Forged in the Beginning and protected by the Seven Seals, there lies a place where thought and creation intertwine. The center for all realms of existence, it is the balancing force between good and evil, man and spirit. A focal point for all energies, and the one element that has kept the consuming nature of darkness at bay... Until now.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (197 reviews) - 74% of the 197 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 31, 1996

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About This Game

Forged in the Beginning and protected by the Seven Seals, there lies a place where thought and creation intertwine. The center for all realms of existence, it is the balancing force between good and evil, man and spirit. A focal point for all energies, and the one element that has kept the consuming nature of darkness at bay... Until now.


  • Many unique and bizarre universes to explore. From a modern age, mysterious mansion to a medieval, surreal world full of monsters
  • Excellent blend of first-person shooter and point-and-click adventure
  • Full-motion video cut-scenes with live actors bring the game's well-written story alive

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8
    • Processor: 1.8 GHz Processor
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7
Customer reviews
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Mostly Positive (197 reviews)
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100 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
I first bought this game (on 4 CDs) when it was released in 1996, and have finished it a couple of times, so take the Steam playtime with a grain of salt.

The good

One of the most compelling adventure/mystery type games ever made. You always want to know what's behind the next door or around the corner.
The FMV sequences are pretty good
Intricate, and occasionally bizarre level design, no two places are really the same
Some genuinely jumpy moments
Some well drawn art (for its era)
Creepy at times with its music and atmosphere
Your chance to play a critically regarded game that nobody cared about when it was released

The bad

640x480 max graphics may throw off a few people
Game occasionally can't decide whether it's a shooter or an adventure game
Some story elements are convoluted and muddled
Close combat can be a bother
Game may be too weird/arcane for many
No RPG elements to speak of
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
100 of 114 people (88%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 17, 2015
Before playing RTFM! (Read The Frakking Manual)

There are no hand-holding tutorials in this game, it expected you to read the manual before diving in or referencing it when you didn't know how to preform an action.

Manual is in Steam Folder so read it before you play.

Don't let my Steam time fool you, I actually bought this game when it was new (And on 4 CD's if I remember correctly, I think I still have them somewhere). I have played this game from beginning to end multiple times and for its time, it was an amazing game. It hasn't aged the best and could do with a remastering that's for sure, but it still has all the classic difficulty and random scary moments (which now seem a bit tame) which gave it the charm I fell in love with.


- Excellent story
- Wonderful Puzzles
- The mix of Point & Click and FPS is a refreshing change
- Challenging without being impossible
- Does not hold your hand (you can spend hours trying to figure out a simple puzzle because you missed an item earlier in the level, which is wonderful!)
- Those FMV sequences are wonderful despite the aged quality


- Controls cannot be remapped in game
- Mouse is super wonky (it was designed around ball mice, so optical mice go nuts on it, lower your dpi if possible)
- The resolution is pretty bad
- Sound levels aren't normalized and can sometimes be a bit much on headphones.

I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a classic game with some excellent story and a very unique feel. I will probably finish this game again. However, one thing everyone should do is remap their keys (you'll have to find the .ini for it), as the default keyset is pretty bad (though old school players will fall into it pretty quick). For a game that's almost two decades old, it hasn't lost its charm, even if the graphics are dated.
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54 of 61 people (89%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 13, 2014
From 1996, a notable experiment mixing fps, graphical adventure and survival horror elements.


- beautiful environments
- evocative atmosphere
- live actors videos are AMAZING lol
- general game experience is ok and funny

- sometimes repetitive
- difficult controls
- bots are graphically limited and way too much stupid (i.e.: if you exit a room they don't follow you and start to move around randomly lol)
- a couple of absurd enigmas and pixel hunting

...superPro: the game is old, with very old mechanics... but in the end it aged well like good wine, and it can give a pleasant experience if you want to remember retrogaming sensations.

I had it as a gift, so i recommend it, expecially with a good sale.
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63 of 79 people (80%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2014
By accident I felt on the review on the internet after having watched the steam store page about this game.
The review said that purists of point and click and fps at the time criticized the mix they tried in Realms of the Haunting.
But with Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall, Realms of the Haunting was considered as one of the most vast game of its time!

But it's a real gem. I've played for few minutes and I really enjoyed this game.

