By Egge 4 Comments
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