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 (241 reviews) - 95% of the 241 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 3, 2007

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Buy Heretic + Hexen Collection

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


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

Customer reviews
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Very Positive (241 reviews)
Recently Posted
Bumpy Chungus
0.2 hrs
Posted: August 12
While it's a Doom clone at its core, Heretic actually does a great job of setting itself apart from its Sci-Fi counterpart. The inventory powerup system, weapon alt-fires, and vastly different enemy and level design lend themselves to an experience that feels like doom in engine only, and the expansion levels especially will provide a nice challenge to any classic FPS fan.

Downloading the GZDoom sourceport to run the game is strongly recommended as it will help with most issues you may have getting it to run on a modern system, and it greatly expands graphics and control options.
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9.8 hrs
Posted: August 8
*picks up weapon*

Helpful? Yes No Funny
17.4 hrs
Posted: August 5
One of the finer “Doom Clones”. A medieval-fantasy based FPS from the early 90’s, consisting of 5 episodes with 8 levels each so you are looking at a 15 hour + gameplay value. It has a great atmosphere with almost non stop action all the way until the end. The levels can be maze like at times but this was purely due to technological limitations of the time. I recommend running this game with a source port (GZDOOM/Zandronum) through steam. There are several steam guides which explain how to do this. In addition I recommend using the Ketchup mod to add more more blood and gore. Heretic holds its place in time as one of the great FPS’s from the late 90s.

Final Score 85/100
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.2 hrs
Posted: August 2
I hope they make a new game of this one. ^_^
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0.1 hrs
Posted: July 30
Steam will tell you I only have a few minutes of play time logged. That's because I only played for a few minutes before I decided to load the game into GZDoom and play it that way. This game basically is DOOM, with a fantasy skin to it. You can play it as is, it runs on DOSBox, or you can just go get GZDoom and play with a better control scheme and mouse look. Either way the game is cool.
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10.6 hrs
Posted: July 29
Heretic is mainly a DOOM reskin. Let's get that out of the way right now. It's the same engine, all of the controls are the same, there are three chapters with 8 levels and one secret level each, the final boss of the first chapter is two tougher-than-average enemies, all of the weapons have easily identifiable DOOM equivalents, and you even descend into Hell at one point. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is very noticeable.

The fantasy setting is the main difference, but it's by no means the only one. The engine is improved, allowing the player to look up and down; the powerups are more varied, allowing the player to fly, teleport back to spawn, and give their weapons all-new attacks; and the levels are generally easier to navigate, which is always nice A GODSEND.

Heretic also has an inventory, and while it's nice to be able to pick up powerups and use them at any time, you're only allowed to carry one of each item with you between levels. If you managed to pick up 12 Time Bombs of the Ancients in one level and didn't use them (because why would you), you only get one next level. I'm guessing this was because they couldn't figure out how to make the game keep track of the quantity values, but it's still annoying, especially when you're trying to stockpile Tomes of Power or Quartz Flasks.

However, Heretic is missing one very important thing that DOOM had: an actually effective BFG the right tone. Heretic is a good game, but it's also a staid one, and it lacks the metal soundtrack, ridiculously fun weapons, anarchic mishmash of sci-fi and Satanic imagery, juvenile rebellion-for-rebellion's-sake feel, and sense of fun that made DOOM so memorable. That difference is why DOOM is revered and Heretic is simply fondly remembered.

Still, Heretic is a very good game, and it's definitely worth your time.

P.S. I played this directly after Rise of the Triad, and am reminded of how much more fun idTech 1 is than the Wolfenstein engine. It's just freer.

