Hexen

a game by Beam Software, and GTE Interactive Media

Platforms: PlaystationPSXNintendo 64Nintendo 64

Genres: Action, Shooting Games

First-person shooters can come and go, but who can argue that it was id Software's games (the Doom series) that paved the way for others to follow? Hexen is one of those games. Utilizing the Doom engine on the PC, Hexen brought new features and characteristics to the genre. Now, the game will be treated to a nice facelift courtesy of the Nintendo 64's excellent hardware capabilities.

Hexen is no ordinary Doom clone. You won't find shotguns, rocket launchers or chain guns here. Hexen takes place in a fantasy, medieval setting, where cold steel and powerful magic separate the strong from the weak. Your adventures will take you through ancient castles and dark dungeons. You will meet demons, wizards and other mystical creatures that may make Hexen look more like a fantasy role-playing adventure than a first-person shooter.

When you start the game, you will be given a choice of what character you would like to play as. Your decision will affect several factors, from how much damage you can take and inflict to what weapons and artifacts you'll be able to utilize. You can choose a warrior (a stereotypical strong, but slow fighter), a mage (a physically weak, but magically powerful character) or a cleric (a happy medium between the other two).

Each class has its own unique set of items to use throughout the game. This may help replay value tremendously. For example, the initial weapon that each player starts with will be either a pair of steel-gloved fists (warrior), a magical staff that offers a weak-ranged attack (mage) or a spiked mace (cleric). All of the stronger weapons to be found later in the game are also unique to each character class.

To make things even more interesting, common items have different effects, depending on which character is using it. The green potion, for example, can be an explosive concoction in the hands of the warrior, or can be dropped to form a floating poisonous gas cloud when used by the cleric.

Little changes like these help make Hexen a much more interesting experience than you get with the average Doom game.

Add to this a Four-player Split-Screen Mode (see sidebar) plus the N64's graphical prowess, and you have an aging game that may be worth looking at again.

Gamer's EDGE

So does four-player deathmatching work on a single TV screen? After all, knowing where your opponents are can defeat the whole purpose of deathmatching in the first place (which is the reason why Midway isn't planning on including a Multiplayer Mode in Doom 64). But why not include it? The N64 easily supports it. and any Doom-type game certainly warrants it.

The action can get fast and furious. Make sure to pick up power-ups and new weapons as soon as possible. The only thing you will have to keep in mind is that you can’t pick up every weapon you see. As we mentioned in the article, certain weapons are for specific classes only.

  • MANUFACTURER - Software Creations
  • THEME - Software Creations
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 - 4

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Hexen Downloads

Hexen download

Risible port of a feeble PC Doom clone, in the running for a 'Most Blurred Graphics' award. Trudging gameplay and dull enemies.

reggie posted a review

Sadly, exactly the same as its elderly PC mum. Still fun in a retro kind of way but. in the light of GoldenEye. hard to recommend.

reggie posted a review

Doom is back, but this time it's gone all medieval!

Hexen is due to bound onto the Nintendo 64 this summer, with one particular plus which makes it worth a look: four player, splits-screen blast-'em-up action. Okay; at first it's pretty confusing (and the general graphics of Hexen look as though they need tidying up) but once you get the hang of this role-playing shooter, it's a great deal of fun.

As far as the game Itself goes, the 75% complete version doesn't seem to have much that you can't find more of elsewhere. As in Doom 64, levels are all polygonal, but the enemies are 2-D sprites and not especially attractive ones at that. The 31 levels are exactly the same as last year's PC version.

Gameplay-wise this does entail more brain-power. As well as the usual panoply of weapons there are a multitude of spells with which you need to familiarise yourself. And, as a player you can take on the persona of Mage, Warrior or Cleric.

Development house Software Creations has made the most of the Nintendo 64. The special effects can be found in the enemy and object sprites which have been mip-mapped and anti-aliased. There's also an element of fogging where use has been made of the transparency hardware (although this seems to have become pretty much obligatory among N64 developers now).

There's also fun to be had in certain levels where you are able to fly; and it's always worth crashing into the game's furniture in order to see what's behind a fake wall or stained glass window. In that respect exploration is more intriguing than in other games based on id's Doom engine.

But, for us the major excitement will be the ability to frag your pals on screen which means that, despite some reservations about this in pure one-player terms, it's going to be one of the multi-player hits of this year.

