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Video Game / Heretic

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Raven Software licensed the Doom engine from id Software to create Heretic, a medieval-fantasy-themed FPS released in 1994.

The Serpent Riders, three powerful evil beings, have enslaved the seven human kings and turned their subjects into their puppets. The Sidhe Elves, of which the player character Corvus is a member, remain unaffected by the Serpent Riders' magic powers and are declared Heretics, to be wiped off the face of the earth. The Sidhe respond by extinguishing magical candles that weaken the seven kings' armies but also the Sidhe themselves. The Serpent Riders opportunistically destroy the Sidhe elders and force the rest of them into hiding.

Your task as Corvus is to seek out the weakest of the three Serpent Riders, D'Sparil, and destroy him. The other two serpent riders, Korax and Eidolon, would later be destroyed in the game's sequels, Hexen and Hexen II.

The gameplay differs from Doom seemingly only in setting (medieval fantasy vs. futuristic military/hell). The levels follow the same formula of "get yellow key to open door to green key which opens door to blue key which leads to exit." The original order-by-mail full game consists of three episodes of eight normal and one secret level, with two more added in a licensed retail version (Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders) vis-a-vis The Ultimate Doom.


The weapons seem to be medieval fantasy-themed edits of Doom's arsenal: An Elven Wand for the pistol, the Ethereal Crossbow for the shotgun, the Dragon Claw for the chaingun, the Phoenix Rod for the rocket launcher, the Hellstaff for the plasma rifle, and lightning-shooting Gauntlets of the Necromancer for the chainsaw. There is no direct equivalent to the BFG, and the player is instead offered the rapid-firing Firemace (which fires bouncing metal spheres, which, when using a Tome of Power, can kill most enemies in one shot).

One notable addition was the inventory system, which allowed the player to carry items to be used later at will. Among these are the health-pack Quartz Flask and Mystic Urn; hourglass-shaped Time Bomb of the Ancients; a simple Torch; the Tome of Power, which gives your weapons new and more powerful attacks for a limited time; and a magical egg, Morph Ovum, that turns any enemy it hits into a chicken.


Heretic also upgrades Doom's "2.5D" engine to nearly-3D: the game allows you to look up and down - and failing to do so when attacking an enemy above or below your level means your shot will miss, unlike in Doom where all interactions are really done in 2D. A powerup also enables the player to fly for a limited time. It's still not possible to create a room above another room, or objects like ledges or bridges that can be passed over and under.

Enemies included flying red gargoyles, golems, undead warriors, ophidians, disciples of D'Sparil, and were-dragons, each with melee and ranged attacks of varying power, and the melee-only Sabreclaws. Similar to Doom's use of Barons of Hell as bosses for one episode and then sub-bosses later on, the giant floating skull-like Iron Liches populate the later episodes. Standing in for the Cyberdemon are the Maulotaurs, giant minotaurs with fireball-slinging hammers.

The game spawned three sequels:

  • Hexen (1995) - The player plays as one of three character classes to hunt down the second Serpent Rider, Korax.
  • Hexen II (1997) - Uses the Quake engine, unlike the Doom engine of its predecessors. Four different character classes hunt down the third and final Serpent Rider, Eidolon.
  • Heretic II (1998) - Based on a modified Quake II engine. Unlike the previous games, uses a third-person view. The protagonist from the first game, Corvus, must stop a mysterious plague that has decimated his homeland.

The first Heretic (specifically, the Shadow of the Serpent Riders edition) is available on Steam for use with DOSBox or any of the various Doom engine source ports on the net. Heretic II has not seen a digital rerelease, as of yet.

This Game Is An Example of the Following Tropes:

  • Adjustable Censorship: Heretic II contains four violence settings in the More Options menu:
    • "No Blood" turns enemy gibs into debris, excises blood particles and decals, and removes the ability to dismember enemies. Should Corvus be gibbed, the game will immediately bring up the Load Game menu with no input from the player to cover up the gibs.
    • "No Gibbing" operates much the same as "No Blood", except blood has been enabled.
    • "Normal" has full gibs and blood.
    • "Ultraviolence", the default setting, turns the gore up to eleven.
  • all lowercase letters: everywhere, where possible, in the first game.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The backstory to the original Heretic, mentioned above, is only revealed in the game's manual.
    • Heretic II's manual doesn't just contain more information about the races, weapons, and spells seen in the game, but expands upon the first game and its world with new details. For instance, the City of the Damned seen in the first chapter of Heretic has an actual name, Silverspring (it's also Corvus' hometown), and only got the former name because it was taken over by D'Sparil. It also tells some of the events that occurred in the years Corvus was trapped in the Outer Worlds that the game never explains, as well as the fact that Corvus' Tome of Power is named Teejalla, that she was a Seraph who, along with her sisters, had their life forces infused within each of the seven Tomes in order to carry on the Seraphs' knowledge after they left the world, and that she eventually revealed her sentience to Corvus and taught him how to use lost Seraph magic throughout the span of his exile.
  • Artifact Title: An in-universe example in the three Serpent Riders. When you fight D'Sparil he is indeed riding around on a giant fire-breathing Chaos Serpent. The other two, much later, do not ride serpents and would not even physically be able to do so.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The powered-up Fire Mace deals exactly 10,000 damage (18-144 on bosses) and can therefore kill a non-boss monster with one sphere. However, the spheres move and bounce around very slowly, will disappear if they strike a wall before hitting a monster (terrible in tight halls), do not bounce on liquid, flying enemies generally are immune unless you fire point-blank, and ghosts are completely immune to the weapon. The weapon also follows the player's inertia complicating aiming. To top it off, the unpowered mode is like a worse version of the Hellstaff, thanks to pitiful range and zero effect on ghosts. At least it's fun to use the machine gun or power mode on weaker enemies for a laugh.
    • The powered-up staff, in Heretic 1, gains a lightning aura at the tip, and works similar to Doom's berserk punch. However, the range is still pitiful, the weapon still can not affect ghosts, and the attack is less than half as strong as Doom's berserk punch (it will kill a basic golem in one hit if you're lucky). Unlike Doom's berserk, there is also an opportunity cost as you're using this weapon instead of a more powerful short-range option with your Tome of Power such as the crossbow (plenty of ammo available in the five episodes), or the longer-range Gauntlets of the Necromancer (which also heals you while zapping foes). It is decent against Sabreclaws since it pushes them away so they can't melee you, but you'll likely have a more practical weapon out and may as well use that, unless you're desperately out of ammo.
  • Bag of Holding: The namesake appears as an item which allows you to hold extra ammo, and gives a little bit of ammo for (almost) every weapon.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • Aside from the "lose all your weapons between episodes" shtick that was pretty common back in the day, the first Heretic also let you only carry one of each inventory item to the next level, except for the Wings of Wrath which you just plain lost (to avoid Sequence Breaking). On the other hand, this means you're encouraged to use your items as you get them, thereby averting Too Awesome to Use.
    • Heretic II's manual, meanwhile, explains that all of Corvus's weapons he had in the first game were "rendered inert and useless" after he was banished to the Outer Worlds, aside from his staff and Tome of Power. By the time you actually take control of the guy, the only methods of attack he has are the Fireball spell the Tome taught him to use and the aforementioned staff, now with a blade attached.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Morph Ovum, Porkalator and Seal of the Ovinomancer items in the first three games of the series. In the multiplayer for Heretic II, the Morph Ovum can be used on players. Using the Tome of Power after you've been turned into a chicken will turn you into a giant chicken. This doesn't work in the first game, where the tome just turns you back to normal.