P.P.S. The Gauntlets of the Necromancer are technically just the replacement for the chainsaw, but l like them a lot more. It's fun to just run around whimsically Emperor Palpatine-ing enemies, and with the Tome of Power it's weirdly the most overpowered thing in the game, with the ability to leech health at an alarming rate. This is the kind of thing games need more of: unbeatable Sith Lightning gloves.
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0.9 hrs
Posted: July 29
Better than I remembered. And I already remembered it very fondly.
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real black kray
0.1 hrs
Posted: July 27
fun to cheat in
Helpful? Yes No Funny
2.4 hrs
Posted: July 27
Heretic is essentially medieval DOOM, with all the mythical creatures you can think of crying at your knees from the weaponry you've acquired. The gameplay is essentially the same as DOOM, going from level to level, just trying to find the exit. I find some of the levels to actually be superior to those in the original DOOM, due to the complexity and how that even though you may go through complex mazes (for example), the level design is good enough that you could find yourself out without going into a loop. The music is catchy, the graphics are colorful and imaginative, and the atmosphere is there. I was, however, disappointed by the later episodes, specifically episode five, as the levels in that episode became more tedious than anything, not to mention, the boss was just a repeat of episode two's boss.

FYI: If you want to play this game, use a source port, like Zdoom, GZdoom, etc.
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8.9 hrs
Posted: July 20
I was a big fan of Doom growing up in the 90's, but I somehow missed out on all of the "Doom Clones." I had a demo CD for the Mactintosh version of Star Wars: Dark Forces and I played a lot of Goldenye 007 on N64, but I never really played anything else like Doom.

One of the friends I made in middle school introduced me to Heretic and HeXen, but I couldn't find copies for a reasonable price. Instead of borrowing or bootlegging the game, I decided to just wait until I had enough money in the future (which never seemed realistic at the time).

Flash forward to today and I've somehow managed to have Heretic on my Steam account for 5 years without playing it. I had forgotten about the QuakeCon pack from 2011 that included every iD title from that moment. Much to my surprise after having a Doom craze, I had some more Doom to explore.

Calling Heretic a "Doom clone" is doing the game an injustice, but it certainly has a lot of game feel similar to Doom. Almost every weapon is a reskin from Doom 2 and most of the monsters share similar properties to enemies seen in Doom. The designs are incredibly different (and really diverse), but it's hard to initially get out of your mind that Heretic is just Doom with a different coat of paint.

Eventually, you start to pick up on some of the changes that developer Raven Software has crammed into Heretic. For starters, this is the first FPS I can think of with an inventory system. It allows for the level of challenge to be ramped up since the player can constantly hold a source of health on them.

Not only that, but you can carry around various power-ups to use in sticky situations. Other shooters at the same time forced you to utilize anything you picked up then and there; Heretic puts more control into the players hand with the inventory system.

It is a bit annoying how you need to scroll through and additionally select an item before using it, but I'll let that slide due to the release date (1994). That something so genre bending was even pulled off on the Doom engine is just awesome, let alone how chaotic it makes combat feel.

Each weapon has a different ammo type. It solves the mini issue Doom suffered with having the pistol and chaingun share ammo; getting the chain gun made the pistol redundant. In Heretic, every weapon feels valuable at any given time. Even the dinky starter mage staff can become awesome with the correct power-up.

What isn’t so hot is how predictable the game becomes. At first, you're not quite sure where to expect enemies to spawn from. Walking down corridors has walls dropping and enemies flying at you from all sides. By the time you reach the third episode, you've seen basically all of the tricks Heretic is ever going to throw at you.

That may have more to do with the original game only being 3 episodes, but episodes 4 and 5 really suffer from a lack of creativity. They are definitely difficult and well built (better than the rest of the game, even), but it feels dull after having played through 24 maps with similar layouts.

This is coupled with how the level design tends to have a lot of dead ends that require you to return to a centralized location. I'm guessing this was a precursor to the level design in the sequel, HeXen, where every map has a hub world. It does lend to some insanely confusing layouts, though.

The sound design is also pretty lackluster compared to Doom. On its own, the music is okay and the monsters sound like monsters, but nothing is distinct and most of the enemy sounds play at the same volume. It doesn't feel as immersive as Doom, nor does it help the player distinguish which enemy is in an area with them.

