Heretic is a really bad game

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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby NeuralStunner » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:42 am

Graf Zahl wrote:I have only seen a very small number of good looking Heretic maps which didn't employ custom textures.
I don't think I ever posted my vanilla-era maps. Despite my tendency toward 90-degree angles and wide open spaces, I still think they look pretty damn good.* (And I'm the kind of person that will remake something several times because it never looks right.) Maybe I should go ahead and do that.

I also have that texture pack I need to work on. Still haven't decided whether vanilla compatibility is worth worrying about. If Eternity has Heretic support at all I might just do that. Probably not worth it just for DOS and Chocolate.


* I think my favorite touch was hanging cobwebs off of pillars, and even a chandelier in one map.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Matt » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:42 am

Trance wrote:
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.

>Stop reading more into the game

>Stop reading

I was thinking more in terms of mere genre tropes and expectations based on known conformity to those, but if the best way to enjoy something is to artificially limit one's absolute level of engagement with it then I think there is a clear, objective basis to say that its literally really bad as spoone says in the title of this thread. :shock:
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Shadelight » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:04 am

It makes sense in Doom for most enemies to have some equivalent of your weapon because they're using also using UAC tech. In Heretic, every enemy is literally just some magical monster using some various form of attack or another.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Chris » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:43 am

Matt wrote:if the best way to enjoy something is to artificially limit one's absolute level of engagement with it then I think there is a clear, objective basis to say that its literally really bad

Considering most fantasy games start out with really generic paper thin lore, then slowly add on to it over the course of their sequels, I don't think it's a matter of being "bad". Especially for a gameplay genre that wasn't designed to give high-class storytelling and world building in the first place (this was well before Half-Life came out, don't forget). It's a matter of having appropriate expectations for a piece of media and focusing on what it's trying to give. Nothing is perfect or good at all things, everything has a point where it breaks down and provides a poor experience when trying to engage it in a certain way, forcing you to limit your "absolute level of engagement with it". I can't play or look at Baldur's Gate like I would Daggerfall and expect to have fun, for example. That's just not what it was trying to do, but that doesn't mean it's a bad game.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Gez » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:21 am

Heretic is about fighting monsters with flashy magical effects -- green or red lightning from wicked gloves, golden blasts from a magic wand, green ethereal bolts from a magic crossbow, and so on. That's really all there is to it. You're a walking fireworks factory and you're here to explode gargoyles and skeletons and snake monsters.

It's good.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Trance » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:20 am

Matt wrote:>Stop reading more into the game

>Stop reading

I was thinking more in terms of mere genre tropes and expectations based on known conformity to those, but if the best way to enjoy something is to artificially limit one's absolute level of engagement with it then I think there is a clear, objective basis to say that its literally really bad as spoone says in the title of this thread. :shock:

Doom is a game about using a bunch of weapons to kill demons in various locations. There's no deeper meaning written into the game. (There was going to be, but Tom Hall left.) Heretic is much the same. If you try to break down the game along lines of themes or deeper meaning or genre conformity or what the fuck ever, you're going to end up frustrated, because none of those things are major components of Heretic's design, and were never meant to be.

Ordinarily I don't pipe up on other people's opinions, but in your case you're looking at Heretic through a really bizarrely-shaped lens that's leading to a largely-incoherent appraisal of the game. That's probably what's making it hard for you to nail the game down.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Matt » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:13 pm

I've got exactly the opposite problem from what you think: I'm holding Heretic to the same standard as Doom and being grossly disappointed.

I could write a book about the (perhaps mostly but by no means entirely unintended) religious symbolism and allegory in Doom. There is a unity to it, a flow from one concept to another, that goes well past the explicit conscious intentions of the authors.

This is not abnormal; any work of fiction will be informed by everything each author has read in the past. Everything anyone writes should leave some threads that naturally lead to other things outside the work itself. I can do something similar with Starcraft or Fallout. (Mass Effect is too blatant to mention.)

Trying to follow any such threads in Heretic, in comparison, is an exercise in futility and confusion. First enemy, the gargoyles. Why are they red imps? Obviously something infernal. But why are they called gargoyles?* I'm stumped.

Golems. They look like mummies and even the sprite name is MUMM. This sheds some light on what happened with the gargoyles: the graphics people drew one thing and then whoever wrote the lore wrote something else. The death animation clearly depicts some kind of organic thing animated by an evil spirit. An organic, wet, bleeding thing.

Compare:
A mummy, which is a preserved dried corpse.
A golem, which is a clay figure given life by the inscription of the name of God on its forehead.

This thing in the game is very obviously neither. At best it can be read as a blasphemous mockery of them by the devil; but that makes no sense since there is no suggestion of any sort of God in Heretic. Doom has no explicit references either, but Doom is supposedly taking place in our world which gives the player the licence to read in what they know of their world. Heretic's world is a flatland in a crystal dome from outside of which come the Big Bads; there's no point of connection to our world at all from which we can make any such inferences. So either we step back further and conclude that the entire game is a blasphemous mockery, to be treated on the same level as Communist propaganda or The Secret, or we take the alternative interpretation and conclude that all of this was designed by people who have only secondary or tertiary pop-culture-osmosis knowledge as to what a mummy or a golem (or a gargoyle) is and just didn't give a crap.

