Hexen: Beyond Heretic is a fantasy first-person shooter developed by Raven Software and released in 1995 as a sequel to Heretic, published one year before. It is the second chapter of the Serpent Riders series.
Hexen was published by id Software, the creators of Doom, and like Heretic, it uses an enhanced Doom engine. The modified version of the Doom engine allows for more advanced features such as 3D environments, multiple character classes, and puzzles.
In Hexen: Beyond Heretic, you can choose between three different character classes: Fighter, Cleric, and Mage, each with their unique weapons, abilities, and spells. You can play the game in single-player mode, with each character class having a different storyline and level progression, or in multiplayer mode, where up to eight players can play simultaneously using a LAN or the internet.
The game takes place in the world of Cronos, where you must defeat the evil Serpent Riders and their minions. You progress through the game by exploring a series of interconnected levels, solving puzzles, collecting keys and power-ups, and fighting hordes of enemies.
Hexen: Beyond Heretic is notable for its level design, which features interconnected hubs that you can explore in a non-linear fashion. This allows for a more immersive experience and encourages exploration and experimentation. The puzzles and secrets are well-designed, and the game rewards careful observation and exploration. But this means you will have to return to the same level several times.. well, nobody is perfect.
Hexen features detailed textures, impressive lighting effects, and fluid animations. As you remember, Heretic already allowed the player to look up and down and even fly, which was impossible in Doom. Hexen retains these features, but you also have atmospheric effects, earthquakes, and indestructible objects.
The PC version of Hexen received incredibly good reviews. Together with Heretic, Hexen sold more than one mln copies in the first two years after its release. It is still considered one of the best first-person shooters ever created, and it's a milestone in the history of video games.
The source code of Hexen was released for free in 1999 by Raven Software; that's why so many ports exist.