Watch out, Spirit of Speed... here comes The Ring! - Review By Mad Carl
I can easily say, without fear of overstating myself and sounding like I work for Daily Radar, that The Ring: Terror's Realm is hands down the most terrifying thing to ever grace my television screen. Sweet mother of God, I shake even writing about it. My face is pale and Mrs. Mad Carl asks every few minutes if I'm okay, and must I really scream while staring straight ahead and mumbling "The Ring. My God. The Ring." Much like Lovecraft's often-doomed storytellers, I write you this review now in hopes that my tale may reach others, and warn them of the terrible ground I have tread. I hope that just one person learns of the terror I have faced and the irrevocable harm it has caused my psyche. I hope that one person will be a vanguard in protecting the rest of humanity, for I am too weak to do anything more than deliver my message.
The Ring: Terror's Realm is ostensibly the tale of one Meg Rainman who discovers a computer virus with some very real killing abilities. What this "game" really is (aside from a "call Capcom's lawyers so they can have a look at this and file the appropriate papers" Resident Evil ripoff), is one of the most villainous attacks on gamers ever created. The sheer fact that a group of people dedicated time out of their lives to not only design this game, but also to build it, test it, and publish it... the feeling it creates in my gut is unspeakable. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as my skin tries to find a way to crawl free from my body and go hide under the ottoman. As I spent hour after hour of my precious life force plowing through The Ring, I just kept mumbling "How can there be this much hate in the world? Who hurt this design team so deeply that they had to lash out with this... this... whatever the hell it is?"
THE GOOD??? IS THERE ANY GOOD LEFT IN THE WORLD???
The Ring has managed to create feelings in me that I didn't know a video game was capable of accomplishing, and for that I must give praise. I really do fear having to play this "game" again. I'll get into my reasons why in a moment, but I have to give kudos to a survival horror game that makes me able to do little more than lie on the floor and silently weep as I consider the terror of returning to it.
"...and while you do that, I will do some interpretive dance."
I tried, dammit. I tried to play. I spent hours trying to play. I finally broke down and hunted out a walkthrough (as much to help me solve the impossible game flow as to reassure myself that others had come this way before me and survived at least long enough to squeeze out a walkthrough). I used the walkthrough and still didn't understand what was going on, or why. I sat on the cold tile floor of my bathroom as the shower ran, letting the white noise clear my mind of the game's horrible, mind-numbing, ten seconds of repetitive music. I still couldn't comprehend The Ring. I lay awake in bed, listening to cars pass by in the night and wondering if any of those poor bastards driving through the Los Angeles darkness had any idea that just a few yards from the road there was a Dreamcast game sitting beside my television set that was capable of making them know true fear.
No, the game story (some nonsense about a game that sucks people into an alternate reality, then kills them) is not scary. The monsters jumping out of bathroom stalls in alternate universes (which are basically just dirty versions of the normal game universe) are not scary. What is scary is that crap like this makes it to market at all. This is the video game equivalent of the film Manos: The Hands of Fate. This is one of those products so universally bad in every way that you can't help but marvel at the mental instability required of its creators to give birth to it. With each passing moment I began to more and more question if its creators were even human, or if The Ring was the byproduct of some ancient evil that had bubbled up from the depths of the Earth and manifested itself on a Dreamcast disc.
IT'S A MAN!!!
What you have to understand, what must be made perfectly and concretely clear, is that The Ring is not simply some hack job of a game like Spirit of Speed. No, that would be belittling the sinister accomplishments of Asmik Ace Entertainment, the game's developer. This game is a premeditated, heavily calculated, pile of pure, unadulterated evil, jammed into the double barrels of a shotgun and pointed squarely between the eyes of gamers everywhere.
As much as I abhor The Ring, I have to admit that I admire any group of people who can pack this much hate onto one shiny little GD-ROM. I can only whimper in terror when I think of what they might accomplish with a DVD.
In case you haven't noticed, hyperbole isn't enough in this situation. I can't overstate how truly, truly awful this piece of crap game is. So let's just run through this mess as quick as possible and hope there's a shower and a ride home on the other side.
First up, the complete and utter theft of Resident Evil game mechanics. If you've played any of the Resident Evil games, you'll recognize the control scheme, the inventory system, the load screens, the combat, and the bad voice acting. Thieves in smash-and-grab jewelry store robberies aren't this thorough. Well, Asmik Ace did forget one thing during their crime spree: they forgot to steal any gameplay. Let me recount for you the first forty minutes (or so the time stamp on the save game claims) of The Ring.
Next: More Bad, and The Final Word