Genre: Action, Adventure
Gameplay: Puzzle elements, Survival horror
Published by: Interplay Entertainment Corp.
Developed by: Gremlin Interactive Limited
Attempts to create a kind of "symbiosis" of the two game genres have been made almost since the advent of computer games as such. Unfortunately, they very rarely ended successfully: even if the “brainchild” turned out to be good, the predominance of one of the genres chosen for crossing was too bright in it, and only “separate elements” remained from the other. It is difficult to create a real “hybrid”, a game that would find that very “golden mean” and by this alone would say something new with its appearance, and such games can be counted on the fingers. Realms of Haunting is one of them: it is a brilliant combination of first-person action and a quest “with elements” of live video, and such seemingly incompatible genres complement each other amazingly well and organically, creating a sense of integrity of what is happening.
The game has a very powerful plot, mysterious, with many surprises and branches, and, of course, it is not worth retelling it completely, so we will restrict ourselves to brief information. So, you play as Adam Randall, the son of a pastor whose father died under mysterious circumstances. And then one day, one day, not at all perfect, a mysterious old man in a black priest's cassock appears on the threshold of Adam's house and tells Adam that a mysterious old mansion became the place of his father's death, and also that before his death, his father asked me to give him this box ... Of course , a brave young man cannot but understand this matter to the end and goes to the same mansion to conduct his own investigation. If only he knew what was waiting for him...
Doom + 7th Guest – is it possible? After you see this game, it becomes clear - yes. A paradox, unthinkable, but a fact. In fact, what would you do, for example, if you find yourself in a huge mysterious castle stuffed with various monsters and things? Monsters would be killed, and things would be studied - isn't it logical? So, here you will be given the opportunity to do both.
The game has two "modes". In the “action mode”, you destroy various sprite (but so beautiful!) monsters with a weapon in your hands, and the whole action is strikingly reminiscent of the graphically improved Doom 2: it’s still 2.5D, albeit at the limit available for it perfection. Monsters, by the way, are really not quite ordinary - terrible demons with axes, knights, skeletons, bats ... In the "quest mode" you can inspect the surrounding objects, replenishing your inventory, talk with NPCs (they also found a place here), solve just a lot all sorts of "riddles", as well as turn 360 degrees, look up and down, jump and squat.
The plot here - after all, almost the main component. Most of it is clarified by the excellent quality of the production and the beauty of numerous videos with live actors. Carefully looking through them and moving further through the mysterious locations, collecting more and more new information, you will gradually get answers to the questions that arose at the beginning of the game (“What does it all mean?” And others) and find out if your guest was really a priest and the truth whether the fact that in the modern world there is no longer a place for magic and conspiracies to destroy everything that exists.
The locations of the game are not only as diverse as the monsters, but even surpass them. Even each room of the mansion is made in a very special style. But "house with monsters" is just the beginning: get ready for the fact that the game is VERY long. On the way to unraveling the mystery, you have to visit many other places - from underground caves under the house to ... parallel worlds. And all this is done at least unconventionally.
Four discs is a lot. They fit the whole world, capacious and balanced, but living by its own laws, which you have to get used to. And if in relation to the complexity and versatility of the “mysteries” and the abundance of side storylines, you can’t get used to it (because this is not new for quest veterans), then the battles will certainly seem unusual to many. The artificial intelligence of your opponents is not particularly high, and many of them are not particularly strong (although there are those who are objectively stronger than you, at least in close combat), but their main advantage is in a huge number. So, despite the non-triviality of the puzzles, do not forget to think over the tactics of combat with ugly creatures - otherwise there will be no one to solve the puzzles: here, if you haven’t forgotten, there is a full combination of genres ...
To be honest, I don't really want to talk about the schedule. In my opinion, it is close to ideal for this game. The polygons and textures of the interiors look just great, the enemies, although sprites, are also at least not repulsive, and the 3D video with live actors is generally beyond praise. But the graphics as an element of the atmosphere fade into the background compared to the excellent and very suitable voice acting and the already mentioned clips. Together, all this creates the feeling of an almost interactive horror film, moreover, of good quality, in the best traditions of the genre. Someone once compared the game with Killing Time, which was released a little earlier, and said that "it's scarier here." Without arguing about the correctness and generally admissibility of such a comparison, one can, however, unambiguously note: yes, “it’s worse here.”
There will be no recommendations this time: our today's "guest" is too unusual. Fans of only actions or only quests are advised to refrain: both skills are needed. But for those who want to get a decent dose of horror, coupled with a very unusual and addictive gameplay and touch the undeservedly forgotten masterpiece, the game is just right. For indeed - a masterpiece: it is simply impossible to repeat this.