What's the legacy of Hexen: Beyond Heretic?

#1
Am I alone in thinking Hexen: Beyond Heretic still has some of the best atmosphere ever?

It's been ages since I last played this game and the first day of October seemed like a perfect time to fire it up and give it a go, being cold and dreary outside. I wasn't disappointed. There's something about this games atmosphere. Nothing since then has scratched quite the same itch and it seems utterly unique even to this day. The closest I can think of is some areas from the first Dark Souls. I first played the game on the Nintendo 64 of all places and I guess that version of the game isn't remembered fondly. I never got all that far into the game because of its hard as balls difficulty and esoteric design but it left a lasting impression. Being a kid at the time and not following games media or the trends of the day, how was this series viewed at the time and what was its lasting legacy? Did it even have one?

It's one of the most memorable Doom clones to me but I never see it mentioned by anyone ever anywhere.
 
#2
It’s inspired a decent amount of amateur Doom-engine maps and mods, but Hexen’s seen as a dead end in FPS design from that era too. I like it for what it is, though I find Heretic more palatable and immediate. The hub system’s found use in games like Strife.
 
#3
It's great and the franchise needs a reboot. I just recently replayed it with gzdoom and it's awesome.
Some people would frown at my mouselook but it's a better game for it.
 
#5
As far as influencing later games goes, there was a fantastic Hexen/Heretic spiritual successor that released earlier this year:

 

ColdSun

☠️ Astra inclinant, sed non obligant ☠️
Moderator
#8
Heretic, Hexen, and Heretic II were all incredible in their own ways. Definitely some of my fondest memories of that period of gaming (Blood is another)
 

Noogy

Soloist
Verified
#10
This thread warms my heart as Hexen is one of my favorite FPS. The atmosphere (and music) in the swampy areas are still fantastic to this day. I still try to do a full playthrough once every year or so.

I loved Heretic, and the Hexen sequels were alright. But the original Hexen was something else. I was actually offered a position at Raven way back, and gushed about how much I loved the series during the interview.
 
#11
I remember loving Hexen, and it was one of the first PC games I completed. I don't remember the game at all now, and have no idea how well it'd hold up.
 
#12
The atmosphere of Heretic and Hexen remains some of my favorite dark fantasy art direction ever in video games. Feels distinct, weird and sinister all these years later.

It's cool that even 24 years later, most of the Hexen team are still based in Madison. Ben Gokey, Chris Rhinehart, Shane Gurno, Brian Pelletier (project lead on Heretic II and Elite Force), and James Sumwalt all work at Human Head, and the Raffel brothers and Eric Biessman remain at Raven. Something in Wisconsin must create committed developers.
 
#14
I'm very fond of Hexen, I have to say. The things it did with the bog-standard Doom engine were incredible, and I loved the less-linear hub-world design, along with the increased focus on puzzles.

At some point I need to get around to playing Deathkings of the Dark Citadel, I've got it knocking around here somewhere...

It's been a very, very long time since I looked at the addon levels / total conversion scene, were there any notable WAD packs for Hexen released?
 
#17
I think Hexen became sort of emblematic of all the bad parts about cryptic, maze-like level design of mid 90s Doom clones. Most people probably never got past the first hub area. I think Hexen 2 was more memorable and atmospheric even if it largely suffers from the same kinds of problems. It really does feel more like an action RPG running in the Quake engine than Hexen did (and ironically is probably closer to the original design vision of Quake).

Now, Take No Prisoners, that's a cool Quake engine Raven game from the same period no one ever talks about.
 
#18
Surprised to hear that Heretic 2 is not remembered fond of.

That siad, I only played through it with cheats at a very young age, so my memory of it is a bit hazy. But I remember liking the story and killing stuff with the extendable spear.
 
#19
I liked Heretic better if I am honest.
Same. Heretic’s straightforward, “arcadey” play was as endearing as that of Wolf3D and Doom, and the additions (flying, inventory) and thematic changes made it even more appealing to me.

Hexen went off the rails.
 
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