First·person shooter developed by Raven Software, published by id Software, and distribued by GT Interactive in 1994. Raven worked closely with id on modifying their Doom game engine for the game. Raven added the abilities to fly, carry items for later use, look up and down, move under and over enemies, wind and water currents that can move players and enemies, and better texture mapping to the engine. Though it uses the same engine, the game is different enough that calling it a "Doom clone" is incorrect. The game supports up to four players in multiplayer (either in deathmatch or cooperative mode). To run Heretic, you'll need at least a 486/33MHz processor, 4MB of RAM, 15MB of hard disk space, and MS-DOS 5.0 or better.

Heretic's storyline goes as such: The Serpent Riders, three quite evil fellows who, as you may have guessed, ride serpents, came to the world Heretic takes place in. Inititially, they gained power by bringing peace through controlling magicks, eventually controlling even the seven powerful kings of Earth. A race of elves called the Sidhe were unaffected by these spells however, and the Serpent Riders' disciples and blind followers plotted against the Sidhe, regarded as heretics by the Riders' followers. As the kings' seven armies prepared to advance upon the Sidhe, the Sidhe's Elders blew out seven candles that were tied to the powers of the world and the armies of the kings. With that, those armies were destroyed and the Elders were weakened. In this moment of weakness, the forces of the Serpent Riders struck and violently killed the Elders.

After the deaths of their Elders, most of the Sidhe went into hiding. You (being the player character), however, instead set out in search of D'Sparil, the weakest of the three Serpent Riders and the only one still remaining on your world. Thus, the game begins....

The game was originally released in a free-to-distribute shareware version and a full, retail version. The shareware version contained only the first five weapons (occupying weapon slots one through four, as slot one held two weapons) and the first episode of the game (a grouping of nine levels). The full version added another three weapons and two episodes. In 1996, an expansion was made for the game titled Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders, which added another two episodes, usually filled with a rediculous amount of enemies. The ninth level of each episode was always an optional level that could be accessed during either level four or five of each episode. The eighth level of each episode was the final level of its respective episode. The level design for Heretic still amazes me to this day. Even with better, more powerful engines to work with nowadays, I still think Heretic's level design ranks up there as some of the best I've ever seen. At the start of each episode, you begin armed with only the staff and elvenwand. The levels are known as:

  1. City of the Damned
    1. The Docks
    2. The Dungeons
    3. The Gatehouse
    4. The Guard Tower
    5. The Citadel
    6. The Cathedral
    7. The Crypts
    8. Hell's Maw
    9. The Graveyard
  2. Hell's Maw
    1. The Crater
    2. The Lava Pits
    3. The River of Fire
    4. The Ice Grotto
    5. The Catacombs
    6. The Labyrith
    7. The Great Hall
    8. The Portals of Chaos
    9. The Glacier
  3. The Dome of D'Sparil
    1. The Storehouse
    2. The Cesspool
    3. The Confluence
    4. The Azure Fortress
    5. The Ophidian Lair
    6. The Halls of Fear
    7. The Chasm
    8. D'Sparil's Keep
    9. The Aquifer
  4. The Ossuary (expansion only)
    1. Catafalque
    2. Blockhouse
    3. Ambulatory
    4. Sepulcher
    5. Great Stair
    6. Halls of the Apostate
    7. Ramparts of Perdition
    8. Shattered Bridge
    9. Mausoleum
  5. The Stagnant Demense (expansion only)
    1. Ochre Cliffs
    2. Rapids
    3. Quay
    4. Courtyard
    5. Hydratyr
    6. Colonnade
    7. Foetid Manse
    8. Field of Judgement
    9. Skein of D'Sparil

The enemies of Heretic:

  • gargoyle:
    Gargoyles are about half your size. They're red. They fly. They laugh in a whisper (at you, of course). They claw at you. Some of them can hurl fireballs. These ones have twice as many hitpoints. Tend to be found in large numbers, lurking about above you.
  • golem:
    Humanoid clay creations brought to life by magick. Golems are often found in groups and some are non-corporeal. The non·corporeal variants are translucent and can only be harmed by weapons fire composed of energy, rather than corporeal material.
  • nitrogolem:
    A variant of the golem (which has a non-corporeal variant as well). They appear the same at first (looks, sound, etc.) but are able to fire flaming skulls at you, which they summon forth from their own bodies.
  • undead warrior:
    Undead warriors look like zombies in armor. They have an infinite supply of axes to hurl at you and hack at you with up close. The axes come in two varieties: Green and red. The red ones are thrown less frequently and do more damage. As do the golems, the undead warriors have non-corporeal counterparts (which throw only red axes).
  • Disciple of D'Sparil:
    These cloaked figures levitate about, chanting indistinguishable words and firing three purple magic missiles at once. Prior to firing, they blink in and out of a non-corporeal state.
  • sabreclaw:
    Take an xenomorph from Alien, make it brown, give it metal claws and hooks on the ends of its arms and tail, and the screech of a raptor from Jurassic Park and you get a sabreclaw.
  • weredragon:
    Big, fuzzy looking, weird were-things. They're slow but they can spit fireballs. Big fireballs. Quite a pain in groups.
  • ophidian:
    Giant armored rattlesnakes with arms. Ophidians carry a staff that fires in two ways. First, a volley of pinkish blue energy bolts flies out of the staff. Second comes a more damaging bolt of fire. Generally given away by their rattle.
  • iron lich:
    A floating, iron head with magical powers. Three of these guard the exit at the end of the first episode and you haven't seen the last of them there. They can attack with a stack of fireballs, a tornado that follows you around (which, fortunately, dissipates eventually), and a ball of ice that shatters into sharp arrows upon impact.
  • maulotaur:
    A huge minotaur wielding a maul. Three of these guard the end of the second episode and eight of them guard the end of the fifth. They can launch a volley of firebolts with their mauls or use them to summon a line of flames from the ground. They also like to charge at you and will just beat you non-magically with their mauls up close.
  • D'Sparil:
    The pimp daddy of Heretic baddies. D'Sparil must be defeated in the final level of the third episode. When you first meet him, he'll be riding his dragon/serpent thing, which is wont to spit many a painful ball of flame at you. Once his ride dies, D'Sprail gets pissed. He can attack you by sending a blue bolt of sparkly death from his staff or he'll use it to summon some of his disciples to his aid. He can summon two at a once but typically doesn't stop summoning them until you realise how much of a pain in the ass it's going to be to even hit him admist the swarm of disciples. He can also teleport around the level, which he does more frequently the more damage he's taken.

