Fantasy Island: Hellraid

By Adam Smith on June 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Edit: originally referred to ‘Deep Silver’s Hellraid’ as opposed to the 1,0000% more accurate ‘Techland’s Hellraid’.

The last time I enjoyed a first-person melee combat game, I was booting orcs into spikes or off cliffs, and pretending that the bits with spiders didn’t exist. They did exist though and, Looking Glass games aside, serve as scuttling proof that arachnids are capable of ruining anything. No matter. I can just about forgive Dark Messiah for its tarantulike transgressions because it’s packed full of wonderful physics-based ‘accidents’. The new trailer for Deep Silver’s Techland’s Hellraid doesn’t show any such invention, but it does show a fair bit of biffing, with spells and swords. It actually reminded me that Hexen 2 existed and then I remembered how impressed I was by Hexen 2′s graphics and then I looked at a video of Hexen 2 on Youtube. Wow. There are so many new graphics nowadays.

Slight correction. There is a bit where a massive container falls on some baddies and squashes them. Environmental hell-kill!

I stopped playing Dead Island shortly after the tutorial finished so I can’t agree with the many who are saying, “it’s just a reskin”. I can’t very well disagree with them either though. It probably doesn’t help that many of the enemies seem to be de-skinned zombies. Yes, it’s a game full of skellingtons. And zombies actually. Hell, it seems, is mostly full of dead people, in various states of disrepair. They’re all very angry though. There seem to be a few demons as well and they have totally been working on their abs so that they’ll look good when dancing topless at the disco inferno.

It’s a strange world. Here’s Hexen 2, for comparison. There is a spider. Of course there is a spider.

‘Dynamic roleplaying’ is a man falling into a puddle.

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60 Comments »

  1. Kobest says:

    Just finished Dark Messiah a week ago, so I’m looking forward to this one!

    (Also, any news about the Humble Serious Sam bundle? :) )

    • derbefrier says:

      its about time for a reinstall for me. I love that freaking game.

  2. big boy barry says:

    Dark Messiah. Possibly the most overlooked game in recent history.

    • Firkragg says:

      I played that game to death. In my youth back then, I remember my parents leaving the house for a week, so I installed my pc in the living room and completed Dark Messiah 3 times, back-to-back, all 3 different class paths. It was that good, imo.

      • DrDerekDoctors says:

        I got stuck at the fight with the orc leader. Any advice? You’re not meant to use magic. :(

        • meloncrab says:

          Oh god, that fight as a sorcerer was mean. I’m really not sure anymore how I’ve done it. I think I drank all the potions I had beforehand (if the game had potions). Or maybe I had cast some ice on the floor before the fight so he slipped on it when it begun.

          • termit says:

            Finished Dark Messiah as a mage several months ago, so it’s somewhat fresh. I managed to pass that fight by using the shield spell, lightning and lots of mana potions. I also think there were several jars of oil scattered in the room, which can be used to thin out the minions.

        • DarkFenix says:

          You can use magic so long as you’re prepared to deal with his minion’s joining the fight. That’s how I did that fight as a magic-user, when I found out entirely by accident that blocking with that magic-absorbing staff counts as using magic.

        • dE says:

          It has been some time. If I remember right, he has very slow attack moves, which you can block. He’ll stagger after the block, where you will need to whack him a few times to charge your adrenaline. Don’t bother with fancy weapons, you’ll kill him with an adrenaline move, which if I remember right, instagibs him.
          It’s a bit cheesy but I remember blocking being particularly easy with him. Also if all else fails, I think you can just nick the damn key from him and make a run for it. Not sure, memory might fail me.

        • Smion says:

          You can pick up a boulder from the floor and throw it at the orcboss to knock him on his ass, then do the “impale a downed enemy”-move (it’s not really a finishing move in this fight) and pick up the rock again when he gets up. That’s still honorable according to orcs.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      It’s on my playlist. Any good mods for it?

      • Svant says:

        The difficulty settings in the game are a bit wack, I believe there are some mods that fixes this or at least some guides how to tweak the stats in the settings files to make it better. Because the problem with the high difficulties is that everything becomes punching bags and the only way to kill them is all the insta kill moves like kicking off cliffs, into spikes, fires etc which makes it kinda booring. But the increased damage etc from enemies makes the game a lot more tense. So last time I played I ran with high enemy damage and slightly lower enemy health. A lot of fun =)

      • Lev Astov says:

        I never tried modding it, but it was thoroughly good without.

    • Stitched says:

      Also, one of the buggiest.

      • Lev Astov says:

        Oddly, I experienced no bugs the first two times I played it. After that it crashed and burned all the time. huh

    • Grey Poupon says:

      They should really make a sequel for it. I spent most of my time in Skyrim sobbing over the fact that combat was nowhere near as fun as it was in Dark Messiah.

