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Hexen

Rated M for Mature

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

GT Interactive

Developer:

Software Creations

Released:

June 1997

ROM Size:

64 megabits

Players:

One to Four Simultaneous

Genre:

3D Action/Shooter

Save:

Controller Pak (90 pages)

Optional:

None

 

 

> Final Rating: 3.6 out of 5.0

Introduction

One might wonder why there's an N64 port of a two-year-old PC game with hardly any improvements. Quite honestly, Hexen would be "doomed" on the Nintendo 64 if it weren't for one thing: multi-player action.

Gameplay & Control

Hexen's gameplay can best be likened to Doom, except it has a lot more emphasis on huge puzzles—finding items in one level to use in another level and pulling switches. Unfortunately, you only can choose two control methods in the game: Control Stick or Control Pad. However, the Control Stick method, which is what most will choose, is sufficient. There are two problems with the control, though: If you choose the Control Stick method, you have to fly with the Control Pad and the Control Stick itself just isn't as slick as in Doom 64.

 

As a one-player game, Hexen doesn't really hold a candle to Doom 64 or Turok. True, the game is more perplexing and difficult, but the sub-par graphics and sloppy control hinder your enjoyment. But as soon as you start to add more players, Hexen becomes one of the most rewarding multi-player games in some time.

 

Anywhere from two to four players can participate in the cooperative or deathmatch modes. The two-player co-op mode is one of the best ever seen. One player can flip a switch while the other can find out what it does. Playing the co-op mode with three or four players is not that fun, though. The extremely limited view makes it difficult to navigate the levels with all the action that is going on.

 

However, the tables are turned in the deathmatch mode. While the two-player deathmatch can be boring, put three or four players into the deathmatch mode and you'll have a blast. Despite what others may say, the quad screen and speed are not bad at all once you get used to them. In fact, compare Hexen's four-player mode to some other games on N64. By the way, my personal favorite level for deathmatch is level 27 because it's quite bright.

Graphics & Sound

Graphically, Hexen is quite unimpressive by N64 standards. Nevertheless, the game still looks quite a bit better than the PC version thanks to its filtered graphics. Oddly enough, though, the one-player mode features a less than perfect frame rate. After the super-smooth Doom 64, it just doesn't compare. Also, although you can see quite far in the one-player mode, the horizon becomes limited in the two-player mode and even more limited in the three- and four-player modes. Aurally, Hexen is quite a bit better than the PC version. The music is more ambient, but it doesn't go overboard like Doom 64. The sound effects are sufficient, and there are even a few voice samples in the game.

Conclusion

Overall, Hexen can be commended for providing the first same-screen deathmatch on the Nintendo 64. As a one-player game, Hexen is most certainly not worth a purchase for 95% of the people out there. But as a multi-player game, you'll definitely want to give this game a look. It should provide you with hours and hours of fun—that is, until GoldenEye 007 and its multi-player mode arrive.

 

Graphics:

2.4

Sound:

3.2

Control:

3.4

Gameplay:

3.9

Lastability

4.0

OVERALL:

3.6

 

DOWN THE ROAD

If you're familiar with my opinions, you probably know how much of a Hexen fan I am. I still contend that it's the most overlooked game on the system. For starters, Hexen has the best cooperative mode on the N64. Even though the viewing distance may be limited and the game is extremely difficult (just use a strategy guide), the mode is better than the one in Duke Nukem 64 because of the better save scheme and because all players can pick up the same important items. Moreover, Hexen has a surprisingly simple, fun, fast, and frantic deathmatch mode. Pick level 27 and you'll have a blast once you become acquainted with the level, control, and items. Hexen may be one of the least impressive games on the system, but it's also one of the most fun, challenging, and value-packed—that is, assuming at least two people are playing. Now that its price continues to fall, you may want to pick it up some day.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: July 8, 1997

Appendix Added: March 9, 1998

 

 

 

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