The overuse of the first boss is also pretty lame. Maybe that is down to me playing on the second hardest difficulty, but I do wish there was more diversity in the boss encounters. Facing three of those floating giant skulls level after level becomes grating.

With all of that said, I still found Heretic to be really enjoyable. It contains enough originality that any comparison to Doom sounds nitpicky. Sure, Doom may be an overall more polished and enjoyable game, but that doesn't make anything done in Heretic not worth seeing. Heretic is also considerably harder, so Doom veterans will be in for a treat.

Getting the game running on modern operating systems is also a breeze. Since id Software released the Doom source code a long time ago, any modern Doom source port works with Heretic. You can boot up zDoom and get Heretic going in any manner of resolution you want. Full mouse look is enabled and keys can be rebinded to whatever your fancy is. There is even support for internet play, which is pretty damn awesome.

It also doesn't hurt that the current price is exceptional. $5 for a game that will take around 6-8 hours to finish is just solid value. If you want to spring a bit more, you can get the rest of the series on Steam for $5 more. That includes Heretic, HeXen and HeXen II. That's a lot of classic first-person shooter action for a small chunk of change.

However you slice it, Heretic is pretty good. There are definitely things that Raven Software could have done to distinguish it from the crowd, but for a first attempt from an unknown developer, you could do worse. For the price, you'd be hard pressed to find much worse, though.

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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
17.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 5
One of the finer “Doom Clones”. A medieval-fantasy based FPS from the early 90’s, consisting of 5 episodes with 8 levels each so you are looking at a 15 hour + gameplay value. It has a great atmosphere with almost non stop action all the way until the end. The levels can be maze like at times but this was purely due to technological limitations of the time. I recommend running this game with a source port (GZDOOM/Zandronum) through steam. There are several steam guides which explain how to do this. In addition I recommend using the Ketchup mod to add more more blood and gore. Heretic holds its place in time as one of the great FPS’s from the late 90s.

Final Score 85/100
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
43 of 48 people (90%) found this review helpful
10.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 6, 2015
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.
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35 of 36 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 27, 2015
Pretty unfair that doom get's a remake,but not this gem...
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37 of 43 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 26, 2014
Still the original FPS formula is better than any orher later game
Have fun with this ,as you will have
Excellent classic
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23 of 23 people (100%) found this review helpful
30.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 22, 2014
This game is not for people who have only played DOOM-cubed. This game is for people who played ClassicDOOM on DOS. Released during the same era of gaming, rather than being stranded on Mars with only a space-pistol, you're a Heretic, cast out by your fellow man for daring to see the enemy for what they truly are. After D'Sparil's armies wipe out your town, you creep back in with only a Wand, helltbent on revenge. Like ClassicDOOM, this game originally came packed with three episodes, complete with frightening enemies, awesome weaponry, and amazing powerups. Unlike ClassicDOOM, you also had the ability to look up and down and even fly. Shadow of the Serpent Riders added two additional episodes, but as far as I can recall, no new enemies, weapons, or powerups; just new levels.

The game itself is froxen in time; the graphics have not been updated and I doubt anyone will attempt to do so. As such, it is somewhat difficult to see in the distance on the better-developed machines of today. However, this is my only gripe, and there's nothing that can really be done about it. I bought this pack for one reason and one reason only: to return to my childhood. Nostalgia. To remind myself why I got into gaming in the first place. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

People looking for "new and exiciting machanics" will be sorely disappointed. But if you remember the 90s, and ClassicDOOM, and Wolfenstein 3D, you need this in your collection.
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28 of 33 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 18, 2015
Heretic is like Doom but with magic.

Best classic game

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19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2015
I first encountered Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders as a shareware game, when we bought a new computer featuring Windows 3.11. Although Shareware (the first level, The Docks, was all that you could play) it was one of the games I enjoyed playing, although it regularly gave me frights, with monsters popping out from behind pillars, and only the unidirectional roars to tell me that they "might" be lurking around a corner.