Videos are very nice if you notice the quality of FMV (Full Motion Video). There is nearly no difference between the actors and the game. The music doesn't annoy. The graphics are correct. Environments are nice (apparently you can access different dimensions which radically changes the atmosphere), I only regret the lack of detail of monsters. Story is interesting and the interactions with the game are numerous because this is a point & click (your character has always something to say about anything he encounters... like in a real point & click).

Controls: thanks to Arucard who gave us the hint on the Steam forum, there is a list of all the keys of the game and a way to change theses. Be ware there are some game tips spoilers at the end:

Controls were the only bad aspect of the game before I’ve found this link!

Actually I’m really happy to have found this game.
Because it didn't receive the success it deserved... and it's time to change that! ^^


A better review than mine:

And some info: Gremlin created on Nintendo 64 the game "Body Harvest". Released before GTA III and considered as a true GTA like. Quite original (you travel in 4 different times) and one of the most underrated game of the history.
Realms of the Haunting even surprises you at the downloading, its file weights 1.4 go. For its time (1996) it was amazing. Another clue of the huge amount of content this game has.
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39 of 42 people (93%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
20.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 27, 2015
This game hasn't aged badly at all. I played it for the first time ever in 2015, and it was a great experience. Having said that, there are a couple of things you need to bear in mind:

1. No tutorial. Look up the manual onine and give it a read so you know how to play (it's important, trust me).
2. No autosaves. Save often, and use multiple save slots in case you screw up badly.
3. The controls are weird. This game's from that era where developers were still figuring out optimal controls, and these are NOT optimal. You get used to them after a couple of hours though, by which point they feel fine.

If you can get past that, and the dated graphics, this is a very enjoyable game. The story is interesting. The gameplay is solid. The puzzles make sense. The acting is... not terrible, certainly better than a lot of other live action FMV games. It's also worth noting that, even though the graphics are dated, they're well designed and in my opinion, quite nice. The blend of point-and-click and FPS action also works really well.

If you're looking for a retro PC gaming experience, you can't go wrong.
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47 of 60 people (78%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2014
I played Realms of the Haunting when it was first released in 1996. At the time, it was one of the best example of fusion gameplay and it is still a great game. It also included inventory puzzles that make the environment more interactive that most shooters of time.

It’s good enough that I bought it again on steam, even after buying on GOG just so I could tell everyone here about it! (Don’t be fooled by the low playing time. Steam requires a certain amount of ingame time to write a review so I installed it. It may say 11 minutes, but I actually played the entire game 17 years ago)

It is definitely a piece of its time and if you require” ultra super high funtime” graphics to enjoy a game, you should give it a pass. It has FMV sequences, a relic of another time certainly, but my memory is that they were not intrusive and actually pretty well done at a time when most developers grabbed the receptionist and stuck her in the game so they didn’t have to hire an actual actor.

The story, and there actually is one, centers around the death of your father and your inheritance, a house. The house has portals to multiple dimensions and what seems to be a straight up good vs. evil becomes more complicated as the game progresses.

The weapons are varied from a colt (which you don’t want to have to reload in combat) to a sword. The shotgun has to be seen to believed. Unlike most shooters of the day, it’s not a straight escalation of damage from near useless to BFG2000. Instead damage varies depending on the target. Some do more damage against some foes than they do against others. Strategy is more important than simply blasting everything that moves. Although you will do some serious shooting throughout.

This is a great one and you should play it all the way through. A really superb game from the 1st golden age of PC gaming.
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31 of 35 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
12.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 14, 2014
“Realms of the Haunting” is a strange synthesis of three major early 1990s gaming trends: adventure games, full motion video, and old school first person shooters. But while RotH seamlessly combines all three elements into a single package, it also arguably sounded their death knell in the process. Released in late 1996, it was in direct competition with “Quake,” “Tomb Raider,” and, several months later, “Dark Forces 2,” three milestone games which set the trend for gaming in the late 1990s and left RotH’s dated looking, Doom style, 2D engine in the dust. Likewise, the adventure genre was also on the wane, with just “Grim Fandango,” “Gabriel Knight 3,” and "The Longest Journey" to look forward to before going mostly dormant for nearly a decade. By the end of 1997, the short lived full motion video craze would be eclipsed by the advent of dedicated 3D graphics cards, and mammoth 8 disc, FMV epics like “Phantasmagoria,” “Gabriel Knight 2” and “Under a Killing Moon” would be relegated to historical oddities.

Given this, it’s no wonder that RotH flopped on release. It was conceived as the hottest game of 1995, but as a testament to just how quickly technology and gaming trends were moving in the 1990s, by the time it was released just under 2 years later, time had already passed it by.

