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Video Game: Hexen
(...) I'm a shirtless Viking guy and I just punched an entire level to death and a giant flaming skull asked me if I was ready to die and omfg this game is METAL.

One ninth of the puzzle has been solved on the...
—The game, many, many times.

Hexen is a First-Person Shooter released in 1995 by Raven Software as a sequel to Heretic. It, like Heretic, took place in a fantasy setting and utilized the Doom engine, incorporating the features of its predecessor (an inventory system, ambient sounds, translucency, freelook, et cetera) as well as adding further improvements such as the ability to move sections of the level horizontally (as opposed to the strictly vertical movement of Doom and Heretic) as well as a hub system, allowing the player to move between levels.

In addition to various engine tweaks it utilized a class system that allowed the player to choose between three different characters: Baratus the Fighter, Daedolon the Mage, and Parias the Cleric, each with their own weapons, strengths, weaknesses and item functions.

The game chronicles the quest of one (or more) of the characters to find and defeat the Serpent Rider Korax, partner of Heretic's D'Sparil and current ruler of your character's home dimension. The manual provides a bit of backstory detailing who the Serpent Riders are, how Korax conquered nearly all of the world, just how the Warrior, Mage and Cleric came to be the last warrior, cleric and mage free from Korax's influence and how one of them would end up becoming separated from the other two, forcing them to do on their own what they had little hope of doing together, but all you really need to know is that you need to kill Korax, and the only thing that stands between you and the most dangerous arch-demon your world has ever seen is his army of giant fire-breathing serpents, centaurs, gargoyles and God only knows what else, all of whom inhabit a series of trap-filled caves, castles, swamps and dungeons. Oh, and the triumvirate of rulers that controlled every aspect of society, who are now under Korax's influence and wield artifact weapons of unimaginable power.

You know, business as usual.

Shortly thereafter Death Kings of the Dark Citadel was released, an Expansion Pack that picked up where Hexen left off: The three characters have been transported to the Realm of the Dead, and must now lay siege to the eponymous Citadel of the Death Kings in order to return to the world of the living.

Two years after that Raven released Hexen II, which used a modified version of the Quake engine. Set in the world of Thyrion, Hexen II pits four new characters - the Paladin, the Crusader, the Necromancer and the Assassin - against Eidolon, the last of the Serpent Riders, and his four generals. In addition to the aforementioned features of the first Hexen, the sequel added unique abilities, a level-up system and sundry other technical features to the engine.

Following this was the Portal of Praevus mission pack: An unnatural winter has set in, and rumors begin circulating about a sorcerer using wild magic to reclaim the souls of the three Serpent Riders to do his bidding, effectively becoming the supreme power in the universe and requiring him to be put down with all due haste. Still featuring the four curiously depowered characters from the original game, Portal of Praevus introduced a fifth character, the Demoness, who was less interested in saving the world alongside the original four classes and more interested in reclaiming the soul of her former master Eidolon so it could rest in peace.


