In a twisted medieval dimension, undead creatures and bestial horrors have done the unthinkable--callously slaughtering your entire race. Your friends. Your family. Eliminated. But the nightmare has just begun.
User reviews: Very Positive (175 reviews) - 93% of the 175 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 3, 2007

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders

AUTUMN SALE! Offer ends in


Packages that include this game

Buy Heretic + Hexen Collection

Includes 4 items: Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders, HeXen II, HeXen: Beyond Heretic, HeXen: Deathkings of the Dark Citadel

AUTUMN SALE! Offer ends in


About This Game

In a twisted medieval dimension, undead creatures and bestial horrors have done the unthinkable--callously slaughtering your entire race. Your friends. Your family. Eliminated. But the nightmare has just begun. Wielding ungodly weapons such as the Firemace and Hellstaff and casting spells from the Tomes of Power, you must seek your vengeance. Or die trying.

  • Supports up to four players via network, two by modem. Adventure through the game with a friend or crack their skull in a bloody deathmatch.
  • Walk. Run. Fly. Look all around you, even up and down.
  • Choose from among 7 weapons (from the simple staff to the awesome Phoenix Rod).
  • Use arcane artifacts to unleash unearthly power on unsuspecting foes.

System Requirements

    Minimum: A 100% Windows 2000/XP/Vista-compatible computer system

Helpful customer reviews
30 of 34 people (88%) found this review helpful
9.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 6
Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders is a fantasy First Person Shooter by Raven Software that came out in 1994 and uses Doom engine. Yes, it's Doom-like shooter set in fantasy. Awesome mix. Plus inventory.
Shadow of the Serpent Riders is a special patched release of a game that brings it to 1.3 version, thus adding two more additional episodes. No new game content like weapon or monsters or textures, just new levels. Think of Ultimate Doom.

Now, let's tip apart the way that game was handled on Steam. Well. At least they brought the most full version of the game here. And it uses DosBox, which is usually a good thing until you find out how badly id Software configures them for Steam.
The game will lag at full screen, so you want to go to game directory and edit heretic's conf file to make it use "opengl" for "output" setting.
Game's option like music device and controls is once again isn't easily accessed. On good side, they didn't remove Setup.exe this time around, unlike Doom games on Steam. So you have to open game directory, drag setup.exe onto dosbox.exe and then configure it as you want.

Storyline of a game is quite simple. Well, it has a lot of written in manual, but main idea and amount of plot in game is minimal.
Your hero is elven hero, who's name is Corvus. Elven race, guardians of the Pathoris world and keepers of Tome of Powers, were proclaimed as heretics, when Dragon Riders came to conquer this world. With two Dragon Riders leaving for the other worlds, the remaining Dragon Rider, D'Sparil, unleashes horde of monsters through portal after Elves manage to wipe out all of the human armies of the world. Most of the elves were killed, monsters took Tome of Powers for themselves and you are one of the lone survivors. Your journey will begin at the City of the Damned.
Somebody will get murdered in the end.
The additional episodes 4 and 5 have excuse plot of "portal didn't lead you to home, so enjoy the world destroyed by Dragon Riders and the home of D'Sparil".

Presentation-wise the game is quite awesome looking and sounding for it's time. Yes, Doom engine. But art-style-wise, Heretic presents the world that is dark fantasy yet very colorful, with great contrast. Setting is awesome, you get to wield a magical crossbow that is equalient to shotgun. While Episode 2 is a least interesting looking one, taking place in brown caves with lava, until it gets less dull with inclusion of ice in later level, Episode 3 brings an original setting of a underwater shrine and buildings. Even water in this game has that artsy look to it.
Music is great too. With medivel feel, it's not afraid to use modern instruments. Well, instruments of MIDI and Soundblaster. Most of them are melodic and catchy. Cathedral track will send chill down your spine for sure.

Gameplay itself is, surprise, Doom-like. You search and explore mazes at the running speed, finding keys and opening lcoked doors, pressing switches and discovering secret areas, shooting down monsters or rather rushing past them.
You will shoot down red flying gargolues, mummies, armor knights that throw axes at you, and dark wizards of D'Sparil, who will turn your blood cold with their backward speach that sounds like silly phrases. You will also deal with respawning "explosive barrel"-like things, will push yourself against streams of water and wind and will encounter bosses. Which are your standard FPS bosses. Being tough enemies that you will start encountering more often in later episodes. So not too amazing.

