Myst Review

Myst is an immersive experience that draws you in and won't let you go.

The PC entertainment timeline is divided into two segments: before Myst and after Myst. This engaging and Mysterious title changed the way we view PC games. Reviewers, hard-pressed for adjectives, often describe new CDs as "Myst-like." And you'll be hard-pressed to find any reviews that say a product has gone beyond Myst.

Myst is an immersive experience that draws you in and won't let you go. You enter a unique setting, venturing alone to varied times and places, the worlds that compose Myst. There are no instructions, and you encounter no living beings but soon realize your actions may help individuals who are somehow trapped in a parallel dimension.

You don't so much play Myst, as experience it. Of course you must solve a multitude of puzzles, mazes, and problems, but Myst's principal attractions are its environment and the underlying intrafamily drama that unfolds as you explore.

Unlike most adventure games, Myst offers no inventory, no death, and no dialogue. Although puzzles don't seem to have much direct connection to the game, they share a commonality. They take on many forms but follow a consistent thread. Some puzzles are very challenging, even obtuse, creating an odd paradox: many buy Myst, but few complete it. It is immensely popular, but most nonadventurers quit in frustration. Fortunately, Myst's popularity has spawned several online sites for hints, walk-throughs, and even saved games (see GameSpot's Myst-links).

While Myst is superlative, I do have two complaints: the lack of high-end 3D and animated visuals, and the cheesy ending. Almost all its animations are simple QuickTime videos running in tiny screens. Myst's creators, Rand and Robyn Miller, seamlessly integrated those videos into the background graphics and designed stunning artwork, but simply adding fog is not enough to create a true 3D feel. And the ending is a big let-down, not much more than a plug for Myst II. Nevertheless, if you own a PC, you owe it to yourself to try Myst.

The Good

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The Bad

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