Hexen contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Pretty much the entire lore of the series is only found in the manuals. There is very little of it in-game, and most of it is contradictory to the manual's information.
  • Already Undone for You: In Hexen II, , the player comes across many messages left behind by a previous adventurer named Tyranith, who, like the Player Character, is trying to kill Eidolon and his generals. But then, when you start killing those generals yourself, the notes keep coming, implying that Tyranith had already killed them. Turns out, he did indeed kill all four generals singlehandedly and was on his way to deal with Eidolon, but then you find his last note. It explains that Eidolon's power source, the Chaos Sphere, has revived the generals (which is why you had to kill them all again), and that he expects another battle or two will result in his death. A few rooms later, you find his corpse
  • An Axe to Grind: Timor's Axe in Hexen, the Paladin's axe in Hexen II.
  • Ancient Grome: Hexen II's fourth hub, Septimus.
  • Artistic License - Physics: There are several instances (especially in the third hub) of platforms which are raised and lowered on very visible chains. But due to a Doom engine limitation, in all instances the chains stay stationary relative to the wall on which they run; since they're hoisting the platform, they should be stationary relative to the platform, as anyone who's been on a roller-coaster near the front (or seen such a video) will know.
  • Attack Reflector: One boss-type enemy creates three orbs that will reflect any ranged attack. Seeking weapons (including the Wraith Verge) are also retargetted against the source of the attack.
    • Centaurs and Slaughtaurs can also reflect non-Hit Scan projectiles with their shields. Fortunately, you can use this to your advantage if you're fighting a horde of them by getting your projectile reflected into another enemy, most likely resulting in infighting.
  • Back Stab: One of the Assassin's class skills lets her attack enemies from behind For Massive Damage.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Porkalator item in Hexen transforms enemies into pigs, while the Seal of the Ovinomancer in Hexen II turns them into sheep.
  • BFG:
    • The best example is the Wraith Verge (The Cleric's ultimate weapon): It is the most costly weapon to fire note  but it's even easier to use than the Doom BFG as you do not even have to be facing the enemies you wish to take out. Four separate screaming wraiths fly around and each will chase after Mooks in the vicinity causing them severe damage or death. The ghosts can even grievously injure the final boss.
    • The Mage's "Blood Scourge" fits the bill as well, though it does not quite have the ease of use of the "Wraith Verge". For best results, herd a group of monsters into a cluster and fire away. Three balls of fire fly around and home into monsters in the vicinity and can penetrate many of them for severe damage.
  • BFS: Quietus, the Fighter's ultimate weapon. Also counts as a Flaming Sword. Does NOT count as a melee weapon. It effectively acts as the Fighter's BFG and is very effective at mowing through clusters of Mooks at short to medium ranges.
    • Since you can absolutely ravage enemies by attacking them close enough that all 5 fireballs shot out of it hit them, it's probably closer to call it a "shotsword".
    • Given that the Quietus (like the other ultimate weapons) is assembled out of three separate pieces, it likely would be too fragile to use as an actual melee weapon.
  • Big Bad: Korax in Hexen and Eidolon of Hexen II, the remaining two Serpent Riders.
  • Big Red Devil: Eidolon.
  • Booby Trap
  • Bottomless Pits: None of them are bottomless, but the sheer number of deadly drops in Hexen is insane. Since Hexen is the first game in the id Tech 1 engine that has fall damage, the discovery can be rather jarring for first-time players used to Doom and Heretic.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Ice Hold in Deathkings of the Dark Citadel. You remember those obnoxiously deadly Wendigos? How about a stage completely full of them?
  • Chess Motif: Hexen seems rather fond of these. Korax mentions "Sweeping you off the board" at one point (which is also the player's death message if they're killed by him,) and the player getting the Chaos Orb is described as being like a pawn getting promoted to a queen. The last shot of the game is of a chess board with pieces for the player(s) and Korax, and Eidolon pulling the Korax piece off the board.
  • Church Militant: The Church in the original Hexen (and, by extension, the Cleric character). The Paladin from Hexen II serves the war god Kravnos.
  • Clown-Car Grave: Reivers usually spawn from these.
  • Co-Dragons
    • The former leaders of the humans — Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir — in Hexen.
    • The Horsemen in Hexen II.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The three parts of the Fighter's fourth weapon glow green, as does the assembled weapon. Likewise blue for the Cleric's fourth weapon and red for the Mage's.
  • Coop Multiplayer: It's quite fun to play co-op with each player taking a different class, but the lack of a Friendly Fireproof option ensures that some of you will kill each other by accident at least once.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Wraithverge summons a swarm of angry souls to tear enemies to shreds, and it's wielded by the Cleric.
  • Dead End Room: The Axe Room in version 1.0, if you trigger the "non-appearing Heresiarch" bug.
  • Deadly Gas: The Cleric can break flechettes to create clouds of lingering poison gas. The Demoness can throw Glyphs for the same effect in the Hexen II expansion
    • Don't forget the gas-spewing mushrooms. You can hear them squeaking from a mile away.
