Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders


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Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders title screen showing a Tome of Power.

Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders is an expanded version of Heretic released on March 22, 1996, distributed to retail stores by GT Interactive Software. It added two nine-level episodes to the game, The Ossuary and The Stagnant Demesne, as well as two new untitled warp-only levels (E6M1 and E6M2). It also moved the E4M1 warp-only level from the original release to the E6M3 slot. Shadow of the Serpent Riders does not include any new content other than additional levels.


As with The Ultimate Doom, one of the reasons for the release of the expanded version was to distribute the boxed game through retails stores in both the United States and Europe. In another similar move, the expansion was also released as a free downloadable upgrade patch for the registered version of Heretic which would upgrade it to the expanded v1.3. The original version of Heretic with three episodes was subsequently discontinued.

Michael Raymond-Judy, one of the level designers, said in an interview that the reason for the expansion's release was that Raven Software needed something to fill a "project gap" until "Hexen contracts worked out", and that they had "good demand from the public for more material". He also felt that this was exactly what Heretic should have been in its original release - with much more content.[1]

Another similarity to The Ultimate Doom and its episode Thy Flesh Consumed is that the two new episodes added by the Shadow of the Serpent Riders expansion are considered by the players to be much more difficult compared to the original Heretic. A good example of this is the very first level of the expansion, E4M1: Catafalque, where the player must face a maulotaur, not to mention a large number of other monsters.


City of the Damned (Episode 1, sky color: grey)

Hell's Maw (Episode 2, sky color: red)

The Dome of D'Sparil (Episode 3, sky color: blue)

The Ossuary (Episode 4, sky color: grey)

The Stagnant Demesne (Episode 5, sky color: blue)

Fate's Path (Episode 6, sky color: grey)

Note: These three levels, seemingly built for deathmatch, are untitled in the game itself and can only be accessed via the engage## cheat or the -warp command line parameter (they do not appear on the episode select screen). The name of the first map resulted from a suggestion by designer Michael Raymond-Judy in an interview with now-defunct website;[2] whilst the name of the other two maps and the "episode name" were unofficially made up by fans and are widely accepted among the community. E6M3 appears as E4M1 in the original registered version of Heretic, hidden in the same way as the above details for Shadow of the Serpent Riders.


Physical media[edit]

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  1. "Heretic Shadow of the Serpent Riders Insider Info: Behind-the-scenes interview with Michael Raymond-Judy." (archived 🗺). Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  2. "Heretic Shadow of the Serpent Riders Insider Info: Behind-the-scenes interview with Michael Raymond-Judy." (archived 🗺). Retrieved 27 January 2024.