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Video Game / Realms of the Haunting

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Realms of the Haunting is a British adventure game, played from the first-person perspective, released in 1997 by Gremlin Interactive. The 3D engine used in this game was borrowed from Gremlin's own Normality. The game combines point-and-click adventure game elements with first-person shooter action and exploration.

Adam Randall ventures to a haunted house in order to investigate the mysterious circumstances around his father's death. As he enters, however, the doors lock behind him and he is forced to journey throughout the entire house while looking for answers as well as a means of escaping it. Along the way he meets up with the psychic Rebecca Trevisard who provides Adam with guidance as they work together in trying to escape. Adam soon discovers the house contains portals to several different universes, and that he is the Chosen One who must prevent the final apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil.

The game has over 40 hours of content and includes many different universes to travel, and has a plot which involves multiple sides fighting for their own causes. The beginning gives the idea of Adam being against demonic forces, but later on, the player finds himself caught in a much deeper plot between different forces, where demons play only one role.

The original British version of the game (which lacks selectable difficulty) is available on and Steam.

This game contains examples of:

  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Some keys are placed in inconspicuous locations and thus quite easy to miss, such as the Outhouse Key in a small basin in one of the courtyards, or the Belltower key hidden in Florentine's journal. Also, and this is rather due to technical shortcomings, it's advisable to look at wooden boxes from all angles, lest you miss any valuable ammunition.
  • Always Night: As long as you're in Heled anyway. Usually in combination with Dramatic Thunder. The Tower qualifies as well.
  • Animal Theme Naming:
    • Hawk, the captive angel that you have to free.
    • Gaul, which is the German expression for donkey or, in a more derogatory sense, an old, incapable horse. Notice how in one of the cutscenes Gaul sort of limps, which could be a reference to him being the vessel for the Power of Satan, should the seventh seal be broken. On the other hand, the name Gaul could also refer to the person from the Roman-era region; there's another entity in the game called the Ire, after all.
  • Another Dimension: There are four realms: Heled, Raquia, Arqua and Sheol, which are interconnected by the Tower.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Temple of the Morning Star.
  • As the Good Book Says...: There are several instances where biblical quotes are implemented in the game:
    • In the Mausoleum there is a wooden door bearing a passage from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians 11:14f (King James translation): "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness."
    • In the ominously greenish room where Adam sits on the throne and receives the marks, there are two passages from the King James version of the Bible, written on the wall: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6) and "I will also send wild beasts amongst you." (Leviticus 26:22).
    • While wandering around the Tower, Adam will frequently hear the voices of souls devoured by the Ire, one of them reciting a passage from the Book of Revelation 6:12: "And the moon shall turn as blood and the sun as sackcloth, in the last days."
  • Bad Moon Rising: During one of the cutscenes when Adam and Rebecca first access the courtyard with the hanging skeletons, a red moon can be seen, potentially a reference to a passage from the Book of Revelation that talks about the opening of the sixth seal: "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood."
  • Big Bad: Claude Florentine turns out to be the main antagonist behind most of the happenings in the game.
    • Big Bad Duumvirate: Belial is also running around, and while he's a rival/enemy of Florentine, he still has the same goal of bringing about the Apocalypse.
    • Greater-Scope Villain: The evil energy known to humans as "Satan" is the ultimate focus of the game's events. Both Florentine and Belial are trying to trigger the Apocalypse by incarnating Satan in a physical form. Satan himself never makes an appearance, and is depicted in the game as such an overwhelming force that if he were to appear, everyone would have already lost.
  • Bittersweet Ending/Downer Ending: The good ending turns into this. Adam succeeds in stopping the Apocalypse and even frees the trapped soul of his father... and gets put into a mental asylum for all his trouble. The ending is also ambiguous enough that it can be interpreted that Adam is just crazy and hallucinated the whole thing (although that's hardly the only possible interpretation).
  • Bizarrchitecture: In order to obtain a magnifying glass and a chalice necessary to solve the riddle in Arqua, Adam and Rebecca have to make their way through a room whose wondrous staircase design seems to have been inspired by M. C. Escher's lithograph "Relativity".
    • The house itself qualifies. Somehow the sarcophagus in the study has a short ladder leading down to a passageway over a river of clouds which is roughly where the house entrance should be. Which might well intersect the Mausoleum behind the bookcase but somehow doesn't.
  • Bookcase Passage: There's the secret passage leading to the Mausoleum, hidden behind a bookcase in the Study.
  • Book Safe: Florentine likes to hide plot-relevant keys in his journals, making it a vital aspect for the player to actually bother reading/inspecting them.
  • Boom Stick: Most of the magical weapons Adam finds qualify for this trope.
