The Guardian of Ice is a level found within the Seven Portals, the first hub of Hexen. The is a frozen fortress that contains several important keys and switches, watched over by a host of foul creatures. There are several rooms with ice, which is slippery and sometimes prone to break and create deadly pits.
- First visit
You’ll start in a darkened room. Ahead of you is a hallway with a couple Ettins. There are two sealed doors on the sides of the hall with the message - This path is barred. There is also a window in the back of the darkened room, displaying an Amulet of Warding. Don’t worry about any of this for now. Continue into the northern area that opened up. The Fighter will see his second weapon ahead in harder difficulties. As you enter, the whole floor will descend, forming a staircase. There will be numerous Ettins, with more teleporting in around you. You may want to use Flechettes to help in clearing the crowd, or hang back and use a ranged weapon. Either way, once its cleared, you can pick up Flechettes, Crystal Vials, and an Amulet of Warding. At the far north-end, there is a bronze bullhead switch. Pulling it activates the four pillars - they quickly raise and lower, then stay open. Three of these pillars are crusher traps. One will have an illuminated sword pointing to it - that is the correct exit to Seven Portals.
- Second visit
You return to a completely new cave area. There are Flechettes on the side walkways. The two paths ahead link together and lead to various rooms and passages. Ettins will come out of the northern room into the corridors. There is an optional puzzle/trap at this juncture. The room to the north has a bullhead switch. Pulling it opens a third, middle path back to the starting room. Stairs rise up on either side, leading to 2 more bullhead switches. Pulling both causes a large crowd of Ettins to teleport in, and a small southern alcove to open. A random object will appear in the alcove, and it will be one of the following: a Quartz Flask, Blue Mana, Green Mana, or an Ettin. Whether you do this or not has no effect on the rest of the level.
Turning left in the corridors brings you to a fork. On the right is a shortcut, to the left, a large expanse with items and enemies. The shortcut will take you through a room with wall panels that rapidly fire ice shards as you enter. A Quartz Flask is in the middle - the Crystal Vials at the sides are not really worth the effort. After running straight through, you’ll turn a corner, and a wall will open on your right to unleash an Ettin. This will bring you to the windowed staircase.
Alternatively, you can go through the large open area. Here, there are a couple of enemies - two Wendigos, or an Afrit and Wendigo if you are the Fighter. The first ledge contains Blue Mana. From here, you can jump to another ledge with Crystal Vials. Jump to the high rocky ledge, and you can leap to the island with a Mystic Urn. To the left/north, there will be a small icy ledge with a Torch. This jump is trickier, but it’s doable, even for the Mage. Don’t worry about falling - the drop is not far, and you’ll only take moderate fall damage. In fact, you should fall down once you’ve gotten the items. Walking off the lowest rocky ledge will minimize fall damage. There are several Ettins at the bottom, along with Crystal Vials in the southeast corner. In the north, you can take an elevator (with a Quartz Flask) up to the windowed staircase. Go right to pick up a Quartz Flask. Beyond that is the shortcut with the ice shooters - only go through there if you really want another Quartz Flask, or you need to return to the open expanse.
Turning left after the elevator will bring you onwards to a new elevator. Pull the bullhead switch on the right to go up. You’ll find yourself in the room with the Amulet of Warding, behind the original darkened area. The window will be wide enough to enter this time. As you move forward, a trap is triggered and several Ettins teleport in. Your best bet is to enter the darkened area and attack from there, so you don’t get surrounded. The northeast and northwest corners of the amulet room have Blue Mana, and behind that, opened rooms with an Ettin and Quartz Flask in each. If you have any reason to go back, you can walk up to the southern wall, and the elevator will take you down.
The darkened room has Crystal Vials around its walls. To proceed, go through there and down to the cavern you were in on the first visit. This time, there will be two new pairs of illuminated swords, pointing to ice shield emblems on either side of the staircase. These wall panels will now open - go east/right for the Fire Key, and west/left for the Steel Key.
Entering the eastern corridor for the Fire Key, you’ll fight several Ettins. This will lead you to a room with a central ice pillar. There are Crystal Vials and Blue Mana to replenish you. At the far east end, there is a basalt panel with an empty receptacle. Place the Flame Mask here (just use Jump/B-Button) and you will trigger a script. The walls on either side open to reveal flowing lava and Afrits. The central ice pillar will melt into a puddle, making the Fire Key accessible. Afterwards, the walls seal up, and the puddle re-freezes. Afrits will occasionally respawn in this room.
