Title Heretic II Game Type 3D adventure Compatibility Amigas with PPC accelerator, at least 64 Mb RAM, AGA or gfx card, 300 Mb Hard disk space, WarpOS and Warp3D (latter for 3D cards) Company Hyperion Software Submission Seppo Typpö (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review "Gather around" said the Reviewer. "I have played this new Amiga game from Hyperion Software, Heretic II, and here are my experiences after a couple of weeks of solid play". The restless mob of Amiga owners started to approach the man who appeared from the shadows holding the shiny new cardboard box which had the logos of Hyperion, Raven, Activision and Titan Computers carved on it. The Reviewer looked at the curious faces and opened his mouth. "Ever since Phase 5 released its PPC accelerators and the accompanying 3D gfx cards for the Amiga computers, people have been waiting for decent PPC/3D games to appear. Sadly, these new generation wonders have been limited to few fine examples (like PPC versions of Quake and Descent). Hyperion Software is about to change the situation though, with an impressive lineup of conversions from well known PC classics. Their first release is Heretic II, a 3D adventure with a difference. Coming in an impressive two CDROMs and with a printed manual, Heretic II is a huge game. Installation is pretty straightforward - standard Amiga HD Installer offers the usual options from novice to expert. Heretic II needs at least 300 Mb of hard disk space plus additional megabytes for save games (the manual recommends at least 400 Mb of hard disk space). Another record breaking feature is the memory consumption. Heretic II needs at least 64 Mb Fast RAM - never in the history of Amiga gaming has so many bytes been needed to run a single game - and this is only the absolute minimum. The more RAM your machine has the better Heretic II runs - for example, you'll be able to use bigger memory caches for textures and sound, reducing the hard disk accesses notably - which then results in a faster game." "ENOUGH!", the Amiga owners cry. "OK, so we need a MONSTER Amiga to run the game - but is it worth investing into PPC card, RAM and bigger hard disk just to play this game?" "I'll get into this later", said the Reviewer, "after a brief game description." "Heretic II is a 3D adventure in the Tomb Raider mold. This means that unlike in for example Quake, the player character is viewed from a third person perspective, straight behind the character. The player is able to freely change the camera view, a feature which is effectively used for checking the surroundings, aiming the weapons and navigating your character through the levels . While awkward at the beginning, the system works surprisingly well once the player gets used to it (especially with carefully defined mouse and keyboard controls). There's very little to say about the plot of the adventure without spoiling the surprises, so I'll keep it brief. The intro movie nicely unfolds the history behind current events, and the actual game starts when Corvus, the main character, returns from a long trip to his home village only to find out that his race has fallen into the hands of a mysterious plague. The reasons for this is unfolded as Corvus (aided by the player) starts to investigate things further. The plot leads Corvus into several interesting locations and introduces him to the other races, some of them are hostile while some of them are in need of his help. Interestingly, each race has their own characteristics when it comes to battle and other activities. The manual gives nice background stories about each race and also offers some helpful hints on how to deal with them. Although most of the non-player characters in the game attack Corvus without a second thought there are also helpful characters which aid him on his quest. Corvus also has receives guidance in the form of Tome of Power, a kind of powerful spirit which sometimes offers useful advice and other valuable help." "Never mind the plot!" the angry Amiga arcade players shouts. "Is there any action in the game?" "Corvus is not totally helpless against the minions of plague. Several offensive and defensive weapons can be found during his travels. There are short and long range weapons, some of which are more effective against certain enemies than others. It is up to the player to choose the correct weapon against the correct enemy but it is not really critical to find exactly the right one - each weapon offers decent protection so the player is never left in a situation where he has a totally inappropriate weapon in his (or her) hands. I am not going to go through all the weapons, only my favourite offensive and defensive ones. The Meteor Swarm is a magical defensive weapon which, when used, creates a set of meteorites which circle around the player. When close to enemies, these rocks act like "fire and forget" homing missiles, independently picking their own targets and flying into them, causing notable damage. The Durhnwood Staff is to Corvus what the Light Sabre is to Jedi Knights in Star Wars. While it can be uppgraded, even in its basic version, it is a very powerful weapon when in capable hands. There are several moves which can be executed, all capable of dismembering and killing the enemies in a gory fashion. When facing multiple enemies, often it is easiest (and most satisfying) just to choose the Staff and engage in mortal combat with your foes, chopping at heads and arms, bathing in showers of blood and flying guts, ultimately experiencing a brutal victory (or defeat). Even