[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Heretic

October 28th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Raven Software Id Software Heretic Advertisement Ad - 1995Killing the DEAD has never been so much FUN!

The Gothic fantasy atmosphere of Heretic excited me when id Software first published it as shareware episode in 1994. Either someone uploaded the game to my BBS or I downloaded it from another, but either way, I quickly found myself enveloped in a modem-to-modem online co-op Heretic session with a friend.

Fast forward 18 years later, and I played Heretic again — this time, the entire game (and again, co-op). The first episode is OK, but the level design for the others is incredibly tedious and disappointing. I can see now that it is a very mediocre game. But when first released, following hot on the heels of Doom, people loved it.

[ From Computer Gaming World, September 1995, p.61 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite Doom engine game?



6 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Heretic”

  1. David Says:

    Doom, Quake, Heretic… I would have to agree that Heretic was the weakest-link, but it was still part of the PC golden age for games. Simple controls with a load it and play mentality. Great stuff! I know I am getting old, but nowadays it seems like you need a science degree just to remember all the keys and special moves in games. Oh and whilst the early 90s were great for Pc gaming,they were nothing compared to the 80s! Give me Atari, Activision, Commodore, VIC 20, C64, Amstrad CPC, Oric 1, Atmos, ZX 81, Sinclair ZX Spectrum [I'm sure you get the idea and I am getting way too sentimental now…]. Keep up the good work Benj! Great fun!!!

  2. Ant Says:

    My good old days!

  3. Alan Says:

    It's all about perspective.

    The first level was amazing, and the rest were fairly derivative. Hmm, sounds to me like Half-Life, Halo, Gears of War, and countless others. I think you're either being overly harsh on Heretic, or overly generous to everything else :-) :-)

    Pretty much any game is mediocre, after 18 years. What mitigates that is having a special place in your memories, that you are transported back to when you play it.

    I played too much Heretic at work, when I was pulling all-nighters doing NetWare server disk maintenance and had to wait hours for tape backups and restores to finish. Ah, those were the days…. that I'm glad I'm not still doing…. :-)

  4. Retrobluehawk Says:

    I am not a big fan of first person shooters, however, apart from Goldeneye on the N64, Doom is the only one I played to any great length. I was at University, and my house mate had a 386 and he had bought Doom. I remember playing it night after night, there were 3 of us, we would try and work out how to progress through the levels. It was very addictive. I even sneaked into his room when he wasn't there to play it. I had never put so much energy into trying to complete a game since playing Elite Plus on my Dad's 286. Good memories.

  5. Moondog Says:

    I recall bringing my pc over to a friend's house on the weekends, playing games like this through a serial connection. It wasn't long before we all got ethernet cards and switches, and somebody was hosting lan parties every month.

  6. Benj Edwards Says:

    It's not about perspective to me, Alan. It's about personal taste and opinion. There are plenty of games 18+ years old that are not mediocre (Doom for example) but Heretic just doesn't hold up as well as certain classics. Like I said, the level design is pretty bland — it was bland in 1994, and it still is today.

    Great story too! Ah, the days of serial co-op and 4-player LAN deathmatches. I remember them well.

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