The Legacy: Realm of Terror
(titled simply The Legacy
in some countries) is an adventure
computer game developed by Magnetic Scrolls
and published by Microprose
The game starts with the premise that the main character has inherited a mansion which is haunted. Magic is real and plays a central role in the game, but it is set in the present day (that is, 1993) so one (as the main character) can expect to find modern items such as chainsaws, TV sets etc. The gameplay consists mainly of exploring the house by interacting with objects, characters, fighting monsters and solving puzzles, using the mouse as an input device.
The game system resembles that of an RPG game, with stats that can be improved with progress and experience.
When starting the game, the player can choose from a list of available characters that fit in with the story, or can change those characters stats to customize them.
Unlike most RPG titles of the time, the player didn't have a party of characters but instead just one character. In the user's manual the developers remark that this decision was made with the idea that the player would have a greater feeling of isolation by having only one playable character rather than a party.
The game interface has five windows that could be resized and moved in any way, thus making the interface customizable to suit individual player preferences.
The game offers customization of a character by first selecting the appearance (by selecting a newspaper headline with the characters’ picture) and then the stats (if the preset stats are not to the users liking).
The game now begins as the character has just walked in the front door of the mansion. The door has slammed behind him or her. If the character moves from in front of the door then back to it again, a dark laughter is heard, mocking for trying to leave the house.
The object of the game is to get out alive. To do this, the character must learn magic, increase battle skills, and solve many puzzles to combat the final boss, Belthegor.
Scattered through the house on the various floors and realms are objects of varying usefulness and power. The very first object one can get is the spell book. Depending on stats to begin the game a character may even have a spell or two available to use. If not, one must increase one's knowledge and willpower during game play as well as find a spell page just lying around so the spell can be added to the spell book.
Once out of the main lobby by one of the few locked doors, one sees a zombie and if the character does not have a high enough willpower, he or she will be immobilized by fear. If he or she is 'scared stiff'(in shock, as the manual calls it), the character will scream, his or her picture will have a terrified look on their face, the zombie will attack (if the character cannot run away), and the game will end. From floating creatures resembling tentacled puffer fish that shoots fire balls to an ax wielding relative in the third floor insane asylum as well as floating two headed snakes with rows of razor sharp teeth the character will run the gauntlet of foes. The first time the character sees a "Lurker", he or she will scream until it is out of sight, (though one does not have to fight this particular enemy) only become more acclimated to it and therefore not scared anymore.
Many aspects of the horror spectrum are here as well. As stated, the designers wanted the player to feel isolated. Haunted houses, sanitariums, gargoyles, mummies, alien creatures from another reality, teleportation portals with eerie blood soaked chains and evil beings with tremendous magical power all lend themselves to telling a chilling tale.
There are 10 areas to explore. They are the 1st floor(the beginning of the game), 2nd floor(looks similar to the first, just more to explore), 3rd floor(also known as the sanitarium), 4th floor(museum), the observatory(where many mummies with a love for the radio lurk), 1st basement, 2nd basement, temple, fish people lair, and finally the other realm.
While it is played alone, there are 3 other people in the house, 2 apparent relatives (that must be killed) and a trapped private detective locked in the second floor. A rather impressive yet scattered arsenal of weapons and armor, from small caliber pistols and a baseball bat to a katana and a chainsaw are at the users disposal. Inventory of the items any player can carry is very limited, at first by only pockets and hands, but find a briefcase and carrying items becomes easier(the baseball bat and chainsaw can fit in this thing at the same time).
Attacking is carried out by pressing one of the "Hit" or "Aim" buttons. There are two of each of these buttons, one pair for the left hand and one pair for the right. Whatever is in the hand will be used as the weapon. The "Hit" button will attack the nearest target automatically, while the "Aim" button will turn the cursor into cross hairs. The user can then manually aim at the target, which can be useful when facing multiple enemies at once, but is otherwise unneeded.
Spells are broken up into 4 categories: The Destructors, the Protectors, the Enhancers, and the Mystics, with 4 to 6 spells in each category. The player must have the spell book open in order to use a spell, but once used its effects do not require the book to remain open. Crystals are used to restore spell points, while rest and first aid kits (as well as use of the 'Elixir of Health' spell) restore vitality points.
Unlike some horror films, one DOES run out of bullets, the chainsaw WILL run out of gas, and while magic is the only way to win the game, one CAN run out of power. One can die here quite easily, hence use of the save game feature is suggested.
released a collector's edition of this game in a black box with only "The Legacy: Realm of Terror" in red font on the box. Inside, the manual and disks were covered in fake spider webs. There was also a small white plastic disk that activated when the box was opened, which would "moan" and make other scary sounds.