• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

Raven Software licensed the Doom engine from id Software to create Heretic, a medieval-fantasy-themed FPS released in 1994.

The Serpent Riders, three powerful evil beings, have enslaved the seven human kings and turned their subjects into their puppets. The Sidhe Elves, of which the player character Corvus is a member, remain unaffected by the Serpent Riders' magic powers and are declared Heretics, to be wiped off the face of the earth. The Sidhe respond by extinguishing magical candles that weaken the seven kings' armies but also the Sidhe themselves. The Serpent Riders opportunistically destroy the Sidhe elders and force the rest of them into hiding.

Your task as Corvus is to seek out the weakest of the three Serpent Riders, D'Sparil, and destroy him. The other two serpent riders, Korax and Eidolon, would later be destroyed in the game's sequels, Hexen and Hexen II.

The gameplay differs from Doom seemingly only in setting (medieval fantasy vs. futuristic military/hell). The levels follow the same formula of "get yellow key to open door to green key which opens door to blue key which leads to exit." The original order-by-mail full game consists of three episodes of eight normal and one secret level, with two more added in a licensed retail version (Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders) vis-a-vis The Ultimate Doom.

The weapons seem to be medieval fantasy-themed replicas of Doom's arsenal: An Elven Wand for the pistol, the Ethereal Crossbow for the shotgun, the Dragon Claw for the chaingun, the Phoenix Rod for the rocket launcher, the Hellstaff for the plasma rifle, and lightning-shooting Gauntlets of the Necromancer for the chainsaw. There is no equivalent to the BFG, and the player is instead offered the rapid-firing Firemace (a misnomer, as the weapon actually fires bouncing metal spheres).

One notable addition was the inventory system, which allowed the player to carry items to be used later at will. Among these are the health-pack Quartz Flask and Mystic Urn; hourglass-shaped Time Bomb of the Ancients; a simple Torch; the Tome of Power, which gives your weapons new and more powerful attacks for a limited time; and an egg that turns any enemy it hits into a chicken.

Heretic also upgrades Doom's "2.5D" engine to nearly-3D: the game allows you to look up and down (and failing to do so when attacking an enemy above or below your level means your shot will miss, unlike in Doom where all interactions are really done in 2D. A powerup also enables the player to fly for a limited time. It's still not possible to create a room above another room, though, or objects like ledges or bridges that can be passed over and under.

Enemies included flying red gargoyles, golems, undead warriors, ophidians, disciples of D'Sparil, and were-dragons, each with melee and ranged attacks of varying power, and the melee-only Sabreclaws. Similar to Doom's use of Barons of Hell as bosses for one episode and then sub-bosses later on, the giant floating skull-like Iron Liches populate the later episodes. Standing in for the Cyberdemon are the Maulotaurs, giant minotaurs with fireball-slinging hammers.

The game spawned three sequels:

  • Hexen (1996) - The player plays as one of three character classes to hunt down the second Serpent Rider, Korax.
  • Hexen II (1997) - Uses the Quake engine, unlike the Doom engine of its predecessors. Four different character classes hunt down the third and final Serpent Rider, Eidolon.
  • Heretic II (1998) - Unlike the previous games, uses a third-person view. The protagonist from the first game, Corvus, must stop a mysterious plague that has decimated his homeland.
Tropes used in Heretic (video game) include:
  • All Lowercase Letters: everywhere, where possible.
  • All There in the Manual: The backstory.
  • Bag of Holding: The namesake appears as an item which allows you to hold extra ammo. And gives a little bit of ammo for (almost) every weapon.
  • Bag of Spilling: Aside from the "lose all your weapons between episodes" shtick that was pretty common back in the day, Heretic also let you only carry one of each inventory item to the next level, except for the Wings of Wrath which you just plain lost. On the other hand, this means you're encouraged to use your items as you get them, thereby averting Too Awesome to Use.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Morph Ovum, Porkulator and Seal of the Ovinomancer items in the first three games of the series.
    • In the multiplayer for Heretic II, the Morph Ovum can be used on players. Using the Tome of Power after you've been turned into a chicken will turn you into a giant chicken.
    • However, in Heretic I, using Tome of Power while turned into a chicken just turned you back to normal.
  • Big Bad: D'Sparil, the first of the Serpent Riders.
  • Blow You Away: The Iron Lich's windstorm attack.
  • Classic Cheat Code: As a twist, IDDQD and IDKFA, the iconic Doom cheat codes, instead (respectively) kill you and rob you of all your weapons except a staff.
    • Trying to cheat, eh? NOW YOU DIE!
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: The players are red, yellow, green, and blue.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In "The Ice Grotto" level, there are ice pathways atop seas of lava. Try figuring that out.
  • Degraded Boss: Iron Liches and Maulotaurs.
  • Descending Ceiling
  • Difficulty Spike: The two episodes added in Shadow of the Serpent Riders will make you cry for mommy. E4M1 alone has a Maulotaur and a whole posse of Iron Liches, and not a lot of weapons or ammo to go around.
    • Episode three has this to a lesser extent, with at least one Iron Lich per level on the higher difficulty settings, but that's still a lot more manageable than the new episodes.
  • Dual Boss: On the easier skill, the Iron Liches and Maulotaurs are the bosses of the first two episodes. If you inrease the difficulty, they appear in a pair or triplet.
    • In the expansion Shadow of the Serpent Riders, the episode's final level has at least 8 of these bosses on the hardest difficulty.
  • Everything's Better with Chickens: The Morph Ovum, which looks like an egg, turns enemies into helpless chickens.
  • Enemy Summoner: D'Sparil spawns his disciples.
  • Expansion Pack: Shadow of the Serpent Riders, which added two more episodes to the three-episode Heretic.
  • Exploding Barrels: Takes the form of strange plant pods. For even more fun, some clusters grow back.
  • First-Person Shooter
  • Goddamned Bats: The gargoyles.
    • Heretic II introduces the harpies which are even worse, since they like to hang back very high in the sky, dodge just about everything you can throw at them. Unless you use the homing meteor swarm on them.
  • Gorn: Some attempts in the manual, and enemies do tend to die messily in the game as well.
  • Guide Dang It: E3M2 - The Cesspool. Figuring out how to lower the bars in front of the blue door to the exit room. LP'er Wicky Doo had to run around the level a couple times after clearing everything else out, speeding up the video on that point.
    • However, it makes sense for the switch to be somewhere close to the exit, or at least somewhere in the area that was only accessible through the green doors, and not randomly placed in the level as Wicky Doo's seems to have thought in his mad search.
  • Harder Than Hard: Black Plague Possesseth Thee difficulty level makes enemies way faster.
  • Healing Potion: Crystal vials, quartz flasks, mystic urns.
  • Hell Gate: E1M8 and Episode 2 are both named "Hell's Maw".
  • The Heretic: Our hero.
  • Heroic Mime: At least until Heretic II.
  • Humanoid Abomination: D'Sparil.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: What's beneath that cloak? A crossbow, several staves, enchanted orbs and disks, torches, numerous tomes of power, up to sixteen hourglass-shaped bombs, and eggs.
  • I Am Not Shazam: Some of the old FAQs name the protagonist Heretic, since he didn't have a proper name at that time. Funnily enough, just adding "the" in front of it would have made it appropriate...
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Hell's Maw."
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels / Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: "Thou needest a wet-nurse," "Yellow-bellies R us," "Bringest them oneth," "Thou Art a Smite-Meister," and "Black Plague possesseth thee."
