Realms of the Haunting

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Realms of the Haunting
Developer(s)Gremlin Interactive
Publisher(s)Interplay Productions
Platform(s)Windows 95, MS-DOS (OS X and Linux via DOSBox on
  • NA: 1997
  • EU: January 1997
Genre(s)First-person adventure, First-person shooter

Realms of the Haunting is a first-person adventure/shooter game developed by Gremlin Interactive. The 3D engine used in this game was borrowed from Gremlin's own Normality.


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 means of escaping it. Along the way he meets up with the psychic woman 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 player finds himself caught in much deeper plot between different forces, where demons play only one role.


The player explores locations and battles demons from a first-person perspective. A floating cursor is used to interact with the environment and pick up items. The game features many inventory-based puzzles.

The story of Realms of the Haunting is told through full-motion video cutscenes, which utilize live-action actors.


The side of good[edit]

  • Adam Randall - The game's protagonist. The estranged son of a village priest, Adam receives a note from his late father which leads him to the abandoned mansion in which the game takes place. Adam soon discovers that he is the Chosen One, and must fulfill his destiny of preventing the resurrection of the Power of Satan, which would trigger Armageddon.
  • Rebecca Trevisard - A young English psychic who Adam meets inside the house. Claiming to be an associate of Adam's late father, Rebecca quickly becomes his traveling companion and assists him in unlocking the mysteries of the house.
  • Aelf - A knight of God who died in battle many years ago, Aelf's ghost appears throughout the game to provide advice and assistance to Adam. He is revealed to be an incarnation of the archangel Michael, and the nemesis of the demon Belial.
  • Raphael - The guardian of the Tower, an interdimensional pathway that connects the different worlds of the multiverse. He is played by the same actor who portrays Aelf, and the game comments that the two characters are linked, although the plot never goes into specifics.
  • Hawk - An angel who, like Aelf and Raphael, provides assistance to Adam in his quest. Hawk is meant to serve as the host to the Power of God during Armageddon, during which he is to battle Gaul, the vessel for the Power of Satan.

The side of evil[edit]

  • Claude Florentine - The main antagonist of the game. Florentine is a French magician, several hundred years old, who is attempting to resurrect the Power of Satan and bring about the end of the world.
  • Belial - Another major antagonist, Belial is a demon, one so powerful that in mythology he has often been confused with the Power of Satan itself. Belial pursues Adam throughout the story, attempting to seize Adam's power for himself so he can use it to bring about the end of the world. Once the trusted familiar of Florentine, Belial is now actively working against Florentine as the two compete for the favor of their master, the devil.
  • Gaul - A gaunt man in a black suit, who carries a deck of playing cards around with him whenever he goes. Gaul is the "anti-Christ", who is meant to serve as the vessel for the Power of Satan during Armageddon.
  • The Dodger - An evil apart from the Power of Satan. The Dodger was once a summoned monster controlled by Florentine, but somehow gained a will of its own and went rogue. It now roams the Tower, and has somehow managed to merge with the Eire, the evil force that roams the Tower in search of victims to consume. The Dodger appears at the very end of the game, serving as a final obstacle to Adam's escape from the mansion.


  • David Tuomi as Adam Randall
  • Emma Powell as Rebecca Trevisard
  • David Learner as Belial
  • Dave Roberts as Aelf, Raphael
  • Marc Finn as Claude Florentine
  • Kim Durham as Gaul
  • Mark Byron as Hawk
  • Roger Franke as Pelador
  • Gerry Hinks as Charles Randall
  • Mark Bedford as Undead 5
  • Terry Malone as Undead 1
  • Chris Briggs as Undead 3
  • Lee Bedford as Undead 2
  • Neil South as Undead 4
  • Keith Dando as Taxi Driver, Doctor
  • Big Al - additional voices
  • Corey Johnson - additional voices
  • Rob Rackstraw - additional voices

David Learner is better known for his role as Marvin the paranoid android from the BBC series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and also as Pickle in the cult children's TV program Knightmare.


Realms of the Haunting was Gremlin's most expensive project yet.[1] The lead programmer on the game was Tony Crowther.[1]


Aggregate score
Review scores
Next Generation4/5 stars[3]
PC GamesB+[4]

Realms of the Haunting was met with critical acclaim. It received an average score of 90.50% at GameRankings, based on an aggregate of 6 reviews.[2] Though he noted a lack of originality in the basic plot, Air Hendrix of GamePro found the high quality cinematics, atmospheric presentation, and overall strong gameplay as both a puzzle adventure and a first-person shooter made Realms of the Haunting a captivating experience. He summarized, "While sometimes it gets frustratingly arbitrary, overall the adventure side, action side, and story line blend together quite nicely."[5] Both Air Hendrix and a Next Generation critic remarked that the controls are clunky at first but can be adjusted to with time. Next Generation was most impressed with the game's massive size, reckoning that it takes 80 to 100 hours to complete, rarely reuses textures or architectural designs in different areas, and has a huge variety of monsters. The reviewer concluded, "For something that came from Interplay with very little fanfare, Realms of the Haunting could be one of the best adventure games of this year."[3]

Realms of the Haunting was a finalist for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' 1997 "Adventure Game of the Year" award,[6] which ultimately went to Blade Runner.[7]

Further reading[edit]

Issue 108 of Retro Gamer Magazine has a short making of Realms of the Haunting as part of a Tales from the Retro Crypt feature. Written by Graeme Mason, it contains extracts of an interview with Gremlin producer Paul Green.


  1. ^ a b Ramshaw, Mark James (February 1996). "Generator". Next Generation. No. 14. Imagine Media. p. 29.
  2. ^ a b "Realms of the Haunting". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  3. ^ a b "Spooky". Next Generation. No. 30. Imagine Media. June 1997. p. 126.
  4. ^ Olafson, Peter. "Realms of the Haunting". PC Games. Archived from the original on May 25, 1997.
  5. ^ "PC GamePro Review: Realms of the Haunting". GamePro. No. 103. IDG. April 1997. p. 56.
  6. ^ "The Award; Award Updates". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on June 15, 1998.
  7. ^ "The Award; Award Updates". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on June 15, 1998.

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