Heretic is a first-person shooter developed by Raven Software and published by id Software in 1994 for the PC and Mac.
The game was published by the prestigious American company id Software, responsible for several masterpieces such as Wolfenstein 3D (1992), Doom (1993), and Quake (1996). Moreover, this is the first installment of a saga that would receive three other sequels: Hexen: Beyond Heretic, Hexen II, and Heretic II.
The plot of the adventure, which is very forgotten in this type of title, is located in an apocalyptic world where three brothers, known as the snake riders, possessed the 7 kings in force and corrupted their armies. The Elves, on the other hand, are resistant to magic and opposed the rule of dictators and were labeled as heretics. So an elf named Corvus - the main character of the game - embarks on a quest of revenge against the snake riders and their army.
As a more fantastical clone of the Doom, Heretic shares many similarities in the way the game is played. First, the map is riddled with enemies, and there is hardly a moment to breathe, which generates frantic and accelerated gameplay. Also, this shooter gives the player overpowered weapons to sweep away all the enemies that come his way.
Despite the similarities to its contemporaries, Heretic differs from them in many ways. Among its additions is an inventory, where the player can save various items such as healing or upgrades and use them whenever he wants. Besides, apart from the weapons that are identical to the Doom but with a different design, this entry adds new ones to the roster, such as one that, when fired, takes you immediately to the beginning of the level.
The difficulty is quite high, despite the ease of the character in killing the enemies that come, a distraction can lead to several of them accumulating and pressing him to retreat, which in case of locking him into a wall is sure death. Also, this is one of the few titles of this style in which the ammunition is not enough for all the monsters, so one always has to look sideways at the number of bullets that he has.
The graphic part of the game is executed perfectly. The scenarios are drawn with a very well elaborated pixel art that doesn't lose the infernal and post-apocalyptic atmosphere that the title contains. The entry also has other exciting details, such as the constant contrast of the colors of the weapons and ammunition of the protagonist against the opaque colors that almost always surround the character. The game is usually played in closed environments, but when the adventure continues in an outdoor location, a sky is shown prominently in black and white.
Meanwhile, the audio stands out because of its sound effects. Feeding the violent gameplay that encourages players to get rid of their enemies, the game returns very pleasing sound effects audibly when you shoot them. Regarding weapons, a laugh track was added when grabbing a new gun that, when fired, the player is met with futuristic and non-invasive sounds to make him feel comfortable in holding the trigger button and clearing the map of any life form.
The title received mixed reviews, it never escaped from being the shadow of the Doom, and soon after, it was overshadowed by the appearance of the Quake. However, it stood out because of its excellent re-imagining and the fantastic and entertaining sci-fi turn it took.
The criticism given to it more than 20 years ago is tarnished by the retro game value the title has today, which brings it closer to its competitors and makes it worthy of being played. It's a great way to experience a game that's as fun as it is difficult, and one that will make you sad to end.