Hexen: Beyond Heretic (PlayStation) review
"Hexen for the PSX is one of those games that you will only want to play when you are either 1.) bored out of your wits, 2.) masochistic, or 3.) wanting to appreciate your better games. It can really only be described as a total lackluster effort that is so bad, it would be better to take a lighter and watch this thing slowly melt. After all, horrible video games only have so many uses, but Hexen has even fewer because itís not just horrible; itís downright the base scum of video gaming! "
Hexen for the PSX is one of those games that you will only want to play when you are either 1.) bored out of your wits, 2.) masochistic, or 3.) wanting to appreciate your better games. It can really only be described as a total lackluster effort that is so bad, it would be better to take a lighter and watch this thing slowly melt. After all, horrible video games only have so many uses, but Hexen has even fewer because itís not just horrible; itís downright the base scum of video gaming!
How is it that something can be so abysmal? Letís start with the basics. With all things there is a beginning. Then again, Hexen might as well not really need one. In some cliched world that shares the same name as the title of this atrocity, evil and magic (never a good combination) are putting evildoers in charge of everything. Unfortunately, the poor peons and common folk are way too stupid to pick up their battle sickles +3 and attack some orc mages. Rather, the world of Hexen is left in the hands of three super losers, whose names are as original as this cursed Doom clone. Baratus, Daedelon, and Parias are the equivalent to cardboard cutouts who are about as ferocious as a bag of peas. And while Hexen sets a new low for lacking in the story category, you may be disturbed to hear that this game takes itself way too seriously, as well. Having a warrior, mage, and cleric as your main characters might make you feel very powerful, but listening to the opening introís narrator is enough to make even the dumbest people realize within a few short seconds that Hexen does only one thing exceptionally well: nothing.
Once you select your character and difficulty (there are six difficulties for each character), you are cast without explanation into this area. From a first person perspective (this game being after all a medieval FPS), you are shown the vile secretions of this game. Iím not sure what this starting place is, though. There are some trees, all of which are dying, some walls, and...Ow! My eyes!
From the second you plop this game into the PSX/PS2, you will find yourself in a world of hurt. This game has the beauty, or lack thereof, to blind! Imagine Super Nintendo 3-D, and that is a lot like what you get in Hexen. The game is naturally dark, and there is nothing but black, grey, and brown everywhere. Basically, navigating through the world of Hexen is like trying to navigate through a giant pit of feces. Never before have I seen such horrific color distribution. Nearly 98% of the colors in this game are dark and dull, and to further agitate anyone with vision, the game is just so terrible to look at. Also, to further make fun of itself, Hexen offers up the most pathetic character animations ever. Enemies move in limited frames causing them to move toward you without actually moving their limbs or bodies, and for the main characters, itís the same way. Good old Pariasís staff of divine tickling is so damn jerky, you would think that it wasnít even firing. This is a prime example of sloppiness, but then again, all the beauty in the world still wouldnít make Hexen fun.
The horribly crafted levels and graphics partially explain why Hexen is so bad, and unsurprisingly, the other key component is the game play. This is just a ripoff of Doom. Point your weapon at an enemy, kill it, grab a key or a vial and move on. If execution were the only problem, then Hexen might be okay, but the actual boredom is so suffocating, that anyone who plays this game for more than five minutes is bound to be turned into a zombie. Hexen aimed for three different game scenarios by concocting three different characters, but instead, the idea collapsed on itself and we were left with one scenario that leaves a really disgusting flavor. What are the differences between the three characters, anyways? The game shows some stat bars, and categories such as speed, magic and defense are all thought to be put into the charactersí attributes. However, the warrior, mage, and cleric are all the same thing. The only difference is the weapon you will see on screen. Thatís right! The cleric, which is said to be as slow as a slug moves quite rapidly when you hold down the X button, and the warrior, who is supposed to have to get close up in order to combat his enemies can kill them from ten feet away. And to make it very weird, he can do this with his fists The hit detection is horribly awry, so shots that look like they would hit an enemy donít, but shots with no chance of hitting their target do.
Unfortunately, that is not the only thing that makes no sense in this foul game. I found myself walking around in a level, and then I was magically teleported for no apparent reason. I later found out that it was due to some emblem that my idiot character stepped on that was impossible to see since the floor was solely grey and black. This brings me to the point of how Hexenís levels work. There is a giant hub level, and several outliers. The idea behind this fiasco was that as you became more adroit with your skills and gained abilities, you could return to previously conquered levels in order to acquire more hidden magic crap.
The developers were aiming for a fusion of Zelda and Doom, but what they wound up with was rather incoherent and worthless. The idea with Zelda being that you would be able to return to areas that were previously blocked was poorly implemented. This is due to how the levels work. Since the enemies obviously respawn, and the graphics make it a chore to see anything five feet ahead of you, the backtracking aspect gets pulled down for being too much of a chore. It doesn't feel enjoyable to return to these areas. And as for Doom, this game is a lot like it, but with really nefarious mechanics. Also, the enemies just aren't as cool as Doom's. You can only fight so many two-headed mace wielding demons.
Playing through the appalling levels and nauseating game play is just way too much. Sadly, Hexen would be greatly improved if it had those elements from the last sentence. Believe me when I say Hexen is the base scum of video gaming. It is repulsive in every single way imaginable. The only reason you would ever even think of owning this game is because for a split second you thought like I did. I found this grand game for $1.99, but even now I feel ripped off. Never before have I played something so abysmal. Just stay away from this thing. Hexen is doomed.
Community review by kyzl (December 05, 2004)
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