Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Old School FPS gets a face lift - Hexen: Edge of Chaos

So if you’re around your mid-twenties like I am you should be well skilled in the art of First-Person Combat. Meaning you have sat in front of your PC, Sega Saturn, or N64 day after day honing your skills to be the biggest badass this side of the third dimension. Most of the original FPS games had a simple formula. Get from Point A to Point B. How you achieved this was getting keys . In Doom, Duke3D, and Heretic we had color coded keys. One had to go down narrow corridors, open arenas, and dark rooms to collect the keys to progress to the end of the level. Once the end of the board was reach a simple switch was pushed. Once activated, percentages of achievements would pop up to reveal your stats, Secrets found, monsters exterminated, etc, etc.

Don't be mistaken though. The formula may have been identical but the games were massively different. Each game had its own setting, music, and combat system. For example in Doom you were placed in a off world colony on mars and the monsters were either demons or zombie soldiers. Your weapons consisted of chain guns and shotguns. In Heretic you would fight mummies and flying red imps. Your weapons would be a crossbow or magical gauntlets. Similar yes, but different in more ways then one. Each one had its own personality and style. That's what I think many FPS games have lost today. There own individual persona that sets them apart from the rest.

But then something magical occured. The mold was broken. HEXEN WAS BORN! Now don't get me wrong here. I love all the old school FPS games. I don't have a favorite they are all very good but recognition must be given to Hexen. When I first played this game it was like everything fell into place. I loved the dreary medieval setting, medieval weapons, the monsters, and I certainly loved the puzzles. It was so original compared to its predecessors that one could not overlook its masterful design. I still remember the first time I was frozen in place by ice monsters and broken into 1000 pieces. You just couldn't get that anywhere else! Giant hammers, electric axes, fire gloves, and the crème de la crème.......The WraithWand.......Just imagine if you had a super weapon that sent out an army of ghosts to tear your enemies to pieces. Kind of like having control of the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones.

So why do I write this little article? Well, quite a few months ago I stumbled upon a website called and it seems that the wonderful people their are making a NEW Hexen game mod using the Doom 3 engine! I'm happy the Doom 3 engine is finally being used for something good. From the screenshots and the summary on the website it looks like they will be drawing a lot of inspiration from the first Hexen. Which is a good thing. Not to say that Hexen II was bad. Hexen II was a magnificent game in itself but the original like in many series trumps its successors. The mod's storyline takes place after the Hexen 1 expansion and also touches upon the Heretic storyline as well. This is a real treat for all the old school fans and we applaud the the developers hard work. Please take a look at some of the excellent screen shots and send them a comment of support.

Hexen fans UNITE!

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