    • Kobest says:

      Agreed, I had a blast while playing it a week ago!

      Remember Duncan, the guy who would survive everything? You meet him in one of the last levels where the undead is invading the city. He’s supposed to die during that fight (and Xana would say: “He WAS quite a survivor” or something), but I kept trying to save him. In the end, I managed to keep him alive, but then his AI would get broken and just walk around and not respond to things.

      Also, no bugs for me, except for the times when I would jump on a swinging rope and end up in the wall itself.

      • Lev Astov says:

        Oh, yes! I remember Duncan. I saved him in my second playthrough and he just kept running back and forth along that narrow alley where he was supposed to die.

    • Ian says:

      Twice I’ve played Dark Messiah. Twice I’ve found myself very much enjoying right up until the bit with all the zombies and thought, “fuck this.”

      Which is a shame because when you’re running about physicsing everything to death it’s brilliant.

    • Kusz says:

      Agreed. Oblivion with the “Deadly Reflex” mod is also great. It’s a bit of a pain to install, but the addition of kicks, dodges, special moves, decapitations, and smart ai, that can also use all of the above, is soo worth it. It’s the best first person slasher, just after Dark Messiah, I’ve played.

    • Shodex says:

      Probably even more overlooked is it’s “spiritual predecessor” Arx Fatalis. It came out right in between Morrowind and Neverwinter Nights so it was completely overshadowed. But in some ways I feel it’s stronger than Morrowind or Neverwinter Nights, in some ways.

      • DrDerekDoctors says:

        Arx Fatalix is the BEST! I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a first-person-fantasy-RPG as much.

      • gritz says:

        Arx is more of a spiritual successor of Ultima Underworld than a spiritual predecessor of Dark Messiah.

      • Soldancer says:

        I really liked Arx, but I kept having problems getting the the game to not crash on startup after several hours of playtime with the GOG version on XP. Now that I have 7, I might see if it makes any difference; I really liked that game a lot.

        The strength of those two games (Arx and Messiah) got me to plunk down my cash for Dishonored day one, and I was not disappointed.

    • Lev Astov says:

      Oooh! I am going to try it with the Oculus Rift this weekend. It’s Source based, so it should be an easy mod.

    • N'Al says:

      I know this is a PC-centric site ‘n all, so this might not be very relevant, but a word of warning regardless: Don’t ever play the console version of DM, it’s butchered beyond recognition (quite appropriately, perhaps?) PC version is genius, though.

  3. DrDerekDoctors says:

    I think “reskin” seems a very fair accusation given that the minotaur is appears to have not only the same behaviour as Dead island’s “Ram” enemy, but also the same sound effects.

    • CrispinFister says:

      That’s pretty much what most RPGs are these days anyway, just the same game with a different name and more or less down syndrome in it. It’s Skyrim… ON ICE. Skyrim itself being a terribly overrated generic non-RPG with so many faults that it should have gotten 6/10 at best, realistically but people are so afraid to be honest these days. If Hitler made a game people would probably give it 9/10 even if it was shit. Look at The Last of Us, generic post-apocalyptic shooter that is more of an amateur TV drama than a game and it is GOTY the day it came out. I weep for humanity.

      • bladedsmoke says:

        Someone got out of bed and put on his Angry Pants this morning

        • Christo4 says:

          Well he is kind of right, Skyrim feels very empty and simple if you don’t mod it and at launch it had a ton of bugs. Last of Us seems like an action TWD with no meaningfull moral choices.
          Though i wouldn’t rate Skyrim an 6 at launch, i think an 8 is pretty good, it has a good world, but gets repetitive pretty fast. Last of Us review on gamespot seems pretty spot-on even if it has a lot of fanboy hate for not getting a 10 lol.

          • Lanfranc says:

            The best thing about Skyrim was the mod to turn the spiders into bears. All games with spiders should have an option to turn them into bears. :yes:

          • Upper Class Twit says:

            Wow. Sounds like you’ve actually played through Last of Us, which is odd, considering that it isn’t even out yet. Please, tell me more. What’s your secret?

      • All is Well says:

        Are you okay there buddy?

      • GameCat says:

        High five! Skyrim is one of the most overrated games ever. The worst thing about it is that you will not realize how dull this game is until you play it for couple of hours.
        Combat? Spam boring attacks and drink 10 potions in one second if you’re in danger. Fight with almost dragurs/spiders/bandits only. Supposed-to-be-badass dragons are weaker than mamooths.
        Craft thousands of leather gloves to raise your crafting skill to 100, so you can make badass armors.