The Steel Key will be more difficult. The western/lefthand wall panel will lower to take you up. You’ll enter a low-ceilinged frozen cave with Wendigos. The floor will buckle and shift, but there are no pitfalls yet - it goes back to a flat surface for now. Keep in mind that Wendigos will respawn in this area. Two narrow western passages lead to another open icy area, with the Steel Key out of reach. To make it accessible, you’ll need to activate the bullhead switch in the far southeast corner. Once you activate it, the floor will split asunder - pitfalls open, and crushing columns come down. There are two ways of dealing with this. One is to make a dash for the southern/nearby passage to the second area right after pulling the switch. If you’re quick, this can be done effectively even if you’re the Mage. The other option is to stay put until the activity stops, and thread your way through. For the latter case, you can safely walk adjacent to the southern wall until you get close to the southern narrow passage. You’ll turn a tight corner, then come to a short pit to leap over. The jump to the southern passage is easy, and the second room is flat terrain. The Steel key will be available on its podium. As you take it, the floor will buckle and shift. No pitfalls open, but up to 4 crushing pillars come down - 2 on either side of the Steel Key, one between the entrances, and one in the middle of the room. Three alcoves will open, unleashing Ettins and possibly Wendigos. One is almost in front of the Steel key, the other two are to the left/south. They contain Blue Mana and Crystal Vials. To get back, you’ll need to navigate the pitfalls again. This time, I’d recommend going through the northern narrow passage. You can follow a jagged path towards the flashing elevator which is relatively safe. Jump up to the higher section to pass between the pillars. Walking carefully, you’ll come down to a lower ledge. There is now a tiny island between you and the elevator. Make two careful jumps, and you’ve made it.
As you come back down the elevator, there may be a couple of Ettins to defeat. But that is all - with the Fire and Steel keys, your work here is finished. Like before, enter the open pillar with the illuminated sword by it to return to Seven Portals.
- Third visit
That is, if you want to get to the secret level. I suppose you took the first portal to this level and thus appeared in the small dark room. If not, go there. Then proceed right ahead into the small room (the one that leads to the bigger room with the four pillars). On your right and left, the originally barred doors should be opened now (you opened them with the two switches back in Seven Portals). I recommend to go to the room on the right first, as there are Affrits there that could sneak up on you otherwise. Once you've killed them, go to the room on your right and pull the bull-head switch there. That opens the small cavity on the other side of the pit that started to spew fireballs now. Run up the stairs and jump across it. In the small room, you will find another switch, pull it. Through the small opening in the room you’re in, you can now see that a portal appeared in the corridor that goes around that cavity (in the north side of the room). Go through that portal, to a completely new part of the Guardian of Fire.
- Fourth visit
So, having completed the Guardian of Fire, you can go now through the other door that opened here (that is the western one in the room after the dark one where you appeared). This one leads into a corridor where a trap will spring as soon as you walk in, so go carefully. Beyond the trap a twist will take you to a room with a pillar in the middle. On the other side of the pillar is a bull-head switch. Pull it and dispose of the Centaurs this will have released. Beware also that poison darts will start shooting at the switch, so get out quickly. Once you leave you will notice that a portal has open in the trap corridor. It will take you to the Guardian of Steel.
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Notes & Trivia
- In addition to the normal enemy and item spawns, one Ettin can be spawned during the second visit to the south part of the level in the small alcove in a room with 2 stairs. Besides the Ettin, Blue Mana, Green Mana, or a Quartz Flask may also be spawned. The object type to spawn is selected randomly.
|Hexen - Hubs & Levels|
| Hub 1 |
|Seven Portals • Guardian of Ice • Guardian of Fire • Guardian of Steel • Bright Crucible|
| Hub 2 |
|Shadow Wood • Darkmere • Caves of Circe • Wastelands • Hypostyle • Sacred Grove|
| Hub 3 |
| Heresiarch's Seminary • Orchard of Lamentations • Silent Refectory • Wolf Chapel • Dragon Chapel •|
Griffin Chapel • Deathwind Chapel
| Hub 4 |
Castle of Grief
|Castle of Grief • Forsaken Outpost • Gibbet • Effluvium • Dungeons • Desolate Garden|
| Hub 5 |
|Necropolis • Zedek's Tomb • Menelkir's Tomb • Traductus' Tomb • Vivarium|