This in-your-face combat is novel at first, but after a few hours of play, you'll be praying for a BFG-9000.
Witchaven is yet another me too Doom clone, but this time around, you must use short-range weapons such as swords and battle axes instead of guns and bazookas. This in-your-face combat is novel at first, but after a few hours of play, you'll be praying for a BFG-9000. Combat mostly involves running up to a bad guy (preferably while his back is turned) and pressing the trigger button repeatedly. Long-range attacks take the form of arrows and spells, but they are scarce and should be saved for the really nasty creatures.
On the positive side, Witchaven attempts to inject a few traditional role-playing elements into the standard Doom mix. The addition of spells, equipment damage, and experience points is a good concept, but don't be deceived into believing this is anything more than a pure action game. There is no interaction with NPC's (other than cleaving them in half), and no real plot.
Unlike most clones, Witchaven can be run in a beautiful 640x480 screen mode. Unfortunately, the frame rate at that resolution drops severely when several enemies appear on screen. Unless you have at least a Pentium 150, forget all those pretty pictures on the back of the box. In the standard 320x200 mode, the graphics take on a much more mundane appearance, roughly comparable to Doom's. A major weakness of Witchaven's graphics lies in the fact that many monsters just look plain stupid. While some of the more fierce demons, like the dragon, are portrayed well, the run-of-the-mill goblins and ogres would make Ed Wood proud.
Witchaven is certainly not a bad game, but it's not that great either. The graphics and sound are above average, but aren't enough to distinguish it from the rest of the clones available. If you are looking for a first-person, fantasy-based shooter, I would suggest Hexen from id Software. If you are looking for a first-person adventure/roleplaying game, try Arena-The Elder Scrolls. Both provide a much more enriching experience.