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Video Game / Hexen

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"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."

Hexen is a First-Person Shooter released in 1995 by Raven Software as a sequel to Heretic. It, like Heretic, takes place in a fantasy setting and utilizes the Doom enginenote , incorporating the features of its predecessor (an inventory system, ambient sounds, translucency, freelook, etc.), 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 Level system, allowing the player to move between levels.

In addition to various engine tweaks, it utilizes a class system that allows 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 gods only know 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 Deathkings of the Dark Citadel was released, an Expansion Pack that picks 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 uses 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 introduces a fifth character, the Demoness, who's 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 can rest in peace.

Whilst nowhere near as extensive as Doom's, Hexen has a very lively and dedicated modding community. Probably the most well known mod being Wrath Of Cronos, an extensive mod which adds in two new weapons and skill trees for each class, new monsters, and three new classes (The Necromancer and Assassin from Hexen II, as well as the Hunter).

Like the first Heretic, the two Hexen games are on Steam (Hexen, Hexen II) and GOG (Hexen, Hexen II) along with Deathkings of the Dark Citadel (Steam, GOG). Portal of Praevus hasn't been rereleased digitally as of yet.

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
  • Adaptational Wimp: You fight green chaos serpents as mooks, which look exactly like the one D'sparil rode at the end of Heretic. Needless to say, they are a lot less powerful than his was. You also encounter some brown chaos serpents later on who have a much more damaging poison Breath Weapon.
  • Ammo-Using Melee Weapon: Zig-zagged with the Fighter's arsenal. Timon's Axe is a straight example: it's solely a melee weapon, but is powered by Blue Mana which causes lightning to flash around it; it can still be used if you don't have any left, but for much less damage. Averted for two other weapons which look like melee weapons: the Hammer of Retribution has both melee and ranged attacks and only uses mana for the latter, while the Quietus, to all appearances a sword, has no melee capability at all.
  • An Axe to Grind: Timon's Axe in Hexen, the Paladin's axe in Hexen II. The former's exclusively a melee weapon, the latter throws axe blades that pass through multiple enemies and ricochets off walls.
  • 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.
  • Artifact Title: Defied in the game's full title. Hexen: Beyond Heretic indicates that the game ties into the Heretic lore, but follows a different set of protagonists pursuing the remaining two Serpent Riders, Korax and Ediolon rather than the journey of Corvus in the Heretic series before and after he took out D'Sparil.
  • Attack Reflector:
    • The Heresiarch creates three orbs that revolve around his chest and reflect any ranged attack. Seeking weapons (including the Wraith Verge) are also retargeted against the source of the attack, with the exception of the Sapphire Wand.
    • Centaurs and Slaughtaurs can also reflect non-hitscan projectiles with their shields after they flinch from an attack, and are invulnerable to absolutely everything aside from poison clouds of mushrooms or the Cleric's Flechettes.
  • Back Stab: One of the Assassin's class skills lets her attack enemies from behind.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Porkalator item in Hexen transforms enemies into pigs, while the Seal of the Ovinomancer in Hexen II turns them into sheep. When used, several transforming projectiles are shot, so you can transform up to 5 enemies with one item. Like in Heretic with the Morph Ovum, transformed enemies are much slower and weaker.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Hexen follows a similar armor system as Doom, where some damage is absorbed by armor. AC ranges from 1-20. Internally, this corresponds to 5-100 armor hit points, which also counts as the percent of damage taken by said armor. The difference from Doom is that character always have a minimum armor class (Mage has AC 1 for 5% reduction, Fighter has AC 3 for 15% reduction).
  • BFG:
    • The best example is the Wraithverge, 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: you do not even have to be facing the enemies you want to take out. Four separate screaming wraiths fly around and each will chase after mooks in the vicinity causing them severe damage or death until they dissipate. The ghosts can less effectively injure the final boss but there's plenty of mana in Korax's lair.
