Myst (Jaguar CD) review
"If you've ever heard someone scrutinizing Myst, you've probably witnessed some loser running to its defense with an inane comment along these lines: “Well, it's really good for what it is.” What is Myst exactly? I'll synopsize the whole game for you: You take a pointer and you click around while collecting clues. Is there something revolutionary and pioneering that I am missing here? Call me ignorant, even go to the extent of calling me a condescending fool, but I'm lost on why people find this ..."
If you've ever heard someone scrutinizing Myst, you've probably witnessed some loser running to its defense with an inane comment along these lines: “Well, it's really good for what it is.” What is Myst exactly? I'll synopsize the whole game for you: You take a pointer and you click around while collecting clues. Is there something revolutionary and pioneering that I am missing here? Call me ignorant, even go to the extent of calling me a condescending fool, but I'm lost on why people find this game to be such a classic. Since it’s labeled as a “classic” does that mean it’s graded on an obscure curve to save it from valid criticism?
Myst is a puzzler that’s played through the eyes of our protagonist, Atrus. We’ll find ourselves on the island Myst trying to uncover clues to find our mistress (as I like to think of her,) Catherine. Catherine is the single most important thing in Atrus’ shallow life, and he must have her back no matter what trials and hardships he must undergo. What seems simple manifests into something much more complicated down the road. Puzzles show up around every corner; you’ll end up using clues that you’ve collected at the beginning of the game to aid you further in Myst.
The puzzles are too damn hard; I feel as though the game is taunting me with its difficulty level. You’ll end up spending hours to months on each puzzle, until one day you‘ll experience an epiphany of sorts, “Well, damn, that was easy, the answer was right there the whole freaking time.” It makes you feel stupid, and I’ve had enough of that in real life. Reportedly, some people spend years on this game. Hey buddy, time to move on, there’s nothing exciting about taking a pointer and clicking around. Ok, so you might need the occasional sheet of paper to jot notes and clues down on but still.
Let’s talk about these unbearably difficult puzzles that plague Myst. There’s one, when you’re in a library, that involves pressing certain buttons to jump start an elevator. Acquiring the clues so you‘re able to start the elevator can take forever; you’ll have to take notice to every minuscule detail and every infinitesimal dent in the wall. It’s simply crazy what you have to do so you can progress further.
Some of the puzzles require the ability to decipher clues given to you on palimpsets and combine them with others. Reading is another huge aspect in Myst’s game play. You’ll be forced to sit around and read countless books. What do you read all this for? Just the hope you’ll run across a clue that might break open a puzzle that you’ve been stuck on for a long time. The fact is, even though this game sold out the ass, a lot of people still haven’t made it past the beginning puzzles. I think this should give you some kind of idea on how hard this game really is.
In fact, its picturesque graphics are the only redeeming factor that Myst possesses.
Each level pushes the Jaguar CD to its limit with expansive terrains and awe-inspiring landscapes. The panoramic view of an antediluvian lighthouse with the rippling water that surrounds it is simply breathtaking. The CG-quality backdrops are astonishing. One that comes to mind is an island that is enclosed in a thick veil of never-lifting fog. The fog, which of course will make clues harder to come by, looks astonishing even compared to the games of today.
Unfortunately, they really missed out on a chance to provide good ambience to complement the visuals due to a lack of any real music. The “music“ is composed of cacophonic sounds that’ll occur abruptly when you turn a metal wheel or insert an item. Myst more than had the scenery set up, but they forgot that the music evokes more feeling. The two combined really could’ve done something.
With the failure of all the game play aspects and the success of only the visuals, Myst isn’t as great as it‘s cracked up to be. The only possible way Myst could be fun for you is if you like being locked in a room for hours on end while trying to figure out some of gaming’s most perplexing conundrums. Personally, I get my kicks by killing men with their arms and lambasting them with pipes. Maybe the whole purpose of Myst flew right over my head and I'm just stupid. Who knows?''
Community review by Sclem (June 14, 2004)
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