        The only good thing in this game is its huge world, but I think that, for example, Dark Souls provides much better sense of discovery than Skyrim.

        • Christo4 says:

          Yeah one thing i never understood was why was the combat so much better than oblivion.

          To me it is exactly the same, just with better animations and the only bonus are kill-cams.

          And i do agree on all points.

          It’s not a bad game, but way too over-rated.

  4. Oozo says:

    Adam, did you not play or not enjoy Zeno Clash then?

    • Adam Smith says:

      How could I forget? I actually tried the sequel last week but it left me cold. Love the original though.

      • lowprices says:

        Ugh… Zeno Clash 2 is the game that finally taught me the lesson about not pre-ordering. Such a disappointment.

        Still, it meant I got a free copy of the original to give to a friend which, if videogames have taught me anything about friendship, means I’m one step closer to seeing him naked.

        • Christo4 says:

          o.O too much details!

        • RProxyOnly says:

          ” if videogames have taught me anything about friendships, means I’m one step closer to seeing him naked.”

          I nearly spat out my cornflakes.. Sir, humour should be your vocation

          • Shodex says:

            Or for the sake of his cornflakes, your humour should be on vacation.

  5. Stitched says:

    I want to believe but … Deep Silver. :( So many disappointments.

  6. lowprices says:

    Ah, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. The worlds finest, most ridiculously named goblin-kicking simulator. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be off playing that instead of getting excited about Dead Island 3: Army of Darkness.

    • Shodex says:

      What the hell is the Might and Magic franchise anyways? These turn based strategies, goblin kicking simulators, and anime inspired puzzle games don’t look anything like the RPGs I played on DOS.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        I’m shocked that no one outside the tiniest of tiny indies has swooped in and cornered the first person, party-based, turn-based RPG market. Someone could make a nice little living filling that niche.

        • Brun says:

          Tiny market, tiny studios.

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            The market is a lot bigger than the studios that are doing it. In fact, I don’t even know of ANY studios that are making those kinds of games, I just assumed that if they are being made, it’s by tiny 1-2 person teams selling them out of the trunk of their car.

        • Veracity says:

          The Atlus team that churns out Etrian Odysseys does. Also SMT: Strange Journey. Oh, and there’s The Dark Spire, which is probably the most Wizardry of the lot. Just not on PC, though as far as I know all those will emulate if you want to.

          I’ve played a couple of EOs, which are alright and have a vaguely cute mapping gimmick but aren’t very good imo, being successful more through lack of any real competition than on any really outstanding merit of their own. Strange Journey is good as long as the fairly par-for-SMT-course minimal and batshit plot doesn’t put you off. TDS seems to be well regarded but I don’t have it.

  7. Jason Moyer says:

    IMHO Hexen II and Quake 1 are probably the two early 3D games that have aged better than anything else.

  8. Wedge says:

    Mmm, right Hexen II was the FPS one. I rather liked what I played of Heretic II, but it kept crashing on me when I tried to play it a few years back.

  9. Greg Wild says:

    I am so glad I don’t suffer with a fear of spiders. You guys just miss out on all the fun.

    • pledouth says:

      I guess that mere mortals cannot understand the gravity of arachnophobia when it comes to computer games. Ever since I was a small kid and played a Lord of the Rings boardgame I’ve been cursing JRR for coming up with this wonderful idea of making spiders the no.1 enemy in any fantasy game. Can you imagine the pain? How many brilliant games did I have to skip because of that – just thinking of if makes my head spin. But that’s not all – imagine a situation: a new game comes out, one that you really want to play. But then, does it have spiders in it? Are they obscurable in some way? And this fear of entering a dungeon, thinking to myself – hmm, this is the portion of the game which USUALLY has spiders in it. Am I to continue and run the risk of having a heart failure?

      If anyone of you shares this pain, please let me know, maybe we can post some kind of petition and hope to be treated seriously (which I most probably wouldn’t if I were on the other side).

  10. Barberetti says:

    Looks good. I’m in.

  11. derbefrier says:

    I hope this doesn’t suck. I am fine a some reused stuff from other games(I wonder if this happens more than we realize) as long as the game is fun.

  12. TsunamiWombat says:

    This is a shameless reskin but I love it anyway.

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    Clearly some inspiration from Dark Souls, with the fire-and-brimstone and all. I’m okay with that.

  14. Razumen says:

    Wow, that is one bad trailer for Hexen 2, I don’t think it was THE official trailer for the game, I’ve been a long time fan of the series and have never ever seen it before.

    Anyways, Hellraid looks pretty interesting to me, the sword-fighting looks visceral and I can see how you got the Hexen vibe from it. Too bad it won’t actually BE a Hexen sequel. (Damn you Ravensoft!)