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The Ring: Terror's Realm Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 40%
The Ring: Terror's Realm
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  • Review Score:

  • C-
Why? Just... just why? Why did anyone think that making a game based on The Ring was a good idea? The movie about a haunted video tape that brought death in seven days to anyone who watches it was one of the greatest Japanese horror movies of all time, and the American remake starring Naomi Watts was very good, too. That plot just does not lend itself to a video game. Making a game based on The Ring is an even worse idea than making a game about dog food! Strangely enough, the game Terror's Realm is at least better than the idea itself, but that's not saying much.

The premise at least is interesting. After her boyfriend dies under mysterious circumstances at the same time as three others, the protagonist Meg takes his job at the CDC. While there, Meg happens across a computer program called RING. That's right, it's meta, a game within a game. I will admit that is a neat idea. After playing it, Meg gets the "Seven days" call and believes that the only way to escape the same fate as her boyfriend is in the game. It's a cool set-up, but the writing and voice acting ruins it. None of the characters are interesting, and the limited voices in the game are beyond amateurish.

The Ring: Terror's Realm (Dreamcast)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The gameplay checks every box on the "How to Make a Resident Evil Clone" guide. You have a limited inventory, door sequences masking loads, and a map that's absolutely critical. There are a few differences, and not all of them are improvements. The game does take advantage of being polygonal by providing multiple camera views including a limited first-person view. There were very few times I couldn't see what I was doing. There are dark areas requiring a flashlight similar to Silent Hill. However, the illumination is pathetic, and the battery life is even worse. The combat and puzzles were insultingly easy, so easy that I felt none of the tension required from a good horror game. The auto-aim is very generous as long as the enemies are no more than a few feet away. Everything works competently but isn't compelling.

The game looks poor even by Dreamcast standards. In fact, I'm sure this game could've been done on the PS1 with little effort. The character models range from average to ugly. Meg herself looks like the Joker in drag. The monsters are rather creative except for some lazy additions like crows. The music seems to be the only thing really trying to elicit scares. While the music in the real world is serviceable at best, the tunes in the virtual world are suitably creepy and atmospheric. I must also note the absolutely terrible sound effects. The "accept" sound (also used when Meg gets hit) sounds like someone stepped on a tomato.

The Ring: Terror's Realm could've been a lot worse. It's functional; the game itself works reasonably while not being inspired. However, it's way too easy and not scary in the slightest. I mostly groaned throughout my playtime which is not the reaction that should be tied to anything associated with The Ring. Sadako needs to go haunt something else.
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