Game Over Online ~ realMYST

GameOver Game Reviews - realMYST (c) Mattel Interactive, Reviewed by - Winston Wolf

Game & Publisher realMYST (c) Mattel Interactive
System Requirements Windows, Pentium II-300, 64MB Ram, 300MB HDD, 3D Accelerator
Overall Rating 55%
Date Published Friday, November 10th, 2000 at 07:59 PM

Divider Left By: Winston Wolf Divider Right

Originally scheduled to be entitled Myst Dimensions, realMYST is a remake of the 1993 best selling, highly acclaimed, ever-controversial adventure game from Cyan. Why did they decide to call it realMYST? The original Myst wasn't a figment of our imaginations, was it? According to the Miller brothers, it's called realMYST because this is the Myst they envisioned so many years ago. An epic tale told in a fully immersive and dynamic world using state-of-the-art, real-time 3D graphics. If you missed Myst the first time around, here's your chance to experience the myth and legend. If you have played the original, this is your chance to play Myst the way Cyan intended the game to be played. Of course, just because the engine has been updated doesn't mean the game is any less tedious or frustrating than it was in its original form.

Myst is arguably the title that changed the face of adventure gaming forever. It featured photo-realistic environments portrayed using static viewpoints and slideshow-style movements. Perhaps more importantly, it offered tedious puzzles that seemed to forge the way for future adventure games. No longer did the puzzles have to correlate with the rest of the game, as long as they were challenging and unique.

Myst tells a tale of mystery and intrigue. While reading a mysterious book, you're transported to a beautiful deserted island where, through the writing of its former inhabitant, a man named Atrus, and some interactions with his sons, you must piece together the history of the island. The premise was a simple one, but the adventure itself was not.

Anybody who played the original Myst knows that graphically, this was as good as it got. The remake is no different. realMYST (boy does Microsoft Word hate it when you start a new sentence without capitalizing the first word) injects new life into the original offering by incorporating shooter-like freedom of movement. You're no longer limited to taking one step forward or backward. Instead, you can turn about 360 degrees, walk and look anywhere you choose, and enjoy the island as it lives and breathes around you. The weather changes, the sun rises and sets, the trees sway in the wind, and the animals of the island scurry by. You'll witness real-time lightning and ambient environment effects such as lightning and flickering torchlights. Its textures like you've never seen before, but they come at a price. While realMYST runs relatively smoothly when in indoor environments, the outdoor environments are killers in terms of framerates. The original Myst required a hefty system to play and realMYST is no different. If you don't have a top of the line machine, this once rich world will turn poor extremely fast, which in turn affects the underlying gameplay.

Speaking of gameplay, realMYST is exactly the same game as the original Myst. While new life was injected by way of an improved engine, the puzzles and all the books in the Myst library remain the same. For those of you who never played the original Myst, the puzzles can be quite tedious, if not frustrating. Many of the puzzles require lever and switch manipulation of some kind, and those aren't even the worst puzzles. While many of these conundrums relate in some way to the storyline, often explained upon completing a task, they're often absurd situations. Beginners will undoubtedly find themselves wandering the island several times over looking for something to do, that's how irrelevant some of these puzzles are. Veterans of Myst, I'll have you know that if you completed the original game, you'll probably breeze through realMYST in a matter of hours. The only new puzzles featured in the game are found in a new Age that has been added to the end of the game, puzzles that are much less inane than the original ones. If only they touched up on the original puzzles, this game might be worth more than seeing the epilogue and the new Age.

With that said, Myst is still beloved by many. If you enjoyed the original Myst, and you're intrigued by the real-time environments and the freedom of movement, you might just want to re-visit this mysterious island one last time for nostalgic purposes. If you were impartial to the original game, particularly the puzzles, there's really nothing here that will change your view. In my opinion, the puzzles are tedious and the framerates are terrible in the outdoor environments, combining for a frustrating adventure to say the least. realMYST appears to be little more than a side project while production on Myst 3: Exile continues, an adventure I'm certainly looking forward too. As it stands, I liken realMYST to a film re-release, ala The Exorcist. Unless you're interested in the digitally re-mastered effects and a few minutes of added footage, it's probably not worth revisiting if for little more than a stroll down memory lane.

[ 25/50 ] Gameplay
[ 10/10 ] Graphics
[ 06/10 ] Sound
[ 04/10 ] Controls
[ 07/10 ] Storyline
[ 03/10 ] Puzzles


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