    • The Mage's Bloodscourge fits the bill as well, though the weapon's effect tends to be quite erratic. It summons three fiery spheres that home in on enemies and can penetrate many of them. Each sphere individually detonates after a set amount of time or when they strike a wall or certain objects. See Cool, but Inefficient below for more info.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Mage's Sapphire Wand isn't a quick killing weapon, but against a pack of monsters, it can penetrate them and damage many at once. Also, it's a ranged weapon with no mana usage, which is incredibly useful if you're not in a hurry. It's also great for hitting monsters at a great distance because its shots are so fast as to reach their target practically instantaneously, meaning the monster won't have time to move out of the way.
    • The Cleric's Serpent Staff is a passable ranged weapon — like a plasma gun — but up close it can be used to steal heath and save on health items, and only costs one blue mana per two shots.
  • Boss Vulnerability: The Heresiarch creates a barrier as his first combat spell. If you don't defeat him before he brings up the shield, you have to wait him out until the shield wears off. He will not cast another shield until he regains line of sight, which is his moment of vulnerability.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: Korax in Hexen and Eidolon of Hexen II, the remaining two Serpent Riders after their youngest brother, D'Sparil, was killed in Heretic.
  • Big Red Devil: Eidolon, as teased in the ending of Hexen and shown in II. A ways into his boss fight, he turns into an even bigger red devil.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: ZigZagged, Centaurs raise their shield in response to being attacked, which makes them invulnerable from attacks coming from any direction. Projectile attacks are reflected too. However, weapons such as the Wraithverge (Cleric) and Arc of Death (Mage) can bypass this effect, the latter by landing a hit before the shield goes up.
  • Booby Trap: While Doom introduced crushing ceilings and floors, Hexen's scripting engine also allowed more types of hazards to be implemented, whether directly summoning monsters, having walls crush, and so on. The traps themselves mostly appeared in Gibbet, where there are two traps in the bedroom but didn't exactly use the new features here. The first trap in the bedroom being a crushing bed with baiting items, and the second is a pit trap activating when you flip a switch that's needed to proceed. Once you feel there's no other traps, the room with the axe key baits the player with three healing potions, but is also a crusher trap.
  • Bottomless Pits: In essence if not in form: none of the pits are bottomless per se, but Hexen has fall damage, and these pits are just deep enough to insta-kill a falling player upon hitting the bottom.
  • 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?
  • Canis Latinicus: A weird example in Hexen II: all of the signs in Septimus have text that reads "mortis te manet cum magnis dentibus acutis". While this is real Latin, it translates to something like "Death will remain with the big sharp teeth", which doesn't really make much sense.
  • Chess Motif: Hexen seems rather fond of these. Korax mentions "removing you from the board" at the start of Castle of Grief, 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's hand pulling the Korax piece off the board.
    • GZDoom gives the death message "swept from the board by Korax".
  • Church Militant: The Church in the original Hexen and, by extension, Parias the Cleric. The Paladin from Hexen II serves the war god Kravnos.
  • Clown-Car Grave: Reivers usually spawn from these, in unlimited amounts.
  • Co-Dragons
    • The former leaders of the humans — Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir — in Hexen. They must be fought and killed before you can reach Korax.
    • The four Horsemen in Hexen II. Each is the boss of a hub.
  • 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.
  • Cool, but Inefficient:
    • The homing feature of the Bloodscourge can be powerful sometimes, but the fireballs have Artificial Stupidity and their path is hard to predict. The weapon is fine against bosses and in very open spaces, but often, the fireballs have trouble killing a pack of basic enemies, maybe killing one or two but leaving the rest alive; this can be mitigated by using the weapon at melee on the ground since you're immune to your own Splash Damage, causing a slaughter if you're being surrounded, keeping the weapon from being Awesome, but Impractical.

      This compares unfavorably with the Wraithverge and the four ghosts' better homing and no collision issues, and the Quietus that fires a line of five dumb-fire missiles of greater combined strength, without a faulty homing system.
