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
Mainly, the player progresses in the hub by pressing a switch after another, but there also are two puzzles that need special items. The mandatory one connects strongly to the element theme of the hub whereas the other, essential only if entered to the level that holds the puzzle, has a tad more unexpected origin.
The Flame Mask is a grey mask with red eyes, horns, and a long moustache. This item is found on the map Guardian of Fire and is used on the map 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. As with other puzzles, this is a scripted effect, so the item may have different effects in add-on levels.
In Hexen: Deathkings of the Dark Citadel mission pack, the Flame mask is used on two levels in the first hub to complete certain puzzles.
The Heart of D'Sparil is available in level 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. The item appears as a red gem (in the image the heart is on top of the pedestal where it has to be put).
The heart is found again in Constable's Gate in Deathkings of the Dark Citadel.
Hub 2: Shadow Wood
There are no puzzle items in this hub.
Hub 3: Heresiarch's Seminary
The hub includes a single puzzle for which specific items are required. Once the player has entered inside the monastery and quelled the Dark bishop ambush there, he eventually finds a round sculpture 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. When he finds them, he needs to return to the sculpture and place them into the holes to complete the picture. By doing so, the puzzle becomes solved and a doorway leading to three new levels is opened.
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
Hub 4: Castle of Grief
Whereas the previous hubs had switches as central puzzle elements, the castle hub instead features a variation of special items. At times, it may be challenging to discover where they belong. Seven items are used in three unique puzzles, each of which is obligatory to be solved.
In the hub map, there is a great clock in one of the compartments of the castle. Since four gears are missing from its apparatus, the clock has stopped. By a thorough exploration of the castle, the player can find all the gears. Once inserted back to the clockwork, the clock starts ticking again. Subsequently, an entrance to another central level of the hub, Gibbet, is opened. The gears distinguish from each other because they have been created of two different alloys and combinations of them.
- Clock Gear (Bronze And Steel)
- Clock Gear (Bronze)
- Clock Gear (Steel And Bronze)
- Clock Gear (Steel)
There is a portal in a cave behind the Castle of Grief. It takes the player to the Forsaken Outpost, which is occupied by Korax's minions. When the player is battling his way through the level, he eventually comes across two books:
- Daemon Codex
- 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 Rusty 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.
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, he 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
Before the player can confront Korax, he must first "face his own Masters", Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir, in their tombs. Each member of the trio guards a puzzle item that resembles the final weapon of his class. Once the player has defeated a foe, an item gets released for him 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.
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 Spoiler Center - Walkthrough of Hexen (archived 🏛)
|Health||Crystal Vial | Quartz Flask | Mystic Urn|
|Armor||Amulet of Warding | Dragonskin Bracers | Falcon Shield | Mesh Armor | Platinum Helm|
|Artifacts||Banishment Device | Boots of Speed | Chaos Device | Dark Servant | Disc of Repulsion | Dragonskin Bracers | Fléchette | Icon of the Defender | Krater of Might | Mystic Ambit Incant | Mystic Urn | Porkalator | Quartz Flask | Torch | Wings of Wrath|
|Others||Ammo | Keys | Puzzle Artifacts|