When Witchaven was released it was based upon the 3D Realms game build engine, and it created excitement as the first Doom game to use the engine since Doom itself. Based upon that success IntraCorp, makers of the fantastic Chronomaster, has brought out a sequel still based upon this engine.
The original Doom engine with all its enhancements is two years old and it is showing its age. Compared to Quake, the next generation game engine and Duke Nukem 3D, 3D Realms’ own Doom clone, Witchaven II is a good game, but it lacks a certain refinement in graphic brilliance.
Many people have explained that the original Doom engine and subsequent efforts, called Doom-clones, such as Witchaven, Witchaven II, and Duke Nukem 3D, were really just two dimensional (2D) games that were tweaked to appear 3D. The engines contain perspective warping and other defects, and lack the ability to look straight up, straight down, and in virtually any direction with graphic clarity as the true 3D game engine Doom does.
Plot: In the first game you, the protagonist, killed a witch. That witch had a sister who is also a witch and now wants to pummel you to hamburger. The plot of Witchaven II is to explore 15 levels of a dungeon that the second witch has devised, and to kill everything living in the dungeon, collect all the artifacts of power, and finally grow strong enough to kill the witch, Cirae-Argoth, in her lair.
Combat: Up font and personal hand-to-hand combat with monsters coming at you from all sides characterizes the war in Wichaven. Other than pike axes, there are no ranged weapons in the game. You cannot frost the baddies from a comfortable distance you have to get knee deep in blood to survive. This difference makes Witchaven II unique, and in this sea of clones differences are refreshing.
RPG features: In the game you collect silver, gold, and experience points, but there does not appear to be any place that you can use these things
Monsters: Imps, ogres, death knights, snake men, and the dual mace warrior are some of the denizens you must defeat to save your town, your family, and all you hold dear. Monster animation is choppy and not as fluid as Witchaven.
Graphics: There are nice lava flows, shaded dark corridors of walls, outdoor locations, curved archways sloped floors, and ceilings, reflective water, stained glass, large open air arenas, spiral staircases, and elaborate rooms all beautifully done with intricate and interesting details, such as nails on bridges suspended with chains.
The graphics are 640x480 SVGA which scroll across smoothly in some cases and jerk violently in others. All this beauty comes at a price. The game definitely has animation and speed problems in all areas including key press delays on slower machines. Some have complained that walls, doors, and animations do not work correctly.
Editor: You can use the build editor and the extensive paper manual based explanation of the editor that comes with the game to create your own levels to exchange with your friends.
Shane Mooney, PC Games, August, 1996, volume 3, Number 8, pg. 58, B- (82%)
Peter Olafson, Computer Gaming World, number, September, 1996, pg. 136-138, 2/5 (40%) weak