Written by  :  Jeanne (76593)
Written on  :  Jun 09, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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Help me, son. You’re my only hope!

The Good

So ... You’re in the mood for a game that has it all? Look no farther! Realms of the Haunting has everything to keep hack and slashers, arcade lovers, adventurers, as well as role-players happy.

This spooky thriller is full of surprises. Although played in 1st person perspective, you’ll never get mystified, if you get my drift. It is a fantasy role-playing game, an adventure game and a real-time fighting game all rolled into one. Plus it has a number of arcade-style jumping segments added to the mix. Makes it really interesting.

The original musical score is decidedly mood-invoking and brings about the proper chills and suspense without interfering in any way. The game is full of great sound effects with creaks, moans and groans, screams, the tinkling of water, gunshots exploding as well as appropriate sounds for footsteps etc. Voice acting is excellent and the interactive conversation is mainly “Who, What or Where is” and then you choose from a list.

You have the ability to look at every detail in the beautiful 3D graphic atmosphere. ROTH lets you use both hands while playing! Movement is handled using the keyboard, all the while adjusting your angle of view using your mouse. This may take a little getting used to, but it works very well. A click of your mouse also opens doors and works the adventure portions of the game.

There are enough traditional puzzles sprinkled throughout the game to keep adventure players happy. They are mostly of the item manipulation type, though there are a few spots where the wrong pathway (in both cinema sequences and the actual game) can lead to deathtraps. Thank goodness for the “quick load/save” feature! Getting through some of those traps the first time is almost impossible.

You can carry an unlimited number of inventory objects, and they are stored a bit differently than in most other games I’ve played. As something is picked up, it is placed in the appropriate section – under “pack”, “weapons” or “magic.” Although this can be confusing at first, you soon learn where each one belongs. There are over 150 different objects to find.

By far the best thing about ROTH is its story, which is strong and fluid from beginning to end. It is the age-old saga of good versus evil, starting out in modern times and eventually delving into a supernatural, medieval world full dark knights and surreal monsters. When an ugly skeleton lunges at you, this is horror and you feel that it is really happening to you. You can’t help but hit back! You’ll be using swords, handguns, shotguns and magical staffs and wands to combat your foes. Thrilling, chilling, spooky and haunting, it is a game I will never forget.

The Bad

There is no “auto-map” feature to show your progress. This would have helped especially in the Tower and other maze-like segments. Luckily there are parchments to be found which contain maps but those where not quite enough for me since there is quite a bit of traveling back and forth.

One of most aggravatingly difficult areas of the game involved finding 16 brains to insert into a weird machine. Finding the brains was only hard because of the intense graphics amidst an unmappable maze. This portion seemed added in to lengthen game play and could have been eliminated altogether.

The Bottom Line

Realms of the Haunting is one of my Top 10 Favorites of all time. It is not a short game. In fact, it will probably take you several weeks to finish. I loved it and would play it again in a heartbeat!

The graphics are superb with every location different and impeccably detailed. The music enhances the feeling of suspense and urgency (and eeriness). The imaginative story keeps you interested to the end. The successful blend of the different genres adds to the appeal and the interface is easy to master. If you don’t play ROTH, you will miss a truly wonderful gaming experience.