When I first loaded Heretic II onto my computer, I was excited. The graphics were stunning, and I prepared myself for a great adventure. The early reviews on Heretic II were very good, and as I was a fan of the original Heretic, I was afraid that my opinion might be so biased that my review would be too glowing. Unfortunately, that was not true.
I rushed through the tutorial to pick up Corvus' basic moves so I could sink my teeth into the game. At first, I thought I was getting everything I had hoped for, but then I played for a few hours. I got nowhere.
Maybe I am missing something. Maybe third-person action is not my specialty. I love and excel at games like Diablo and Delta Force, but Heretic II threw me for a loop. Maybe there is simply something is wrong with Heretic II, or else there is something very wrong with me.
I kept going in circles. I would see the same dark hallways, the same sewer grates, and the same blocked doors. Why couldn't I find the exit to the next level? Where was it? To be honest, after four hours of playing on all three skill settings, I still have no idea.
Whenever I got lost, I would glance at the manual. No help. I would glance at the city map. Well, if I knew where I was relative to the map, I could probably negotiate a path to the red circle which marks the exit of this level and entrance to the next level. I didn't know where I was on the map, however, so I couldn't make it to the next level.
I want to make it clear that I simply didn't give up playing Heretic II. I played it for several hours over a period of three days. I just didn't get it, and thus, I just didn't enjoy it.
Graphically, Heretic II is very good. The animated sequences are amazing, and so are the game sequences. Corvus moves well and so do the monsters coming after him. In keeping with the theme of the game, everything is dark and gloomy. This made me tired and didn't help the frustration I experienced going around in circles.
Heretic II's sound is understated, and that is fine. Corvus utters a few phrases now and again, and the music is almost inaudible. The sound is definitely more noticeable when you kill all the monsters and decide to chase your tail for a while. The aural presentation -- like the visual presentation -- keeps the game gloomy.
I wish I could say that I enjoyed Heretic II, but I didn't. I salivated as I played the tutorial, because I got to experience the range of weapons and magic that Corvus has at his disposal. As I never made it past the first level, I will probably never know what it is like to grab those power-ups.
Overall, Heretic II disappointed me. The animated opening and the tutorial led me to believe that I was about to experience video game nirvana, but I didn't. Instead, I wound up frustrated and annoyed.
Graphics: Heretic II is graphically stunning, but its gloom can be a little tiring.
Sound: Heretic II's sound fades into the background during game play. It's good, but it's really more of an afterthought.
Enjoyment: I just couldn't get the hang of this game. I know it's very popular, and I know others have given it glowing reviews, but I just got lost.
Replay Value: Forget it. I forced myself to play this game several times, and I hated it each time.
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Hexen: Beyond Heretic, Heretic, Hexen 2, Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders, Drakan: Order of the Flame, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
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