Heretic is a really bad game

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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Sgt. Shivers » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:02 pm

Heretic has a flamethrower, which makes it a good game in my book!
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby 4thcharacter » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:34 pm

It's not really a bad game per se, but yep, it's weaker than Doom in most aspects. I would like to talk about some of the SFXs there, mainly the arrow and the axes thrown by the undead knights. They sound really solid and startling when they hit.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Matt » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:45 am

I don't exactly hate Heretic, nor do I think it's entirely a bad game. But despite all efforts to date I just can't bring myself to like it at all!


Weapons:
Monsters have lower painchance and more hitpoints. This means significantly less feedback overall. Combine this with the unreliable damage and the weapons just all feel like an exercise in frustration and uncertainty.

I never really got a sense of anything really hitting anything in Heretic with the projectile weapons. It's just, like, a fireball touches a thing so it goes into its explode animation and disappears, yay.

I feel the Doom rocket suffers a lot of the same, but at least a direct hit from it, for anything less than a baron hell knight (which I think was the most unfortunate mistake in Doom 2 besides a few Peterson levels), will either:
1. kill the target; or
2. knock it back a significant, immediately noticeable distance.

It really doesn't help that there's no obvious in-game explanation as to how this stuff even causes damage. With the weapons I get no sense of "magic" in "the Old Ones forged this spear in the war that ended the First Age, by wielding this you give yourself to their spirits as their avenger", just "magic" in the sense of "don't be such a nerd, it's just a fantasy, just gloss over it and trust that it works lol". Which trusting is really hard with the super-random damage output.


Monster diversity: Gotta disagree with NS here. Doom is more varied and there is a method to it.

Compare the following distinctions:
Zombieman: sporadic single shots
Shotgunner: sporadic triple shots
Chaingunguy: starts going into constantly-shooting mode

Skelly: walk around and throw fireballs, not a bullet sponge
Weredragon: walk around and throw fireballs, bullet sponge
Ophidian: walk around and shoot bursts of fireballs, all close together and basically one long fireball, bullet sponge

The problem here is that a lot of the distinctions get muted in actual play because damage is so extremely random.

The ophidian (actually a design I really like) and the weredragon (which design I could care less about) don't fundamentally add anything to gameplay that isn't already done by the undead warriors. Really, they could all have been replaced by ophidians with slightly less hitpoints (and more ophidians to replace the more-hitpoint critters) and if anything the gameplay might've been more interesting.

Similarly, the fire gargoyle contributes nothing that could not be done better by putting a disciple in its place wherever it appears. These visually indistinguishable but exponentially tougher low-level monster variants just add to the sense of random frustration getting anything done in the game.


Stuff making sense:
The mythic imagery is where I think Heretic fails so, so much more than Doom.

Doom:
Corrupted men shoot shitty guns
Imps from hell hurl fire
Ravenous roid-raging beast is too dumb to shoot or throw anything
Poofy floating sky monster shoots lightning
Really fucking big ass version of the imp, roid raging and capable of taking heavy artillery
Authentic historial [created by contemporaries!!!] 20th-century militarisms
Campy B-movie sci-fi horror vibe

Heretic:
Imps or "gargoyles" fly around everywhere and claw at you, bigger ones are as tough as an oak and shoot fireballs (but are still light enough to hover in the air, in fact they must all be (almost) lighter than air given how they hover without moving enough to keep forcing air under themselves and the wings are meaningless ornaments at best)
Golems punch you and look just like Halloween mummies for no reason
Giant skeletons throw infinite axes that move in perfectly straight lines for no reason
Flying ghost-like anonymous stormtroopers that seem to be based on Protestant anti-Catholic, anti-monastic propaganda (hence "Heretic" and all - where Doom offends iconoclastic, xenophobic puritan WASP sensibilities, Heretic almost seems designed to appeal to them for its aesthetic, mythic effect)
Giant robot head that shoots microclimates at you - which would be awesome and hilarious with the right lead-up, but it doesn't fit with anything else and there's no context given for them so they're just another random arbitrary thing that happens to be in the game
Shallow pop-culture quasi-Euro-medieval fantasy, like the worst bits of the original Shadow Warrior but against white people
Everything looks like a goofy Halloween decoration but the plot is totally straight-up high-fantasy grimdark so it's just this awkard kitsch that never quite lives up to nakedly glorious narm

And then, of course, there's the fact that Doom zombies drop the ammo of the type they ostensibly shoot, while there's not even an attempt to rationalize why certain Heretic monsters drop certain types of ammo.


Characterization:

Doomguy: All we know is that he's a marine, but the sort of marine who'd beat the snot out of a superior officer for ordering the deaths of civilians, and such a total cinnamon roll even in the utter moral depravity of the mid-21st century(?) cyberpunk dystopia he still thinks R-rated movies are a thing. You can't not love that. Instant buy-in.

