Myst, the surrealistic adventure that swept computer gaming last year, is now making its way onto next-generation platforms. Already out on 3DO and Saturn--and due soon for PlayStation and Jaguar CD--Myst has lost nothing in the translation.
In fact, it's better in many ways.
The engaging story, stunning scenery and haunting music remain. Add to that the ease of use that only game machines can offer. No fiddling with your system to get the game running. Just pop and play.
For those who do not know the story, I won't ruin the fun. Suffice to say that the Miller brothers' tale of intrigue and fantasy is one of the finest ever created for a video game. A nice touch added to the new versions is that the scenes scroll and dissolve seamlessly as players explore the various islands. It's a nifty enhancement to an already perfect game.
3DO or Die: Once the most expensive game machine on the market, the 3DO is now among the cheapest. Since late July, the 32-bit CD-based 3DO has been selling for $300--about the price of Sony's just-released PlayStation.
The difference is that 3DO now comes with up to two games, depending on which version is purchased. The Panasonic system comes packaged with GEX and the Goldstar unit with both FIFA International Soccer and Shock Wave.
By contrast, PlayStation buyers must purchase games separately or spend $350 to pick up the main unit packaged with Ridge Racer. Sega's Saturn, which sells for about $400, includes Virtua Fighter as well as a certificate redeemable for Clockwork Knight, Worldwide Soccer and Virtua Fighter Remix.
And while it may not have any of the glitz surrounding the launches of PlayStation and Saturn, 3DO has a solid game library of over 200 titles. In addition, it offers the only potential upgrade path to 64-bit gaming with its M2 technology announced earlier this year.
Ain't competition grand?
Winging It: In the "where are they now" file we find Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell starring in the final episode of the Wing Commander series, a truly sweet hybrid that mixes a cool enough interactive movie with some serious shooting action.
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger on PC CD-ROM and 3DO chronicles the climactic end to the Terran-Kilrathi war, pitting humans against a race of feline bad guys. The movie--which spans four CDs--is sometimes cheesy, but the effects and backgrounds are actually pretty cool.
Technically, the video is crystal clear and the sound is pumped out in Dolby Surround. I spent a few minutes just admiring the easy grace and flair of the audiovisual. And unlike most interactive movies that feature a bunch of unknown actors awkwardly spouting hokey lines, Wing Commander III's dialogue is delivered convincingly by some top-drawer actors.
In the end, though, what makes all this tolerable for its rather lengthy duration is some very nice shooting and flying sequences that could easily be pared down into their own game. Among the cool features: the ability to shoot down your wingman's ship, an action that leads to a disgraceful court martial.
Staff writer Aaron Curtiss reviews video games regularly. To comment on a column or to suggest games for review, send letters to The Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311. Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* SONY'S SPLASH
PlayStation, Sony's entry in the video game war, hit shelves last week and delivers some of the hottest game play around. Review, F1