  • Captain Obvious: When the player selects certain things for Adam to look at, he'll say what they are out loud. One of the more amusing ones happens right after a cutscene where Adam is seen looking at a clothed skeleton that's among many others.
    Adam: Bone. Looks human.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The seven seals, whose breaking will plunge the world into eternal darkness, as envisioned by Florentine.
  • Cutscene Boss: The first time you confront Belial.
    • The final confrontation with Florentine and Gaul is all resolved in a cutscene, albeit a particularly lengthy one that suitably wraps up the game.
  • Dead Man's Hand: Partially. Adam and Rebecca find an Ace of Spades (which in popular myth is referred to as the "death card"), left by Gaul at the main entrance of the house, on which is written "Adam, now it begins."
  • Difficulty Levels: You can adjust the difficulty on a number of counts.
  • Disney Villain Death: Claude Florentine falls victim to this after Aelf throws a sword into his chest.
    • Gaul gets punched into a pit by Hawk.
  • Doppelgänger: Inside the Halls of Doppelgangis, the demon of insight and personality, Adam happens upon a copy of himself, seated on a throne and stating that "Goodness reflects the light, and evil bears the seed of all darkness. Choose well."
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Belial
  • Evil Sorcerer: Claude Florentine who has a Deal with the Devil.
  • Expy: The Eyre is essentially Machin Shin from The Wheel of Time, a vague, ominous force of evil that roams the waygates between worlds and consumes unwary travellers.
  • Fetch Quest: Collecting sixteen brains in one of the labyrinthine stages of Sheol.
  • Final Boss: The Dodger
    • Post-Climax Confrontation: By the time you fight the Dodger, Florentine has already been dealt with and the world has already been saved. The Dodger is just a big monster that appears at the very moment you think the game is about to end, to try and prevent you from escaping the mansion.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The "final boss fight" with the Dodger verges on this. There is a single lore entry in the game that explains where the Dodger came from and why it's significant to the plot, but it otherwise plays no role in the plot at all until it suddenly shows up at the very end and tries to kill you.
  • Green Rocks: Green crystals appear in several instances, being shards of the Soulstone and usually serving the purpose of teleportation, as in you need one of these to meet the Gnarl, and later on to gain access to Sheol.
  • Haunted House: The mansion which also appears to be significantly Bigger on the Inside.
  • Hedge Maze: Raquia, which if you mess up Raysiel's sleep pattern will turn into a Garden of Evil, ripe with sneakily placed chainsaws, pitfalls and hedge reconfigurations.
    • There's another one in the graveyard after you escape Belial's prison.
  • The Hero: Adam Randall.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Rebecca, a lecturer with psychic abilities who is also quite knowledgable about history, theology and the occult. It turns out she is Florentine's former lover and pupil, and centuries old like him.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Sheol.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The tower gates in combination with the Egyptian masks.
  • Karma Houdini: Raysiel
  • Knight Templar: There's a painting in the mansion, depicting Florentine dressed in common Templar attire.
  • Light Is Not Good: The realms of both Raquia and Arqua are full of lush greenery, sunshine and classical architecture. They are also very dangerous, even if there is little combat. In a throwaway line Hawk also mentions that if Adam were to venture into Heaven, he would face even greater danger.
  • Locked Door: Most of the doors in the mansion are initially warded by magic and can only be opened after having progressed beyond a certain point in the game.
  • MacGuffin: The Shrive.
  • Making a Splash:
    • There's a type of enemy that can only be killed by using a chalice filled with water from a fountain.
    • There are two instances where you have to splash water at doors for them to open (cf. Arqua, as well as the room where you find Aelf's Dagger and free Hawk later on).
  • Master of Illusion: Belial
  • The Men in Black: A type of enemy, and one of the more dangerous ones, adept at firing guns and magical projectiles.
  • Menacing Hand Shot: The first two shots of Belial in his first meeting with Adam are his feet as he walks up and then his right hand as he is putting on his gloves made from human skin. He's later shown flexing the fingers of his right hand, as if anticipating the upcoming confrontation.
  • Mini-Boss: There are a handful of enemies that only appear once in the entire game and are a little tougher than normal, though none of them rise to the level of a full boss fight. Notable examples include the giant demon that appears at the end of the "brain maze" in Hell, and the flamethrower-wielding demon "Peridition" at the end of the Hell puzzle section who is notably the only enemy in the game with Boss Banter.
  • Mirror Monster: Literally. One of the trials of Sheol require you to walk around and smash a perimeter of mirrors. If you look directly into them, though, a monster will come right out of it and chase you. The only way to defeat it is to have it reflected in the mirror and then break it.
  • Multiple Endings: Though the bad ending might as well be considered a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • No Fair Cheating: Downplayed. You can activate a "Easy Adventure Mode", which makes you automatically equip the appropriate item when you examine the object you're supposed to use it on. It doesn't work for all puzzles, though. In particular, if you examine the red gargoyle, the game will make you equip a blue crystal if you have it — which is the wrong item: giving it to the gargoyle activates a trap.