  • Big Bad: D'Sparil, the first of the Serpent Riders.
  • Blow You Away: The Iron Lich's windstorm attack.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Elven Wand that you start with has its own exclusive ammo (unlike Doom's pistol / chaingun), so it can be use to finish off weakened enemies in order to save ammo for your more powerful weapons. Power it up with a Tome Of Power, and it can be used like an automatic shotgun, with best results at close range thanks to all of the shots landing and causing a Cycle of Hurting for most monsters. Because it is a totally magical weapon, the wand is 100% effective against ghosts.
    • The Ethereal Crossbow is gained almost immediately upon starting an episode, and acts as Heretic's Shotgun / Super Shotgun. With plentiful ammo and Tomes of Power being common enough, this weapon can be your close-range workhorse for the entire game. The weapon is also very ammo efficient, making hard to run out.
  • Broad Strokes: The opening cutscene of Heretic II is this to the Final Boss fight of the first game. However, it remains very true to the actual fight; it takes place in D'Sparil's dome world, his serpent dies first, all of D'Sparil's abilities (teleporting and his almost One-Hit Kill lightning attack) are present and Corvus is clearly using the Phoenix Rod against him. The only differences are that Corvus is Suddenly Voiced while D'Sparil is speaking clear English and he dies after being shot once with the Phoenix Rod as opposed to the twenty five plus shots he takes in the game.
  • Bullfight Boss: One of the bosses in Heretic II is the Trial Beast, and its primary attack involves it roaring before charging at you in order to trample you underfoot, but you can run out of the way and cause it to slam into a wall, stunning it briefly (this can also be achieved with a powered-up Phoenix Bow shot). One way this fight varies from the norm for this trope is that it can be damaged at any time by your weapons, not just during the stun period, but this is a fairly lengthy process of killing the Beast, and it chews through your ammo. Fortunately, there's an easier and quicker way: lure it into smashing both of the pillars holding up a bridge overlooking the Trial Pit you fight it in, causing the bridge to fall on it for an instant kill. Just be careful not to get run over while you're doing this.
  • Call-Back: To one of the earliest iD Software games, a 2D top-down maze called The Catacomb. Level 12 of The Catacomb was called "Tomb of Desparil".
  • Cherry Tapping: Heretic II lets you use Morph Ovum against other players in multiplayer, but a good player can still get in your face and peck you apart even then. Helped by the chicken form being small and hard to hit.
  • Classic Cheat Code: As a twist, IDDQD and IDKFA, the iconic Doom cheat codes, instead (respectively) kill you and rob you of all your weapons except a staff.
    • Trying to cheat, eh? NOW YOU DIE!
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: An unusual example in the keys. The yellow key is the first you collect, followed by the green, and the blue one afterwards to get to the end of the level, in all levels without a single exception. By this point, it's such a firmly-rooted tradition that you'd be hard-pressed to find a custom map on any fan-made WAD that has the keys in a different order.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Not surprisingly, One-Hit Kill abilites will not work on bosses. The Morph Ovum does nothing, while the powered up Fire Mace does 18-144 damage in lieu of 10,000 damage. The Hell Staff's crimson rain effect does 1-8 damage per droplet instead of 5-40 against Maulotaurs and D'Spairl to balance it against their large hit-boxes. The rain is very effective against Iron Liches however, as they are very slow and receive full damage from each rain drop.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Besides the usual case of lava not hurting you unless you walk on it, "The Ice Grotto" level has ice pathways atop seas of lava. Try figuring that out.
