Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders

Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders

254 ratings
Running Heretic on modern operating systems
By Bluebeak
By default on Steam Heretic runs in Dosbox. Here's how to run it with proper mouse-look, widescreen support and the Steam overlay.
Heretic run on Id Software's Doom engine. It was released in 1994 for the DOS operating system. Because it was never natively ported to Windows by Raven, the Steam release runs in Dosbox. Which is a DOS emulator.

This is sub par for a lot of reasons. The original Heretic DOS version was fairly slow and cumbersome, and that's doubly the case running it in Dosbox. However, you can download a Doom source port which will allow you to run Heretic in your native resolution and with proper mouselook.

This guide will go over the installation process for running it on zDoom. For a variety of reasons, but the biggest being it runs cleanly on almost every PC and is cross platform. And supports modern conveniances like controller support and mouselook, as well as modifications. It's also really easy to install and run. The installation process for other source ports like Chocolate Doom or gzDoom is very similar regardless so the same steps should apply. If they don't, consult the documentation for that source port.
Downloading zDoom
Go to and select a version of Zdoom for your operating system, either Windows or Mac OSX
Installing zDoom
Now navigate to your Heretic directory. This is commonly located in your
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\ folder. If you installed Steam in a different location, go there instead.

Then open up your Heretic folder and then go to "base". You'll be greeted with this

Extract the contents of the zDoom .zip into this folder. Then double click on "zDoom.exe" the game should start automatically. If you wish to launch Heretic from the Steam client, and use the Steam overlay there's an additional step.
Using the Steam overlay
In your "Base" folder there's a file marked "DOSBOX". Rename this file to "DOSBOXBACKUP"

Now rename your zDoom .exe to "DOSBOX"

Now you can launch Heretic straight from the steam client and use the steam overlay.
To go back to using the DOS executable, remove your zDoom .exe and rename "DOSBOXBACKUP" back to "DOSBOX". Or verify the integrity of the game cache.
Making zDoom resemble vanilla
For some people the enhancements to Zdoom are great. But for others like me you want it to look more like the Heretic you're already used to.

Here's a list of commands that'll have the game run as close to vanilla as possible for any Doom engine game. To use these, right click Heretic in your library, go to properties and click "Set Launch Options". Then copy/paste this into it.

+sv_nofreelook 1 +sv_nojump 1 +sv_nocrouch 1 +cl_maxdecals 0 +cl_capfps 1 +crosshair 0 +compatmode 2 +vid_defwidth 320 +vid_defheight 200 +dimamount 0 +r_drawvoxels 0 +cl_rockettrails 0 +am_colorset 1 +am_showmonsters 0 +am_showsecrets 0 +sv_aircontrol 0 +m_use_mouse 0 +st_oldouch 1 +telezoom 0 +r_stretchsky 0

You don't need to do anything else after that. It should write it to your .ini file so you can remove it afterwards.
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AudioElf Sep 8 @ 6:56am 
You might add that some machines take a few long seconds to launch this. I thought it was bugged at first.
Bluebeak  [author] Aug 25 @ 5:49pm 
You can add some of the commands in at a time, since it saves to the .ini files anway.
Bluebeak  [author] Aug 25 @ 5:49pm 
I don’t think saves from Dosbox work in zDoom
Faabry14 Aug 25 @ 5:38pm 
It works fine, but how do i load my previous game? I cannot find them :/
𒀭𒋾𒊩𒆳 Aug 24 @ 10:44pm 
The whole "Making zDoom resemble vanilla" section doesn't work.

Steam's new command-line/launch-parameter string has a character-limit, and the string is too long to save when entering.
NeneDuendeOwo Aug 10 @ 9:42pm 
MUCHAS GRACIAS, Funcionó a la perfección. Solo tardó un poco mas al iniciar el juego, pero se juega perfecto.
Bluebeak  [author] Aug 1 @ 2:26pm 
Press the + and - keys to adjust the hud
JoBroPro Aug 1 @ 2:21pm 
Works for me mostly, I just don't know why I can't see my health, ammo, or armor.
SONICMILLER Jun 22 @ 11:30pm 
Thanks so much for doing this... i am using GZ Doom but followed your instructions... thing works amazing... I used to play this game as a kid years ago... one of the first games I ever played... never beat it I don't think.... still really good....
MDub Jun 22 @ 9:34pm 
No it is set to WASD and still cannot move, cannot even hit F4 to open options. I have to ALT + F4 to exit game just to get back to menu.