulotaur. I generally used the Hellstaff or the Dragon claw a lot when there was a need for a tomed weapon and about the tomed Phoenix Rod, I didn't know how useful its secondary would have been and before I could use it efficiently, I got double ground hit by the Maulotaurs in E2M8. Going to replay that map, for testing purposes (kill monsters command, give all and spawn Maulotaurs or whatever these commands might be for Heretic).
BPPT Gives 50% more ammo and doubles enemy speed; there is no respawning. The extra ammo is only negligible save for the rare map that comically is more difficult on smite meister because its author artificially created its difficulty through ammo starvation. But most of the time the extra pressure offsets the extra ammo.
The -fast speed is what gives the slow, straight-shooting projectile and melee monsters an edge to be more equivalent to Doom's difficulty level. Idk, Heretic feels kinda... sad, when played with monsters at normal speed. At least as far as the iWad goes.