    • Using the Fighter's Hammer of Retribution as a melee weapon instead of as Baratus's basic ranged weapon. Sure, it hits hard and looks cool, but Timon's Axe, the true melee workhorse of the Fighter, swings more rapidly for virtually the same damage, provided you have the very-abundant blue mana to power it with.
  • Co-Op 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.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Despite not taking place on Earth, Hexen II has temples in Thysis and Septimus dedicated to the worship of Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman gods, respectively. Tulku from the expansion pack also adds Asian deities such as Buddha and Shiva to the mix.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Heretic, Hexen is this in pretty much every aspect, from graphics, atmosphere, the story, soundtrack, you name it. Plus Heretic was already a pretty grim game, it was just offset by the entire game being set in daylight as well as action-oriented music while Hexen's setting is mostly overcast, if not dusk or nighttime, and the soundtrack is more subdued and sinister.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The Cleric uses a Serpent Riders' Staff that has a "cute" blinking reptile eye. It has a Life Drain when used in melee. Maybe the staff is a magical war trophy the Cleric commandeered.
    • The Wraithverge summons a swarm of angry souls to tear enemies to shreds, and it's also wielded by the Cleric.
  • Dead-End Room: The end of hub 4, when you enter the axe room. If you kill the chaos serpents too quickly, you'll trigger a bug that prevents other monsters (as well as the hub boss) from engaging.
  • 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.
    • There are pulsating green-dotted mushrooms that, when damaged enough, break apart in a puff of the same poisonous gas as the Cleric's flechettes. You can hear them squeaking from a mile away.
  • Defector from Decadence: All three of the first game's protagonists escaped the corrupting influence of Korax and their evil nation's leaders, banding together to kill the aforementioned with extreme prejudice to save their world.
  • Derivative Differentiation: Heretic's general gameplay design was very similar to that of Doom in level structure and weaponry. This game features a Hub Level system that often requires you to revisit levels, and has three distinct playable classes with their own weaponry and abilities.
  • Descending Ceiling: Hexen's improves on the version originally found in Doom. They no longer trap the player, and the ACS system allows scripting them to whatever is desired - adjusting speed and damage in the script itself. However, they usually appear as a surprise trap with no warning, such as the bed found in Gibbet.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Many objects and furniture in Hexen II can be destroyed. This is even needed by a few puzzles.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The flechette's in the cleric's hands. They explode in a cloud of Deadly Gas that lasts for about 30 seconds. The good part is monsters are both too stupid to avoid walking into the cloud, and when they do it stun-locks them so they can't move or attack, right up until they die in most cases. It's also the easiest way to kill the centaurs/slaughtaurs as they will get stuck in their "getting hurt" animation and not be able to put up their shields. Best of all, you can hold up to 25 at once and they are very common, meaning you don't even have to save them for a rainy day like most examples of this trope.
  • Doomed Predecessor: The start of each hub in Hexen II contains a message from a person named Tyranith, who attempts to, like you, kill Eidolon and his generals. The last hub starts with a message with Tyranith explaining the Already Undone for You and saying they probably won't survive for long. A few rooms later, you stumble across Tyranith's corpse.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Hexen is occasionally scripted to play a lightning flash and thunder strike. However, there's one location in Effluvium where you can walk back and forth to trigger a lightning strike in rapid succession.
  • Drop the Hammer: Baratus the Fighter in I and the unnamed Crusader in II. The first has a war hammer that launches other hammers that explode, and hits as hard in melee as the powered axe, the second has a melee-only war hammer that, with the Tome of Power, can be launched as a boomerang and strikes anything it hits with lightning.
  • Early-Bird Boss:
    • The Death Wyvern from the first game is a downplayed example, as you have all your weapons except your superweapon. He actually doesn't have much HP (640, or about 3 Centaurs worth), but does have a very dangerous Breath Weapon and a troublesome arena you'll need to collect in an in artifact back of the room to properly traverse it without dying quickly.
