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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: May 21, 1997
“Goodness reflects the light; and evil, bears the seed of all darkness. These are mirrors of the soul, reflections of the mind. Choose well.”
Realms of the Haunting (ROTH) is a thrilling, challenging, and somewhat disturbing look at the ultimate battle between good and evil. Adam Randall receives a mysterious package and returns to the site of the mysterious death of his father, a clergyman in a remote Cornish country village in England. As he attempts to uncover what happened to his father, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the midst of the ultimate battle between good and evil. In this action/adventure game from Interplay, you assume the role of Adam and try to piece together clues to find out what happened to your father. Be warned, what you find along the way will not be pleasant. Your quest for knowledge inevitably embroils you in this titanic struggle between lightness and darkness, and the power to decide the outcome rests in your hands. The price of not succeeding is far greater than the fear you feel – the collapse of good and the dawning of a new era dominated by darkness and evil.
ROTH combines puzzle-solving and clue-gathering with 3D action in an intense storyline that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. As you move from one level to the next, you will search for more powerful weapons, solve puzzles, and interact with all kinds of objects in order to unravel the mystery before you. Be careful where you step though, because traps and pitfalls abound, as do all sorts of bad guys (i.e., skeletons, warriors, etc.).
There are two difficulty levels for the adventure portion of ROTH, easy and difficult. In the easy mode, the computer helps you out by automatically using an item in your inventory when it is needed. For example, if you have picked up a key along the way and try to open a locked door, the door will open using the correct key, even though it is not in your hands. In the difficult mode, you get no such help and must find the right key and use it in the above situation. For beginners, the easy mode allows you to play without having to learn all of these “tricks.” For more experienced players, it makes a very challenging game even more difficult. There are also four different difficulty levels for the action portion of the game, easy, normal, hard, and very hard. Altering the difficulty changes the damage that weapons do and the amount of hits it takes to drop the bad guys. Either difficulty level can be changed during the game, so that beginning players can make things a little tougher for themselves after they get comfortable with the game.
All of your actions in ROTH are managed using a combination of the keyboard and mouse. Your cursor is an arrow with a small circle near the top and a larger one below it. The top circle is used to indicate when actions can be performed by you on an object or when an enemy creature can be targeted in combat. The bottom circle indicates when the object being pointed at can be investigated or examined, which causes Adam to comment on what it is. If you move your cursor on an object and both circles light up, you have the option of either looking at the object or performing some action on it. The top circle corresponds to the left mouse button while the bottom circle is used by clicking the right mouse button.
You have easy access to any items in your possession, which are divided into different categories for weapons, magic, papers and documents, and other items. Any items that are picked up and placed in your possession can be examined or used at any time. Some items will have to be examined in order to understand their purpose while others must be combined to provide a useful object. In addition, you keep an “inventory” of characters you have met along the way. During the game you can revisit them through this menu and see if there is any more news or information that they can provide. The weapon you are currently using will appear at the bottom and, in the case of weapons that require ammunition, you will see how much you have left. You can also see what object is in your right hand by looking in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, where it is shown as a shadow. A gauge in the bottom left part of the screen indicates your health level.
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