Retro Revival - Realms of the Haunting (2011, GOG.COM)

  

  
It would be an understatement to say that I've waited for this GOG release for quite some time now. Gremlin Interactive's ambitious, innovative and criminally underrated adventure/horror hybrid combines exploration and puzzle-solving with first-person shooter combat and full motion video in ways which feel almost as fresh and unusual in 2011 as they did 15 years ago. RotH may have some similarities with Alone in the Dark as well as the Japanese survival horror genre, but this game's FPS mechanics alone are enough to distinguish it from competition.

One of the best things about Realms of the Haunting is its terrific atmosphere, which is greatly enhanced by exceptional sound design, generous amounts of voice acting and surprisingly decent FMV cutscenes. Despite having seen these particular parts of the game several times before, I got really immersed in the experience while recording this video and was genuinely freaked out by every door which suddenly slammed shut behind the player character.

The game's proprietary graphics engine likewise deserves mentioning. While not being quite state of the art even by 1997 standards, as far as sprite-based pre-Quake engines go it's a pretty robust and versatile system with lots of functions (such as proper inventory management) which were rather uncommon in 3D engines at the time. The shooter elements admittedly feel a bit stiff and rudimentary compared to games like Doom or Duke 3D, but as one part of the game's multi-faceted gameplay the fast-paced combat sequences do a great job of complementing the atmospheric adventure elements.

Buy Realms of the Haunting here:  http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/realms_of_the_haunting
5 Comments
5 Comments
Posted by Egge

  

  
It would be an understatement to say that I've waited for this GOG release for quite some time now. Gremlin Interactive's ambitious, innovative and criminally underrated adventure/horror hybrid combines exploration and puzzle-solving with first-person shooter combat and full motion video in ways which feel almost as fresh and unusual in 2011 as they did 15 years ago. RotH may have some similarities with Alone in the Dark as well as the Japanese survival horror genre, but this game's FPS mechanics alone are enough to distinguish it from competition.

One of the best things about Realms of the Haunting is its terrific atmosphere, which is greatly enhanced by exceptional sound design, generous amounts of voice acting and surprisingly decent FMV cutscenes. Despite having seen these particular parts of the game several times before, I got really immersed in the experience while recording this video and was genuinely freaked out by every door which suddenly slammed shut behind the player character.

The game's proprietary graphics engine likewise deserves mentioning. While not being quite state of the art even by 1997 standards, as far as sprite-based pre-Quake engines go it's a pretty robust and versatile system with lots of functions (such as proper inventory management) which were rather uncommon in 3D engines at the time. The shooter elements admittedly feel a bit stiff and rudimentary compared to games like Doom or Duke 3D, but as one part of the game's multi-faceted gameplay the fast-paced combat sequences do a great job of complementing the atmospheric adventure elements.

Buy Realms of the Haunting here:  http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/realms_of_the_haunting
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Early 3D and bad FMV are two of my ironic favorite visual presentations about games, and I'm cool with first person shooters and adventure games as well. Maybe I'll pick this up sometime, but right now I need to stick to KotOR 2 and, considering how hellishly boring the introductory sequence of that game is, I can't afford any sort of distraction.

Posted by GreggD

I bought this today based on two things: 1, that it was a very highly sought-after game on GOG's user-generated wishlist from the beginning and 2, that Kikoskia did a Let's Play series of it, and it looked really good.

Edited by Egge
@GreggD: Those are two pretty good reasons right there. I remember being pleasantly surprised when Kikoskia chose RoTH for his next LP project, but since at the time I hadn't actually finished the game myself yet I felt I had to refrain from watching his videos to avoid story spoilers etc. Now with this new convenient GOG version on my hard drive I might just get around to finishing this (very long) action adventure...
Posted by GreggD

I watched enough of it to avoid getting stuck early on due to missing items. I don't mind a little bit of story getting spoiled if it helps me finish the game.