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Doom, Heretic, and Hexen

'R' - Opens Doors
'Left Arrow' - Turn Left
'Right Arrow' - Turn Right
'A' - Strafe Left
'D' - Strafe Right
'W' - Move Forward
'S' - Move Backward
'Spacebar' - Fire
'Number Keys' - Change Weapons
'Tab' - See Map

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Doom (occasionally typeset as DOOM[1]) is a landmark 1993 first-person shooter computer game by id Software. It is widely recognized for pioneering impressive 3D graphics, networked multi-player gaming on the PC platform, and support for custom expansions (WADs). Its graphic and interactive violence[2] has also made Doom the subject of much controversy reaching outside the gaming world.

With a third of the game (9 levels) distributed as shareware, Doom was played by an estimated 10 million people within two years of its release, popularizing the mode of game play and spawning a gaming subculture; as a sign of its effect on the industry, games from the mid-1990s boom of first-person shooters are often known simply as "Doom clones". According to GameSpy, Doom was voted by industry insiders to be the greatest game of all time in 2004.[3]

The Doom franchise was continued with Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994) and numerous expansion packs, including The Ultimate Doom (1995), Master Levels for Doom II (1995), and Final Doom (1996). Originally released for PC/DOS, these games have later been ported to many other platforms, including nine different game consoles, Rockbox firmware, and even PDAs and the Flash Player virtual machine. The series lost mainstream appeal as the technology of the Doom game engine was surpassed in the mid-1990s, although fans have continued making WADs, speed runs, and modifications to the source code released in 1997. The franchise again received popular attention in 2004 with the release of Doom 3, a retelling of the original game using new technology, and an associated 2005 Doom motion picture.

Game Features

Doom has a science fiction/horror theme and simple plot. A background story is given in the game's manual, and the rest of the story is advanced with short messages displayed between each section of the game (called episode), the action as the player character progresses through the levels, and some visual cues.

The player takes the role of a nameless space marine, "one of Earth's toughest, hardened in combat and trained for action", who has been punitively posted to Mars after assaulting his commanding officer, who ordered his unit to fire upon civilians. The Martian marine base acts as security for the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), a multi-planetary conglomerate, which is performing secret experiments with teleportation by creating gateways between the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. The manual makes it clear that Phobos is considered by space marines to be the dullest assignment imaginable: "with no action for fifty million miles, your day consisted of suckin' dust and watchin' restricted flicks in the rec room." This all changes when the UAC experiments go horribly awry. Computer systems on Phobos malfunction, Deimos disappears entirely, and "something fragging evil" starts pouring out of the gateway, killing or possessing all UAC personnel. Responding to a frantic distress call from the overrun scientists, the Martian marine unit is quickly sent to Phobos to investigate, where the player character is left to guard the hangar with only a pistol while the rest of the group proceeds inside. Over the course of the next few hours, the marine hears assorted garbled radio messages, gunfire, and screams...then silence: "Seems your buddies are dead".

As the last man standing, the player character's mission is to fight through the entire onslaught of demonic enemies by himself in order to keep them from attacking Earth.[4] In order for the game to be completed, the marine must fight through Phobos, Deimos, and then Hell, each presented as an episode containing nine distinct levels. Knee-Deep in the Dead, the first episode and the only one in the shareware version, is set in the high-tech military bases, power plants, computer centers and geological anomalies on Phobos. It ends with the player character fighting a pair of Barons of Hell and afterward entering the teleporter leading to Deimos, ending with him getting overwhelmed by monsters, if not killed. In the second episode, the Shores of Hell, the character journeys through the installations on Deimos, areas of which are interwoven with beastly architecture, warped and distorted by the hellish invasion. After defeating the titanic Cyberdemon lord, he discovers the truth about the vanished moon: it is floating above Hell itself. After climbing down to the surface, the third episode, called Inferno, begins. After the huge Spiderdemon that masterminded the invasion is destroyed in the final mission, a hidden doorway back to Earth opens for the hero, who has "proven too tough for Hell to contain". In the game's final cut scene, the camera pans over a verdant field complete with flowers and bunny rabbits, only to reveal a burning city and a bunny's head impaled on a stake: the demons have invaded Earth, obviously paving the way for Doom II.

The Ultimate Doom, the retail store version of the game, adds a fourth episode, Thy Flesh Consumed, occurring after the three original episodes of Doom and before Doom II. This episode was developed by independent master level designers with id's approval, and was designed for expert Doom players seeking a major challenge. It is considerably more difficult than the original three episodes. The episode's plot is deliberately absurd, and takes place immediately after Doom and just before Doom II. The bunny seen impaled on the stake was the marine's pet "Daisy", and you must take revenge for its death.

Game play

Being a first-person shooter, Doom is experienced through the eyes of the main character. This character is not named throughout the game. One of the game's designers, John Romero, has pointed out that this is so the player feels more involved in the game: "There was never a name for the DOOM marine because it's supposed to be YOU."[5]

The objective of each level is simply to locate the exit room that leads to the next area, usually marked with an exit sign or a special kind of door, while surviving all hazards on the way. Among the obstacles are demonic monsters, pits of toxic or radioactive slime, ceilings that lower and crush the player character, and locked doors for which a keycard, skull-shaped key device, or remote switch needs to be located. The levels are sometimes labyrinthine and feature plenty of hidden secret areas that hold power-ups as a reward for players who explore. To ease navigation through the levels, a full screen automap is available.

Doom is notable for the weapons arsenal available to the marine, which became prototypical for first-person shooters. The player character starts armed only with a pistol, and brass-knuckled fists in case the ammunition runs out, but larger weapons can be picked up: these are a chainsaw, a shotgun, a chaingun, a rocket launcher, a plasma rifle, and finally the immensely powerful BFG 9000. There is a wide array of power-ups, such as a backpack that increases the player character's ammunition-carrying capacity, armor, first aid kits to restore health, the berserk pack (a dark first aid box that puts the character into berserk mode, allowing them to deal out rocket launcher-level damage with their fists and potentially splattering former humans and imps, as well as setting the user's health to 100% if it was lower), and supernatural blue orbs (named soul spheres in the manuals) that boost the player character's health percentage by 100%, up to a maximum of 200%.

The enemy monsters in Doom make up the central game play element. The player character faces them in large numbers, on the higher of the game's five difficulty levels often encountering a dozen or more in the same room. There are 10 types of monsters (Doom II doubles this figure), including possessed humans as well as specifically hellish monsters of varying strength, including the weak but ubiquitous imps, the floating cacodemons, and the bosses which survive multiple strikes even from the player character's strongest weapons. The monsters have very simple behavior, consisting of either walking toward their opponent, or attacking by throwing fireballs, biting, and scratching. They may also sometimes fight each other after hurting one another accidentally.

Many versions of Doom (and its sequels) include secret levels which are accessed by the player discovering alternate exits, often hidden behind secret doors or in areas which are difficult to reach. In some versions of Doom II both of these secret levels incorporate level design and characters from Doom's precursor, Wolfenstein 3D, which was also developed by id.

Aside from the single player game mode, Doom features two multi-player modes playable over a network: "cooperative", in which two to four players team up, and "deathmatch", in which two to four players play against each other.


The development of Doom started in 1992, when John D. Carmack developed a new 3D game engine, the Doom engine, while the rest of the id Software team finished the Wolfenstein 3D prequel, Spear of Destiny. When the game design phase began in late 1992, the main thematic influences were the science fiction action film Aliens and the horror film Evil Dead II. The title of the game was picked by Carmack:

Designer Tom Hall wrote an elaborate design document called the Doom Bible, according to which the game would feature a detailed storyline, multiple player characters, and a number of interactive features.[7] However, many of his ideas were discarded during development in favor of simpler design primarily advocated by Carmack, resulting in Hall in the end being forced to resign due to not contributing effectively in the direction the rest of the team was going. Most of the level design that ended up in the final game is that of John Romero and Sandy Petersen. The graphics, by Adrian Carmack, Kevin Cloud and Gregor Punchatz, were created in various ways: although much was drawn or painted, several of the monsters were built from sculptures in clay or latex, and some of the weapons are toy guns from Toys "R" Us. A heavy metal-ambient soundtrack was supplied by Bobby Prince.[8]

Engine Technology

Doom's primary distinguishing feature at the time of its release was its realistic 3D graphics, then unparalleled by other real-time-rendered games running on consumer-level hardware. The advance from id Software's previous game Wolfenstein 3D was enabled by several new features in the Doom engine:

  • Height differences – all rooms in Wolfenstein 3D have the same height;
  • Non-perpendicular walls – all walls in Wolfenstein 3D run along a rectangular grid;
  • Swaying of the weapon, giving the impression of fluidity while walking or running – in Wolfenstein 3D the arms stay fixed in front in the screen, no matter what the character does;
  • Full texture mapping of all surfaces – in Wolfenstein 3D, floors and ceilings are not texture-mapped;
  • Varying light levels – all areas in Wolfenstein 3D are fully lit at the same brightness. While contributing to the game's visual authenticity by allowing effects such as highlights and shadows, this perhaps most importantly added to the game's atmosphere and Game Play; the use of darkness as a means of frightening or confusing the player was an unseen element in games released prior to Doom.

In contrast to the static levels of Wolfenstein 3D, those in Doom are highly interactive: Platforms can lower and rise, floors can rise sequentially to form staircases, and bridges can rise and descend. The lifelike feeling of the environment was enhanced further by the stereo sound system, which made it possible to roughly tell the direction and distance of a sound's origin. The player is kept on guard by the grunts and growls of monsters, and receives occasional clues to finding secret areas in the form of sounds of hidden doors opening remotely. Monsters can also become aware of the player's presence by hearing distant gunshots.

Carmack had to make use of several tricks for these features to run smoothly on home computers of 1993. Most significantly, Doom levels are not truly three-dimensional; they are internally represented on a plane, with height differences added separately (a similar trick is still used by many games to create huge outdoor environments). This gives the appearance of a two point perspective projection, and leads to several limitations: It is, for example, not possible for a Doom level to have one room over another. This two-dimensional representation does, however, have the benefit that rendering can be done very quickly, using a binary space partitioning method. Another benefit was the clarity of the automap, because it could be displayed with 2D vectors without the risk of overlapping.

Another important feature of the Doom engine is a modular approach that allows the game content to be replaced by loading custom WAD files. Wolfenstein 3D was not designed to be expandable, but fans had nevertheless figured out how to create their own levels for it, and Doom was designed to take the phenomenon further. The ability to create custom scenarios contributed significantly to the game's popularity (see the section on WADs below).

Release and Later History

Initial Popularity

The development of Doom was surrounded by much anticipation. The large number of posts in Internet newsgroups about Doom led to the SPISPOPD[9] joke, to which a nod was given in the game in the form of a cheat code. In addition to news, rumors and screenshots, unauthorized leaked alpha versions also circulated online. (Many years later these alpha versions were sanctioned by id Software because of historical interest; they reveal how the game progressed from its early design stages.[10]) The first public version of Doom was uploaded to Software Creations BBS and an FTP server at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on December 10, 1993.

Doom was released as shareware, with people encouraged to distribute it further. They did so: in 1995, Doom was estimated to have been installed on more than 10 million computers. Although most users did not purchase the registered version, over one million copies have been sold, and the popularity helped the sales of later games in the Doom series that were not released as shareware. In 1995, The Ultimate Doom (version 1.9, including episode IV) was released, making this the first time that Doom was sold commercially in stores.

In a press release dated January 1, 1993, id Software had written that they expected Doom to be "the number one cause of decreased productivity in businesses around the world". This prediction came true at least in part: Doom became a major problem at workplaces, both occupying the time of employees and clogging computer networks with traffic caused by deathmatches. Intel, Lotus Development and Carnegie Mellon University are among many organizations reported to form policies specifically disallowing Doom-playing during work hours. At the Microsoft campus, Doom was by one account[8] equal to a "religious phenomenon".

In late 1995, Doom was estimated to be installed on more computers worldwide than Microsoft's new operating system Windows 95, despite million-dollar advertising campaigns for the latter. The game's popularity prompted Bill Gates to briefly consider buying id Software, and led Microsoft to develop a Windows 95 port of Doom to promote the operating system as a gaming platform. One such presentation to promote Windows 95 had Bill Gates digitally superimposed into the game.[11] The Microsoft 1995 release Excel 95 included a Doom-esque secret level as an Easter egg containing portraits of the programmers among other things. It is speculated that Microsoft engineers took advantage of their experience working on the Doom Windows 95 port to place the code in the spreadsheet program.[12]

Doom was also widely praised in the gaming press. In 1994, it was awarded Game of the Year by both PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World. It also received the Award for Technical Excellence from PC Magazine, and the Best Action Adventure Game award by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

In addition to the thrilling nature of the single-player game, the deathmatch mode was an important factor in the game's popularity. Doom was not the first first-person shooter with a deathmatch mode—MIDI Maze on the Atari ST had one in 1987, using the MIDI ports built into the ST to network up to four machines together. However, Doom was the first game to allow deathmatching over ethernet, and the combination of violence and gore with fighting friends made deathmatching in Doom particularly attractive. Two-player multiplayer was also possible over a phone line by using a modem, or by linking two PCs with a null-modem cable. Due to its widespread distribution, Doom hence became the game that introduced deathmatching to a large audience (and was also the first game to use the term "deathmatch").


The ability to create custom levels and otherwise modify the game, in the form of custom WAD files, turned out to be a particularly popular aspect of Doom. Gaining the first large mod-making community, Doom affected the culture surrounding first-person shooters, and also the industry. Several to-be professional game designers started their careers making Doom WADs as a hobby, among them Tim Willits, who later became the lead designer at id Software.

The first level editors appeared in early 1994, and additional tools have been created that allow most aspects of the game to be edited. Although the majority of WADs contain one or several custom levels mostly in the style of the original game, others implement new monsters and other resources, and heavily alter the Game Play; several popular movies, television series, other video games and other brands from popular culture have been turned into Doom WADs by fans (without authorization), including Aliens, Star Wars, The X-Files, The Simpsons, South Park, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Red Faction, Pokémon and Batman. Some works, like the Theme Doom Patch, combined enemies from several films, such as Aliens, Predator and The Terminator.

Some add-on files were also made which changed the sounds made by the various characters and weapons. Notable ones were samples from Beavis and Butthead and the famous faked orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally....

Around 1994 and 1995, WADs were primarily distributed online over bulletin board systems or sold in collections on compact discs in computer shops, sometimes bundled with editing guide books. FTP servers became the primary method in later years. A few WADs have been released commercially, including the Master Levels for Doom II, which was released in 1995 along with Maximum Doom, a CD containing 1,830 WADs that had been downloaded from the Internet. Several thousands of WADs have been created in total: the idgames FTP archive contains over 13,000 files,[13] and this does not represent the complete output of Doom fans.

Third party programs were also written to handle the loading of various WADs, since the game is a DOS game and all commands had to be entered on the command line to run. A typical launcher would allow the player to select which files to load from a menu, making it much easier to start.

Clones and Related Products

The popularity of Doom led to the development of a sequel, Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994), as well as expansion packs and alternate versions based on the same game engine, including The Ultimate Doom (1995), Final Doom (1996), and Doom 64 (1997). Doom became a "killer app" that all capable consoles and operating systems were expected to have, and versions of Doom have subsequently been released for the following systems: DOS, Microsoft Windows, Amiga, QNX, Irix, NEXTSTEP, Linux, Apple Macintosh, Super NES, Sega 32X, Sony PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, RISC OS, Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Tapwave Zodiac, 3DO, Xbox as a feature of Doom 3: Limited Edition, and Xbox 360 on Xbox Live Arcade. The total number of copies of Doom games sold is unknown, but may be well over 4 million; Doom II alone has earned over $100 million in total sales.

The game engine was licensed to several other companies as well, who released their own games based on it, including Heretic, Hexen, Strife and HacX. There is also a Doom-based game released by a breakfast cereal maker as a product tie-in called Chex Quest, and the United States Marine Corps released Marine Doom, designed to "teach teamwork, coordination and decision-making".

Dozens of new first-person shooter titles appeared following Doom's release, and they were often referred to as "Doom clones" rather than "first-person shooters". Some of these were certainly "clones" — hastily assembled and quickly forgotten — others explored new grounds of the genre and were highly acclaimed. Many of the games closely imitated features in Doom such as the selection of weapons and cheat codes. Doom's principal rivals were Apogee's Rise of the Triad and Looking Glass Studios' System Shock (which, unlike Doom, featured true 3D Game Play). The popularity of Star Wars-themed WADs is rumored to have been the factor that prompted LucasArts to create their first-person shooter Dark Forces.[14]

When, three years later, 3D Realms released Duke Nukem 3D, a tongue-in-cheek science fiction shooter based on Ken Silverman's technologically similar Build engine, id Software had nearly finished Quake, its next-generation game, which mirrored Doom's success for the remainder of the 1990s and significantly reduced interest in its predecessor. The franchise remained in that state until 2000, when Doom 3 was announced. A retelling of the original Doom using entirely new graphics technology, Doom 3 was hyped to provide as large a leap in realism and interactivity as the original Doom, and helped renew interest in the Doom franchise when it was released.

Doom has appeared in several forms in addition to games, including a comic book, four novels by Dafydd Ab Hugh and Brad Linaweaver (loosely based on events and locations in the games), and a film starring Karl Urban and The Rock released in 2005. The game's development and impact on popular culture is also the subject of the book Masters of Doom by David Kushner.


Doom was and remains notorious for its high levels of violence, gore, and satanic imagery, which have generated much controversy from a broad range of groups. Yahoo! Games has it listed as one of the top ten controversial games of all time.[15] It has been criticized numerous times by religious organizations for its diabolic undertones and was dubbed a "mass murder simulator" by critic and Killology Research Group founder David Grossman.[16] Doom prompted fears that the then-emerging virtual reality technology could be used to simulate extremely realistic killing, and in 1994 led to unsuccessful attempts by Washington state senator Phil Talmadge to introduce compulsory licensing of VR use.[citation needed]

The game again sparked controversy throughout a period of school shootings in the United States when it was found that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, were avid players of the game. While planning for the massacre, Harris said that the killing would be "like fucking Doom" and that his shotgun was "straight out of the game".[17] A rumor spread afterwards that Harris had designed Doom levels that looked like the halls of the high school, populated with representations of Harris's classmates and teachers, and that Harris practiced for his role in the shootings by playing these levels over and over. Although Harris did design Doom levels, they were not simulations of Columbine High School.[18]

While Doom and other violent video games have been blamed for nation-wide school shootings, recent research featured by Greater Good Science Center[19] shows that the two are not closely related. Harvard medical school researchers Cheryl Olson and Lawrence Kutner found that violent video games did not correlate to school shootings. The U.S. Secret Service and Department of Education analyzed 37 incidents of school violence and sought to develop a profile of school shooters, they discovered that the most common traits among shooters were that they were male and had histories of depression and attempted suicide. While many of the killers- like the vast majority of young males- did play video games, this study did not find a relationship between game play and school shootings. In fact, only one eighth of the shooters showed any special interest in violent video games, far less than the number of shooters who seemed attracted to books and movies with violent content.

Continued Legacy

Doom is widely regarded as one of the most important titles in gaming history. It was voted the "#1 game of all time" in a poll among over 100 game developers and journalists conducted by GameSpy in July 2001,[20] and PC Gamer proclaimed Doom the most influential game of all time in its ten-year anniversary issue in April 2004, and named it the second best game of all time a year later (number one was Half-Life).

Although the popularity of the Doom games dropped with the release of Duke Nukem 3D (1996) and Quake (1996),[citation needed] the game had still retained a strong fan base that continues to this day by playing competitively and creating WADs (the idgames FTP archive receives a few to a dozen new WADs each week as of 2005[update]), and Doom-related news is still tracked at multiple websites such as Doomworld. Interest in Doom was renewed in 1997, when the source code for the Doom engine was released (it was also placed under the GNU General Public License in 1999). Fans then began porting the game to various operating systems, even to previously unsupported platforms such as the Dreamcast, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, TI calculators, the iPod, the Wii and most recently the T-Mobile G1. As for the PC, there has been additions of new features such as OpenGL rendering and scripting, which allows WADs to alter the Game Play more radically. There are well over 50 different Doom source ports, some of which remain under active development.

Devoted players have spent years creating speedruns for Doom, competing for the quickest completion times and sharing knowledge about routes through the levels and how to exploit bugs in the Doom engine for shortcuts. Achievements include the completion of both Doom and Doom II on the Ultra-Violence difficulty setting in less than 30 minutes each. In addition, a few players have also managed to complete Doom II in a single run on the Nightmare! difficulty setting, on which monsters are more aggressive, launch faster projectiles (or, in the case of the Pinky Demon, simply move faster), and respawn roughly 30 seconds after they have been killed (level designer John Romero characterized the idea of such a run as "[just having to be] impossible"[21]). Movies of most of these runs are available from the COMPET-N website.

Online co-op and deathmatch play still continues on servers listed through services such as Odamex,[22] Skulltag[23] ZDaemon.[24] and Doom Connector.[25]


  1. id Software (1993). "Doom Press Release". http://www.rome.ro/lee_killough/history/doompr3.shtml. Retrieved on April 2 2008.
  2. Entertainment Software Rating Board. "Game ratings". http://www.esrb.org/search_results.asp?key=doom&x=0&y=0&type=game. Retrieved on December 4 2004.
  3. Gamespy. "Top 50 Games of All Time". http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/july01/top501aspe/index4.shtm. Retrieved on April 24 2006.
  4. id Software (1993). "The Doom story (unofficial transcript)". http://www.btinternet.com/~ianohare/Doomstory.htm. Retrieved on February 25 2008.
  5. John Romero (2002). "Doom Marine's Name forum post at Planet Romero". http://rome.ro/smf/index.php/topic,1521.msg31827.html#msg31827. Retrieved on August 23 2008.
  6. Doomworld. "Interview with John Carmack". http://doomworld.com/interviews/int7.shtml. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  7. Hall, Tom (1992). "The Doom Bible". Doomworld (1998). http://5years.doomworld.com/doombible/. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  8. a b Kushner, David (2003). Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 0-375-50524-5.
  9. SPISPOPD = Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles Of Putrid Debris Details here.
  10. Links, screenshots and downloads about Doom alpha versions
  11. Lombardo, Mike. "Bonus movie: Bill Gates "DOOM" video". Reel Splatter. http://www.reelsplatter.com/doommedia.html. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  12. Easter Egg archive - Excel 95
  13. Doomworld. "/idgames database". http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/. Retrieved on September 3 2005.
  14. Turner, Benjamin & Bowen, Kevin (2003). "Bringin' in the DOOM Clones". GameSpy. http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/december03/doom/clones/index2.shtml. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  15. Ben Silverman (2007-09-17). "Controversial Games". Yahoo! Games. http://videogames.yahoo.com/feature/controversial-games/530593. Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  16. Irvine, Reed & Kincaid, Cliff (1999). "Video Games Can Kill". Accuracy In Media. http://www.aim.org/media_monitor/A3327_0_2_0_C/. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  17. 4-20: a Columbine site. "Basement Tapes: quotes and transcripts from Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold's video tapes". http://columbine.free2host.net/quotes.html. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  18. Snopes (2005). "The Harris Levels". http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/doom.asp. Retrieved on November 7 2008.
  19. Playing the Blame Game article from Greater Good magazine
  20. GameSpy (2001). "GameSpy's Top 50 Games of All Time". GameSpy. http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/july01/top50index/. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  21. Hegyi, Adam (1992). "Player profile for Thomas "Panter" Pilger". http://www.doom2.net/~compet-n/index.cgi?action=players&page=panter. Retrieved on November 15 2005.
  22. "ODAMEX". Odamex.net. http://odamex.net/. Retrieved on 2008-10-28.
  23. "Skulltag". Skulltag.com. http://skulltag.com/. Retrieved on 2008-10-28.
  24. "Online Multiplayer Doom - ZDaemon.org". Zdaemon.org. http://zdaemon.org/. Retrieved on 2008-10-28.
  25. "Doom Connector. All sourceports in a single GUI.". CodeImp. http://home.comcast.net/~mrrocket/dcsite_finals/doomconnector.htm. Retrieved on 2008-11-29.

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Heretic is a fantasy first-person shooter video game created by Raven Software, published by id Software, and distributed by GT Interactive in 1994.

Using a modified Doom engine, Heretic was one of the first first-person games to feature inventory manipulation and the ability to look up and down. It also introduced multiple gib objects spawned when a character suffered a death by extreme force or heat. Previously, the character would simply crumple into a heap. The game used randomized ambient sounds and noises, such as evil laughter, chains rattling, distantly ringing bells and water dripping in addition to the background music to further enhance the atmosphere. All music in the game was composed by Kevin Schilder.


Three brothers, known as the Serpent Riders for their monstrous steeds, have used their immense magical powers to turn the seven kings of Parthoris into mindless puppets. The kings, in turn, led their subjects in doing the Serpent Riders' bidding. However, the Sidhe elves are immune to the Serpent Riders' spells and had no allegiance to any of the seven kings; the Serpent Riders thus declared the Sidhe as heretics and launched a campaign of genocide against them. The Sidhe were in possession of seven candles, each tied to a natural power of the world as well as that of one king. In desperation, the Sidhe's elders extinguished these candles, destroying both the kings' armies and weakening the elves' own powers in the process. Taking advantage of the elves' weakened state, the disciples of the Serpent Riders struck against the elves and killed the elders. Afterwards, the Sidhe went into hiding. One however, revealed in the sequel to be named Corvus, sets out in search of D'Sparil, the weakest of the three Serpent Riders and the only one remaining in Parthoris.

The player must first fight through the undead hordes infesting the "City of the Damned", the ruined capital of the Sidhe (its real name is revealed to be Silverspring in Heretic II), and the site where the elders performed their ritual. At its end is the gateway to Hell's Maw, guarded by the Iron Liches. After defeating them, the player must seal the portal and so prevent further infestation. However, the portal can only be sealed from the other side. From there, the player character's only choice is to fight onward, into the enemy's own territory.

Eventually he arrives at D'Sparil's fortress, whereupon after fighting through the Serpent Rider's guards, a final battle with D'Sparil himself commences. D'Sparil is initially mounted on a large serpentine beast, later called a Chaos Serpent in Hexen. Once the beast is killed, D'Sparil fights on foot, summoning disciples to his aid. Once D'Sparil is finally destroyed, all of the creatures under his command perish as well.

A portal opens, which the player steps through to complete the game (referred to as "The World Ripple" in Heretic II). The fortress crumbles into oblivion as the player is transported further away from home. Yet the player's character does not feel victorious, sensing greater dangers to come. The game ends with the image of the Heresiarch, next seen in Hexen, gazing at the player character through a crystal ball.

Expansion Pack

The original edition of Heretic was only available through shareware registration (i.e. mail order) and contains three episodes. A retail edition, distributed by GT Interactive, was titled Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders and features two additional episodes: The Ossuary, which takes the player to the shattered remains of a world conquered by the Serpent Riders many centuries ago, and The Stagnant Demesne, where the player enters D'Sparil's birthplace. A free content patch was downloadable from Raven's website to update the original Heretic to match Shadow of the Serpent Riders.

Game Play

The Game Play of Heretic is heavily derived from Doom. While featuring level-based Game Play with an emphases on finding the proper keys to progress, the weapons are also almost exact functional copies of those from Doom, albeit with minor changes. However Raven did add their own touches to Heretic, the most notable of which are items. In Heretic, the player can pick up many different items to use at their discretion. These items range from health potions to the "morph ovum", which transforms enemies into chickens. Heretic also features an improved engine from that of Doom, sporting the ability to look up and down, as well as fly.

Source Code

In early 1999, the source code of Heretic was published by Raven Software under a license that granted rights to non-commercial use, and was re-released under the GNU General Public License on September 4, 2008.[1] This resulted in ports to Linux and other operating systems, and updates to the Heretic engine to utilize 3D acceleration. The shareware version of a console port for Dreamcast was also released.

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Hexen: Beyond Heretic is a first-person shooter video game developed by Raven Software, published by id Software, and distributed by GT Interactive beginning on March 16, 1996. It is the sequel to 1994's Heretic, and the second game in the Serpent Riders series. The word Hexen is German for "witches".

The game received mostly very positive reviews in computer gaming magazines. There were complaints of the graphics being crude in comparison to the preceding game in the series, Heretic, but vast and well designed levels plus numerous enemies and weapons were seen as advantages.


Following the tale of D'Sparil's defeat in Heretic, Hexen takes place in another realm, Chronos, which is besieged by the second of the Serpent Riders, Korax. Three heroes set out to destroy Korax. The player assumes the role of one such hero.

Game Play

A new series feature introduced in Hexen is the choice of character class. Players may choose to play as a fighter, cleric, or mage. Each character has unique weapons and physical characteristics, lending an additional degree of variety and replayability to the Game Play. The fighter relies mainly on melee attacks and is tougher and faster than the other characters. The cleric uses specialized weapons, some of which have limited range or healing effects. The mage uses long-range weapons, whose reach is counterbalanced by dealing relatively little damage and the fact that the mage is the most fragile of the classes.

Hexen introduces the concept of "hub" levels to the series, wherein the player travels back and forth between central hub levels and connected side levels. This is done in order to solve larger-scale puzzles that require a series of items or switches to be thrown. The player must traverse through a hub in order to reach a boss and advance to the next hub.


Hexen uses a modified version of the Doom engine, which allows jumping, network play with up to 8 players and the choice of three character classes. It also popularized the "hub system" of level progression in the genre of first-person shooter games. Unlike previous games, which had relied purely on MIDI for music, Hexen is also able to play tracks from CDs. The game's own CD contained soundtrack in audio format that was exactly the same as the game's MIDI soundtrack but played through a high quality sound module. However, the most significant improvement was the addition of wall translation, rotation and level scripting.

Engine Modifications

"Polyobjects" are the walls which move within the game. Because the Doom engine uses the binary space partitioning system for rendering, it does not enable moving walls. Hexen's moving walls are actually one-sided lines built somewhere else on the map and rendered at the desired start spot when the level is loaded. This enables a pseudo-moving wall but does not allow moving sectors (such as seeing the tops of moving doors). This often creates problems in sectors which contain more than one node, explaining the relatively limited use of polyobjects.

Whereas Doom, Doom II, and Heretic rely on lines within the maps to perform simple actions, Hexen also allows these actions to be activated via Action Code Script (ACS). These scripts use a syntactic variant of C, thus allowing special sequencing of game actions. Programming features such as randomization, variables, and intermap script activation enable smooth hub Game Play and are responsible for most of the special effects within the game: On-screen messages; random sound effect and monster spawning; sidedef texture changes; versatile control of polyobjects; level initialization for deathmatch; and even complex environment changes such as earthquakes manipulating floor levels and textures.

Source Code

In 1999 the source code of Hexen was released by Raven Software under a license that granted rights to non-commercial use, and was re-released under the GNU General Public License on September 4, 2008.[1] This allowed the game to be ported to different platforms such as Linux and OS/2 (EComStation).

Hexen is compatible with many Doom source ports; Hexen's features are also compatible with Doom WADs made for source ports regardless of what game they are being played on.


Expansion Pack

Deathkings of the Dark Citadel is the official expansion pack that was released for Hexen. It features three more hubs, for a total of 20 new single player levels and a couple of deathmatch levels. Unlike the expansion pack for Heretic, it had to be purchased in retail stores or by mail order. This was unusual at the time, as most non-free expansion packs also included other new or revised Game Play elements. Also, this expansion pack did not initially include nor enable any music. Music could be fully enabled by applying a patch, specially released to address this issue (usually found online under the name "dkpatch").

The names of the expansion hubs are as follows:

  • The Blight
  • The Constable's Gate
  • The Nave

Each of the hubs features new levels, one secret level per hub, and new puzzles based on the quest items from the original game (no new quest artifacts were added). The difficulty of the puzzles is mostly on the same level as in the original game. The overall game difficulty is slightly higher, as is typical for game expansions.

The final level of the expansion, the Dark Citadel itself, is an arena-like level, which features teleporting waves of monsters and three bosses (Fighter, Cleric, and Mage clones).

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