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prototype  MYST

Title: MYST
Number: prototype
Type: Mega-LD
Released: unreleased
In: US
By: Pioneer / CYAN / Sunsoft
Sides: 1
List Price unreleased
Rarity: PR
Also On: PC, Mac and many others
Gameplay: unfinished
Graphics: 7
Sound: 3
Overall: 4

"Few are chosen. Fewer succeed. Journey now to an island world surrealistically tinged with mystery... where every vibrant rock, scrap of paper, and sound may hold vital clues to your unraveling of a chilling tale of intrigue and injustice that defies all boundaries of time and space. Only your wits and imagination will serve to stay the course and unlock the ancient betrayal of ages past." (from MYST advertising)

One of the most popular adventure and puzzle games ever was also planned for the LaserActive system: MYST. Your goal is to solve the mystery of a man who has discovered a way to travel to other worlds & ages through the use of magical books. Soon you'll realize that he has trapped his two sons in similar books and that you can free them by retrieving missing pages from various ages.

The prototype laserdisc that I acquired contains a fully playable version of the game along with various debug and test information. According to Brian Rice the game was 99% complete but a LaserActive hardware bug which led to inconsistent behavior of screen transitions prevented it from being released.

Gameplay is similar to the other MYST incarnations: your joypad moves a cursor on the screen, you can walk, turn around, examine and manipulate objects and load and save games. When playing the prototype disc it plays the Pioneer logo introduction, then the CYAN (Creators of the original MYST) logo and the Sunsoft (creators of MYST for various consoles and the LaserActive system). The MYST title animation plays, then a slew of still frames (game data) and then the disc stops at the start menu. From there on gameplay is similar to other MYST versions. I haven't finished the game yet but I suspect it may play all the way through.

Graphics are disappointing with low-res images of low color depth and many compression artifacts. It looks as if the visual data was pulled straight from the SEGA Genesis version of MYST. I had hoped for hi-res screens but this looks worse than the Atari Jaguar version for example - nowhere does this game take advantage of the superior screen resolution of the LaserActive system! Sound is minimal and adds to the overall let-down!

Brian Rice, president of Brian Rice Inc. (1981 - 1995) oversaw the conversion of MYST (1995) to the LaserActive system and says: "The game was 99% complete, the graphics looked beautiful for the day... some scenes that had animations in it that used the Sega graphics to overlay the video look "so, so"... many animations and all transitions were rendered to the videodisk with a half dozen Macintoshes we had running for a couple of months. For example, a wipe left, or a dissolve forward, would take up 6 frames on the videodisk and we would play the 6 frames to do an animated transition... unfortunately, there was a hardware bug that caused the transition occasionally to not stop after the 6th frame and keep on playing through other scenes. So, this prevented the game from ever being released."

Front Cover

Back Cover

Spine Card

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