Heretic: Some alien rando on a killing spree for revenge to kill a bunch of other aliens for killing all his (alien) people. All we know about them is that they're basically humanoid and were the guardians of some extremely powerful weapons (that the PC is now using on his killing spree). There just isn't really any obvious reason to care, or even to trust the narrator.


tl;dr must autoload Karnak
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Amuscaria » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:56 pm

Personally, I enjoyed Heretic more than the original Doom, although not as much as Doom 2 (mainly due to the expanded monster cast and the amount of mods for it). I also don't see the weapon damage vs monster problem people seem to have, nor the lack of variety in the monsters.

Weapons:

-Lower base damage, but has power-up mode on-demand that boosts it up 50% or more depending on weapon.
-Monsters have lower average health than Doom (Doom 2 especially).
-Weapons all look distinct, with their own effects and ammunition. Where as doom where the first 6 weapons all use the same bullet-puff. Power-up mode basically doubles your weapon count.
-(Not going to argue that the Firemace is a stupid weapon, though).
-The Wand is better than the pistol by far, especially with the Tomed version. The pistol is just useless in Doom other than shooting the odd switch. Ammo is abundant enough that I can shotgun my way thru the entire game.

Monsters:

-Basic enemies are a bit stronger stronger, but game health-range is much lower overall compared to Doom. Strongest non-boss monster, Weredragon, has 220 HP, as opposed to the 400 HP Cacodemon in Doom. If we count the Iron Lich and Baron as common enemies in later episodes, then Doom wins out even more.
-monsters deal MUCH less damage, especially compared to Doom 2. A Mancubus can kill you with a single hit. Most enemies in Heretic rarely deals more than 3d8 damage per projectile. Strongest one is the Disciple, and that throws 3 3d8 projectiles. Even the boss damages are much lower.
-there are more enemy types than Doom. Doom had 10 enemies, including the bosses. Heretic has 16. A lot of them reuses the same graphic, but don't behave the same way as their base.

-----------------------------

My main gripe with Heretic is with the graphics. There are a lot more than Doom, and things are animated much more smoothly with more than just a 3-5 frame animation. But a lot of them just looks really cheap. Those explosions especially looks like they've been drawn once, and just chopped up and moved around with MS Paint. The also lack the 'umpf' that doom explosions have due to their tiny size. The textures also looks really bleh. I know they were going for that old cartoon style, but most of them just look really flat and generic.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby TerminusEst13 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:06 pm

Heretic is really cool but also could use a lot more mods than it currently gets. There's a lot about the base game that could use a lot of refining and tweaking, like how Doom 2 got an expanded and more varied bestiary and another weapon to provide another tier of power, but Heretic never got.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Scripten » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:15 pm

Amuscaria wrote:The textures also looks really bleh. I know they were going for that old cartoon style, but most of them just look really flat and generic.


Heretic has an intentional art style? I guess I just assumed they didn't really aim for anything specific. Is there a bible or anything out there for it?
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Matt » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:34 pm

good luck trying to find any results googling {heretic bible} lol

The lack of direction might be what I'm responding to with the monsters... yes strictly speaking there is more diversity, but it always feels like diversity for diversity's sake whereas Doom's monsters all feel motivated by either
1. they had a specific gameplay niche and needed a monster for it, or
2. they needed a monster that shot this weapon that the player already had

On that note, that's probably what really bothers me about Heretic: the total and absolute disconnect between the player's weaponry and the monsters'.

I wonder if it would help me to have a mod where:
- hellstaff were replaced with ophidian staff (using hellstaff sprites), and they fired the same kind of projectile(s)
- weredragons were sometimes replaced with big ophidians with phoenix rods
- the remaining weredragons shot blue electro shit at you
- knights threw arcing axes that returned on impact, which of course the player could also obtain
- wand shot gargoyle fireballs (which went faster and did much more damage)
- all the above projectile-shooting enemies could randomly go tome of power
- DDs would just be left the same because presumably their magic is absolutely haram for the player, and they'd just not drop any ammo ever (though health would not be out of the question... who knows, maybe their very blasphemy lies in using the purple stuff to kill rather than to heal)
- maulotaurs regularly shot tomed firemace shots
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby leileilol » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:39 pm

Hexen II is far far worse. Early Haktoria predev involved picking out the worst points of Hexen II design to avoid reproducing (in hopes to getting back to Heretic/Hexen-ish gameplay without their bad parts). In the end it ended up making nothing because everything in Hexen II was bad*

*- being snagged by a dreadful mdl pipeline and the source ports that operates strictly with checksum hexen2 paks. Probably the best part of the project were amuscaria's concepts, which i really really wanted to put the effort into living up to, but software hit me hard then
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Chris » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:21 pm

Matt wrote:On that note, that's probably what really bothers me about Heretic: the total and absolute disconnect between the player's weaponry and the monsters'.

I actually like that. For one, it helps the level designers control weapons and monsters better (the fact that a shotgun zombie drops a shotgun means any time a mapper places a shotgun zombie, the player is guaranteed to get a shotgun out of it; if you don't want them to get one yet, you have to use a different monster which may not have the desired difficulty or theme). Secondly, it helps the monsters feel unique, that they are different than you with different abilities. The creatures you face are either beasts, undead, or people transformed/given power by D'Sparil or whoever, and you're a heretic for not following them. So it would make sense that they do things you can't/won't.

