Puzzle item

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A puzzle item is an item in Hexen that must be found and placed at a precise location so as to progress in the level. They are as such similar to the keys, but are lost after use and are not generally used directly on doors. In the world of Hexen, there are 17 different items that are used in seven separate puzzles.

Puzzle items are stored in the inventory along with artifacts.

Hub 1: Seven Portals[edit]

Mainly, the player progresses in the hub by finding switches, but there also are two puzzles that need special items. One item is mandatory and connects with the elemental theme of this hub, while the other item is found and used in the secret level.

Flame Mask[edit]

The Flame Mask is a grey mask with red eyes, horns, and a long moustache. This item is found in Guardian of Fire and is used in Guardian of Ice. When it is placed in the correct spot, it causes lava to appear which melts a block of ice and makes the fire key accessible.

In Deathkings of the Dark Citadel, the Flame Mask is used on two levels in the first hub to complete certain puzzles.

Heart of D'Sparil[edit]

The Heart of D'Sparil in Bright Crucible

The Heart of D'Sparil is a red gem (the image shows it placed in its pedestal) that is found and used in Bright Crucible. Since it is used in a secret level, the reference to D'Sparil, Korax's younger brother and final boss of Heretic, is considered an Easter egg.

In Deathkings, the heart is found in Constable's Gate, where it is the primary objective of the hub.

Hub 2: Shadow Wood[edit]

There are no puzzle items in this hub.

Hub 3: Heresiarch's Seminary[edit]

The hub includes a single puzzle for which specific items are required. Inside the seminary is a round mosaic depicting a solar system. Around the sun, there are six holes carved for the planets. One of the holes has already been filled with a red gemstone. To proceed, the player has to gain access to two of the hub's levels that hold the missing five gemstones. Once the gems are found, they need to be placed in the hole in the mosaic to complete the picture. Doing so solves the puzzle and opens portals to the three remaining levels.

The following items can be revealed in the Silent Refectory:

  • Emerald planet 1
  • Ruby planet
  • Sapphire planet 1

The Orchard of Lamentations hides the two remaining planets.

  • Emerald planet 2
  • Sapphire planet 2

In Deathkings, the emerald and sapphire planets are required to solve another mosaic in the first hub, Blight, and open the portal to Constable's Gate. The hub has four portals, each leading to a different level that holds a single gem. The ruby planet is hidden in the hub itself, and is used to access the secret level Pyre.

Hub 4: Castle of Grief[edit]

Whereas the previous hubs had switches as central puzzle elements, the castle hub instead features a variation of special items. Seven items are used in three unique puzzles, each of which is obligatory to be solved.

The clock[edit]

In the hub map, there is a great clock in one of the compartments of the castle, which is missing four gears. All four gears are found inside the castle. Once the gears have been placed in the clock mechanisms, the clock starts ticking again. Subsequently, an entrance to another central level of the hub, Gibbet, is opened. The gears can be distinguished from each other by their different colors and materials.

  • Clock gear (bronze in steel)
  • Clock gear (bronze)
  • Clock gear (steel in bronze)
  • Clock gear (steel)

The books[edit]

There is a portal in a cave behind the Castle of Grief which takes the player to the Forsaken Outpost, which is occupied by Korax's minions. Hidden in this level are two books, the Daemon Codex and the Liber Oscura.

The latter book is found first, lying on a pedestal in the southern section of the stronghold. When the player crosses the line around the book, new areas are opened on the map, among them an alcove that holds the rusted key. With it, the player can unlock the northern section where the former book is hidden.

The books must be returned to the library in Gibbet. The target shelf differs from the others by having a brown mask attached to its top. By examining the shelf carefully, an imperfect line of books, similar to those found earlier, can be seen to spell K R X. Since Daemon Codex has the letter O in its back and Liber Oscura has the letter A consistently, they need to be placed into the gaps in the line so that it starts to spell K O R A X. When it does, many of the bookshelves lower, one of which reveals yet another puzzle item, Yorick's Skull.

Yorick's statue[edit]

In the east of the center area in Gibbet, there is a pillar hall with some stained glass decorations. A headless statue is standing in the room’s northern end. If the player has solved the book puzzle, they should possess the item that is required. By inserting Yorick's Skull into the statue, the player triggers an earthquake which collapses the floor of the pillar hall. However, the area under an open sky remains normal, providing a route for the player to exit. The water level of the pool in the center area has lowered, uncovering the teleportation device to a new level, Effluvium.

Hub 5: Necropolis[edit]

Before the player can confront Korax, they must first "face their own Masters", Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir, in their tombs. Each member of the trio guards a puzzle item that resembles the final weapon of their class. Once the player has defeated a foe, an item gets released for them to collect:

  • Glaive Seal (guarded by Zedek)
  • Holy Relic (guarded by Traductus)
  • Sigil of the Magus (guarded by Menelkir)

When the items have been gathered, the player must return to the cemetery and position them into their corresponding slots in a board at the tomb of which gate is locked. The action opens the gate and allows the player to enter the epilogue map of the game, Dark Crucible, for the final showdown with Korax.

Data[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • Liber Oscura translates from Latin as "dark book". "Oscura" is the correct spelling of the word in Italian and Spanish, both of which descend from Latin; however, the word is misspelled in Latin, and its correct variant would be "obscura".
    • In addition, the grammatical gender of the adjective "obscura" (feminine) does not agree with the noun "liber" (masculine), which should be "obscurus".
  • Yorick's Skull is a reference to the scene in William Shakespeare's Hamlet where the titular character contemplates mortality while brooding over the skull of a jester named Yorick. In an early beta of Hexen, the puzzle item was originally a human skull to be placed in the statue's hand for it to look at. The most likely reason for the change to the decapitated statue of the release version would be to provide a clearer visual hint towards the puzzle's solution. The PlayStation and Saturn ports of Hexen have kept the original sprites from the beta.

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