if you're normally a peace-loving person (like I am) it is very easy to get addicted to this bloodfest." "How does it look or sound?" asks the PC owner who had suddenly but not surprisingly appeared into scene. "Surely they had to make sacrifices when converting this allmighty PC game to the humble Amiga!" "Strong visuals play an important part in Heretic II. The modified Quake II engine allows exceptional detail in both level and character graphics and thanks to an excellent conversion, both are present in the Amiga version too. The flexible character models allow dismembering of individual body parts. Each location is filled with all kinds of detailed objects, most of which can be destroyed if the player is in a mood for a little demolition. Hyperion managed to keep the speed up too, with adequately fast frame rates even on slower PPC Amigas (like my 160 MHz 603e equipped A1200). AGA is fine for some LoRes action while a 3D graphics card keeps the game playable on higher resolutions like 640x480 or 800x600. The audio side contains decent sound effects (with lots of humorous speech), excellent and atmospheric CD music and good voice-acting in the in-game movies. Like the graphics, the sound department oozes professional quality which takes the game experience into new, higher levels." While the disgruntled PC owner skulks away, shaking his head in disbelief, a long time Amiga player comes forward and says: "Well, I've seen many Amiga games which look and sound fabby but play poorly. Where's the gameplay, eh?" "Great graphics and sound help little if the gameplay is poor - luckily Heretic II offers a suitable challenge with logical puzzles and well balanced difficulty settings. The game levels are generally extremely well designed - my only criticism is some levels need the jump accuracy of a 2D platform game - the third person perspective helps a bit but sometimes it is all too easy to die from a misjugded jump (a perfect example is the swamp level early in the game). This can quickly lead to frustration as the player has to know the jump points and distances a character covers while jumping, extremely well. Luckily, there's only a few locations which suffer from this annoying feature. To me however, the best part of Heretic II is that it feels more like an adventure game than a pure arcade blast'em'all. Unlike for example Quake, this game actually has a good story to tell. Like in Malice (a Quake Total Conversion), ingame movies (played using the game engine) are put to good use, popping up from time to time to push the story onwards. The game is full of nice touches - leave tha main character alone for a short time and he might start killing flies or scratching himself in suspicious -ahem- places. The detailed scenery contains little hints when observed closely. Each beast has a recognisable voice which allow the player to identify incoming foes even before actually seeing them. To be able to return to levels previously played is quite a unique feature too, allowing for puzzles which extend over multiple game levels. Great ingame movies, funny and interesting non-player characters...network game options...the list is almost endless..." The Reviewer shuts his mouth, with his eyes staring far away into the horizon. After a period which felt like an eternity to the Amiga owners gathered around him, he looks back to the crowd and starts talking again. "This review is approaching its end and I'll return to the earlier question - is it worth the trouble (and money) to uppgrade your Amiga to PPC just to be able to play this game? Heretic II is one of those rare games that instantly drags the player into an amazing adventure in a wonderfully detailed fantasy world, keeping him (or her) occupied there for some time, feeding the imagination and curiosity before returning him (or her) back to the real world. It is one of those games that you'll want to play more and more, while fearing it will end much too soon. And when it ends, you'll feel both joy and sadness, and hope to be able to experience a similar game soon. It is one of those games which will get better when your Amiga gets better and each uppgrade round sees you returning to it only just to see how much smarter it looks and runs. So I guess, the choice is yours and only yours, my friends. I remember uppgrading my A500 with a half Mb memory expansion just to be able to play Dungeon Master and other fine games which needed this (then awfully expensive) uppgrade and I have never regretted that purchase. I dare say uppgrading to the PPC is a similar bold step to take. And if there ever was a reason to make this step, it is Heretic II." The Reviewer shuts his mouth again - this time for good. He turns around and disappears into the shadows, while the remaining Amiga crowd slowly returns back to debating what direction the Amiga should take, when Putty Squad will finally be released and what to do with those new household pests, the UAE users... EPILOGUE If you find Heretic II interesting, you might also want to check out: HUNTER by Paul Holmes/Activision. Long before Tomb Raider was even a glimmer in Core Design's eye, Amiga owners were playing this third-person-perspective 3D action adventure with a difference. Bit hard to find these days, but definitely worth the hunt. MALICE for QUAKE. This is imho the main reason for buying and playing Quake. Like Heretic II, it combines explosive arcade action to a strong and humorous story. Another reason to buy a PPC accelerator for your Amiga as it really requires the PPC version of Quake to be playable.