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...balls to the walls awesome, that is.
Man, I used to play the PC demo all the time, of this and Doom and Heretic. At the time, it seemed Hexen was very popular, much more than Heretic which most people didn't even know about (though I remember seeing Heretic shown off in some kind of video showcase about computer hardware. I still remember the locations the character was running around).
Nowadays though, with the internet as popular as it is, I can see that Hexen has gone down as a game lost by time, remembered by many of the few that still recall as a game worth forgetting.
Me though, this game was magic. I remember my first time going around the first level as a kid. I loved the dark, gothic feel that even games today utterly fail to capture. Oh, and after the first world, things look a little less gothic and a lot more demonic, and that's something else I don't really get out of today's games. They just don't know how to get that look, with the beyond apocalyptic sky, crimson red with clouds ready to rain blood, obscured by dark medieval satanic architecture that pretty much exists as if solely to fill you with the overwhelming doubt that you could ever survive the hell you have been thrust into.
Is it just my nostalgia, or does Hexen really do a great job with the atmosphere?
...and I don't want any crybabies whining about "pixelation this" and "unrealistic lighting effects that". I don't know how I fail to even notice these issues, but it's certainly not because I'm not totally admiring the way the game looks.
It's fun as hell, too. The N64 version isn't as bad of a port as you might think. It's just that most reviewers hate Hexen to begin with. At first, when you switch between the two, the framerate feels too slow and the controls, of which there are only two options, seems like crap. After a while, though, you adjust to it and it feels like a mostly perfect port.
Deathmatch is pretty fun, if not simple. There's a lot of high-power weapons between the Porkalator and everyone's individual strong weapons, but it's a whole lot of fun, even if you could be playing Goldeneye or something. What I'll never truly understand is why these doomclone FPS games had so much trouble being ported, when games like Super Mario 64, NiGHTS Into Dreams, and Symphony of the Night had little trouble at all. I suppose making them from scratch would've helped, but still, I played Doom in DOS and they still couldn't port it well for the longest time. It's just funny, playing this game alongside Majora's Mask, and seeing the framerate struggle with a game that's rather lacking in polygons and far lower-resolution sprites. :P
All in all, to anybody reading this contemplating getting the N64 game, go for it. It plays great, it's not a bad port, but you WILL need 90 pages on a memory card. The Gamespot reviewer whines about "saving while jumping in dangerous areas".
Well, for starters, you're not supposed to save in dangerous areas, but I personally recommend using the temporary save (you can save a temporary save, that only takes a second or two and goes away if you reset or turn off the game) as you get past those tight spots, and save to your memory card when you're somewhere safe like the main hub. You can't ruin your save on a dangerous bridge like a moron if you take that approach.
It takes a little longer to save to the memory card, so the temporary save is nice, so you don't loose a lot of progress after clearing some checkpoints. Just save to the actual card when you're done playing and in a relatively safe location (i.e. standing right next to a portal, so you know exactly where you left off), and that nit-pick of a problem is non-existant.
I hear the framerate is pretty bad in 4P mode, I haven't tried it yet, but even Mario Kart 64's could've been better, you know? Mario Kart Wii's 4P split-screen is pretty damn sad, all things considered. It should run like silk with today's technology, but it's worse than Mario Kart 64 on single-player. Why? -_-;
I like Hexen.
The N64 is probably the best port (except like jHexen on PC), mainly due to a fairly good control scheme and the use of analog control. But nobody was exaggerating when they told you about the framerate... during any kind of serious action with 4 players, it gets really, really choppy.
It's sort of like watching The Blair Witch Project, in a way.
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