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  • Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders Retrospective

    Published in 

    Welcome back to the Nostagia Train – the series that brings you back in time to enjoy the beloved or not-so-beloved games of our past.  This time, we are headed back to 1994 when FPS shooters involved tricky mazes, creatures from another world, and mild motion-sickness. Following the success of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders was a dark, medieval take on the first-person shooter.


    A twisted atmosphere of ambient noise and uncertainty around every corner, Heretic is more than just a Doom clone. While most of the game takes cues from its predecessor, Heretic manages to stand on its own as a pretty solid game. There are a few functional changes and a different theme bundled with a little online multi-player option that makes this game worth checking out.


    Heretic Pool

    Heretic: War of the Serpent Riders

    Three devious Serpent Riders with powerful magic have sought to control the kings of the world and wage war. However, the Sidhe elves resisted the riders. They sacrificed their own power to stop the kings from tearing each other a part at the cost of their own magic. Thus, the elves were rendered helpless before the Serpent Riders and forced to go into hiding. One remaining warrior, Corvus, seeks vengeance against the Serpent Riders and sets out to defeat the weakest first – D’Sparil. Will his vengeance be realized and can he make it home alive?


    Heretic Power Gloves



    Heretic Bow

    Navigating the City of the Damned

    Heretic is your basic first-person shooter, but with a few perks. Unlike previous games, you can actually look up and down in this game! It’s a little change, but it really helps when you’re trying to find out what’s shooting you.  A less helpful tidbit is the introduction of gibs – that way you are pleasantly reminded of the fact that you died a horrible, skin-melting lava death.  Oh yes! And you can fly. So, there’s that.


    Aside from these small changes, game play is very similar to other FP shooters of the era. Players must navigate through a level-based structure with varying degrees of difficulty. Find weapons, find keys, find treasure and murder the bad guys.  Part of the fun of these games is figuring out the puzzles and unlocking the door forward to the next, more difficult level of the dungeon. That, and the abusive cheat codes.


    Heretic Wand Battle

    Trying to cheat, eh? Now you die!

    One of the best parts of Heretic and games like it is throwing on the cheat codes and slaughtering your foes. There are several codes for “god mode” or “all weapons” – but don’t go typing in IDKFA of IDDQD just yet. The game actually punishes players that try to use the secret codes from Doom. If you don’t believe me, give it a try!  You can download the game on steam!


    Overall, Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders is one of those games that slipped through the cracks. While the story isn't much to write home about, the actual game play is where Heretic shines. It was released at a time where Doom was king, and the release date had it competing with the next level of gaming. It had missed its mark, but it really is a solid game. If you are into old school first-person shooters, Heretic is really worth spending the time and money on. If you end up liking it, there are two sequels!


    So, what do you think? Want to head back into the past? Where should we go next? Let us know in the comments below!


    Heretic Shock weapon

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