  • Descending Ceiling
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Many objects in Hexen II can be destroyed. This is even needed by a few puzzles.
  • Drop the Hammer: For the Cleric, the Crusader and the Warrior. The first has a footman's mace, the second has a warhammer, and the third has a warhammer that launches other hammers that explode.
  • Esoteric Motifs: The level "Menelkir's Tomb" from Hexen consists of a circle of four large rooms connected by four smaller rooms, with the boss room in the center. Each of the large rooms is themed on one of the four elements - ice and water in the Water room, a huge open pit in the Air room, dirt and brown/green walls in the Earth room, and lava in the Fire room.
    • Not only that, but each level is shaped like the corresponding alchemical symbol for each element — earth, a circle with a cross; air, a circle with a dot in the center; fire, an empty circle; and water, a circle with a line through it.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The player characters of Hexen II.
  • Evil Gloating: Korax taunts you at the beginning of every hub in Hexen.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The sparse story for the Assassin and Necromancer in Hexen II is this. See Sociopathic Hero and Villain Protagonist.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Fighter Mage Cleric, technically, but it's the thought that counts.
    • In Hexen II, it's Crusader/Paladin/Necromancer/Assassin.
    • The expansion to II added a Demoness.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: In Hexen and Hexen 2, only the Fighter and Paladin are manly enough to beat up the offending monsters using their armored fists, rather than starting off with a conventional (or not-so-conventional) weapon.
  • Guide Dang It: II has a lot of these, particularly in Thysis.
    • Getting to the Effluvium from the Dungeons in the first game can be a bit of a minor one, since you're supposed to get there by fumbling around in a pitch black tunnel until you accidentally fall into a bottomless pit that, instead of killing you, takes you to a hidden room in the Effluvium instead. If you explored the tunnel with a torch, saw the pit and thought "Yeah, nice try game" since it's had you stumble through pitch black tunnels into more-lethal bottomless pits before, or are the kind of player who reloads as soon as you hear the "death by falling damage" scream, you're going to have some problems.
  • Gratuitous German: The title.
  • Grim Reaper: Death
  • Hit Points: Combined with a Life Meter represented by a gem on a chain. The gem slid to the left as the number went down.
  • Horse Men Of The Apocalypse The bosses in II
  • Horse of a Different Color: In II, the horseman Pestilence rides an enormous boar instead of a horse.
  • Hub Level: Trope Codifier, and an interesting gimmick at the time. To be reused two years later after its original release, by Spyro the Dragon.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Each class has its own set:
    • In Hexen, each class has five levels:
      • For the Fighter: Squire, Knight, Warrior, Berserker, Titan.
      • For the Cleric: Altar Boy, Acolyte, Priest, Cardinal, Pope.
      • For the Mage: Apprentice, Enchanter, Sorcerer, Warlock, Archmage.
    • In Hexen II, each class has four levels:
      • For the Paladin: Apprentice, Squire, Adept, Lord.
      • For the Crusader: Gallant, Holy Avenger, Divine Hero, Legend.
      • For the Necromancer: Sorcerer, Dark Servant, Warlock, Lich King.
      • For the Assassin: Rogue, Cutthroat, Executioner, Widow Maker.
      • For the Demoness (expansion only): Larva, Spawn, Fiend, She Bitch.
  • IKEA Weaponry: The fourth and final weapons in Hexen have to be assembled from three parts scattered across the hubs. Fortunately they're in plain sight. One secret level even has all the parts in one place.
  • Jack of All Stats:
    • The Cleric: The character is reasonably fast, and the most flexible with both an "okay" melee weapon, and a Serpent Staff with ranged capability and a potent melee Life Drain ability. In contrast to his Jack of All Stats arsenal, his BFG is very destructive for how little effort it requires to use. (see BFG above)
  • Kill It with Fire: The Cleric's Firestorm and the Mage's Bloodscourge.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Mage's Frost Shard weapon is basically a magic icicle shotgun that can freeze enemies, with the outcome you'd normally expect from something getting instantly frozen solid. The Crusader's Ice Mace has a similar effect, and Wendigos are capable of doing the same to you.
    • As are some traps, most notably one in "Guardian of Ice".
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Warrior is the fastest of the three characters in Hexen. He kind of has to be, though, since he's going to be doing most of his fighting in close quarters.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: To a lesser degree than standard, as the game lacks Leveling Up and has more in common with a standard FPS. The main issues with the Fighter (warrior) is his limited long-range capability, which encourages "creativity" when facing many ranged monsters, such as herding the monsters into a close-quarters vantage-point where his weapons truly shine.
  • Liquid Assets: The Serpent Staff can drain health from enemies and transfer it to the Cleric when used in close quarters.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: One you hear during the ethereal travel loading screen. The fact it's recycled during the ending doesn't help, since it also plays here not for a really long time. The same thing happens with the song from the game's loading screen, though you do get to hear all of it in the ending. Still, the game loads so fast on modern computers that you'll be lucky to hear any music at all during game initialization or level transitions.