  • Covers Always Lie: Sure, you can use magic wands to kill off your enemies here, but you will see neither the glowing-blue crystal wand nor the skeletons past the title screen. And the game's packaging, too.
  • Crossbows Are Just Better: With plentiful arrows and a devastating mode with the Tome of Power, the Ethereal Crossbow is excellent for firing a burst of damage at a target before strafing into cover and repeating the process until dead. A shotgun and super shotgun in disguise.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Maulotaurs are fairly easy to avoid if you have enough space to move around in. However, they have an absolutely obscene amount of health, and you can deplete much of your ammo reserves just taking down one of them if you don't use a Tome of Power.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In Doom, the Rocket Launcher is placed in slot 5 while the Plasma Rifle is placed in slot 6. However, Heretic places the Phoenix Rod (its equivalent to the Rocket Launcher) in slot 6, while the Hellstaff (its equivalent to the Plasma Rifle) is placed in slot 5. Just try to not get them mixed up after playing Doom, especially since the Phoenix Rod can still cause Splash Damage to yourself.
  • Degraded Boss: Iron Liches and Maulotaurs are met in regular gameplay after their boss introduction. So after Episode 3 (Where you fought D'Sparil), bosses are large groups of them.
  • Descending Ceiling: A frequent trap. Like Doom, instead of being caught in a room with a descending ceiling, there's crushing traps lining certain walls or rooms.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • The two episodes added in Shadow of the Serpent Riders ramp up the difficulty. E4M1 alone has a Maulotaur and a whole posse of Iron Liches, and not a lot of weapons or ammo to go around. Later levels have at least two Maulotaurs and five Iron Liches, sometimes all nearby each other.
    • Episode 1 isn't much to write home about difficulty wise, until you get to the Citadel, which throws hordes of enemies at you from every direction (with lots and lots of Gargoyles sneaking up on you.)
    • Episode three has this to a lesser extent, with at least one Iron Lich per level on the higher difficulty settings, but that's still a lot more manageable than the new episodes.
  • Dual Boss: On the easier skill, the Iron Liches and Maulotaurs are the bosses of the first two episodes. If you increase the difficulty, they appear in a pair or triplet.
    • In the expansion Shadow of the Serpent Riders, the episode's final level has at least 8 of these bosses on the hardest difficulty.
  • Dying Curse: D'Sparil utters one upon his death at the end of the original Heretic. It turns out to be the reason for the following two episodes in Shadow of the Serpent Riders, and its full effect is seen at the beginning of Heretic II.
  • Earth Drift: The manual for the first Heretic states that the game takes place on Earth, but Heretic II retcons the setting into "Parthoris". However, it is possible that Parthoris simply refers to Corvus' homeland, or that Parthoris is another name for Earth.
  • Enemy Summoner: D'Sparil spawns his disciples while he's fighting you.
  • Expansion Pack: Shadow of the Serpent Riders, which added two more episodes to the three-episode Heretic.
  • Exploding Barrels: Takes the form of strange plant pods (or, as they're called officialy, gasbags). For even more fun, some clusters grow back.
  • First-Person Shooter: All games in the series take place in this genre except Heretic II, which is a Third-Person Shooter with action-adventure elements.
  • Flunky Boss: One of the main things that distinguishes D'Sparil from Korax and Eidolon is that he constantly teleports away while summoning mooks to help him, instead of just straight up trying to tank you like the later Serpent Riders do. Korax does this to a lesser degree, where he only teleports away once and opens doors to Monster Closets, but D'Sparil is much more annoying in this regard.
  • Gorn: Some attempts in the manual, and enemies do tend to die messily in the game as well.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Turns out that when you're using a series of seven Amplifier Artifacts to cast a spell turning your entire race into physical gods, and one of those seven artifacts has gone missing, a duplicate will not suffice. Morcalavin, the Final Boss of Heretic II, finds this out the hard way.
