Monday, 27 December 2021

Myst versus D - Point and Puzzlers


Back in the hayday of our favorite console, there weren't a whole lot of games to fit in each and every genre. Now days, we have games that fit in to just about every niche one could possibly think of and can often find a decent amount in each one. Back in 1995, this was not the case, especially when it comes to consoles. Point and click adventures, on the other hand, were commonplace and there were plenty of them. The Sega Saturn sported two that we will be comparing today. D and Myst were two prominent titles on the system in North America because they were very commonly found in stores. When both sport such similar gameplay but in strikingly different ways. Both have strong cult followings and both have puzzles and explorative features that all can enjoy. 

One difference that a player will notice immediately is the setting. Myst is more akin to a different planet while D is far more like a haunted mansion (aside from the hospital cut scene at the very beginning). Another very noticeable difference is the way you move. This may seem like a cosmetic feature, but it is far more important than one might think. Myst has a fade effect when it comes to the point and click movement. Once you click forward or whatever direction you're wanting to go, the screen goes out then comes back in with your movement progression. D, on the other hand, you actually see yourself move forward. You walk slowly and actually turn in a visible way. The real difference is not only graphical movement, but also atmosphere. 

Atmosphere is one of the key factors that set these two games apart. Where Myst is an otherworldly experience with discovery and puzzles, D is a horror experience with discovery and puzzles. Not only does D sport a more gothic, macabre feel to it, but it also boasts a soundtrack that plays an eerie sound throughout your experience. This background soundtrack keeps you feeling that unsettling creep factor all throughout. 

While Myst does possess a more diverse list of levels, it lacks heavily when it comes to any sort of atmosphere. This is due to there being next to no soundtrack. There are some outside sounds and sometimes that's pretty nice, but after a while, many will find themselves pining for some music or more background noise. 

Another point of comparison is... oh boy... the acting. I'm going to be honest, Myst will always lose when it comes to acting. The voice acting from D isn't great, because it's all just Dr. Harris, Laura's father, popping in and telling her that she shouldn't be doing things. Myst, on the other hand, is some of the worst acting this side of the Sega systems. The brothers you choose to either set free from the books or not set free from the books come to you, say they want pages and they ham it up like they're trying to win a Razzie. It is physically painful to watch. 

To more of D's credit, it also sets itself ahead of Myst in the ways of character. You play Laura Harris, a young woman who is trapped in her father's mind and is forced to work her way through his house of horrors in order to save him from insanity. You are a human being with a clear goal and an emotional connection with the situation. Not only do you know she is trying to save her father, you can also see her reactions to her situation as they happen. We feel her tension and we see how horrific her circumstances are and thus we are engaged. 

Myst has a severe lacking of any of this. We are a faceless person who teleports around to places, collecting pages and putting them into books with psychopathic thespians who apparently couldn't pass Drama 101. There's some sense of awe when we see the scenery, especially if you're seeing these graphics back in the mid 90's for the first time. However, you don't see your character reacting to these events and you don't have any sort of connection to them at all, aside from being the player. This makes all of the difference in the world. 

[Spoilers] D is not a perfect game, it has its flaws and it's got very little replay factors aside from some background beetles that tend to show up at random and the option to either join your father or kill him. Myst has the replay factor where you either want to go the long way through the game or the short way through the game to get the different endings. Both games have different endings and both games have their ups and downs. From a story and atmospheric point of view, D has the goods. Either way, both games will scratch your itch for exploration and both games are rather short in length, especially if you know your way around the puzzles already. Science Fiction nuts will probably prefer Myst while Horror fanatics will probably have more fun with D. It's all up to taste. By the way D stands for Dracula! I SAID SPOILERS! NO TAKE BACKS!

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