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Video Game / Witchaven

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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".
  • 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.
  • Black 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: You can use the Nuke to "kill Illwhyrin" in other levels beside the final, but she will reappear in other levels.
  • 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.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Halberd. Does almost as much damage as the Magical Sword, and can attack faster. The only drawback is that the weapon breaks easily.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Magical Sword. The weapon does a lot of damage per swing and is the final weapon to get in the game. The only drawback is how hard it is to find this sword.
  • 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.
  • HP to One: One of Illwhyrin's magic abilities.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: You'll eventually face Minotaurs with large two-handed axes.
  • Playing with Fire: A fireball is another one of the available spells. The demonic enemies will toss them at you as well.
  • Recurring Boss: Despite being the main villain and Final Boss, Illwhyrin actually appears several times throughout the game to fight you. However, she will teleport away after taking enough damage. Only in the final level do you actually kill her.