  • Hailfire Peaks: "Episode 2: Hell's Maw" takes place on the sides of a volcano, according to the world map, but some levels contain icy areas in addition to the usual lava pools. There is even a Secret Level titled "The Glacier", that takes place near the bottom of the volcano, reinforcing the "fire and ice" theme of Hell's Maw. The Ice Grotto level of Episode 2 stands out with a slippery ice lake right next to molten lava.
  • Harder Than Hard: Black Plague Possesseth Thee difficulty level makes enemies way faster.
  • Healing Potion: Crystal vials, quartz flasks, mystic urns. The latter two you can carry with you.
  • Hellgate: E1M8 and Episode 2 are both named "Hell's Maw".
  • The Heretic: Our hero.
  • Heroic Mime: At least until Heretic II.
  • The Homeward Journey: At the end of the first Heretic, Corvus is cursed by D'Sparil upon the latter's death, causing the portal in the room to transport him to the perilous Outer Worlds that lie outside the crystal barrier where the main worlds of the games are situated. The Shadow of the Serpent Riders expansion follows him as he attempts to find a way back to Parthoris, trekking through the remains of a world D'Sparil conquered and even the very fortress where the Serpent Rider was born. But it's not until the beginning of Heretic II that Corvus finally gets to return home, thanks to his Tome of Power sensing a powerful spell being cast using the other six Tomes and using it as a way to open a portal back; according to the game's manual, by that time, he'd spent decades hopping through the Outer Worlds trying to find the portal that would bring him home.
  • Humanoid Abomination: D'Sparil, though this isn't fully explained until Hexen II.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: What's beneath that cloak? A crossbow, several staves, enchanted orbs and disks, torches, numerous tomes of power, up to sixteen hourglass-shaped bombs, and eggs.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels / Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: "Thou needest a wet-nurse," "Yellow-bellies R us," "Bringest them oneth," "Thou Art a Smite-Meister," and "Black Plague possesseth thee."
  • Idle Animation: Corvus has several in Heretic II; he'll shoo a fly, eventually swat that fly off the back of his neck and discard it, go into a combat stance and glance around for danger, let out a sigh as he wipes the sweat off his brow, scratch his ass, and even look back at the player and make a motion with his hand as if to ask, "Can we get back to business here?" Some of these won't play if Corvus is holding certain weapons.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Hell's Maw."
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Fire Mace is a weird short-ranged "machine gun" that is completely ineffective against ghost monsters, and against most monsters, isn't any better than using the Hell Staff (Plasma gun). Also, if the floor texture is water, the shots will sink. However, if you power it up, then it shoots bigger, slower spheres that will One-Hit Kill anything excluding boss monsters. Oh, and the big spheres travel through teleport pads. It still will not hit ghosts however.
  • Level-Map Display: In tan and sepia, to look like an ancient scroll. There's also a map scroll that reveals the entire map.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: An unusual variation: aside from one single exception, every enemy gets shredded on the kill shot, no matter how much damage is done or what weapon is used. The exception is the Weredragon, who falls to the ground bleeding profusely from several holes, and even then it can be gibbed if dealt enough overkill damage. The Gargoyle, The Goomba for the game, gibs in two ways: if killed normally, it falls to the ground and breaks apart with a slick "splorch" sound, and if killed with excessive force, it'll get ripped apart into smaller pieces before falling silently to the floor.
  • Meaningful Name: The scientific name for the common raven is corvus corax. The protagonist of Heretic goes by the name of Corvus, while the Big Bad of Hexen goes by Korax.
    • Another name for a sledgehammer is a "maul", hence the Maulotaur. This may also qualify as a Punny Name.
  • Mondegreen: The Disciples of D'Sparil seem to alternate between saying "He's steppin' out Yoshi" and another phrase which sounds slightly rude; D'Sparil himself appears to say "I've seen Mr. Davros". All of these are actually English phrases reversed.