Though, unlike most FPS, it does do something good: There are no enemies who use hitscan against you. What it means is that any damage in the game can be avoided, giving it more arcade-like quality. If forget that it still makes you run over damaging acid like Doom does.

There are seven weapons of magical nature. Shotgun-like crossbow, Rocket Launcher-like Pheonix Rod, Plasma-gun-like Hellstaff. With most of them shooting projectiles, they feel slightly too similiar to each other in use. But thankfully, game introduces Tome of Power.
Tome of Power is a item power-up that you will find through levels. By using it through inventory you will power-up your weapons for a limited time. It doesn't just make them stronger, it also gives additional properity for them, making them even more amazing. For example, mace, the final weapon, stops sucking hard. Hellstaff will make a hot magic rain appear over where the projectile collided. Gaunlets, the game's chainsaw, will start to heal you as well.

Inventory is another addition to gameplay. You will get to collect various helpful items that you can use it anytime. It could be Hourglass who work as timed bomb and aren't much of use, or healing potion, or invincibility ring, or, as said, Tome of Power. Not related to inventory, you also will sometime find armor, but it's quite a rare thing.
There is one important thing to be said about inventory: When you move to the next level, you will retain only one quanity of each item. You will also lose item that allows you to fly around. I am pretty sure that it may sound like a bad thing for some players. But I think it was a good idea. Most of us are used to stockpile tons of items so we could rush bosses down. With system like that, you should feel free to actually have fun using additional items during normal gameplay, you will lose them for no good otherwise.

Last thing I should note is difficulty of additional episodes. Yes, episode 4 and 5 are harder. They are also more of same. And yes, the final level has eight Maloutaurs. But first levels of each of those two episodes deserve a special mention, as they will require you to think fast, use items effectively, avoid enemies you don't want to fight with in order to survive. It was really fresh challenge, at least on Normal difficulty. Got simpler after that though, as you gain more items in process.

But with all the positive things I said, I have to be honest, it didn't become favourite FPS. It's hard to explain why. But you see, the game just doesn't "click" like Doom does. It just doesn't. I am not sure what it lacks. There is something in game feel that it doesn't have. Perhaps there should have been more common enemies that die bloodily. Or maybe it's the projectiles nature of weapons not being comparable to shotgun and rocket launcher. But yes, it lacks something, hard to say.

Heretic is an awesome FPS and yes, it's a Doom clone. But it's an awesome Doom-clone, perhaps bettering Doom itself for some people.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
14 of 14 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
Pretty unfair that doom get's a remake,but not this gem...
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 23
Heretic was the first licensed Doom engine game. And... it shows it's limitations at times. Both from a stylistic point of view and the technical side of things.

Doom was a lot of things, but above all else the game was very polished and it felt inspired. From it's soundtrack to it's enemy design, everything felt like it needed to be there. And it genuinely felt like the developers all had a central vision they shared for what the game eventually became.

Heretic on the other hand feels like it's stuck in Doom's shadow. The game mechanics feel far too similar to Doom and the aesthetic of the game, while impressive for the time did not age well. All of the weapons in Heretic feel more or less like reskins of Doom weapons. Apart from the graphics it feels like the same basic game but with a much less interesting aesthetic and soundtrack.

The things I appreciate Heretic more are for it's historical context like how it was one of the first FPS games to come bundled with online multiplayer support, how it had a very large custom map community and how it serves as a prequel to the HeXen series. But I really only recommend Heretic on it's own if you're a Doom fanatic such as myself, since I unfortunately see the game as very forgettable.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
Back when it first came out on freeware, this game awas amazing. And still is for old time gaming.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 17
Heretic is basically a re-skinned DOOM. There are slight changes (like there is an added inventory system), but it is mostly DOOM with new paint. Some of the enemies have similar movements to the monsters in DOOM. All the weapons are also basically from DOOM, but they look different. I did enjoy the music in Heretic (for a game released in 1994). So overall, if you enjoy DOOM then you might enjoy Heretic. Or you might just want to play DOOM.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny