A Downward Spiral – Sega Dreamcast – The Ring: Terror’s Realm – 2000

TitleThe Ring: Terror’s Realm
Sega Dreamcast
Asmik Ace Entertainment/Infogrames
Genre: Action Survival Horror
2000

In the early 2000s, American cinema found itself with a glut of remakes from the Japanese horror market. Plenty of countries borrow films from one another and put a bit of their own spin on them to put in their respective movie theaters, but it felt like there were a bunch of films that released here like The Grudge, One Missed Call, Pulse and probably most famously, The Ring.

The Ring kind of felt like it was the start of a popular movement at the time. Based on a series of books by Koji Suzuki- which are well worth reading if you have any interest- the film followed the first of them in which a young girl, Sadako Yamamura, died a terrible death and inflicted a curse to spread, killing those whom it afflicted seven days after contraction. The books explore how this plays out when humans become involved and set up for an interesting a relatively fresh horror angle to be played at.

Like many successful films, The Ring spawned its own media including a little known video game for the Sega Dreamcast called The Ring: Terror’s Realm. With the American remake arriving two years after the video game released, it’s understandable why the game fell to the wayside in the US. Still, there weren’t a ton of offerings on the Dreamcast in the horror genre so to fans of games like Illbleed and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, this probably felt like a dream come true to someone looking for a scare.

Like most films and games, though, those scares come at a cost. Read on to see exactly how expensive the frights of The Ring: Terror’s Realm are and whether it’s worth the price of admission. Continue reading

The Challenge From Beyond – MS-DOS – Alone in the Dark – 1992

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Alone in the Dark
PC
Infogrames
Genre: Survival Horror
1992

Back in the 1990s, horror aficionado and computer programmer Frederick Reynal was given the privilege of sitting at the helm of a horror project for Infogrames.  As a fan of George Romero and Dario Argento, he and his team wanted to create a game that placed a character into a foreign environment and required them to puzzle out a way to survive.  At the time, it was a concept that hadn’t been done in this particular manner. It would use 3D graphics and strive to create the fear that even a small gesture like opening a door or reading a book could end up with your character’s untimely demise.

Alone in the Dark was the product of that effort.  Billed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first 3D survival horror game, its influence can be found throughout the genre to this day in games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and various other games that has since leaned into action-horror; a move that this series would take itself much later in its lifespan.  To say that Alone in the Dark is responsible for the majority of the mechanics and efforts in the horror genre as we know it would be an apt, if not understated, conclusion to make.

Time has done a number of a variety of the trailblazers in video game history, however, and given how Alone in the Dark looks based on screenshots alone, it might be worth it to wonder how it holds up now and which influences- innovative or not- are just as novel now or may have needed some improvement from the get-go.
Continue reading