As the first-ever full-fledged parody of a CD-ROM - excluding all the half-baked games that are parodies of themselves - Pyst is to Myst what MAD magazine's "201 Min. of a Space Idiocy" was to the Stanley Kubrick movie: a pretension-busting romp through a ripe-for-puncturing cult classic.
In Pyst, players take a tour of the eponymous dump of an island, which (as perky guides explain in breezy voice-overs) is about to become a high-priced real estate development. The disc has 10 amusingly cluttered tableaux, including the Chernobyl Room (a nuclear reactor that appears to be only slightly safer than the one in The Simpsons) and Alien Trash (which reconfigures Myst's famous rocket as a creaky rust bucket with an AC extension cord). Unlike Myst, Pyst offers no problems to be solved - the excruciatingly enigmatic hints scattered throughout are meaningless and just part of the joke - but this shortfall is partly compensated by the appearance of Roseanne's John Goodman, who has a jolly good time in his brief cameo as King Mattruss.
Pyst's humor ranges from the sublime (the "I bought Netscape at 20!" graffito in the Horror-Scopium) to the sophomoric (clicking on the bong and seeing a puff of smoke is fun, but I could have done without the dog piddling on a totaled car). It's not worth the price of Myst, but a couple of million people might appreciate the joke.
As I opened the box to PYST, I was overcome with a sense of joy. MYST is one of the greatest games of all time and here in my hands was a parody of the mighty master of point-click-solve software. What I thought was that I had received a wonderful game with a comic twist... What I got was a horrifying disappointment.
The storyline behind PYST was nothing but a teaser. Since MYST, it's predecessor, had over 4 Million copies sold, PYST takes over from there allowing you to explore the same Island. The catch is that each of those 4 million plus explorers have turned the mystical island into a tourist trap wasteland. Graffiti, garbage, dead animals, trailers, and advertising have completely overrun the sacred place. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? So I loaded it up and began clicking away... I thought I was having trouble with the controls for a minute, but soon realized I wasn't playing anything like MYST.
The controls are horribly simple. All mouse controlled, you simply click on a picture or item when the pointer changes appearance. You can click on a seagull, for example, and it will squawk and shit. But unlike MYST, you cannot move around or explore the island. What you have to do is sad! You may CLICK the right border of the view screen and go to another prominent game screen retouched by the PYST 'art' team.
There are a grand total of eight screens in this "Fun family package". I don't remember the last game I played that had eight screens!!! It's simply way too little entertainment, even for a seven year old. You may also CLICK the left border to go back to the last screen or CLICK the top or bottom borders to see a postcard from a previous visitor. Some of the postcards are funny and some of the screen animations will make you chuckle.
The overall problem is that you really can't do anything at all. It's not even a game! You can only watch select animations by clicking the correct picture. Then click the right or left border to go to the next area. That's it!
The only two things that I did find humorous are the exploratorium and an X-Files postcard. The exploratorium has been changed to a "psychic astrology" reading room. When you pull down the panel in the chair, the buttons have astrological signs on them. Click one, and get a reading. The postcard was one from the main characters from the X-Files telling the other about the spaceship area. One other important thing I should mention is the on-line game extension. You can connect to the Internet in order to explore more PYSTical worlds and be bored out of your mind for hours...
If you like cheezy, dry, stupid, goofball comedy, PYST may suit you just fine. However, if you have limits to your madness, don't waste time on it.
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