- knights threw arcing axes that returned on impact, which of course the player could also obtain

I don't believe the engine had the capability for arcing projectiles until later on. Even in Doom and Doom2, the imps, barons, cacos, etc, shot in a straight line to the target with no gravity. It would certainly complicate the aiming if the firing angle had to account for distance, which might not have been so easy on a 386 (not to mention the difficulty of dealing with lowered ceilings that don't block LOS but would either block the projectile or require aiming lower for the feet).

Also, considering the axes glow with the same ethereal energy as the undead knights themselves, I would think the axes to be some kind of apparition. It causes pain/damage to whoever it hits then disappears back to the ether.

- all the above projectile-shooting enemies could randomly go tome of power

Some of them kind of do. I mean, if you consider the early level gargoyles to be normal, then the fireball-throwing ones can be considered powered-up variations. Same for the mummies. And certain enemies, like the undead knight, will randomly throw a different projectile (a bloodied axe, which does more damage and is unaffected by wind).
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Hellser » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:34 am

In my opinion, having the player weapon's and monster's weapons being such a huge disconnect is a good thing. According to lore, these monsters are from another dimension invading Parthoris and nearly wiped out Corvus' race -- the Sidhe. That would mean that we're using the Sidhe's own weapons. The Staff, The Gauntlets of the Necromancer, Elven Wand, Dragon Claw, Ethereal Crossbow, Phoenix Rod, Hellstaff and Firemace are all weapons that the Sidhe made. It just so happens that the weapons can be powered by the same magic that the enemy uses for THEIR weapons.

Same goes true for the Tome of Power - something that the Sidhe made.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Scripten » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:09 am

Matt wrote:The lack of direction might be what I'm responding to with the monsters... yes strictly speaking there is more diversity, but it always feels like diversity for diversity's sake whereas Doom's monsters all feel motivated by either
1. they had a specific gameplay niche and needed a monster for it, or
2. they needed a monster that shot this weapon that the player already had


In the original Doom, there was really only one enemy that had a weapon that the player also used, though: the shotgun zombie. Doom 2 added the chaingun zombie and gave us a second one, but even then, the players still only have those two weapons in common with the enemy ranks.

Come to think of it, even the normal zombie, with his rifle, had a unique gun that the player never gets access to. (At least, in the release versions of the game.) That makes even less sense than the Heretic monsters never dropping their weapons.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Amuscaria » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:14 am

leileilol wrote:Hexen II is far far worse. Early Haktoria predev involved picking out the worst points of Hexen II design to avoid reproducing (in hopes to getting back to Heretic/Hexen-ish gameplay without their bad parts). In the end it ended up making nothing because everything in Hexen II was bad*

*- being snagged by a dreadful mdl pipeline and the source ports that operates strictly with checksum hexen2 paks. Probably the best part of the project were amuscaria's concepts, which i really really wanted to put the effort into living up to, but software hit me hard then


Yeah. Couldn't even stand to play thru the fist episode of Hexen 2 without just outright cheating to the other episodes or getting all the weapons from the classes to see what they did (frankly, was massively disappointed even at those). It's gotta be one of the most boring FPS games I've played. I swear there were only 5 enemies in total for first episode, but each one was a bitch to fight because they had too much health and did too much damage. At least, that's how I remembered Hex2.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Matt » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:58 pm

I was thinking more in terms of the cyberdemon and arachnotron: not a perfect match (neither drops their weapon, arachnotron has a different plasma ball and shoots at a much slower and more sustainable rate)

The only weapons that have no functional monster equivalents at all are the SSG and BFG (both OP - all other monster hitscan attacks are nibbling or highly telegraphed like the archvile) and the chainsaw (because a second pinky-like melee monster without any other special ability is pointless - per my complaint about the Heretic clink - and the main special ability of the chainsaw would affect player movement and cause a death spiral in ways nothing else in Doom does).

As for limiting monster drops being a help for map design, I get almost the same sort of visceral reaction from a statement like that as I do when GMs talk about how to keep the players "on the plot" and prevent them from exploiting creative workarounds that they didn't expect.

Maybe my problem is that I'm still trying to think of Heretic as a coherent fantasy setting rather than just an arcadey shoot-'em-up with vaguely fantasy-genre aesthetics pastede on... I'd hardly be making these complaints about a scrolling shmup.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Trance » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:55 pm

Matt wrote:Maybe my problem is that I'm still trying to think of Heretic as a coherent fantasy setting rather than just an arcadey shoot-'em-up with vaguely fantasy-genre aesthetics pastede on...

You should probably start thinking the other way, because that's exactly what Heretic is. A sword & sorcery-flavored Doom game with more features.

Stop reading more into the game than is there, and you'll likely enjoy it more.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Rachael » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:45 pm

Heretic is a good game, imo. It might not feel as satisfying to play as Doom, but I like it well enough that I keep going back to it, so it must be doing something right.
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