  • Last of His Kind: Corvus
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Fire Mace is a weird short-ranged "machine gun" that is completely ineffective against ghost monsters, and against most monsters, isn't any better than using the Hell Staff (Plasma gun). Also, if the floor texture is water, the shots will sink. However, if you power it up, then it shoots bigger, slower spheres that will One-Hit Kill anything excluding boss monsters. Oh, and the big spheres travel through teleport pads. It still will not hit ghosts however.
    • Being turned into a chicken counts. You have next to no durability, but if you can manage to get close enough to an enemy to peck them, you can one-hit kill them. There is a special humiliating message for getting killed this way in multiplayer. Also, chickens are small, can run very fast, and can glide, which lets you jump through windows you normally couldn't to run away.
  • Meaningful Name: The Latin name for the common raven is corvus corax.
    • Another name for a sledgehammer is a "maul", hence the Maulotaur. This may also qualify as a Punny Name.
  • Mondegreen: The Disciples of D'Sparil seem to alternate between saying "He's steppin' out Yoshi" and another phrase which sounds slightly rude; D'Sparil himself appears to say "I've seen Mr. Davros". All of these are actually English phrases reversed.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: D'sparil is pronounced like Despair-il.
  • Non-Indicative Name: E4M6 is "Halls of the Apostate" — rather strange, given that you (the player) are the Heretic and hence the Apostate, and any halls you might have are millions of miles away on another planet.
  • No Ontological Inertia: After D'Sparil's death his entire army kicks the bucket... except for those remaining in his home plane, hence the Expansion Pack.
  • One-Man Army: The player, surely.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Like Doom, the Shadowsphere causes enemies to fire shots wildly. While useful if you stand still, it actually makes projectiles harder to dodge, especially in large groups.
    • The Shadowsphere is still very useful when dealing with groups of Undead Warriors, because the magical axes they throw (including the bloody ones that pack a real wallop) fly right through you as long as the sphere is active.
  • Puzzle Boss: The final boss of Heretic II can only be temporarily defeated through use of force. But if you don't execute a certain action in the room in the very small window of time he's down, he'll get back up, regenerate his health back to 100% and you'll get to fight him all over again.
  • Quad Damage: Tome of Power.
  • Retcon: The protagonist of Heretic was unnamed until Heretic II, which also established that there were a total of seven Tomes of Power in existence (despite being able to carry up to sixteen in the first game) and that Corvus really had only one of them.
    • Could be justified by saying that the Tome items Corvus was collecting were really just additional Phlebotinum for the Tome he had on him.
      • Heretic II explains this by stating there were fake tomes that had power, but weren't the real thing. Morcalavin used one in his original ascension ritual to replace the one in Corvus' possession and it corrupted the effect and drove him crazy instead.
      • Doesn't explain how Tomes of Power appeared thousands of years later on a different planet in Hexen II though.
  • Shareware
  • Shock and Awe: The Gauntlets of the Necromancer shoot Green lightning. Powered up, the lightning is red and steals life.
  • Shout-Out: The second difficulty level is a reference to Toys-R-Us.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: The manual.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Even if the weapons are shown as magical staffs, and artifacts, many of them still seem familiar if one has played Doom.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Now why would they give you all the items and weapons, along with a full load of big Phoenix Rod orbs, at the start of E5M8? You'll need them all against the EIGHT fucking Maulotaurs that are ready to kick your ass.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Corvus' quarterstaff in the original was the worst weapon you had. Lousy damage, short range, plenty of retaliation time for bad guys, can't harm ghosts at all and any other weapon is better with the Tome of Power. In Heretic II, a blade is added to one end and it becomes one of the coolest weapons in the game that can dismember humanoids to make them harmless, execute spinning attacks or mid-air downward stabs to do increased damage and (with the help of shrines that give permanent upgrades in power) remains a potent weapon throughout the game.
  • Video Game Flight: The Wings of Wrath lets you fly for a short amount of time. They return in Hexen.
  • Warp Whistle: The Chaos Device warps you to the beginning of the level. Or, in Death Match, to a random spawn point.
    • The Banishment Device from Hexen does the same thing, except to your enemies.