Playing electronic games un the 90s was not as easy as one might think. But it was as equally exciting. While these days shooters and sports games sprawl around the market, almost choking any other genre, the first person shooter was an exciting new innovation. And it was one that we all could get behind, even though it had a controversial start.
Those who remember the first person shooters in their starts will immediately think about Wolfenstein, in which you had to kill a myriad of people dressed in blue and brown and with blue eyes and blond hair. Then, after that, we started enjoying some satanic goodness when kicking hell’s ass as a futuristic space marine in Doom I & II. The levels were, each in its own right, somewhat complex, convoluted and there was so much backtracking to do to get the main door open to exit the level. Best of all, the lack of full motion videos provoked the need to use a bad and simple story that was even more effective than most of the latest Final Fantasy sequels.
Then there was Heretic. The name in itself was not quite flattering, but the computer game in itself was a very good Doom clone. But this time you had the chance to get medieval on the evil forces. As far as I understood, back in my youth, you play a cleric/wizard who has to defeat some demonic power int he form of a wizard that was ready, as always, to level your world. Simple, clichéed maybe, but effective.
The weapons were a little built different from Doom, and I do not only mean the animations and the sounds. There was this powerglove, for example, ready to blast out any enemy at close range. the Phoenix Staff was also something quite cool to shoot with. Somehow, they managed to really program upon the basic Doom game and still create a different world.
Also quite interesting, although not as amazing, was the creation of the inventory system. Here you could select an item that could aid you during your prowling across the ruins of ruined castles. Things like timed bombs and power up books were part of the standard arsenal, but most incredibly was the inclusion of some skull with wings that made you fly.
Enemies were also great. The common enemy, the gargoyle, flew, which meant that he was even in the later levels a huge threat. But other monsters would soon follow, like the alien look-alike that clawed at you at close range once he saw you, or even worse, the different big metallic heads that made different kind of attacks. This game had thus a lot to explore, making it a separate game of Doom.
One little detail I loved, though was the ambience. The songs were quite calm and there was even a mysterious evil laughter from time to time which always had me on full alert. Who knows if it was an enemy on the other side of the wall!
definitely, this has been a game I have been returning to for ages. The level design was wicked, the feeling was great and the game was, in some way, scary and pretty deep. Some secrets could only be accessed by using the flying item!
May they smile upon your way!