Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
Boy, are we impressed! We approached this game with some trepidation because Myst holds such a special place in our heart: it was our first adventure game and the reason that we fell in love with them. And this game, after all, was written and produced by someone other than the now famous creators of Myst, Rand and Robyn Miller, albeit with their blessing. Now don't get us wrong: we love Presto's other work, notably their Journeyman Project series. But would they be able to capture that special 'feeling' that Myst had? The Wonder, and the Drama ..... that 'je ne sais quoi' that grabs you in the gut and just won't let you go?
The answer is a resounding 'Yes'! We were captivated from the get-go and stayed enthralled until the very end. Exile is a very well written tale that contains many of the same fascinating elements of the original masterpiece, and it's main character, Saavedro, is superbly acted by the talented Academy Award nominee Brad Dourif ('One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest').
It is a stand-alone game and can be enjoyed without playing the two previous ones in the series, but the story does pick up where we last left it at the end of Riven. We learn that after Atrus (writer/creator of worlds) was reunited with his wife Catherine, he created a home for her and his new baby daughter in a beautiful high desert world called Tomahna. And he hasn't been idle there. Although unable to undo the damage done to the various worlds by his sons and father, he resolved to at least help the few remaining survivors of the D'ni race. He has gathered them together from the far corners of the universe and has created (or written) a brave new world for them where they can rebuild their once great civilization. That world is called Releeshahn.
As the game begins you have arrived in Tomahna to join Atrus on a visit to Releeshahn to meet the D'ni people. But suddenly, before you can leave, a crazed-looking man appears, grabs the linking book for Releeshahn and disappears with it into another world. As you instinctively reach out to stop him, you find yourself also hurtling headlong into that unknown world. And it doesn't take you long to discover that you are now trapped, the helpless pawn of a madman, and there is only one way out.
This is a state of the art 3D game with 360-degree views, minimal inventory, and multiple endings. As in Myst, the 'Ages' you must visit are deserted island worlds, and the game is one of solitary exploration and problem solving. The first world, J'nanin, is similar to Myst Island in both the nature of its puzzles and the fact that it serves as a 'hub' for entrance to the other 4: Voltaic (a world of energy), Amateria (dynamic forces), Edanna (nature), and finally Narayan (balance): your captor's home.
All are breathtakingly beautiful (we would expect nothing less from Presto) and we found ourselves content to just wander through them enjoying the view, in no hurry to get on with the game. The sound effects are so realistic that we almost unplugged the computer during the electrical storm on Amateria and the music, composed and conducted by Jack Wall, is magnificent and stirring, particularly at the end.
As in Myst, the problems must be solved in each world in order to progress, although you can visit and solve the 3 main ones in any order that you choose. The puzzles are excellent and integral to the environment, requiring both logic and attention to detail, and you are rewarded for solving them with some of the most fantastic special effects that we have ever seen, including once when we suddenly found ourselves turning in a circle, and one particularly memorable ride which we will never forget!
But what really made the game for us was Dourif 's brilliant portrayal of a good man pushed to the brink of madness by personal tragedy and isolation. We actually HURT for him, especially so in the end game, even while we feared what he might do.
Great job, people! DEFINITELY recommended for anyone who enjoys this kind of game!
For additional great screenshots, a trailer and other things, visit the official MYST III: Exile Website. PLEASE NOTE: If you do a full install with this game then you won't have to do disc switching. It is not really that much of a problem if you don't, but it does require inserting the first CD each time you restart the game. Also note that there is a PATCH for the PC version available, which we would recommend just to avoid any potential problems.
Developed (2001) by Presto Studios and published by Ubi Soft Entertainment.
Minimum System Requirements: Hybrid Win / MAC CD ROMs! (Hybrid means PC and MAC versions are on the same CDs.)
PC: Pentium II 233 MHz Processor; Windows 95 / 98 / ME; 64 MB RAM; 4X CD-ROM Drive; 640 X 480 Display, High Color (16 Bit) Video Card with 8MB of Memory; DirectX 7 or Higher; Video and Sound Cards compatible with DirectX 7 or Higher; 200 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; Supports Optional 3D Hardware Acceleration; MouseMac: 233 MHz G3 Processor; Mac OS 8.1; 64 MB RAM; 4X CD-ROM Drive; 640 X 480 Display, Thousands of Colors Video Card with 6 MB of Memory; QuickTime 4 or Higher; 200 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; Supports Optional 3D Hardware Acceleration; Mouse
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