  • Magic Wand
  • Make My Monster Grow: Eidolon pulls this during the final battle.
  • Mana: The standard unit of ammunition. Comes in blue and green flavors!
  • Mayincatec: The continent of Mazaera in Hexen II, which is the game's second hub.
  • Meaningful Name: Korax is from the Latin corax "raven" (which in turn is from the Greek korax). Hexen is German / Old English for witches.
    • Also many of the level names; e.g. "effluvium" means "unpleasant odour" and "Locus Requiescat" translates as "graveyard" (literally, "place where the dead rest").
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The first and final hubs of Hexen II are this.
  • Mighty Glacier: The larger golem enemies in Hexen II qualify. They're sluggish, but take nearly forever to kill.
  • Mirror Match: Although the only thing Baratus, Parias and Daedalon have to do with Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir are sprites and weapons used.
    • To a lesser extent, a Good Bad Bug somewhat related to the above trope: in early versions, should only you warp to Map 30 by using the DM program (and not connecting, there's an ocassion you may meet a "voodoo doll" version of yourself. And that only works if you picked fighter class.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Korax
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The Hexen II demo ended with the note that no sheep were harmed during its making.
  • One-Hit Polykill: The Mage's starting weapon, the Sapphire Wand, whose shots can pierce through literally any enemy in the game, including the Heresiarch and even Korax himself.
  • Power Fist: The Warrior's and Paladin's starting weapons, if you can call spiked gauntlets weapons.
    • Which you can.
  • Projectile Spell: Both in the "magic that needs to be aimed" sense and the Necromancer's second weapon, which is what the name says it is.
  • Quad Damage: The Tome of Power. Just like Heretic, it frequently adds a Secondary Fire effect to most weapons.
    • It must be mentioned that the Tome of Power existed before Quad Damage (Heretic is a 1994 game, Quake is from 1996) and it may have been John Romero's idea to "port" the Tome of Power to Quake, both being games he produced.
  • Respawning Enemies: Spending too much time on a particular stage will cause more enemies to teleport in. In the beginning, it's only a few Ettins, but by the end of the game you'll get Afrits and Centaurs (as well as Reivers in the Necropolis,) and in Deathkings of the Dark Citadel enemies will teleport in by the dozens and any enemy type is fair game.
  • RPG Elements: Hexen II has you gain experience points and levels by killing enemies, and each class learns two unique abilities as they level up. There's also a mod for the original Hexen that adds a similar level-up mechanic, as well as a shop you can visit between hubs.
    • Original design called for three unique abilities, however in the rush to push Hexen II out before Quake II they were left out. The Necromancer's third ability was, of course, raising undead. Which is why he's such a generally sucky character in-game, inferior to the also long-range Assassin and Crusader: originally he was meant to be surrounded by the summoned dead. Also why the name and image of the class, Necromancer instead of a plain mage/sorcerer.
  • Scary Scorpions: In the third land of Hexen II, which has an Egyptian theme.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The game loves to use a lot of fancy words for stage titles, like "Effluvium" (the sewer level,) "Heresiarch's Seminary" (the church for a Religion of Evil, though semi-justified in that it belongs to a character named the Heresiarch) and "Hypostyle" (a room with columns in it)
    • Deathkings of the Dark Citadel continues the tradition, mostly with just short-but-still-obscure one-word titles like "Sump", "Abattoir", "Chantry" and "Cloaca", but there's also the "Locus Requiescat".
  • Shock and Awe: The Mage's Arc of Death.
  • Shout-Out: The "Dark Servant" (see below) is the Maulotaur from Heretic, but this time (for the 30 seconds he lasts) he's fighting for you - well, most of the time anyway. Considering he IS extremely rare to find...
    • The Time Bomb mechanism actually also came from Heretic.
    • Of course, being some sort of a Spiritual Successor to Heretic (if you don't consider it as... well, just a sequel), it couldn't copypaste several items for use, but, if you remember Gargoyles and Disciples of D'Sparil, not to say about the only Serpent in the game that D'Sparil rode himself... Hexen has Arfits, Dark Bishops and... Serpents, naturally. Brown Serpents are here too, if you like.
    • In the Marketplace stage in Deathkings of the Dark Citadel, the room you first appear in has holes in the ceiling shaped like the Starship Enterprise.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character
  • Screwed by the Network: Due to Id being stripped of the rights to Heretic II and Portals of Praveus by Raven Software, it is unlikely that they are going to be rereleased anytime soon. It is of course possible to download a copy which has fallen off the back-end of a fileserver, but good luck trying to install it on Windows 7 or later.
  • Sinister Scythe: The necromancer's starting weapon.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Hexen, with the new ACS scripts, demonstrates two instances in the first level.
  • Sociopathic Hero: The Assassin is, like the name suggests, a cold-blooded killer. She wants to kill Eidolon to prove she's the best assassin of all time. (Also see Villain Protagonist.)
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The intro text to the Necropolis.
