AGH Jaguar CD Review: MYST

by Atari

Myst Pic 1
OK, I'll be the first to admit it. Back in 1994 when I purchased my $3000 Pentium 90 PC with 16MB of RAM and a cutting-edge double-speed CD-ROM drive, I felt a strong urge to show off its capabilities to some of my friends. Sure, I could've opened up Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop and Lotus Notes simulatenously without running out of system resources, but that's hardly a way to impress non-geeks. And besides, that's not what I bought the computer for. Doom and Myst were the two CD titles that I settled on getting. Guess which one got more play time?

In Myst, you enter a strange world, venturing alone to varied times and places, exploring the worlds that compose Myst. You're given no explanations on why you're there, and you won't come into direct physical contact with other people at all (although you will interact with individuals who are somehow trapped in a parallel dimension.)

Myst Pic 2
Gameplay wise, (well, if you can call it a game) you're just basically forced to figure out puzzles, mazes and problems while roaming around searching for hints and helpful information. It's a mixture of adventure and role-playing all in one, but one thing you won't find is any action. The extent of your input on the screen is the use of your joypad to move a cursor around the screen to select various objects and scenarios to check out. And each screen is static, meaning that you won't find any real-time scrolling of the screen as you move. Calling it an RPG is even a bit of a stretch. Unlike Final Fantasy or Ultima, there are no battle sequences, no inventory or objects to pick up and use, and no conversations with non-player characters. You can't even die, for crying out loud!

To its credit, the puzzles are challenging and are no push-overs. In fact, I'd guess that over 80% of all owners of the game have not finished this game (and never will.) It gets downright frustrating on several occassions. For some, the gorgeous scenery and underlying drama that unfolds as you explore will be enough to keep them immersed with Myst. Overall, newcomers will probably be amazed at Myst's beauty. Experienced gamers -- myself included -- will find the lack of interactivity and the absence of tension such that we'll be tossing out the CD and going back to BattleMorph, Tempest 2000 or Iron Soldier instead.

Title Myst
Publisher Atari
System Atari Jaguar CD
Graphics 9
Sound 8
Gameplay 4
Overall 5
Reviewer Keita Iida

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