  • Mystical Plague: A plague created using magic that's affecting Parthoris serves as the center of Heretic II's plotline; it turns whoever it infects into a crazed shell of their former selves... if it doesn't kill them first. Corvus sets out to find a cure before all of Parthoris is consumed, and the situation gets even more dire after he's infected with it himself.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: D'sparil is pronounced like Despair-il.
  • No Fair Cheating: More savvy players might be tempted to try Doom cheats, since this game runs on the same engine. ...Only to discover they usually do the opposite of what you expected (e.g. Using Doom's God Mode cheat instantly kills you, while using the cheat that gives you all weapons instead takes away all your weapons and leaves you with just the staff).
  • Non-Indicative Name: E4M6 is "Halls of the Apostate" — rather strange, given that you (the player) are the Heretic and hence the Apostate, and any halls you might have are either millions of miles away on another planet, or in another dimension.
    • The "Flechette" item is in fact a flask of acid.
    • Chaos Serpents are humanoid lizards, not snakes.
  • No Ontological Inertia: After D'Sparil's death his entire army kicks the bucket... except for those remaining in his own plane, hence the Expansion Pack.
  • No-Sell: D'Sparil can teleport at will and likes to do so just before your shots hit him. Plus, he and the Maulotaurs take greatly reduced damage from normally BFG-caliber weapons like the powered-up Hellstaff and Firemace, and are unaffected by splash damage.
  • One-Man Army: Corvus marches through hordes of D'Sparil's minions, through hell and back to get at D'Sparil, and then through the rest of D'Sparil's army trying to find his way home.
  • One-Word Title
  • Powerup Letdown: Like the Blur sphere in Doom, the Shadowsphere causes enemies to fire shots wildly. While useful if you stand still, it actually makes projectiles harder to dodge, especially in large groups. One advantage it does have is that certain physical attacks (Like the undead warrior's axes) will pass right through you.
  • Press X to Die: An attempt to use the God Mode cheat from Doom in this game results in instant death. Also, using the infinite weapons cheat results in instant depletion of all weapons.
  • Puzzle Boss: The final boss of Heretic II can only be temporarily defeated through use of force. But if you don't execute a certain action in the room in the very small window of time he's down, he'll get back up, regenerate his health back to 100% and you'll get to fight him all over again.
  • Quad Damage: The Tome of Power, which came out before Quake's namesake. While some weapons simply get a damage and/or a spread boost (Firing three shots for the price of one), many weapons work in brand-new (And very devastating) ways. Notably, the rocket launcher analogue Phoenix Rod becomes a short range, ammo-efficient flamethrower.
  • Random Drop: Unlike Doom, where creatures that held ammo would always drop that ammo when killed, the creatures of Heretic would have a varied chance of dropping their particular ammo type, along with some enemies having a particularly uncommon item drop. See Rare Random Drop.
  • Rare Random Drop: Some enemies have a rare chance of dropping a valuable artifact instead of ammunition. Notably, the fairly common Disciples of D'Sparil have a rare chance of dropping a valuable Tome of Power.
  • Resigned to the Call: In the beginning of Heretic II, when pushed by Silverspring's former harbormaster, Dranor, to go to Andoria to obtain a cure for the plague from a Ssithra healer, Corvus initially refuses, saying it's "not [his] destiny to be a hero", but Dranor insists, saying that if he doesn't do it, Parthoris will surely be overrun with the infected. With a heavy sigh, Corvus changes his mind and says he'll go, but only because he doesn't want Parthoris to be taken over again.
  • Retcon:
    • The protagonist of Heretic was unnamed until Heretic II, which also established that there were a total of seven true Tomes of Power in existence (at least, his existence, since they reappear in Hexen II) and that Corvus really had only one of them. The ones he picked up in much larger quantities in his first adventures were fake tomes.
    • This seems to be the case with the ending of Episode 3, once Hexen was complete. A supposed second serpent rider appears ambiguously angry with a crystal ball spying on Corvus after Corvus struck down D'sparil. He wears a serpent rider robe similar to D'Sparil's and D'Sparil himself appears on a stained-glass window in his scrying chamber.