  • Numerological Motif: Seven Seals, seven serpent statues, seven gems in Raysiel's Tower.
  • Older Than They Look: Claude Florentine (much older in fact), Rebecca Trevisard.
  • Prison: While the House itself can be considered a large prison (and as such mimicking the architectural features of a mental institution, too), imprisonment is a recurring theme in the game: Raysiel threatens to lock you up for eternity if you wake him up in your attempt to acquire the Key of Tears, necessary for freeing Hawk; late in the game, Adam is put in a cell by Belial; Abaddon is trapped in a red light.
  • Psychic Powers: Rebecca is adept at extra-sensory perception, not least thanks to an eye-shaped pendant with which she can also communicate remote events to Adam.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Claude Florentine
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The more prominent examples include Abaddon, Aelf, who is later on revealed to be an incarnation of sorts of the biblical Saint Michael, Belial, and Raphael.
  • Room Full of Crazy:
    • Some walls in Florentine's observatory bear lengthy agitated writings.
    • Some of the rooms in Charles Randall's vicarage are covered with occult and astronomical symbols.
  • Schmuck Bait: About halfway through the game you're given a choice between picking up one of two swords - Eternity the Dragon Sword, the MacGuffin you're supposedly hunting down across the four realms, or Aelf's dagger. Think finding Eternity is an easy route to victory? Nope - picking it up means you automatically lose a fight with Belial in a cut scene immediately after (for no adequately explained reason).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The address header of one of the letters which Adam finds in the Study reads: The Delberry, Arkham, Massachusetts. Arkham is a fictional city in Massachusetts, part of the Lovecraft Country setting created by H. P. Lovecraft and is featured in many of his stories, as well as those of other Cthulhu Mythos writers.
      • The Gnarl is associated with masks and Egypt, has no visible face, can send others through time, and is a powerful but unknowable supernatural entity. He shares those traits with the Faceless God, one of the forms of Nyarlathotep - although the Gnarl is far more benevolent.
    • At the beginning of the game, the player can pick up Thomas Wolfe's novel "Look Homeward, Angel" from a small table in the mansion's entrance hall.
    • In Charles Randall's vicarage, Adam finds a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit & the Pendulum".
  • Spooky Painting: There are two paintings in the entrance hall of the mansion, depicting a dark face with red blinking eyes that seem to observe you.
  • Standard FPS Guns: You got yer shotgun, yer Colt-45 and, when all else fails, yer 19th century grenade launcher.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Adam can fight demon forces with guns and a magic staff, but when it comes to deep water, he sinks like a rock. Subverted in that it is possible to get out of the water before he drowns, but sometimes it's not that easy.
  • Supernatural Aid: The Holy Relics, pieces of Aelf's equipment, which he entrusts Adam with to offer assistance.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: One of the cells in Belial's prison harbours a good deal of ammunition and health vials, an accomodation one should not miss, considering there's an imminent fight against a multitude of gun-wielding men in black outside in the rainy night.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Eternity.
    • Sword Beam: Eternity shoots magical projectiles when you finally complete it, making it one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: There's a small platforming section preceding Florentine's observatory. Every time you fail to jump over the moving platforms, you will hear the disembodied laughter of mocking children.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Sheol.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: As part of the good ending of the game, Aelf will throw his weapon and successfully impale Florentine without breaking the last seal he wears as a necklace, provided the player has chosen the right conversation tree during the final showdown in the Chamber of the Soulstone.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Florentine's Staff which isn't rechargeable unlike most of the other weapons in the game, hence a case of a Breakable Weapon because once you've used up all of its charges, it basically deteriorates into a mere walking stick (or as Rebecca puts it, "you might still get some home-runs with it."). Even when its attack power is depleted, though, its competence as a device to teleport to certain areas of the house still persists. To top it off, it isn't even noticeably more powerful than the other magical weapons, which don't permanently run out of uses. You'd only want to save the Staff because the Final Boss is specifically weak against it.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Adam isn't particularly disturbed when demons suddenly appear out of nowhere and start attacking him. When he first meets Rebecca, he simply remarks "people are trying to kill me"... to describe fighting through dozens of teleporting demons, killer robots, and walking skeletons.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gaul freaks out after he draws a deck full of jokers which symbolizes his defeat.
  • Whispering Ghosts:
    • Whenever you approach a tower gate, you hear a disembodied voice asking you to "combine the face with soul, traveller."
    • The statues in the courtyard say things like "The marked one approaches" and "Take us back to the gardens" when Adam approaches them.