    • Famine, the first boss in Hexen II, is a more straight example: you only have your first 2 weapons when fighting him, he has a fairly strong homing attack, and can teleport around the room. He's still more annoying than hard.
  • Endless Winter: The "hook" for the Hexen II expansion Portal of Praevus is that, a few months after the events of the main campaign, a mysterious winter has suddenly afflicted all four known continents, and the heroes have set out to find the source of it before it causes irreversible damage.
  • Enemy Summoner: The Heresiarch not only fights well, but he can summon his Dark Bishops to fight with him.
  • 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.
  • Event Flag: Hexen's scripting system allowed creating event flags that spanned across maps, such as saying that part of a puzzle has been solved somewhere else. In some cases, these events can be triggered by crossing a line (e.g. crossing the center of a map to unlock the first secret level).
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The player characters of Hexen II. Not one of them has a known name, not even in the manual.
  • Evil Gloating: Korax taunts you at the beginning of every hub in Hexen.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The sparse story for the Assassin and Necromancer in Hexen II is this. See Sociopathic Hero and Villain Protagonist.
  • Fake Balance:
    • This is very noticable with the Cleric's Wraithverge. It's supposedly balanced by costing the most mana to fire of the three weapons in Hexen I, but it's not prohibitively expensive because of how the game showers you with mana ammo anyway. Ammo pickups are boosted 150% in Harder Than Hard, making things even more unbalanced, and largely making the added difficulty irrelevant. The Wraithverge is also very destructive, allowing you to slaughter a group of enemies with barely any aiming required thanks to the ghosts' homing ability.
    • Averted in Hexen II with the Raven Staff, the Wraithverge's Spiritual Successor. You now require a Tome of Power to access the classic Wraithverge's destructive mode, and ammo is much more scarce than before so you can't spam BFG attacks like before.
  • Fake Difficulty: In the level "wastelands" in the second hub of the third game has one door with a puzzle switch behind it. For some reason the door will only open if you're standing right in the center of it when pressing the use key. As such, it's easy to assume you need to flip a switch to open it, and spend ages looking for the non-existent switch, and either eventually try pressing on the door again (and actually opening it by chance), or just giving up and no-clipping through.
  • Falling Damage: The first game is possibly the Ur-Example for First-Person Shooter games. Oddly enough, falling from extreme heights is one of only three things that can kill you even with invincibility/God Mode, the other two being the giant stakes that rise from the ground in certain places and telefragging.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: All of the continents on Thyrion, where Hexen II takes place, count. Blackmarsh is a generic medieval Western European setting, Mazaera is Mayincatec, Thysis is Ancient Egypt to the point where it can't decide whether it's a fictional simile or the true Egypt, Septimus is Ancient Grome, and Tulku (from the expansion) is China/Tibet.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: In Hexen II provides two fighters with the Crusader & Paladin, along with the Necromancer and Assassin filling in the role of mage and thief respectively. The expansion to II adds a second mage with the Demoness.
  • Fission Mailed: At the end of the Dungeons level in the Castle of Grief hub in the first game, your character seems to be falling to his death... but then you end up in another level, Effluvium, in an area that was inaccessible before.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • The Mage from Hexen has by far the lowest amount of armor of the three classes, but makes up for this with weapons that are both powerful and have great range. The Arc of Death, their Green Mana weapon emphasizes this being perhaps the best weapon its class and boasting respectable range and damage against single monsters. Their BFG, the Bloodscourge provides a devastaing burst of damage, should the Mage fire it at the ground and find themselves surrounded by enemies.
    • In Hexen II there is both the Necromancer and Assassin, the former is essentially the Mage and the latter is a sneaky rogue with garbage armor but can take out enemies quickly with backstabs and explosives.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Cleric may be fighting for their church against the Serpent Riders, but their ultimate weapon summons shrieking, angry spirits that turn enemies into Ludicrous Gibs. Plus, one of their weapons is a Serpent Rider's Staff they have turned against their arch enemies.
