Perhaps the best Myst-style adventure of the 1990s

User Rating: 8.3 | Obsidian PC
Everyone knows the formula. A set of bizarre worlds, almost no inventory, and lots of logic puzzles equals a Myst clone. While I've played my share of such games, none has ever been as cool as Obsidian. In fact, I think it tops the Myst games themselves in terms of style and quality of concept.

You play a scientist named Lilah, who, along with another scientist named Max, has designed an amazing new technology system to restore the environment in a future earth scenario. However, while you two are taking a vacation, you discover a strange formation, a huge black crystalline structure you dub Obsidian. Max goes to examine it one day and disappears. You follow after him and the adventure begins.

The four "worlds" you explore in Obsidian are quite novel. The first is a bureaucratic nightmare of rules and procedures you must overcome via overcoming gravity in order to get more information about your missing companion, the second involves repairing a giant robot spider, the third iis based on the dreams of a newborn computer, and the finale, well, I'll leave that a mystery. Suffice to say it's fascinating from beginning to end.

The graphics, for their time, are surreal and lovely. Since it's mostly still shots, it's easy to make things look really nice. There is also a great variety of environments, and none of them seem cliched or uninspired.

The sounds is also generally pretty great. The sound effects are spot-on, with lots of great crunching metal mixed in with organic sounds to produce a funky synergy that has to be heard to be truly understood. The voice acting of the two main characters is adequate, and not too much of an issue since they have minimal speaking parts anyway, except for the beginning. The voice acting of all the side characters, however, is much better, especially in the first area. The music is the only real weakness, good in some spots, boring and a little out of place in others.

Ah, but what about the puzzles? A really nice variety of puzzles are provided, some involving verbal logic, others involved spatial intelligence, some requiring basic memorization, and a mix of others. Overall, they are quite satisfying, as none are insanely difficult, although plenty are challenging. Also, they all make pretty good sense in the context of the story, which is refreshing.

Of course, this is the kind of game that you play once and then forget about. However, after beating it once about three years ago, I recently played through it again and had just as much fun, as I'd forgotten almost all the details. Highly, HIGHLY recommended for anyone that enjoys adventure games and is looking for a hidden gem from the Myst-clone era.