Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Hexen was released at a time when I bought just about any first-person game that I could get my hands on. In the mid-nineties that meant I had a shelf full of games running on id engines, many of which were made by Raven Software. I still have a soft spot for Raven and always forget that they’re still around, in name at least, working on bits and pieces of Call of Duty. It’s probably a step up from Soldier of Fortune. It’s not a step up from Hexen though. I love Hexen.
Is it a good game? Probably not. Not now. I’m not even sure that it was a good game back when it came out in ’95 but I completed it at least three times and not only bought the sequel but bought Heretic II when that came along as well. If somebody wants to make Hexen III using id Tech 6, I’ll buy that because, good lord, glory kills really do suit fantasy hack and slash adventuring.
The Heretic/Hexen series never quite outclassed id’s only releases but they always built on the engines in interesting ways, introducing destructible environments in Hexen II and movable level architecture in the first Hexen. Of the four games in the series, Hexen: Beyond Heretic is my favourite, but that’s as much a symptom of familiarity as it is of quality, I expect. I never did finish the game as a mage (you can choose from warrior, mage and cleric) because I enjoyed punching and clubbing monsters far too much to rely on fizzly little spells. Perhaps I should go back and play as a mage this weekend.