  • 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.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The Deathkings Of The Dark Citadel expansion has a graveyard named "Locus Requiscat" (approximately "Place of rest".)
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • 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.
    • Reaching Hub 4's secret level (Desolate Garden) can also be this. The game tells you when pulling the switch in Sacred Grove that this opens the way to Desolate Garden... but nowhere does it even hint at the other trigger action required, that of crossing a linedef at the mouth of the cave containing the exit in Bright Crucible.
    • II has a lot of these, particularly in Thysis. This is generally caused by puzzle items being placed in what amounts to secret areas (similar to what Quake does), where you need to look for anything a bit off.
  • Gratuitous German: The title. Specifically, it means "witches", which is only tangentially related to the game: while there is a lot of magic and spells being flung around, there are no actual witches.
  • Harder Than Hard: There's four secret levels, but there's a hidden fifth difficulty level that can be set via console.
  • Hit Points: Combined with a Life Meter represented by a gem on a chain. The gem slides to the left as the character's health goes down, much like in the prequel, Heretic.
  • Horse Men Of The Apocalypse: The bosses in II. According to Tyranith's records, they can be brought to life at will by Eidolon thanks to the power of his Chaos Sphere.
  • 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 (Portal of Praevus only): Larva, Spawn, Fiend, She Bitch.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: In the expansion to Hexen 2 Portal Of Praevus there is a key called "Tien's Key". When you first unlock a door with it the game shows a message saying "Tien's key has not outlived its usefulness", as well as a message when you use it the second time about it being used up. Justified, as every other key in the game is only used once.
  • 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. Something similar happens in II, though the weapons are divided in only two parts.
  • 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)
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • Defeating Korax may leave one feeling smug, but watch out for the four ghosts that he releases upon death or you might be shredded by them and left staring at Korax's dead carcass with your body dead on the floor. They behave like the Ghosts released from the Wraith Verge, the Cleric's BFG
    • When the heresiarchs are killed their three floating mana cubes bounce around a bit before exploding. This can definitely kill you considering they do a lot of damage and have a much larger blast radius than their explosion sprites suggest
  • 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. This is enforced with their Quietus BFG/BFS which requires them to face enemies head-on leveraging their durability while they use the Spread Shot of said weapon to devastate a pack of foes or outright annihilate a lone target.
    • The Cleric isn't quite as fast or resilent as the Fighter, but is by no means slow or soft either. Their Wraith Verge is utterly devastating shredding mooks with ease, even from the safety of cover if the Cleric needs extra protection. In contrast, the Fighter has to face their enemies head-on to use their BFG/BFS which requires them to be the line of fire more.
  • 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.
  • 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: Blackmarsh, which serves as the first and last hubs of Hexen II, as well as the starting point of Portal of Praevus.
  • 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 occasion you may meet a "voodoo doll" version of yourself. And that only works if you picked fighter class.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous:
    • Korax from the first game has six arms and can shoot six projectiles of various kinds at once.
    • Praevus from the Portal Of Praevus (The expansion for the second game) has four arms, which he uses to cast various spells at you.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The Hexen II demo ended with the note that no sheep were harmed during its making.
  • Noodle Incident: It's never explained how The Castle of Grief got it's name, other than to sound scary. Perhaps the reigning monarch got killed by the monsters, and now everyone is grieving over them?
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Of the three Serpent Riders, D'sparil is the only one who actually rides a serpent.
    • The "Flechette" item is in fact a flask of acid.
  • 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. That doesn't mean it bypasses invulnerability spells like the Heresiarch's, though.
  • One World Order: According to the manual, before Korax came, the world of Cronus, where the first game takes place, was a dictatorship with three branches of government relating to military, magic, and religion, and the three Masters you fight were the supreme rulers of each branch. They all submitted to Korax in exchange for power.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: The centaurs from Hexen are tan-skinned and they have humanoid torsos and hound-like bodies, outfitted with scant armor, large serrated swords and round shields with a skull motif (that shoot fireballs, for the slaughtaurs).
