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(...) I'm a shirtless Viking guy and I just punched an entire level to death and a giant flaming skull asked me if I was ready to die and omfg this game is METAL.
One ninth of the puzzle has been solved on the...
—The game, many, many times.
Hexen is a First-Person Shooter released in 1995 by Raven Software as a sequel to Heretic. It, like Heretic, took place in a fantasy setting and utilized the Doom engine, incorporating the features of its predecessor (an inventory system, ambient sounds, translucency, freelook, etc) as well as adding further improvements such as the ability to move sections of the level horizontally (as opposed to the strictly vertical movement of Doom and Heretic) as well as a hub system, allowing the player to move between levels.
In addition to various engine tweaks it utilized a class system that allowed the player to choose between three different characters: Baratus the Fighter, Daedolon the Mage, and Parias the Cleric, each with their own weapons, strengths, weaknesses and item functions.
The game chronicles the quest of one (or more) of the characters to find and defeat the Serpent Rider Korax, partner of Heretic's D'Sparil and current ruler of your character's home dimension. There's a very extensive backstory detailing who the Serpent Riders are, how Korax conquered nearly all of the world, just how the Warrior, Mage and Cleric came to be the last warrior, Cleric and Mage free from Korax's influence and how one of them would end up becoming separated from the other two, forcing them to do on their own what they had little hope of doing together, but all you really need to know is that you need to kill Korax, and the only thing that stands between you and the most dangerous arch-demon your world has ever seen is his army of giant fire-breathing serpents, centaurs, gargoyles and God only knows what else, all of whom inhabit a series of trap-filled caves, castles, swamps and dungeons. Oh, and the triumvirate of rulers that controlled every aspect of society, who are now under Korax's influence and wield artifact weapons of unimaginable power.
Shortly thereafter Death Kings of the Dark Citadel was released, an Expansion Pack that picked up where Hexen left off: The three characters have been transported to the Realm of the Dead, and must now lay siege to the titular Citadel of the Death Kings in order to return to the world of the living.
Two years after that Raven released Hexen II, which used a modified version of the Quake engine. Set in the world of Thyrion, Hexen II pits four new characters - the Paladin, the Crusader, the Necromancer and the Assassin - against Eidolon, the last of the Serpent Riders, and his four generals. In addition to the aforementioned features of the first Hexen, the sequel added unique abilities, a level-up system and sundry other technical features to the engine.
Following this was the Portal of Praevus mission pack: An unnatural winter has set in, and rumors begin circulating about a sorcerer using wild magic to reclaim the souls of the three Serpent Riders to do his bidding, effectively becoming the supreme power in the universe and requiring him to be put down with all due haste. Still featuring the four curiously depowered characters from the original game, Portal of Praevusintroduced a fifth character, the Demoness, who was less interested in saving the world alongside the original four classes and more interested in reclaiming the soul of her former master Eidolon so it could rest in peace.
- All There in the Manual
- An Axe to Grind: Timor's Axe in Hexen, the Paladin's axe in Hexen II.
- Ancient Grome: Hexen II's fourth hub, Septimus.
- Back Stab: One of the Assassin's class skills lets her attack enemies from behind For Massive Damage.
- Baleful Polymorph: The Porkalator item in Hexen transforms enemies into pigs, while the Seal of the Ovinomancer in Hexen II turns them into sheep.
- BFS: Quietus, the Warrior's ultimate weapon. Also counts as a Flaming Sword. Does NOT count as a melee weapon.
- Given that the Quietus (like the other ultimate weapons) is assembled out of three separate pieces, it likely would be too fragile to use as an actual melee weapon.
- Big Bad: Korax in Hexen and Eidolon of Hexen II, the remaining two Serpent Riders.
- Big Red Devil: Eidolon.
- Booby Trap
- Bottomless Pits: Well, none of them are bottomless, but the sheer number and location of deadly drops in Hexen are insane.
- Church Militant: The Church in the original Hexen (and, by extension, the Cleric character). The Paladin from Hexen II serves a war god.
- The former leaders of the humans — Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir — in Hexen.
- The Horsemen in Hexen II.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: It's quite fun to play co-op with each player taking a different class, but the lack of a Friendly Fireproof option ensures that some of you will kill each other by accident at least once.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Wraithverge summons a swarm of angry souls to tear enemies to shreds, and it's wielded by the Cleric.
- Deadly Gas: The Cleric can break flechettes to create clouds of lingering poison gas. The Demoness can throw Glyphs for the same effect in the Hexen II expansion
- Don't forget the gas-spewing mushrooms. You can hear them squeaking from a mile away.