      This suggests that you would have fought him as a Big Bad in another game, but he got Demoted to Extra and became the Heresiarch in Hexen. He summons Dark Bishops to assist exactly like D'Sparil summons his own Disciples of D'Sparil, and instead of Teleport Spam, he uses temporary invincibility.
  • Sequential Boss: The final boss uses the same idea: D'Sparil starts out riding a fire-breathing serpent, then after you kill the mount he falls off and starts teleporting around, summoning monsters, and shooting stuff.
  • Shareware: Much like Doom, the first episode of the original Heretic was shareware.
  • Shock and Awe: The Gauntlets of the Necromancer shoot Green lightning. Powered up, the lightning is red and steals life.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The second difficulty level is a reference to Toys-R-Us.
    • The no-clipping cheat "kitty" is probably a reference to the X-Men character Kitty Pryde, who can phase through matter.
    • The ''shazam" cheat code toggles the Tome of Power, which temporarily makes weapons more powerful.
    • The "rambo" cheat gives the player all weapons, ammo and armor.
    • The "engage" level-warp cheat code may be a reference to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • The "ponce" cheat, which fully restores the player's health, may be a reference to Juan Ponce de León, who sought the Fountain of Youth.
  • Shows Damage: Since Heretic II uses Quake II's engine, it shares that game's ability to replace a character's textures with bloodier pain skins as they take damage (and since this game is third-person, that includes your character). In this game's case, when specific body parts of a character take damage, only that body part's texture will be swapped out for a damaged version instead of that of the entire model.
  • Slave Race: The Ogles in Heretic II are timid creatures who don't tend to respond to threats with violence (in fact, they run and hide) unless directly attacked. This aspect of their lifestyle, however, has made them the go-to choice for enslavement by the more dominant races of Parthoris for centuries, perhaps because of their skill with metalworking. By the time of the events of the game, they've been enslaved again, this time by guards under the employment of Morcalavin, in order to mine metals and Earthblood from the World's End Mountains where Morcalavin's Cloud Fortress is based. Fortunately, Corvus arrives in the mines near the end of the game and attacks the guards, giving the Ogles the courage to rebel, help him kill the guards, and regain their freedom.
  • Snake People: The Ophidians; they only appear in the actual "Dome of D'Sparil" and the episodes proceeding the episode of the same name. Their humanoid torsos wear armor plate that covers up their features.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The manual.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Even if the weapons are shown as magical staffs, and artifacts, many of them still seem familiar if one has played Doom. (Shown in terms of WITHOUT / WITH "tome of power" respectively.)
    • Staff = Weak melee attack / Berserker Punch
    • Gauntlets of the Necromancer = Chainsaw / Short-range Life Drain Chainsaw
    • Elven Wand = Pistol / Rapid-fire Shotgun
    • Crossbow = Projectile Shotgun / Projectile Super Shotgun
    • Dragon's Claw = Hitscan Submachine Gun / Large-Area BFG-style weapon
    • Hell Staff = Energy-projectile Submachine Gun / Area-effect-red-rain
    • Phoenix Rod = Rocket Launcher / Flamethrower
    • Fire Mace = Short-range gimmick submachine gun / Gimmick BFG
    • Timebomb of the Ancients = Non-throwable grenades (placed in front of the player's point-of-view)
  • Stone Wall:
    • On difficulties less than Black Plague, the Maulotaur is surprisingly low on aggression, but has 3,000 Hit Points, short of both D'Sparil and his Chaos Serpent at 5,500 hp. Play on Harder Than Hard, and Maulotaurs become Lightning Bruisers thanks to their "Nightmare!" aggression and their higher chance of using a bull charge.
    • The Ophidian only has 280 Hit Points, but is the strongest Mook in the roster of regular enemies. Their weapon of choice rapid-fires three weak energy balls that cause 1-8 damage each. Then they pause briefly and fire a stronger fireball that causes 3-24. This makes their attacks less damaging than most if you dodge properly and only get hit by one projectile.
  • Subsystem Damage: Heretic II grants you the ability to cut humanoid enemies' limbs off using the bladestaff, rendering them unable to damage you and forcing them to run away or making their attacks less effective (or outright killing them if you hit them in the head, which decapitates them). In the game's multiplayer, this can also happen to you by the hand of other players, and you'll be unable to use any weapons or spells that require the use of the limb you've lost. Even worse, you lose health from blood loss, and you'll die if you don't get to a shrine on time to restore your lost limb. Dismemberment can be turned off by the person who created the server, though, if they don't like the idea.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Now why would they give you all the items and weapons, along with a full load of big Phoenix Rod orbs, at the start of E5M8? You'll need them all against the eight fucking Maulotaurs that are ready to kick your ass.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Corvus' quarterstaff in the original was the worst weapon you had. Lousy damage, short range, plenty of retaliation time for bad guys, can't harm ghosts at all and any other weapon is better with the Tome of Power. In Heretic II, a blade is added to one end and it becomes one of the coolest weapons in the game that can dismember humanoids to make them harmless, execute spinning attacks or mid-air downward stabs to do increased damage and (with the help of shrines that give permanent upgrades in power) remains a potent weapon throughout the game.
  • Tornado Move: The monsters known as Iron Liches can create tornadoes to attack you. The tornadoes sweep you up into the air and do a great deal of damage besides.
    • In Heretic II, a powerup finally allows leaving a tornado countermeasure, also in Hexen II the Crusader's third weapon can create tornadoes with the aid of the Tome of Power.
  • Tragic Villain: Morcalavin. Although his intentions (turning his entire race into immortal physical gods) were born of arrogance, and thus not entirely pure, he only failed due to something entirely beyond his control. The Spell of Ascension could only be cast using the seven Tomes of Power. Unfortunately, Corvus possessed one of them. More unfortunately, Corvus' defeat of D'Sparil ended with him getting exiled to the Outer Worlds, so Morcalavin had to make do with a duplicate Tome he made himself. This had unintended and disastrous consequences.
  • Video Game Flight: The Wings of Wrath lets you fly for a short amount of time. They return in Hexen.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Corvus in Heretic II, who is very fit. At least one reviewer compared him favorably to Lara Croft, considering his butt not too unwelcoming to look at.
  • Warp Whistle: The Chaos Device warps you to the beginning of the level. Or, in Death Match, to a random spawn point.
    • The Banishment Device from Hexen does the same thing, except to your enemies.
  • World-Healing Wave: Implied at the end of Heretic 2, as the ritual of ascension is complete. It cures the plague but doesn't bring back the dead, as Morcalavin states, "The dead cannot be reborn".