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Realms of the Haunting Review

By:
Johnny_Lee
06/05/04
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE  
PLAYERS 00 
PUBLISHER Interplay 
DEVELOPER  
RELEASE DATE  
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
T Contains Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence

What do these ratings mean?

"Save me son, you're my only hope...."

Just when you thought you had it with those senseless Doom bloodbaths, running around in corridors and wreaking havoc on your enemies in the same old 3D view, Realms of the Haunting will change your mind. Interplay incorporates the Doom engine into an entirely new and refreshing type of gaming. The objective is no longer kill kill kill. You're actually supposed to explore and solve the mysteries of a strange mansion. Although you still engage with creatures(skeletons, robots, weird stuff) using handguns, shotguns, and even fireball wands, Realms falls into a new category. The game is a 3D adventure, not shooter.

The game begins with movie sequence of the main character narrating his story in a taxi cab. His father dies, and he receives a strange package from a stranger. It turns out that you are going to investigate the house that your father was staying at before he passed away. After arriving, the soul of your father reveals that evil things imprison his spirit, and he needs your help to release him. He gives you some clues, but you have to figure out the rest.

All the human characters in the game are portrayed by live actors. Throughout, there are movie sequences done with excellent art and graphics. The makers weren't stingy with these clips either. There are supposedly over two hours worth of footage. Most of the time when you examine items, you'll hear the main character tell you about them. When you reach a point where a girl named Rebecca joins you, she comments (in her erotic accent) about what you choose to look at, sometimes giving you some hints. While listening to anyone talk, subtitles appear on the bottom of the screen, just in case. If that becomes bothersome, you can turn it off. When you check your inventory and browse through the items, clicking on them will give you a detailed description, also by voice. The amount of interaction is unlimited.

Moving around is quite simple. There are the standard keyboard keys. However, the makers also designed a terrific control method using the mouse and the keyboard. Although it takes a little practice, players soon master how to run while rotating their view, which can be quite useful looking around while climbing stairs. I must say that this definitely scores big on the control. I sure wish somebody had come up with this when they made Doom. Exploring is accomplished through an easy point and click system. The interface is simple and intelligent.

Needless to say, the music and graphics are in a league of their own. Both elements blend well into the theme and help create the mood of the game, which is gothic, dark, and mysterious. For the monsters, incredible CG animation was used. The sounds are vivid and realistic. When you see the skeletons run at you, you can actually hear their bones rattle. Each door creaks upon opening. The game is so realistic that you have to back up after opening the doors otherwise you'd be in the way.

Playing this game is like acting in your own movie. The in-depth story, movie scenes, music, and graphics merge wonderfully. Realms of the Haunting definitely stands out among similar type games. Although they sacrificed an automap function, I suppose it was made up for by the realism of actually looking at a map and trying to figure out where you're at. The game was slightly difficult, but the hints in the manual really help you get started (although I'm sure the challenge would be more than welcomed by experienced adventure gamers). Gameplay was slightly hindered by the immense area and story to unravel (how can a good thing turn bad?) because the game became less tight. Also, at times it \did feel like Doom when you didn't discover anything new for a while. Realms definitely combined some old concepts with many innovations to make it a winner. This game is not the perfect game, but I would highly recommend it. You will be amazed and pleased.

A- Revolution report card
  • + Simple, easy controls
  • + Playing is like watching a movie
  • + Superior sound and graphics
  • + Revolutionary design
  • - Prolonged periods of figuring out what to do
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

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