Which is a shame, as this very well could have been the best game of 1995 had it been release just a year earlier. Despite the limitations of its engine, in its design the game is arguably a missing link between “Doom” and “Thief.” The game world is highly interactable, with lots of objects to click and use. Levels are also sprawling, labyrinthine, and nearly open world. They rarely close off once you finish them, so if you really wanted to you could walk from one end of the game world to the other. Plus, barring a few tedious, late game, mazes and switch throwing, the puzzles are mostly pretty fun and reminiscent of some of “Thief’s” best.

The best part, however, is the plot, which is a completely silly hodge-podge of b-horror films, 90s comic book clichés (there are undertones of both Garth Ennis’ “Preacher” and Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman”), and even, in the game’s dimension hoping with a female sidekick, shades of “Dr Who.” Of course, comparing RotH to any of these sources is giving it way too much credit. Its FMV sequences are often leaden and stretch on way too long, suffering from the bad, soap opera, editing technique where the video cuts to super long reaction shots of characters looking pensive after every single thing anyone says. Plus, things get nonsensical fast, and about half way through the game, the FMV sequences mostly just focus on people appearing to tell you what absurd, magical artifact you have to track down next, before disappearing. But, honestly, bad acting, z-grade special effects, and nonsensical plots are the main reason for playing 90s FMV games….so I mean none of this as a criticism.

Unfortunately, the game does show its age in some less enjoyable ways. Combat sucks, enemies tend to have way too many hit points, and strafe is locked to the “.” and “,” keys, which makes it unnecessarily difficult at times. Likewise, in the grand tradition of old-school adventure games, many puzzles come down to pixel hunts, a fact which is made all the more frustrating by the fact that you have to search pixels both above and below you, rather than just on a flat 2D plane.

That said, RotH is such a bizarre genre mash-up that could never have been made at any other point in gaming history, that I couldn’t help but find it charming, despite its flaws. This is exactly the game I dreamt of making as a kid back in 1995, when “Doom” and Sierra adventure games were my main obsessions. And ultimately its a facinating look back at an entirely unique species in the evolution of FPSs, despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that many of its unique genetic mutations have since been selected out of the gaming population.
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32 of 37 people (86%) found this review helpful
25.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 9, 2014
Wow! What an amazing game! I've never played it before or back in the day so this was a first impression. It's such a huge 20 chapter adventure of FPS, scares, puzzles, cutscene movies and story, that you get so engaged in it, it really feels like you are controlling a character in a movie.

The graphics are impressive for the time, the mapping especially is so well thought out and designed that I was always amazed whenever I arrived at a new location. It's not all hallways and darkness, there's such a variety of fantasy like locations that it never gets dull.

The puzzle solving is done just right, from simple switches and keys to brain teasers and physical mazes, it's nicely mixed with the action and story throughout the chapters. I didn't find the puzzles to be overly complex, just enough to give you a good hard think.

The music being midi was ok but feels a bit underwhelming for such a movie like game, a CD soundtrack would of really enhanced the experience like what games consoles of the time would have back then, but it's still nice and eerie.

The inventory system is interesting, split into different categories where you can examine your items and read parchments to engage you more into the plot. It does take a bit of getting used to, between using an object with the environment, on yourself, or just holding it and finding out you've accidently switched it with something else.

The controls take some adapting to, following a guide to remap them to WASD is highly recommended, then it's a matter of how to shoot. Since the mouse is not locked to the screen, this gives you a bit of freedom. The gun will follow your mouse arrow around, so with enough practice you can take out enemies from different sides of the screen without moving an inch.

Speaking of enemies, they are pretty ugly and creepy, often spawning out of nowhere which can give you some scares. I recommend not leaving any alive else you will probably bump into them later on.

A good variety of weapons are to be found, guns, swords, wands and more, all having a unique look to them, and at times saving you ammo since some self recharge, very happy with those.

I found the difficulty to be very fair, if you have a good handle on the controls and don't mind a bit of puzzle solving, you can progress at a good pace.