- Descending Ceiling
- Die, Chair, Die!: Many objects in Hexen II can be destroyed. This is even needed by a few puzzles.
- Drop the Hammer: For the Cleric, the Crusader and the Warrior. The first has a footman's mace, the second has a warhammer, and the third has a warhammer that launches other hammers that explode.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The player characters of Hexen II.
- Evil Gloating: Korax taunts you at the beginning of every hub in Hexen.
- Evil Versus Evil: The sparse story for the Assassin and Necromancer in Hexen II is this. See Sociopathic Hero and Villain Protagonist.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Fighter Mage Cleric, technically, but it's the thought that counts.
- In Hexen II, it's Crusader/Paladin/Necromancer/Assassin.
- The expansion to II added a Demoness.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: In Hexen and Hexen 2, only the Fighter and Paladin are manly enough to beat up the offending monsters using their armored fists, rather than starting off with a conventional (or not-so-conventional) weapon.
- Guide Dang It: II has a lot of these, particularly in Thysis.
- Gratuitous German: The title.
- Hit Points: Combined with a Life Meter represented by a gem on a chain. The gem slid to the left as the number went down.
- Hub Level: Trope Codifier, and an interesting gimmick at the time. To be reused two years later after its original release, by Spyro the Dragon.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Each class has its own set of five.
- For the Cleric: Altar Boy, Acolyte, Priest, Cardinal, Pope.
- For the Fighter: Squire, Knight, Warrior, Berserker, Titan.
- For the Mage: Apprentice, Enchanter, Sorcerer, Warlock, Archmage.
- In Hexen II, each class has four possible levels.
- For the Crusader: Gallant, Holy Avenger, Divine Hero, Legend.
- For the Paladin: Apprentice, Squire, Adept, Lord.
- For the Assassin: Rogue, Cutthroat, Executioner, Widow Maker.
- For the Necromancer: Sorcerer, Dark Servant, Warlock, Lich King.
- For the Demoness (expansion only): Larva, Spawn, Fiend, She Bitch.
- IKEA Weaponry: The fourth and final weapons in Hexen have to be assembled from three parts scattered across the hubs. Fortunately they're in plain sight. One secret level even has all the parts in one place.
- Jack of All Stats: The Cleric.
- Kill It with Fire: The Cleric's Firestorm and the Mage's Bloodscourge.
- Kill It with Ice: The Mage's Frost Shard weapon is basically a magic icicle shotgun that can freeze enemies, with the outcome you'd normally expect from something getting instantly frozen solid. The Crusader's Ice Mace has a similar effect, and Wendigos are capable of doing the same to you.
- As are some traps, most notably one in "Guardian of Ice".
- Lightning Bruiser: The Warrior is the fastest of the three characters in Hexen. He kind of has to be, though, since he's going to be doing most of his fighting in close quarters.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards
- Liquid Assets: The Serpent Staff can drain health from enemies and transfer it to the Cleric when used in close quarters.
- Magic Missile: Both in the "magic that needs to be aimed" sense and the Necromancer's second weapon, which is what the name says it is.
- Magic Wand
- Make My Monster Grow: Eidolon pulls this during the final battle.
- Mana: The standard unit of ammunition. Comes in blue and green flavors!
- Mayincatec: The continent of Mazaera in Hexen II, which is the game's second hub.
- Meaningful Name: Korax is Latin for raven (originally spelled Corax). Hexen is German / Old English for witches.
- Medieval European Fantasy: The first and final hubs of Hexen II are this.
- Mighty Glacier: The larger Golem enemies in Hexen II qualify. They're sluggish, but take nearly forever to kill.
- Mirror Match: Although the only thing Baratus, Parias and Daedalon have to do with Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir are sprites and weapons used.
- To a lesser extent, a Good Bad Bug somewhat related to the above trope: in early versions, should only you warp to Map 30 by using the DM program (and not connecting, there's an oscassion you may meet a "voodoo doll" version of yourself. And that only works if you picked fighter class.
- Power Fist: The Warrior's and Paladin's starting weapons, if you can call spiked gauntlets weapons.
- Which you can.
- Quad Damage: The Tome of Power. Just like Heretic, it frequently adds a Secondary Fire effect to most weapons.
- RPG Elements: Hexen II has you gain experience points and levels by killing enemies, and each class learns two unique abilities as they level up. There's also a mod for the original Hexen that adds a similar level-up mechanic, as well as a shop you can visit between hubs.
- Shock and Awe: The Mage's Arc of Death.
