Myst (DS)

When I first heard that Myst was being ported to the DS, I was thrilled. A truly amazing experience was being brought to a handheld I love so I could finally finish it, playing whenever I had a free chance anywhere. I was very disappointed. Myst is more awesome than I remember, but Midway did a horrendous job with the port.
First, let me talk a little bit about Myst without concern for the port. Myst is a first-person point and click adventure. While most point and click adventures provide puzzles with clear goals in mind, Myst’s puzzles are usually quite vague and confusing. Across the island are various puzzles, and it is not clear what you are supposed to do with each puzzle or why. It is like walking into a room filled with technology with which you are not familiar. The only way to understand it is to begin to use it.
On the island of Myst, you solve puzzles gaining you access to linking books. These books transport you to other ages (basically Myst sized islands). I would not want to go into more detail because I would not want to spoil any of the game.
The audio consists mainly of ambient noises and fit in with the game very well. The graphics are dated now of course, but looked great at the time of original release. Myst was one of the first games to come on a CD-ROM, and many people bought CD-ROM drives just to play Myst. The game looks very realistic using beautiful pre-rendered graphics.
Now to my dismay, I must talk about the port.
The graphics are a direct port, without raising the resolution at all. The text is incredibly hard to read. To compensate, there’s a magnifying glass that when clicked, will magnify the middle of the screen and put it on the top screen. However, the resolution stays the same. At first the text is too small. Now it’s just pixelated and blurry. There’s a feature allowing you to jot down notes, but I have not used it. You can take screenshots to look at later, but they do not seem to work right. I flipped to the middle of a book, took a screenshot, and went on my way to a puzzle. When I looked at the screenshot, it was of the first page of the book, not the page I tried to capture.
There are also many graphical bugs. First, some images do not line up. For instance, if there’s a switch to pull, the screen actually consists of the background image and the image of a switch. When you select the switch, the image of the switch should change to the image of a flipped switch. However, it displays slightly off-center from where it should, resulting in a screen tearing-like image. On top of that, sometimes the switches will appear to be in a different state than they really are. One type of switch can either be red or green. In one case, the red worked fine, but the green displayed it at one quarter its proper size. Some areas of the game have the screen flash incorrect colors or distort when changing screen.
At one point, someone I was playing with saved and later reloaded. She was at a puzzle, but could not figure out what to do. When she tried to leave the puzzle, she could not. At first she thought that she could not leave until she finished the puzzle. However, I went there on my game and was able to walk away again. She was fully stuck and had to restart her save file. Horrible.
Puzzles also sometimes reset when reloading. Imaging working hard on a puzzle, saving the game, and turning your DS off. Later you come back and find that you have to do everything again. I realize some games do this, but other puzzles in Myst do save. Some of the puzzles simply do not save.
Myst is a wonderfully beautiful game. If you truly want to experience it, play on the PC. It is a little troublesome to get it to work on Windows XP or newer, but it can be done. It would work best on a Windows 95 PC. However, if you do not want to be bothered by that and really, really want a handheld version, then you might want to try this DS port. Keep in mind how many problems you will face. That said, I am playing it on the DS because I prefer being able to play in various locations. However, I have played the original and know how great it is. Please, if you play Midway’s horrible DS port of Myst, keep in mind that the game was much better in its original form.