Overall the story that this tells is done so well, with plenty of characters, good and evil, plot twists and mystery unravelling along the way. I couldn't wait to find out what happens next, where I was going to travel to or the puzzles I was going to solve. They really don't make games like this anymore, highly recommended!
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19 of 22 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
15.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 4, 2015
Remember playing this game back in 2001. Game came out in 1996!! Awell made game that has fps, point n click, and horror all in one. Gameplay takes about 11-16 hours to beat the game. The puzzles are easy/hard.

beautiful environments
live actors videos
general game experience is ok and funny
Interact with a lot of things
see yourself in mirror (Its a pro due to most games during this gaming era didnt have much of it)

difficult controls
Graphics are good but you have no way or option to change the resolution
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29 of 40 people (73%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 27, 2014
This game has some truly frustrating moments, such as an almost pitch black maze which I needed a walkthrough to solve. YEt, at the same time, it also has some really interesting ideas. Items can be examined in detail, for example, and discussed with your partner. The horror is also drawn mainly from atmosphere, rather than jump scares. And the story is long, complicated, interesting and doesn't talk down to you. The interface too is surprisingly effective and fun.

Don't get me wrong; the AI is hokey, the FMVs are often bizarre and the level design is atrocious at times. You may well need a walkthrough to finish certain elements - or just to understand how some new items or weapons work - but there are some good ideas in here which make ROTH worth a look for those with enough patience.
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Recently Posted
0.5 hrs
Posted: October 11
Great game for back in the day. if this game is on sale for 5 bucks a lower id recommend it, but the 10 dollar price tag is a little steep for the age of the game in my opinion
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0.7 hrs
Posted: October 10
For those TROUBLED by the CONTROLS, this sticky is in the DISCUSSIONS:
Alternatively, game has gone through several, version but the one offered by Steam isn't the newest. And there were 2 editions UK and US. Not sure about patches/updates but you can change from Steam's UK to the US version. Difference is mainly in controls, resolution and more menus. It's still Cornwall and they still speak with the same accent.
Installing instruction:
Useful manual:
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☢e621☢ Eclipse
3.2 hrs
Posted: September 24
I believe I would enjoy playing this game if I was not fighting the controls as much as I was fighting monsters.
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Definition of Insanity
0.6 hrs
Posted: August 8
Super old game hard controlls made in 1996 il give it a 7/10 not ez controlls but its good sooo far.
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19.0 hrs
Posted: August 4
I will just preface this with one caveat: You cannot rebind your controls without adjusting the DOSBox key mapping. That's usually an "auto-fail" for me. And given that this game uses mouse and arrow keys, it's going to be VERY awkward for most people to try to play.

That said... yea. This game really surprised me. It's not great, by any stretch of the imagination. The engine certainly has lots of problems, with geometry tearing and popping around, combat that's awkward and more wedged in as an afterthought it seemed, and some fairly pixelized video. If you're looking at this game as a first person shooter, you will be disappointed.

But that's not really what the game is. What the game is, at its core, is a point and click adventure game. Along the lines of 7th Guest, or Myst. And on those lines, it holds its own quite well. The acting, while stiff at times, really isn't that bad. There's good use of props, costumes, even some decent makeup effects. The pixelization of the videos actually does help them blend in better with the CGI backgrounds. The puzzles are fairly decent overall, if sometimes easy to overlook a key item. The story, while certainly no masterpiece, does a decent enough job pulling you along the way.

The game does stretch on one chapter too long, with an unnecessary end, but that part's short. This is a game I never gave a fair chance until recently, and now that I have played it, I'm glad I did. And if you don't mind some awkward controls, and sometimes painful combat, and do like the 90's adventure games, then by all means give this one a shot.
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2.3 hrs
Posted: August 1
This game used to freak me the ____ out when I played it in the 90's. Even replaying the game I still get a little creeped out. Especially the record player in the study... this game was way before it's time. Masterpiece of horror that probably will never be as good even if remade.

The game is an FPS style shooter like Doom or Hexen, with an ability to turn the mouse pointer on and use it like a point and click adventure game to search the environment and interact with it. Cleaver puzzles that take a great deal of thought to solve. There are some fantastic weapons in the game to defend yourself against the demons and nasties of the deep. As well as boss fights, one in particular, in a region of hell, a humanoid demon with a flame thrower is trying to kill you and is speaking poetically in fervored voice how he will kill you (think Hitler giving a speech).

And that record player in the study...*shudders*
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Evil Panda
0.2 hrs
Posted: July 23
Even though i got this game for free i still want a refund
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Nuclear Virus
0.2 hrs
Posted: July 6
This is some spooky ♥♥♥♥
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17.2 hrs
Posted: July 5
A great and unfortunately forgotten classic. Definitely worth its price!
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