    "...and he shall journey into the realms of the dead, and contest with the forces therein, unto the very gates of despair. But whether he shall return again to the world of light, no man knows." *long silence* Damn.
  • Summon Magic:
    • The Dark Servant item summons a giant hammer-wielding minotaur note  to your aid. It does have a tendency to get you killed by accident every so often, but it's the thought that counts.
    • Hexen II has the Stone of Summoning, which calls forth a friendly Imp. While less likely to get you killed than the minotaur, it's also less impressive in looksnote . And he appears only if there's enough space to spawn.
  • Squishy Wizard: The Mage has the lowest movement speed and maximum AC out of the three characters. In Hexen II, this role is given to the Necromancer.
    • Actually the combined AC piece values are the same for every character. But the mage burns armour the quickest. Also each character gets different bonuses from different armour types - the mage gains the least (+1) from mail, and the most from warding amulets (+5), for a fighter this is reversed. Fighter's AC can never drop below 3, mage's minimum AC is 1, and cleric is in-between with a "naked" AC of 2. The mage is clumsy, too, where the fighter can jump (climb) on a height from the first attempt, the mage has to jump 2-3 times (or more).
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle: Of the switch hunt and key hunt varieties.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Of a sort; the flechettes and Glyphs of the Ancients have different properties depending on which class uses them.
  • Sword Beam: Quietus' ranged (and only) attack. In Hexen II, the Paladin's sword (but only with the Tome of Power), and axe.
  • Teleporting Key Card Squad
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: It never comes to anything, but according to the background material, the Serpent Riders are merely the three demons which managed to get through a hole in the barrier that surrounds the known space before it was sealed. The number still living beyond is unknown.
  • Time Bomb: How the Mage uses flechette flasks and Crusader uses Glyphs of the Ancients.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: One of the screenshots on the store page for Hexen II on Steam shows Eidolon having grown in size considerably.
  • The Undead: Reivers and the Death Wyvern are reported to be normally undead, but it probably unintentionally appears this is inverted with Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir, whom Korax gave "the dark gift of Unlife". This isn't explained further (The Doom Wiki speaks of eternal life), but when you fight the three, you have to find each within his respective tomb. So it looks as if, while the undead are dead that can walk around, the unliving are alive but have to sit in a tomb. Yay?
  • Unwinnable by Design: The shareware version omitted two levels (Guardian of Steel and Bright Crucible), making it impossible to reach the end of the hub (without cheating at any rate).
    • Which is rather noticeable compared to the shareware versions of Doom, Heretic and Quake, as their shareware versions each gave one the entire first episode.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: In version 1.0, the second Heresiarch at the end of Episode 4 sometimes declines to appear, leaving the player trapped as it's killing the Heresiarch that unlocks the exit portal. Similarly, killing Korax prematurely by using the BUTCHER cheat code on the last level, before he's opened the doors to the rear chamber where the final portal appears, makes the game Unwinnable (this is also possible without cheating, by using a melée attack with certain weapons). Another good way to ruin your chances is to get a considerable way into an episode, then reset the level you're on with the INIT cheat (which resets it to the start-of-episode state, not the state it was in when you most recently entered it as your dying does), which throws that level out of sync with the rest of the episode.
    • The final Heresiarch bug has to do with hazy coding; the ACS script that processes the whole sequence checks for the three chaos serpents on the throne every 5 seconds. When the serpents aren't there (e. g. the player kills them as soon as they spawn, which is possible), the script breaks. Therefore the cure is to wait for the side halls to open after the snakes have spawned.
    • It also happens on its own. Occasionally the player will return from the Guardian of Ice/Fire/Steel and notice the lights around him are off and the portal is closed. The repeated "greetings, mortal" message confirms this, and the only way to reopen the portals is a switch on the other side of the one you're facing. The game has just become unwinnable.
    • Also, using a Chaos Device after a certain point in the final stage leaves you on the outside forever.
    • In some levels of Deathkings, such as Sump in the first hub, using the BUTCHER cheat renders the level (and hence the game) unwinnable because one or more vital monsters can't spawn, so their on-death trigger actions never occur.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • The Necromancer was picked on until he learned the dark arts and plotted to conquer lands with his undead legions so people would fear him. Now that Eidolon has come around, the Necromancer has to kill him to get his plans back on track and be feared again.
    • The Assassin as well, though they're less grandiose. She just really likes killing people, and figures that Eidolon will be more of a challenge — and thus more entertaining — than her usual targets.
  • Warp Whistle: The Chaos Device takes you back to the current level's starting point, while the Banishment Device teleports enemies to a random spot on the map.

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alternative title(s): Hexen
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