Your Ad Here

{short description of image}
- | main | the lounge | archive | about us | feedback | -

-- b i o --
Donald Melanson is the editor of Mindjack and is constantly learning on the job.

reviewed by Donald Melanson

This was originally intended to simply be a belated review of a game that's been out for a while, but with Broderbund recently being purchased by The Learning Company and Riven partially getting the blame for their loss in profits and falling stock, this turns out to be much more timely than I had ever anticipated.

RivenTo date, reviews of Riven have been polar opposites of one another, some hailing it as one of the greatest games of all time and others completely knocking it; I'm somewhere in between. I'll confess that I never really got into Myst. I appreciated it for what it accomplished and tried to accomplish but I could never seem to get immersed and enjoy it. But I did get immersed in Riven, and I did (and still do) enjoy it.

The visuals in Riven are stunning and there is a surprising amount of movement in the game, something that was lacking in Myst. Birds fly overhead, bugs scurry about your feet and citizens of the world of Riven are often noticeable in the background. There are also a number of impressive cut-scenes throughout the game but for the most part they were very choppy on my Pentium 133 box. Apart from that, the game ran flawlessly.

Equally as impressive as the visuals, is the sound in Riven. Quite frankly, it's some of the best stuff I've ever heard in a computer game. The game's manual booklet says it best: "...for goodness sake, use a pair of headphones or a good pair of speakers!", you'll thank yourself for it. You can even order the soundtrack on CD if you are so inclined. Which brings up another point, the merchandise. You can order the usual fare such as mugs, mousepads, posters and T- shirts but more interesting items such as replicas of artifacts from the game are also available (bolos, daggers and hunting sickles included).

All things considered, Riven still isn't for everybody. Many have said that it's a game for people that don't like games, and that's probably true. But I think regular gamers can also get deeply immersed in Riven if given a half hour or so to get used to the slower pace and get out of the Quake-mindset. I also wouldn't hesitate to use a strategy guide with Riven since many of the puzzles are down-right frustrating, and unlike other adventure games it doesn't necessarily ruin the game if you do. But even if you never finish Riven I think you'll still find it an enjoyable experience. You've never finished Tetris or Galaga have you?

The writer of this article welcomes your comments: