Okay, unlike my lackluster review of Heretic – Hexen (ala Heretic II) is a game that I quite like. ID got the atmosphere spot on in this one – and added a number of cool features. A couple of features that come to mind are: the ability (and requirement) to destroy parts of the scenery (you can’t get more than 5 minutes into this game without having to smash some windows), a really nice inventory system and 3 different characters to choose from.
The characters provide a nice balance – you get to choose between strong and dumb, magically endowed and week or average strength and magic talent. And the choice of character really does heavily influence your game strategy.
One of the things I find interesting about Hexen is that unlike earlier DOOM-like games – it has a very heavy focus on hand to hand combat (especially in the earlier levels) and this forces you to learn how to weave to dodge opponents blows and makes you think more about the battle (indeed – when, on occasion you find yourself behind an opponent who is looking the other way it is great to think ‘Yes! I can take this guy out without getting any damage’). The game also makes good use of interesting inventory items – for example – you can get various vials of poisonous gas to drop in the path of oncoming enemies.
Hexen runs okay under Virtual PC – though the frame rate does drop in some complex areas. You can find out more about Hexen here: http://www.idsoftware.com/games/vintage/hexen/