I played it enough to warrant a full purchase via an unlock code, and the game proved to have a great deal of longevity. The stats at the end of each level, gave you feedback on no. of monsters killed, secrets discovered and items found. This lead to a great deal of replaying and backtracking to try and find each little hiding place.

I never really read the manual, and the plot is really inconsequential anyway, this is by no means a narrative driven game, suffice to say your elven race was slaughtered as they refused to believe in the deity of the "Serpent Riders" and were slaughtered as Heretics. You, the sole elven survivor are out to seek revenge.

Today it's legacy is questionable. The genre of Fantasy FPS, is non-existent, instead we have a modern warfare or sci-fi bias that the greater legacy games, Doom, and Quake popularized. Heretic is of course from the same period. (It uses the Doom Engine). Yet has had far less overall impact on the trend of FPS fantasy, which is rather something of a pity, as in an oversaturated market, this genre has potential. The only games that might have built from this core concept is of course Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (includes more brawling combat) and the recent Lichdom.

It has not aged well, the lack of resolution (it runs out of DosBox), poor textures and flickering lights may lead to eye strain, but the overall feel of the game is still enjoyable. It has none of the complexity and strategic gaming that later titles show, but it does sport excellent level design and exploration/puzzle mechanics, that aren't so common in modern FPS, as well as gothic interiors, and smooth gameplay.
(Definitely a game to settle down to with some Death Metal on the side!)
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 9, 2014
I like old shooters a lot. Enjoyed hours of Doom and Shadow Warrior, and found this game some days ago.
Well, needless to say, I bought the whole collection haha

So, at first, I thought I made a mistake, Heretic seemed to have only 5 stages. No no, those were 5 chapters, each of them with lots of stages. The game is indeed good, lots of secrets and has this dark ambient, creepy monsters, and awesome weapons.

My only complaint is that it wasn't configured to run on newer systems, so you should probably end up downloading ZDOOM to better customize the controls.

Anyways, incredible game, totally worth playing if you enjoy old games
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13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 10
!!Important note!! To have the best experience with heretic, I would highly recommend you download a launcher called zdoom, which is free. By playing the game through gzdoom, you are able to customize the controls. I played this game on a windows 10 laptop and the game worked perfectly fine for me. There is a link below to zdoom.

What I liked about the game
• I thought the monsters in the game were pretty cool, especially the Golem.
• Throughout the game there are many secrets to be found.
• There were some very good levels, especially in the first chapter.
• Some cool weapons.
• I like the idea of having an inventory, so you can use stuff that you collect later on
• In the first three chapters, at the end of each level, I like how it showed you a map telling you where you have been and where you are going to next.
• Cool death animations.
What I disliked or was disappointed with
• I thought the music was quite repetitive, I know they reused some of the songs in doom, but they got reused a lot more in Heretic.
• Killing enemies in heretic wasn’t very satisfying. I didn’t feel like a badass like I did in Doom.
• The last two chapters aren’t really anything special, I like to think the story ended on the third chapter. The final bosses in chapter 4 and 5 aren’t very interesting.
• Chapters 4 and 5 were quite hard, it was a shock because the first three chapters were very easy.
• Secrets were too easy to find.

My conclusion

If you liked Doom, Quake or Hexen. I would recommend this game to you. It is a good game with some good levels and weapons. Plenty of secrets to be found as well. You get a lot for £2.99, well worth the money.


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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
11.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 15, 2013
While at first you might write it off as another crappy Doom-clone, it takes the initial formula for Doom, and then expands on it.
The chainsaw might be replaced by a pair of lightning gauntlets, but those gauntlets can be augmented by an item for a short bit to sap health from enemies.
Although not appealing to casual audiences in the slightest, fans of old school shoot em ups can get past the "press a button, something happens somewhere" flawed level design and enjoy the high-challenge arenas and the subtle nuances of this fantasy-themed Doom-engine fps.
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