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2009/12/23

Apocalypse Then: Heretic

256px-Heretic

15 Years of Heretic

On this day in gaming, 23 December, in 1994, Heretic was released.

It’s a FPS shooter developed by Raven Software and published by id Software. It was one of the first games in the long lasting relationship between the two companies.

For years afterwards Raven would use id game engines for their own projects, and later on id would outsource their projects to Raven to develop, like Quake 4 and Wolfenstein, until recently when id was bought out by ZeniMax Media, for that very reason – publishers were hesitant about doing business with id because some games in their series were externally developed by Raven and published by Activision, the parent company.

While John Romero was still with id Software, he was the Executive Producer and Game Designer  on Heretic. The game used the id Tech 1 engine, used in the original Doom games, except with some added functionality, like being able to look up and down and featured “gibs” – a term that became well-known over the years.

Instead of the usual weapons associated with most FPSs of the time, the weapons were modelled more after a fantastical, magical arsenal, seeing as the main protagonist, the player’s character was a Sidhe elf, who possessed magical powers.

Like Doom, the original release of Heretic was available through mail order, in addition to the shareware version, and had three episodes. The retail edition that came out later on included another two episodes. This was the expansion, Shadow of the Serpent Riders, essentially an extended version of the mail-order one, although their was a patch that could be downloaded for people who all ready had the mail-order one to upgrade it free of charge.

The game was nowhere near as popular as the Doom series, although it did well enough to receive several sequels in the Hexen series, as well as Heretic II.

Nowadays you can run Heretic on modern systems, most simply by using the JDoom or Doomsday source port which supports Heretic and Hexen, as well as the Doom games.

You can pick Heretic up here, if you want to play a classic.


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