Basically The Ring: Terror's Realm is based on the idea of alternate worlds; you spend half of your time in one "normal" world and half in a "distorted" mirror world with certain rooms or items available only in one or the other. This is a conceptually innovative premise that would be revisited later in Silent Hill 4: The Room (2004) and Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (2005). However, these later Playstation 2 games have something The Ring lacks: polish. Granted, The Ring is from earlier in the generation, 2000 to be precise. But even so, a few simple fixes in the game's controls, music and dialog and a bit more QA would have gone a long way in making it a more enjoyable experience. Then again, how much should we expect from games based on movies that just came out? Especially a movie like Japan's 1998 Ringu. (More so than today, Japanese horror was probably viewed more as a "niche" genre than a standalone kind of horror, as far as the big screen goes.)
A self-proclaimed "survival horror," The Ring: Terror's Realm is part military action and part office shenanigans. A perfect blend of blah and meh. The game is about a video game called [RING] (yes, "RING" in brackets...don't ask me why). [RING] isn't just the latest MMO shooter though; it's also a computer virus; and it's a mutant smallpox virus. And it's also the spirit of a dead Japanese woman. But wait, if you call in the next 10 minutes, it's also a gate to an alternate dimension. Maybe we're the ones in the video game and the video game is reality! Well, in a cramped nutshell, that's the plot of this game. It's about as coherent as a dog's fart.
Some references to the incident in Japan and the girl who was stuck in the well for 30 years (think of The Ring, which came out 2 years after this game) are made throughout the game in typical file type items and in some conversations. But does any of it come together? Not whatsoever. The antagonist in the story wishes to "control" the virus for some reason. So he exhumes the body of the cursed woman from Japan. Then all hell breaks loose at the CDC (which is where the game takes place, by the way). People are turning into ape and lizard creatures. And your job, as Meg the salarywoman, is to investigate the cause of everything. Maybe it's linked to your boyfriend's death yesterday.
As if the writing and story itself weren't bad enough, the voice acting is a tragedy. But it gets better. There are only about six songs in the entire 8-hour game. And I have to say the music really is the cherry on top of this shitcream pie.
I thought maybe I'd enjoy the game more if I didn't take it seriously. And actually, that helped...a little. It does sort of have a "so-bad-it's-good" quality at parts, just without the campiness and cheese you've come to love in your favorite B-movies. Honestly, I don't think their goal was for you to have a laugh. Reading the back of the game case really shows how seriously they expected gamers to take it.
Terrifying and intricately woven plot keeps you on the edge of your seatand
fully interactive 3D environments immerse you in the mystery and horror
So it's kind of a joke. The game has stilted controls that get you into all kinds of trouble. It does have four changeable camera modes, but you must set this in an options menu. Not to mention, the menus take an extraordinary amount of time to load (which is something I realized we take for granted in most games). Because of all this, The Ring: Terror's Realm is sometimes unnecessarily difficult and frustrating. Hard for all the wrong reasons.
If you do fight (and chuckle) your way through the game to the end, a wonderful wtf ending awaits you. It is ironic that this game is about a game that kills people, because I sort of wanted to die playing it.
Meg: Then I need to find a huge monkey. and restore power in the electrical room?