Review by marijumanji
"Myth is gaming greatness"
Myth: The Fallen Lords was released 11 years ago almost to the day, and yet it left an impression on this gamer that still hasn't faded away. 1997 was an incredible year for the gaming industry, we saw the release of Goldeneye, Diablo, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, Fallout, Quake 2, Jedi Knight, Gran Turismo, and Final Fantasy 7. At the time Bungie was a relatively unknown company that had produced a series of technically innovative titles for the Mac that had garnered critical acclaim but never gained the popularity of similar titles like DOOM. Then Bungie released Myth: The Fallen Lords, dropping an atomic bomb on the real time strategy genre.
Popular RTS titles like Warcraft and Command and Conquer had barely altered the basic gameplay mechanics since Dune II was released for DOS in 1992. While 5 years may not seem like a long time, in gaming age it's practically a millennium. In Myth, gone was the 'twitch' gameplay that rewarded hotkeys and rapid clicking over intelligence and strategy. Myth took away the ability to build a base and pump out an endless stream of powerful units, instead it forced players to think and use a limited number of units to beat seemingly insurmountable odds. In my opinion Myth is a classic that fans of the genre, fans of medieval fantasy, heck, just fans of videogames in general need to check out.
The story of Myth can probably best be described as "Tolkien-esque" but in truth that might be a bit generous. Darkness is spreading across the land, you are the world's last hope etc. What sets it apart from the 100 other games that have used this exact same plot contrivance is the quality and seriousness the subect matter is given. The narraration before each mission is superb and really hammers home the desperation and hopelessness of the fighting. In addition to the quality narrative, you are occasionally given an animated cutscene, partly as a reward and partly to help push the story along. These cutscenes are amazingly well done and do much to improve the atmosphere. Marks are taken away for it being possibly too derivative of Tolkien. Tree Giants are a little too similar to Ents and without spoiling anything the final mission has you casting an item into a giant abyss. Basically the story holds up well enough on it's own but the "homage-o-meter" sometimes drifts into rip-off territory.
As I'm reviewing a game that's over a decade old it's pointless to compare it to modern titles, needless to say, in 1997 nobody was complaining. Myth was notable graphics-wise for being one of the first games to include a real-time physics engine, explosions would cause enemies to be blown apart and send their limbs flying through the air. Units would take damage and bleed, leaving gore and blood on the battle field and units were generally well rendered.
Gamespot's review takes Myth down a notch for the ludicrous reason of being "too difficult". I owned and played the original Myth 1.00 and while challenging I never remember any urge to destroy my keyboard. The game runs great, it's actually one of the first examples of an RTS game actually requiring strategy. The first time you encounter a towering Trow is a great example. The novice gamer will foolishly select all his units at once and select "attack" only to watch in horror as his entire army is decimated. Reload and try again, this time pulling back for archers, having your dwarves to place satchel charges and using your berserks to encircle the Trow and watch the results. Myth rewards military tactics over mouse dexterity and for this reason earns a 10.
There is no music during the missions which is okay, there is plenty of ambiance, an arrow hitting the water actually sounds like an arrow hitting the water, likewise the clang and clash of sword and shield is very well done. The voices of all the units are great, the music during the cutscenes and cinematics is similarly epic. Everything is stereo, no lame 'tinny' sounding midi files here. As mentioned earlier the narration is fantastic.
There are still a few multiplayer servers running if you can find them which should in itself tell you how much love this game gets. At the time of it's release Bungie had there on version of battle.net titled "Bungie.net" this is now defunct but at the time it was awesome... rankings and multiple match types were there, the different difficulty settings added some replay value and there were a few 'secret' missions that might have been worth playing over again... not great if you didn't have an internet connection but still their was some replay value there.
Myth is one of those games that if you played it, you loved it. I highly recommend this game and anyone reading this who hasn't played it, should go and get it now.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/03/08
Game Release: Myth: The Fallen Lords (US, 10/31/97)
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