Realms of the Haunting

aka: Realms of the Haunting: The Battleground between Ultimate Good and Evil
DOS Specs [ all ]
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(prices updated 9/24 9:16 PM )

Description official descriptions

Realms of the Haunting is a combination of first-person shooter and three-dimensional adventure game with quite a bit of live-action Full Motion Video thrown in to boot. Navigation through the game world is done through a FPS interface very similar to Doom; however there's also a free-floating cursor controlled by the mouse which you can use to interact with the various objects around you. There's also an inventory system and quite a few object related puzzles. The game has standard Doom-ish combat against a variety of monsters, however the combat is placed at intervals rather than throughout the game, and the emphasis is more on exploration and atmosphere.

The game's plot starts out as a typical haunted house story but soon mutates into an end-of-the-world tale combining New Age pseudo-philosophy and biblical Revelations. You take the part of Adam Randall, a pastor's son who is sent to investigate a haunted mansion by a mysterious priest who claims it's linked to your father's death. Once you enter the mansion you soon learn that not only is it infested with demons and evil spirits, but that the mansion itself is built over an old Satanic temple and the priest who sent you there is in fact a five-hundred year old French sorcerer trying to bring about the end of the world. You are soon joined by a helpful young psychic and aided by the ghost of a defeated knight. You'll also start a grudge with an ex-demon king as well as be chased around by the Antichrist-in-training.

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Credits (DOS version)

109 People (101 developers, 8 thanks) · View all

Producer
Director of Compatibility
Compatibility Technician
Marketing Manager
Traffic Manager
Manual Graphic Design
Director of QA
Assist. Director of QA
QA IS Technicians
Lead Tester
Testers
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 31 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 52 ratings with 3 reviews)

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.

DOS · by Jeanne (75302) · 2005

Shivers with a shotgun

The Good
This game does a great job with blending genres. It plays like a first person shooter, but also enters the adventure realm, blending survival horror with some devilish puzzles. The inclusion of difficulty settings allows the player to enter at the novice gamer's or expert gamer's level. Most puzzles are logical and most enemies are challenging. Also, although this game uses FMV, it has converation options so it remains interactive.

The Bad
After the third maze I encountered, I was sure that the designers were just adding hours to the length of gameplay. Graphics are dated, although it is still scary to have a pixelated skeleton jump at you. Acting in the FMV starts off good, but by the end deterioriates. (Note to Villains: Resist the urge to scream "No!" when you are defeated.) Finally, maps and letters are normally useful, but are far too small (and numerous) to be useful.

The Bottom Line
This game begins as a first person shooter in a haunted house, but then you realize that the house is just a portal to other realms and the struggle is much larger than a few skeletons. By the time, you unravel the cosmic conspiracy, and travel from earth to heaven to hell, you'll realize that the developers really had a grand idea. Unfortunately, repetitous gameplay and poor acting weaken a pretty good storyline. Great for the budget gamer and it would be wonderful to see an updated version for today's machines.

DOS · by Terrence Bosky (5375) · 2000

A brilliant game that nobody ever heard of

The Good

  • Great blend of genres
  • Interesting story and characters
  • FMV quality
  • Really scary!
  • Great exploration game
  • Great ambiance


**The Bad**
  • Poorer FMV quality near the end
  • Limited combat
  • Poor AI
  • Grind puzzles
  • MIDI music


**The Bottom Line**
I had never really heard of this game, until I stumbled upon it here on MobyGames. So it was quite a surprise to find out how good this game is. It's a mixture of various genres, but blends well into a nice coherent package. The game plays in first person in a 3D world and in that regard can be compared to Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss or the Tex Murphy series. But it also features first person shooter combat which adds a hint of DOOM. The story is told through interactive movies with real actors in Full Motion Video (FMV). The first shock was that the FMV sequences are actually quite good! It's not often that I'm not terribly annoyed with the acting in games. Although I must say that near the end of the game the quality of the FMVs notably decreases, which is a shame. The story is quite interesting. It's a bit "out there", but it's neatly tied into the game and worked out in quite a deep level of detail. In the game you can have conversations with your female side-kick about pretty much any person, item, concept or location of importance in the game. This gives the player a lot of information about everything. There are also many diaries to be found which detail the worlds even further. The player starts out going to an old mansion after the death of the protagonist's father. The mansion can be explored at will and is the first portal through various worlds. While the game is mostly "DOOM"-style small corridors, there are no loading screens. Almost the entire game-world is connected. So at any time the player can backtrack all the way back to the starting area. And quite often he'll have to. The only times the game play is interrupted is by FMV sequences and the odd "Please insert disc 4" message. The main game play mechanic in this game is exploration. The levels can be quite a maze and often a lot of items have to be found. There's no "auto-map", but it's possible to find a hand drawn map of each area. These maps are a real life save because the areas are rather maze-like and huge! The player can not look at the map while walking however, so some navigational skills and a good memory come highly recommended. There are various kinds of puzzles in the game varying from finding the right key for the right lock to pushing buttons and more logic-skill puzzles you'd expect to find in The 7th Guest. All in all they're a lot of fun, but some require a bit too much exploration to find arbitrary items. The most important example being a machine which requires 16 brains which are spread out through a maze of windy passages with hardly any change in textures and a lot of similar rooms. The combat can be a bit dull at times. This is mainly due to the poor AI. Monsters will almost always spawn near you and either walk towards you in straight line or shoot projectiles. In the beginning of the game you only have a pistol and later shotgun at your disposal, since ammo is rather precious this makes the game a real thriller. You really want to make every shot count or else you might have to fight the next monster in melee which usually isn't very good for your health. After a while you get various magical weapons which are powerful, but need time to reload which means you'll be running around a lot trying to dodge monsters. That is until you have enough magical weapons and one is always fully charged. The graphics are good but not amazing. There are some nice lighting effects, breakable windows, mirrors and monsters that go up in flames when you kill them. There are some graphical bugs from time to time particularly in bigger rooms or long hallways when sometimes walls are drawn at an incorrect angle. There are some 3D objects in the game such as chairs, beds, cupboards etc. But all items and enemies are sprites. Most of them are drawn from six or eight angles so it's not too noticeable. The music fits nicely, but I think it's a pity that it's all MIDI. Some CD redbook audio could have greatly enhanced the ambiance even further. The sound effects in the game are great. I can recommend this game to anyone who likes hybrid genres that combine both action and adventure elements. And even if you like the one and not the other, you can set the difficulty for action and adventure separately to create the game of your dreams.

DOS · by vedder (68275) · 2010

Trivia

3D Engine

Realms of the Haunting actually uses a modified version of the 3D engine featured in Normality, another game by Gremlin Interactive. Some interesting lighting effects were added, as well as a combat element (since Normality was a pure adventure game).

Actors

David Learner (Belial), a relatively popular actor already before this game was released, still acted afterwards, performing many theatrical roles. Emma Powell (Rebecca) acted in a couple of movies and plays, and currently works as a voice-over artist. For David Tuomi (Adam) this seems to have been his only acting job.

Controls

Although the later US release of Realms of the Haunting allowed the player to rebind some of the controls, the original UK release had no such facility. Fortunately, components of the US release can be utilised so as to allow the UK version to benefit from this feature. All the details and necessary files can be obtained here.

Information also contributed by Jaromir Krol and Shadowcat.

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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Alan Chan.

Windows added by Picard. Linux added by Sciere. Macintosh added by lights out party.

Additional contributors: Jaromir Krol, Jeanne, Alaka, formercontrib, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger.

Game added June 3rd, 2000. Last modified September 13th, 2023.