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|Action Adventure Games, Action Games
Speaking As The World's Worst Doom player (it's true. I've got a certificate and everything to prove it). I'm probably less than ideal to tackle a game like Wftchaven with all its Doom-style play. Maybe the theory is that if I'm any good at it, the game must be rubbish? Not an entirely implausible hypothesis, I must say. However, there is an old Presley family saying that I've always adhered to and it's never been more pertinent than at this particular moment: There's a world o'difference betwixt being Bobby Davro and appreciating Bobby Davro. Ye ken?
Combat? You got It
Okay, so I'm crap at Doom-style games, but at least I can still tell when one is an absolute corker - and Witchaveti definitely falls into that particular slot. It's a sort of midway point between Heretic and the Ultima Underworld series, which has you bravely battling goblins, trolls, skeletons and other Dungeons & Dragons rejects, all in the name of a dodgy plot and an impressive, albeit overlong, introductory animation. People didn't seem take to Heretic the way they did to Doom and I think I know why - weapons. Heretic had lots of fantasy-based guns; Witchaven has swords, axes, daggers and so on. Hand-to-hand combat. In your face combat. Taste the blood combat. Remember how much fun the chainsaw is in Doom? Well, there's no need to imagine a game entirely like that - it's Witchaven. The action is fast and ferocious as well as intimate, which is where it scores over Heretic. That and the blood content.
Any parents reading? If so, here is a warning: On no account let your kids near Witchaven - it'll scar 'em for life and they'll probably grow up to be Tory mps.
The 'Gore Mode' is just sick, plain and simple. Not only are there bits of bodies flying everywhere as your axe slices into them, there are pools of blood, spikes piercing vital organs and... no, I'm sorry but I can't go on. You'll just have to trust me when I say that more than once I had to pause the game and stop for a breath of air and glass of water. Just have faith in me on this, okay? God, that torture room level (shudder)...
Like Heretic, you have all sorts of spells and potions to play with, including a very nifty 'Fly' spell that allows you to discover all sorts of hidden stuff up in the rafters. Like Dungeons & Dragons, you also have experience points that allow you to go up in levels. More than just cosmetic point scoring, the higher your level, the better you'll be in the game. Bigger spells will then be available to you, your weapons will be faster and do more damage, and so on. It's a nice touch and provides a real incentive to keep going through the levels. Then add to that all the usual network/modem options, triggers and traps, top it up with impressive graphical effects and you've got yer actual total package.
Is it better than Heretic? You betcha. Is it better than Hexen? Hmm, similar perhaps. Is it better than Quake? Not if what little I've seen of Quake is to be believed. Witchaven has many, many fine elements and is really going to appeal to the gore munchers among you, but it doesn't have the same feeling of oomph that has gone before. A worthy addition but not quite the champion.