  • Our Wyverns Are Different: The Death Wyvern, which appears as the Boss of the second hub, bombarding you with streams of explosive fireballs. It's also undead, meaning it doubles as a Dracolich.
  • Overly Long Gag: In the "Dungeon" level of the first game, there is an odd puzzle were you have to push a switch multiple times. Each time you do it spawns a slaughtaur, you have to push it a total of seven times to open the next area (each time yielding another slaughtaur, although you can tell when you're finally done as the button will stay activated). Most people's reaction will probably be "how many more times do I have to push this damn button?"
  • Point of No Return:
    • A minor one in the first hub. "Winnowing Hall" is a prologue; one you enter the hub proper, you can't go back to the Winnowing Hall.
    • The end portal of every hub after the Seven Portals, aside from giving exposition and leading to the next hub, also acts as one.
    • Once you're in the Axe Room of hub 4, there's no way back to the rest of the hub except for a brief few seconds when the Heresiarch's death causes the door to open again, before it closes forever.
    • The last level of hub 5 is an epilogue; you can't go back, and once in Korax' hall you can't return to the start of the level (except by using a Chaos Device, which however locks you out of the hall). Once into the main part of the hall, you can't return to the entrance lobby, so use those mana dispensers while you can.
  • Power Fist: The Warrior's and Paladin's starting weapons are spiked gauntlets.
  • Power-Up Letdown:
    • In the original Hexen, The Dark Servant allows you to summon a Maulotaur boss allied with you who will aggressively fight enemies for you. It sounds too good to be true, but their value is limited as a BFG caliber weapon will kill enemies much faster and ammo is usually not an issue either. You are also not Friendly Fireproof so don't accidentally trip on their "ground fire" attack or you'll be in a world or hurt.
    • In the sequel Hexen II, the Summon Stone summons a more mundane Imp to fight for you. They are mostly useful as a distraction, and not nearly as brawny as the Maulotaur. (See Summon Magic below.)
  • 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: Once every four minutes, Hexen will spawn new enemies. Normally, there's five points on the map that each have a 50% chance of spawning an ettin, with only the first hub having some variation. In Deathkings of the Dark Citadel, they're a bit more frequent and randomly determine which monster gets spawned (based on what's specified in the spawn script).
  • Roboteching: If there are no targets nearby and the area is open enough, the bloodscourge fireballs will simply fly out in a straight line, slowly spreading outward from each other. It's only when they get close to an enemy that will they begin to quickly home in on it.
  • 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.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Dark Bishops have their barks "Serve the bishop" and "So You Are back", with distortion and reversed.
  • 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) 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.
    • There is an artifact called Yorick's Skull that is required for a puzzle.
    • At one point in Hexen II you are instructed to "be penitent before the throne of Zeus". Guess what this means.note 
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Three characters to choose from. There are minor differences depending on your choice - for example, a mage (playing on medium or hard) will see an Afrit in front of the door, while the cleric and fighter do not.
    • Only Coop Multiplayer allows all characters to see each other, and that has its own item set as well.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Fighter's weapons are straightforward, and don't have any special effects like homing, or Life Drain, but they can be so satisfying to use.
    • The spiked gauntlets may be a starter weapon, but it can be so gratifying to 1-2-3 punch a monster. Some monsters can gib if the third punch takes them well into negative health. True, mana is plentiful for Timon's Axe, but the animation work that went into those gloves...
    • Timon's Axe is, quite simply, a battle hatchet that glows with blue energy, using blue mana to deliver mighty blows in a short radius.
    • The Hammer of Retribution combines a war hammer with the functionality of a mini-rocket launcher for longer range duty. A swing sends out a flaming hammer as long as you have green mana.
    • The Quietus is a no-frills BFG, sending out a wave of 5 firey blades that explode for incredible damage combined. Very effective on bosses and hordes of enemies.
