You begin this first-person adventure by opening a book and being transported to Myst, a lonely island with a secret. You quickly find out from the creator of Myst that someone is destroying the wonderful worlds he writes into creation. He suspects his two sons, but which one is guilty? He can’t be sure and has imprisoned both of them books in Myst’s library, one in a red book the other in a blue book. He charges you with exploring the last 4 worlds left to find clues and discover which one is the guilty party. Each world contains a red and blue page only when all the red pages or blue pages are returned to the books can you release one of the brothers.
The island of Myst itself is quite small but it serves as a portal to the 4 other world you must visit on your quest. In order to access these worlds you need to solve a number of puzzles on Myst itself. The game is controlled with a point and click interface that works nicely for this type of game. The mouse changes shape when you encounter a hot spot or when you pick up one of the pages. Being an older game Myst’s graphics are a slide show that changes as you change direction. Movement in the game is limited and 360-degree panning isn’t possible. However, as you progress into the game this limited movement becomes less and less important besides the quest through out the four world is engrossing and challenging.
When reviewing this game I would like to clarify that I am looking at this game as I would have reviewed it in 1993 and not in light of the far superior graphics of today’s games. When this game came out there was a considerable amount of attention paid to its graphics and though they pale beside the 360-degree splendour of today’s games they are still something to admire. One of the best selling points of Myst was its ability to convince a player that they were actually exploring a different world. This would never have worked with sub-standard graphics. Myst’s graphics recently upgraded in the newly released Myst Masterpiece, use a great deal of colour and light to make the most of the then limited graphics technologies and it works. Each world has its own flavour and its own character. This is further enhanced by a nice soundtrack that doesn’t go over board with thrasher inspired ditties, but with a nice array of ambient sounds that are also often crucial to game play. If I could give one bit advise to those who have not played before, PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO SOUNDS!
The puzzles in Myst vary from the extremely hard to the mild. But there are certainly no shortage of them to be found in every environment. Myst’s use of the "find information in one place and use it to solve something in another place’ ideology is a real challenge and will amuse the newest to the most seasoned gamer. It encourages you to explore and to observe--and there is much to explore and observe in this game. For those who loath to take notes this is not a game that will tickle your fancy for I found that I had to keep some pretty detailed ones in order to solve some of the puzzles. Paying close attention to sounds is another must for this game. In one of the environments success is based on your ability to correctly route water through pipes based only on your keen sense of hearing. There were one or two puzzles that really left me cold but on the most part I found that examining what I had learned, trying a few different strategies or rereading my notes helped me prevail.
Myst retails for roughly $20-30 dollars these days and is a steal for that price. For the number of hours of game play you get you would be paying twice that for a newer game. The graphics may reflect older technology but they certainly are not unimaginative or unattractive. The puzzles range from learning how to make mechanical instruments works to correctly sequencing an organ to the tried and true maze but I think that because of the number challenges there is something for everyone in this game, hence its wide appeal. So if you have been wondering what all the chatter is about go out and purchase a copy and become one of the initiated.