And this is before I even get to the way things are named. (And I thought "Arachnotron" was bad... but apparently even that has fairly decent classical pedigree!) [EDIT: though one might argue that both roots ultimately coming from some Semitic origin might make "Nitrogolem" less completely grotesquely out of place than it might initially feel.]

Sorry, but this is just bad. It's like listening to Megadeth, or Ripper Owens-era Judas Priest. Or reading SFF written by a teenager who plays videogames 144 hours for every page of literature they've read written before 2000.




*Ironically, one complaint about RL gargoyles reflects my frustration well:
What are these fantastic monsters doing in the cloisters before the eyes of the brothers as they read? What is the meaning of these unclean monkeys, these strange savage lions, and monsters? To what purpose are here placed these creatures, half beast, half man, or these spotted tigers? I see several bodies with one head and several heads with one body. Here is a quadruped with a serpent's head, there a fish with a quadruped's head, then again an animal half horse, half goat... Surely if we do not blush for such absurdities, we should at least regret what we have spent on them.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Trance » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:57 pm

Matt wrote:Trying to follow any such [symbolic/allegorical/conceptual] threads in Heretic, in comparison, is an exercise in futility and confusion.

Then don't do it. That's not the point.

A game not jiving with your conceptual analysis angle does not make it objectively bad. Sometimes you're just using the wrong tool.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Gez » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:02 pm

Matt wrote:*Ironically, one complaint about RL gargoyles reflects my frustration well:
What are these fantastic monsters doing in the cloisters before the eyes of the brothers as they read? What is the meaning of these unclean monkeys, these strange savage lions, and monsters? To what purpose are here placed these creatures, half beast, half man, or these spotted tigers? I see several bodies with one head and several heads with one body. Here is a quadruped with a serpent's head, there a fish with a quadruped's head, then again an animal half horse, half goat... Surely if we do not blush for such absurdities, we should at least regret what we have spent on them.

Man that guy really doesn't get it.

Gargoyles and grotesques are supposed to be misshapen monsters; they represent the ugliness of sin so they cannot look like one of God's actual creatures.




Why do you care what the manual call the Heretic monsters? Besides the ZDoom-added obituary strings, nothing in-game tell you how they are called.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Rachael » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:11 pm

Summary of Heretic gameplay:

1. Put crosshair over monster's sprite.
2. Press left mouse button.
3. Strafe when monster lobs projectiles your way.

That can pretty much be said for Doom also, along with the normal key-and-switch hunts that both games have. In the end, that's all that really matters. And how much you like the visuals.

Much as I would prefer a game to have a good backstory, it's clear that neither Doom nor Heretic had much of one, and therefore I really don't see much point in stressing about it.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Shadelight » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:28 pm

Why can't it just be a stone mummy given life? Why is that so hard to think about?
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby 4thcharacter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:57 pm

Matt wrote: 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.


With Heretic seem to be made with RPG elements in mind (the way damage works there kinda supports that), I think this is their way of incorporating item drops to the enemies. It makes sense for golems to drop crystals, though why do they have blood, are they really mummies or golems? But if you think about the corresponding drops a bit it makes sense why other enemies would drop those items.

Maybe the wizards use those claw orbs as magic energy, the undead axe knights use the arrows' ethereal properties and put it in their green axes, the ophidians and maulotaurs use the phoenix rod orbs for their fire attacks, and the Saberclaws are powered by those red runes, I can't find any explanation for the Weredragons as for why they drop arrows. Maybe they like to eat it or use it before turning into monsters, dunno.


Speaking of undead knights, I find how they are affected by "winds" and will shift into the same direction the "wind" is blowing towards into neat, and because of that they sometimes look like boomerangs. Really wished they have made the axes work that way from the get-go.

EDIT : Words
Last edited by 4thcharacter on Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Dynamo » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:28 pm

Matt wrote:Trying to follow any such threads in Heretic, in comparison, is an exercise in futility and confusion.

It's funny because some of the major heretic/hexen mods, such as Hordes of Chaos or Return of Chaos, offer that style of thing and then some. Pretty good stuff in my opinion, though. Landmark mods for sure.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Hellser » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:50 pm

Heretic is a world full of magic. We can't analyze magic 'cause for us, magic doesn't exist. So analyzing a world filled with magic and portals is.. well... Not something you should do.
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Re: Heretic is a really bad game

Postby Matt » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:20 pm

Hellser: There's "what if this supernatural stuff happened" magic and then there's "runs on pure bullshit" magic.


Shadelight/4thcharacter: I've tried that with my Synthetic Deities mod a while back. It felt so artificial after a while. I I think a lot of my posting in this thread is informed by that.

Though reading what I had back then maybe it's not quite that bad... but definitely not touching it until I've scriptified all the HD Doom weapons first.


Dynamo: Sounds like I should check those out!
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