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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Home Myst!
Once upon a time I owned a copy of the original Myst, but I eventually had to replace it. Myst ME was available for Windows at the time, so I committed Macintosh sacralidge and purchased the Windows version. (Though any hardcore Myst fan would support this decision.) Myst ME offers improved graphics and sounds, and the movies are much clearer in QT4. These enhancements...
Published on June 22, 2000 by Robert Smelser

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104 of 107 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, not even as good as the original
I'm one of the most dedicated Myst fans anywhere. I fell in love with the original Myst even before there was a PC version, I've got the soundtrack CD and t-shirts and posters and all the books, I've won trivia contests, I'm friends with one of the programmers...and I just can't recommend Myst Masterpiece Edition for the Mac. I'm sorry to have to say it. Its one arguable...
Published on September 2, 2000 by St. Chris


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104 of 107 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, not even as good as the original, September 2, 2000
By 
St. Chris (Browns Mills, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Myst: Masterpiece Edition - Mac (CD-ROM)
I'm one of the most dedicated Myst fans anywhere. I fell in love with the original Myst even before there was a PC version, I've got the soundtrack CD and t-shirts and posters and all the books, I've won trivia contests, I'm friends with one of the programmers...and I just can't recommend Myst Masterpiece Edition for the Mac. I'm sorry to have to say it. Its one arguable strength is the higher-quality images, but that's all it has over the original -- and, surprisingly, sometimes it's not an improvement. All told, it's a jarring step backward.

A brief history: Myst was originally created by Cyan Inc. on Macintosh systems using Macintosh programming tools. It masterfully exploited the Mac multimedia capabilities of 1993, squeezing the highest possible quality out of 8-bit sound (akin to a good AM radio) and 256-color video.

It was later adapted for Windows -- not by Cyan but by Broderbund, who gave their best shot at porting the program but ran into technical limitations: The full-length soundtrack songs were cut short, the scene-to-scene transitions became rougher, the sound effects lost some atmospheric subtlety, and the images weren't quite as good as on the Mac.

When Mattel (then the owner of what-had-been-Broderbund, in the middle of a dizzying series of corporate buyouts) created the Masterpiece Edition for Windows, they based it on the previous Windows version. They used almost none of the master full-length songs and sounds available from Cyan. Nonetheless, Myst Masterpiece for Windows *is* much better than the "original" Myst for Windows, because it has clearer graphics, smoother animation, and the online help system.

Myst Masterpiece for the Mac is a straightforward transfer of Myst Masterpiece for Windows -- a port of an update of a port. The end product does have more-detailed pictures than the original Mac version, using full 24-bit color images. Ironically, these often look *worse* than the original's 8-bit images! In technical terms: Because they didn't have high-end graphics workstations when they created Myst, Cyan had to render the scenes from simplified, relatively low-resolution 3D models -- fewer polygons and lower-resolution texture images. To fit all the pictures on one CD, they downsampled the 24-bit master renderings to 8-bit dithered images, and the dithering added just enough noise to mask the lack of design detail (with the approximate effect of photographic film grain, not at all offensive to the eye). Conversely, the 24-bit images show every little technical and artistic shortcut in stark detail, giving many scenes a pronouncedly less realistic appearance.

Even if you do prefer the greater picture detail, nothing else about this version is an improvement. Some players may appreciate the added help system; in my opinion, it gives away hints too easily. But Mattel STILL didn't go back to the audio source material: The songs are the same clipped Windows versions, so you don't get the whole musical experience. (Until I played Myst Masterpiece for the Mac, I never realized what the PC users had been missing all these years! The songs truly lose their character when cut so short. It's a shocking difference.) The soundtrack audio was cleaned up to remove noise, but it became muffled in the process. And a particularly effective subtlety of the original -- sounds are quiet at a distance and grow gradually louder as you approach the source -- is gone: Now the music or sound effect just comes on full blast, as if someone suddenly cranked up the dial. The wind on Myst Island, for instance, sounds as if it's always about to knock you over, even when you're standing inside a building.

I've played this and the original side-by-side, and I can't believe they call this one the "Masterpiece." The original still looks and sounds superior.

And yes, I've played realMYST as well. The 3D rendering is interesting, but it adds nothing to the game play and substitutes motion (often too rapid, as if you're running all the time) for the carefully-composed, gallery-like still images of previous versions. I still prefer the original.

[Edited 11 April 2005]
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Home Myst!, June 22, 2000
By 
Robert Smelser (Indianapolis, IN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Myst: Masterpiece Edition - Mac (CD-ROM)
Once upon a time I owned a copy of the original Myst, but I eventually had to replace it. Myst ME was available for Windows at the time, so I committed Macintosh sacralidge and purchased the Windows version. (Though any hardcore Myst fan would support this decision.) Myst ME offers improved graphics and sounds, and the movies are much clearer in QT4. These enhancements promise to only be more evident in Myst ME for Mac, the original OS for this game. If you don't own a copy of Myst or if you just want to visit again, this is a wonderful enhancement of the classic game, and I highly reccomend it. Anyway, it might be nice to get reacquainted with the Myst and Riven mythos before Exile comes out next Spring. (However, if you own a high performance system, you might want to save your nickles and dimes for realMyst due out Q4 this year, featuring real-time renderings of the Myst Islands and a whole new Age to explore!)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, November 26, 2000
By 
hecwords (Oakland, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Myst: Masterpiece Edition - Mac (CD-ROM)
How I wish I'd read "St. Chris" review here before buying Myst ME! I agree with him/her completely. My big disappointment was the sound, too. I played the original Myst on Macintosh a few years ago -- I just finished Myst ME on my new Mac G4. The sound isn't as good as the original -- it's always at the same level and blasting. But most disappointing of all is the shortened music! Half of Myst's orginal haunting appeal was the soundtrack! If you've got a high-powered Mac, pass on Myst ME -- and pray that Disney doesn't screw up Myst III: Exile for Mac players.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The only reasons to buy it are for a complete Myst collection and for the Mac-Only Easter Egg, May 7, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Myst: Masterpiece Edition - Mac (CD-ROM)
This game is the worst version of Myst. The original is classic and realMyst is my personal favorite version. The only reason to buy Masterpiece is for the Mac-only easter egg. Basically, set the book room lock in Mechanical to all "C" symbols and click the lower right bolt of the panel. You're taken to a website w/ a beta vid of Uru/Mudpie. And no, there are no You Tube vids of it and the link isn't on the Myst wiki 'cause Cyan said not to publish it. So, this game is basically a $16-$170 easter egg. Which is wrong. Cyan, just release the link so Masterpiece can die in peace. There's my 2 cents about this version. Myst deserves 5/5, but this expensive easter egg is worthless.
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Myst: Masterpiece Edition - Mac
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