The weaponry of Heretic:

  • staff:
    It's a long, thin, cylindrical piece of wood. You hit people with it. The good thing is it doesn't taken any ammuntion to use. The bad things are it doesn't do much damage and you have to get up close and personal to hit anything with it. When powered up with a Tome of Power (explained below in the items section), the staff becomes electrified and does much more damage. Occupies weapon slot one.
  • gauntlets of the necromancer:
    These gauntlets shoot out a deadly energy that pulls your target toward you so it can't escape (or you toward your target, depending on how who's moving where). When powered up, the range and damage is increased and life is transferred from your victim to you. Also occupies weapon slot one.
  • elvenwand:
    Fires an instantly hitting little bolt of energy. Doesn't do that much damage but is handy for picking off gargoyles and the like from far away. Powered up the wand shoots out several additional bolts at the same time. Occupies weapon slot two.
  • ethereal crossbow:
    Fires three, glowing green arrows. A medium damage weapon that will likely see a lot of use during play. The centre arrow is the larger and more powerful of the three. The two side arrows do less damage and can't hit non·corporeal enemies. Powered up, the crossbow fires quite a few very powerful arrows at once. Occupies weapon slot three.
  • dragonclaw:
    Fires tiny bolts of blue... stuff... at your enemies. Best of all, it's fully automatic. The bolts don't affect non-corporeal enemies. Powered up, it fires slower but shoots larger bolts that split off into smaller ones upon impact. Great for wide area damage. Occupies weapon slot four.
  • hellstaff:
    Also fully automatic, the hellstaff fires big pinkish red bolts that can hit non-corporeals and corporeals alike. Powered up, this weapon can be devestating: After striking its target with a hefty, heat-seaking shot, a damaging rain of fire temporarily falls from the sky where the blast hit. Occupies weapon slot five.
  • phoenix rod:
    Fires a very powerful bolt of flame that can cause splash damage. The splash damage can hit non-corporeal targets but the actual bolt itself cannot. Powered up, the phoenix rod sacrifices its range and becomes a flame thrower. Works great on pretty much everyone (even non-corporeals), especially maulotaurs which are nearly paralysed. The drawback with this approach is you have to get up close. Occupies weapon slot six.
  • firemace:
    Looks like a normal mace but instead of whacking your foes over the head with it, the firemace shoots tiny metal balls at high speed at them. They don't do much damage and the firemace pretty much is a weak weapon without a Tome of Power. Powered up, the firemace shoots slower but when it does fire, it launches a gigantic metal ball that tracks down its target and, with the exception of iron liches, maulotaurs, and D'Sparil, totally obliterates its victim.

The items of Heretic:
(you can carry up to sixteen of each of these around at once and use them at will)

The cheat codes of Heretic:
Type these any time in a level (doesn't work in multiplayer mode) to activate/deactivate.

  • quicken - god mode
  • rambo - all weapons and ammo
  • skel - all keys
  • massacre - kill everything in the current level (except you)
  • kitty - no clipping mode
  • ponce - full health
  • cockadoodledoo - chicken mode!
  • ravmap - toggles between normal map display, full map display, and full map with items display
  • shazam - acts as though a tome of power was used
  • engageXY - level warp where X=episode number and Y=level number
  • iddqd - instant death ("iddqd" is god mode in Doom)
  • idkfa - removes all weapons and ammunition except the staff ("idkfa" gives you all weapons and full ammo in Doom)
  • gimmeXY - gives item(s) where X=letter corresponding to an item and Y=quantity / "gimmez0" will give you 16 of everything

Game credits:

Brian Raffel: project director
John Romero: executive producer
Brian Raffel, Steve Raffel, Brian Pelletier, Shane Gurno, Jum Sunwalt, Scott Rice: artists
Ben Gokey, Chris Rhinehart: programmers
Michael Raymond-Judy: level design
Kevin Schilder: sound, music
Paul Radek: sound drivers
John Carmack: 3D engine

Her"e*tic (?), n. [L. haereticus, Gr. able to choose, heretical, fr. to take, choose: cf. F. h'er'etique. See Heresy.]


One who holds to a heresy; one who believes some doctrine contrary to the established faith or prevailing religion.

A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject. Titus iii. 10.

2. R. C. Ch.

One who having made a profession of Christian belief, deliberately and pertinaciously refuses to believe one or more of the articles of faith "determined by the authority of the universal church."

Addis & Arnold.

Syn. -- Heretic, Schismatic, Sectarian. A heretic is one whose errors are doctrinal, and usually of a malignant character, tending to subvert the true faith. A schismatic is one who creates a schism, or division in the church, on points of faith, discipline, practice, etc., usually for the sake of personal aggrandizement. A sectarian is one who originates or is an ardent adherent and advocate of a sect, or distinct organization, which separates from the main body of believers.


© Webster 1913.

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