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Review by: Brian Pipa
Published: September 25, 1997
Eidolon, the oldest and most powerful Serpent Rider, has enslaved your beloved land of Thyrion. His power is immense; his grip on Thyrion is absolute. His evil minions have terrorized the people of Thyrion long enough. It is up to you to defeat Eidolon and his vile servants and to restore the freedom and dignity of the people. The odds are greatly against you and the task is formidable. Will you accept the challenge and can you succeed?
Anyone familiar with the 3D gaming genre will remember Heretic and Hexen, two great games by Raven Software that took the Doom engine to new heights. Now, the gang at Raven has done the same to the Quake engine with their latest 3D title, Hexen II. Hexen II is the first of many new games being released that will use the amazing and unbelievably versatile Quake engine.
Quake is often criticized for its lack of compelling solo gameplay, and Hexen II attempts to create a much more enjoyable solo game experience. There are four different classes of characters to choose from, and each has his or her own unique abilities that will affect how you make it through the game. The Crusader, Paladin, Assassin, and Necromancer each have four different weapons and are able to use the “accessories” found in the game in different ways. Choose your character wisely, because there is no going back once you begin — you must start a new game if you want to use a different character.
Instead of blindly killing anything that moves and progressing to the next level, Hexen II has many puzzles, switches, and buttons that you must contend with in order to move on. The hub system allows you to travel to and from the levels at will, and really does a great deal to further the notion that you are in another land and not just in a level of that land. There are cases where a button must be pressed on one level in order to trigger an item on another, and the way to and from each level is not a teleporter, but a door that you walk through. Hexen II requires you to think in a way that is much different than in Quake.
The GLHexen graphics are nothing less than gorgeous. The different themes of the levels (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, etc.) are beautifully rendered. The environments are massively interactive and almost every decorative item can be smashed, broken, or otherwise destroyed. Barrels, bookcases, vases, dead bodies, and even some doors can be smashed to bits. Many times there is no other reason to do this other than the satisfaction of malicious violence, but sometimes clues, buttons, or powerups are revealed when you go on a destructive rampage.
Hexen II implements an inventory system to keep track of the many different items that can be found. This is great for those times when you encounter an evil horde of monsters and need to, for example, use the Tome of Power (which supercharges all of your weapons) right when you need it. I had a hard time selecting inventory items and using them when I was under attack, though. I found it much easier to invoke the item, then fight, but it doesn’t always happen like that.
Hexen II provides the same multiplayer options that Quake does — IPX, TCP/IP, and modem (over the Internet). I tried playing a few times over the Internet, but the lag was awful, and the games totally unplayable. Hexen II over the Internet will truly become a reality once Raven releases Hexenworld. Hexenworld will be a free download that will make Internet play of Hexen II much better and much more enjoyable. Currently, Raven expects to have it done in a few weeks, but you know how that is — more than likely it will be much later. Multiplayer should be a lot of fun, though. While I was playing online, I was fortunate enough to be turned into a sheep by one of my opponents. My point of view was much lower, I could see my sheep’s nose in front of me, and every time I pressed fire I said “Baaaaa”. Truly funny.
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