Prospects: Doom was a bit flat, but hexen could well take the first person crown. Don't forget Duke Nukem and Quake though.

reggie posted a review

A Dungeons & Dragons-style take on Doom, though unlike Doom 64, Hexen hasn't been updated from its PC roots. This means blocky graphics, an abundance of nasty brown textures making everything blend together on screen and no real thrills. Play the four-player game and you'll think someone's rubbed Bisto into your eyeballs, such is the fuzzy brown-ness.

reggie posted a review

With Doom enthusiasts likely to find themselves spoilt for choice come the end of the year - Doom 64 itself, Final Doom 2, Turok 2, Quake 64 and GoldenEye 007 are all at various stages of development -- a breath of fresh air is plainly needed. And cloud-swallowing PC smash Hexen may well have a crate already bottled.

The main reason is its four-player splitscreen mode, where said four competitors can compete against each other head-to-head.The set-up went down a storm on the PC and has already proven similarly successful in early tests on the N64. 70% complete versions, however, did suffer some horrendous slow-down, so with the game nearing completion it's hoped that's been fully sorted out.

Across the fair seas, the US are hoping to see Hexen in June and a European release may well follow fairly shortly after.And with its 31 medieval levels and corpse-filled dungeons already looking up to scratch, hopes are high for the N64's third first-person shoot-'em-up.

reggie posted a review

Overview

Another hit PC title has made its way to your humble little Playstation. The basic game engine has been carried over, along with all of the action that made the PC version a success. Prepare to battle through vast levels and sub-levels, killing anything and everything that stands in your path.

The story of Hexen is two pages long and, although interesting enough, can be summed up by saying you are one of only three humans alive. You must battle your way through huge worlds and plenty of enemies to reach Korax, the Serpent rider. Beat him and turn the world around. Time to be a hero!

Gameplay

I have heard of Hexen on the PC for quite a long time, but I don't play PC games very often. So I didn't even know what type of game it was. Was it an adventure game? A first-person shooter? A fighting game? Yes, it turns out to be all of these. Hexen is best described as a first-person adventure game that, depending on which of the three selectable characters you choose, uses more short range weapons (clubs, fists, etc.) than a typical corridor shooter. There are no plasma guns; instead, Hexen has magical staffs that shoot fire balls. The game focuses more on puzzle solving and switch tripping than all out assaults on the bad guys. Of course there are plenty of bad guys to beat up on, but this is only one aspect of the game. The gameplay reminded me of Kings Field II.

A big part of the appeal of Hexen is the ability to select from three different characters to try fulfilling the quest. Each of the three characters are quite different from one another. You can play as Baratus, a strong, fast warrior who specializes in close combat. You can also try to beat the evil Korax with Daedolon, a physically weak sorcerer. What he lacks in physical strength, however, he makes up for in magical attacks. The final character is Parias. He is a cross between the other two characters and is probably the best character to start the game with.

Before I continue on, I must issue a warning. If you do decide to purchase this game, you may as well buy another memory card that is solely for this game. A standard memory card has 15 blocks available and Hexen uses all 15. It is also not a progressive usage either. If you take one step into the game and save it, you are looking at 15 blocks. And it doesn't matter how far into the game you are, saving still takes 15 blocks. The reason I bring this up is that Hexen is a big game that, unless you really have no life, you will not finish in one sitting. You will want to save the game and come back to it.

I mentioned above that Hexen is a combination of a number of different genres. I think that the setting and combat styles give it an almost role-playing aspect. Don't get me wrong. This is not Legend of Zelda or Suikoden by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have that type of a feel. For example, each character starts the game with different strength and armor. As you progress, your armor levels increase, and you build yourself up and become stronger.

One thing I did not like about Hexen was the monotony. You will experience the old cliche "been there, done that" feeling more than once. There are quite a few new areas to be discovered, but there are also some rehashed rooms along the way. I will give credit to the developers on one large point: they open up the worlds of Hexen instead of limiting the game to dark, dank corridors.

Graphics

From a graphics point of view, these types of games have always been rough around the edges. Hexen is no different. Pixelization is a problem as you get too close to enemies or walls. Most games hide this by dark lighting and, on occasion, Hexen does the same. On a more positive note, the enemies are all creative and do look good from a step or two back. All of the worlds look good and there was no mistaking doors or switches. If there was something you needed to interact with, it was obvious. This is not always the case in this type of game. On the whole, the graphics are about par for the course.

Bottom Line

I enjoyed Hexen for what it was. I can't really call it anything new, even though in many respects it is. I could not really call it revolutionary, but that does not mean it is not fun. I could not call it eye candy but that does not mean that the graphics were poor. I could not really call it a bad game because it isn't.

reggie posted a review
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