    • The effect of Flechettes are like regular hand grenades with impact detonation. They act like a throw-able version of the Hammer of Retribution's rocket-hammers, and can be lobbed around corners to hit pursuing monsters. Flechettes are also very common so they're easy to use as medium-close-range alternative to the Hammer.
  • Sinister Scythe: The necromancer's starting weapon.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: The Cleric's Mace of Contrition is very weak for what appears to be a skull-crushing bludgeon-mace. It takes several seconds just to kill a basic Ettin and feels more like you're slapping them to death with a wooden stick. This also happens to the Fighter's Timon's Axe if it runs out of mana since you'd expect a basic battle hatchet to be more deadly than that.
  • 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.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Inverted with Korax. While he appears at the start of every episode to engage in Evil Gloating, during the final battle he doesn't speak a word.
  • 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 base AC out of the three characters. In Hexen II, this role is given to the Necromancer.
  • 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.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The Heresiarch has an invulnerability spell he can cast as often and as he wants, and it works like the fighter's icon of the defender i.e any projectiles are reflected back at the attacker, meaning such attacks are worse than useless. If he just kept this spell on all the time he'd be impossible to beat. And indeed, sometimes the A.I. Roulette doesn't go your way and you end up with him casting the spell (which lasts for about 30 seconds) several times in a row, meaning you can't do anything except wait until he decides to cast something different.
  • Teleporting Key Card Squad
  • Three Approach System: The first game allows you to choose one of three characters to play the game with.
  • 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.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • The Icon of the Defender provides 30 seconds of invulnerability but is very rare, making it likely to save them all until the Final Boss. This can pay off, making Korax a complete joke as he fruitlessly tries to kill you and you spam your BFG on him.
    • The Dark Servant summons a Maulotaur (A boss in Heretic) to fight for you, but there are only two in the baseline game. Can serve as a handy diversion fighting the Heresiarch, but not much else.note 
    • Dragon Skin Bracers boosts your armor, but you may have trouble finding the perfect time to use them since getting hit is usually not a goal when playing the game. They are also quite rare too.
    • Krater of Might refills all of your mana to the maximum of 200 each. They are more common than the above items, but can pile up due to how abundant mana is in the base game.
  • Tornado Move: In Hexen II, the Crusader's third weapon can create tornadoes with the aid of the Tome of Power.
  • 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?
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: One particularly nasty puzzle on the Gibbet level in the Castle of Grief hub in the first game combines this with Some Dexterity Required. At first, you see nothing but a switch, which you pull... and promptly plummet to your death. Turns out, you do need to pull the switch, and then jump away in a split second, which is extremely hard to pull off properly.
  • 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: 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 exactly three chaos serpents 5 seconds. When the serpents aren't there (e.g. the player kills multiple serpents at once or between checks), the script breaks. Therefore the cure is to slowly kill one snake before waiting for the side halls to open.
    • 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.
    • When Korax teleports away to bring in his reinforcements, using a banishment device on the mooks may teleport these enemies to the western arena where you can't attack the enemies. Players may be lucky if they can kill the enemy being the mid-arena wall with a disc of repulsion, but this generally makes the stage impossible.
    • 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.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The mage's frost shards spell still works on wendigoes, despite them being made of ice. Justified by game design: the first hub, the only place they appear in the core game, would be way too hard if the mage was restricted to his Sapphire Wand to deal with them.
  • 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.
  • Was Once a Man:
    • The Ettins were originally the human soldiers of the Legion before their Marshal, Zedek, sold them out to Korax, who transformed them into the thuggish monsters you encounter throughout the game. They retain enough memory of who they were to hate what they have become... but they hate you more for still being human.
    • Similarly, the Dark Bishops were originally clerics of the Church, but were corrupted by Korax after Grand Patriarch Traductus joined him.
  • Water Is Air: One of the boons that the Paladin receives from his deity is being able to move through water as quickly as air, and not needing to worry about air.
  • Wendigo: One of the enemy types, with the appearance of a humanoid being made of ice that shoots spiky lumps of ice at you.


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