Witchaven was a 1995 Action RPG, developed by Capstone Software and published by IntraCorp.
Along with Capstone's 1994 release, William Shatner's Tekwar, it had the distinction of being one of the first games made on the Build Engine, debuting a full year before Duke Nukem 3D. Although based on a first-person shooter engine, the gameplay had more in common with traditional first-person fantasy hack-and-slash RPGs, with a heavy emphasis on close combat with melee weaponry (a bow and several magic spells for ranged attacks were also available, but each had limited uses). The player also gained experience points and increased his health and magic ability gradually as the game progressed.
The game follows the warrior Grondoval as he journeys to the forbidden land of Witchaven to defeat the evil witch Illwhyrin.
A sequel, Witchaven II: Blood Vengeance, was released in 1996, which featured new weapons and enemies - plus a significant Sequel Difficulty Spike. This was Capstone and IntraCorp's last game, before they both went bankrupt in the same year.
Tropes featured include:
- And the Adventure Continues: The ending of the first game states that Grondoval continued to adventure and went on to found his own kingdom, "but that is another story".
- An Axe to Grind: One of the available melee weapons. Minotaurs wield two-handed ones, while the Dark Knights sometimes combine a smaller axe with a shield.
- Badass Cape: Dark Knights have black armour, but combine it with a long flowing cape that can be red, blue or even purple. Grondoval himself is drawn with a blue cape in the ending artwork.
- Blackout Basement: Some secret areas are extremely dark, though you are able to cast a Night Vision spell.
- Breakable Weapons: One of the then-unique features of the game. Melee weapons had finite durability and would shatter after enough usage, requiring you to find another one.
- Captain Ersatz: In the first game, Grondoval bears more than a passing resemblance to Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer, especially on the box art.
- Cave Behind the Falls: The very first level features a power-up hidden behind a waterfall.
- Dark Knight: These the late-game Elite Mooks, taking multiple blows to down due to their armor and shields, yet dishing out sizeable damage with their swords or axes.
- The ending screen reveals that the player character, Grondoval, himself wears an identical suit of black armor.
- Dem Bones: Skeletons are a comparatively rare enemy here. They also lack any equipment and just try to punch the player.
- Enemy Civil War/Mêlée à Trois: Enemies would occasionally fight each other as well as the player, for example green goblins and yellow goblins were hostile to each other, and groups of them would often be found battling it out.
- Epic Flail: A flail is one of your starting weapons.
- Follow the Leader: At the time, most reviewers criticized the game for being derivative of Heretic and Hexen due to the similar dark fantasy setting. Witchaven was distinguishable due to its emphasis on melee combat as opposed to ranged spellcasting like in the Heretic/Hexen series.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Your only option if you happen to run out of melee weapons and/ arrows & spells. Some enemies also only fight you bare-handed.
- The Goomba: Both goblin varieties die in one hit from a sword or flail, even if it hit them in their arm.
- Healing Potion: Present, and notable for being blue-colored, rather than red like the vast majority of examples.
- Horny Vikings: The Dark Knights in this game (which includes the protagonist) all have horned helmets.
- An Ice Person: A Freeze spell is one of your starting magics.
- Jump Scare: For whatever reason, a ghostly horned skull with glowing eyes, pops up on screen at random points during gameplay, accompanied by a loud Scare Chord.
- A Load of Bull: Ypu'll eventually face Minotaurs with large two-handed axes.
- Magic Missile: It's called Magic Arrow here, but the idea behind this magic spell is the same.
- Our Goblins Are Different: The starting enemies are goblins with short swords and round shields. There were green and yellow varieties, which behave identically and have the same stats, but are also hostile to each other.
- Playing with Fire: A fireball is another one of the available spells. The demonic enemies will toss them at you as well.
- Recurring Boss: Illwhyrin actually appears several times throughout the game to fight you, but always teleports away after taking damage. Only in the final level do you actually kill her.