before Geralt of Rivia stormed into the gaming industry…

…and I mean “well before”, like, a decade – there was Corvus the Heretic. And before there was Morrowind under siege of the Blight, there was Parthoris suffering from a mysterious plague. That all was Heretic II by Raven Software, and the year in our world was 1998.

Two parts of a playthrough I chose randomly to showcase the game. Technically – unlike TW or MW – it’s a shooter, not an ARPG, but as I have said multiple times, it’s a shooter with heavy RPG/adventure elements. Which was rather innovative for the nineties… but everything Raven did starting with the original Heretic was innovative back then.

None of these animations are mocapped.

The author of the playthrough switches to ranged weapons a bit too early for my tastes – there is a lot of stuff that Corvus can do with the bladestaff alone, and it isn’t limited to fighting: even polevaulting is possible; the staff gets upgraded over the course of the game yadda yadda yadda; and the melee combat visual implementation is, well, it’s the best there had been in the whole fantasy gaming world before the first Witcher game came out.

And if you look close, you’ll notice the clever magic trick that deals with the problem of “where does he keep all those weapons”: the bows both occupy the same “mundane-physical” spot, and other weapons are restored to their full size from tiny trinkets on Corvus’ utility belt.

Heretic II is one of the few “good old games” that don’t (yet) have a digital distribution deal. Which is a damn shame.


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