- Shout-Out: The "Dark Servant" (see below) is the Maulotaur from Heretic, but this time (for the 30 seconds he lasts) he's fighting for you - well, most of the time anyway. Considering he IS extremely rare to find...
- The Time Bomb mechanism actually also came from Heretic.
- Of course, being some sort of a Spiritual Successor to Heretic (if you don't consider it as... well, just a sequel), it couldn't copypaste several items for use, but, if you remember Gargoyles and Disciples of D'Sparil, not to say about the only Serpent in the game that D'Sparil rode himself... Hexen has Arfits, Dark Bishops and... Serpents, naturally. Brown Serpents are here too, if you like.
- Schrödinger's Player Character
- Not when you play this game co-operatively, though.
- Sinister Scythe: The necromancer's starting weapon.
- Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Hexen, with the new ACS scripts, demonstrates two instances in the first level.
- Sociopathic Hero: The Assassin is, like the name suggests, a cold-blooded killer. She wants to kill Eidolon to prove she's the best assassin of all time. (Also see Villain Protagonist.)
- Summon Magic:
- The Dark Servant item summons a giant hammer-wielding minotaur to your aid. It does have a tendency to get you killed by accident every so often, but it's the thought that counts.
- Hexen II has the Stone of Summoning, which calls forth a friendly Imp. While less likely to get you killed than the minotaur, it's also much less useful. And he appears only when he wants to.
- Squishy Wizard: The Mage has the lowest movement speed and maximum AC out of the three characters. In Hexen II, this role is given to the Necromancer.
- Stock Video Game Puzzle: Of the switch hunt and key hunt varieties.
- Swiss Army Weapon: Of a sort; the flechettes and Glyphs of the Ancients have different properties depending on which class uses them.
- Sword Beam: Quietus' ranged (and only) attack. In Hexen II, the Paladin's sword (but only with the Tome of Power), and axe.
- Teleporting Keycard Squad
- Time Bomb: How the Mage and Crusader use flechette flasks.
- The Undead: Reivers and the Death Wyvern are reported to be normally undead, but it probably unintentionally appears this is Inverted with Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir, whom Korax gave "the dark gift of Unlife". This isn't explained further (The Doom Wiki speaks of eternal life), but when you fight the three, you have to find each within his respective tomb. So it looks as if, while the undead are dead that can walk around, the unliving are alive but have to sit in a tomb. Yay?
- Unwinnable by Design: The shareware version omitted two levels (Guardian of Steel and Bright Crucible), making it impossible to reach the end of the hub (without cheating at any rate).
- Unwinnable By Mistake: In version 1.0, the second Heresiarch at the end of Episode 4 sometimes declines to appear, leaving the player trapped as it's killing the Heresiarch that unlocks the exit portal. Similarly, killing Korax prematurely by using the BUTCHER cheat code on the last level, before he's opened the doors to the rear chamber where the final portal appears, makes the game Unwinnable (this is also possible without cheating, by using a melée attack with certain weapons). Another good way to ruin your chances is to get a considerable way into an episode, then reset the level you're on with the INIT cheat (which resets it to the start-of-episode state, not the state it was in when you most recently entered it as your dying does), which throws that level out of sync with the rest of the episode.
- It also happens on its own. Occasionally the player will return from the Guardian of Ice/Fire/Steel and notice the lights around him are off and the portal is closed. The repeated "greetings, mortal" message confirms this, and the only way to reopen the portals is a switch on the other side of the one you're facing. The game has just become unwinnable.
- Also, using a Chaos Device after a certain point in the final stage leaves you on the outside forever.
- Villain Protagonist:
- The Necromancer was picked on until he learned the dark arts and plotted to conquer lands with his undead legions so people would fear him. Now that Eidolon has come around, the Necromancer has to kill him to get his plans back on track and be feared again.
- The Assassin as well, though they're less grandiose. She just really likes killing people, and figures that Eidolon will be more of a challenge — and thus more entertaining — than her usual targets.
- Warp Whistle: The Chaos Device takes you back to the current level's starting point, while the Banishment Device teleports enemies to a random spot on the map.
- Wasted Song: One you hear during the ethereal travel. The fact its' recycled during the ending doesn't help, since it also plays here not for a really long time. The same thing happens with the song from the game's loading screen, though you do get to hear all of it in the ending.
- You Fail Physics Forever: There are several instances (especially in the third hub) of platforms which are raised and lowered on very visible chains. But in all instances the chains stay stationary relative to the wall on which they run; since they're hoisting the platform, they should be stationary relative to the platform, as anyone who's been on a roller-coaster near the front (or seen such a video) will know.
- That could very well be a limitation of the engine, rather than a physics mistake.