True to the tacit rule established by its predecessors, Myst III features three primary characters (baby Yeesha doesn’t count). As the only newcomer of the three and the main villain of the game, Saavedro understandably gets the lion’s share of the screentime and, fortunately, makes outstanding use of it.

Tireless writerAtrus: Our old pal is back, although his hair is shorter, and he’s got new togs (including a rather hideous yellow coat). Atrus is a bit more relaxed this time around – at least, up until Releeshahn gets stolen –, and he’s obviously been putting a lot of thought and care into creating a new home and a new beginning for his people, just as he has done for his own family. He still feels the past as a heavy burden, both personally, because of his sons and father, and more generally because of the fate of the D’ni, and he is trying his best to move on from that. ‘Course, the poor guy never seems to catch a break, and you get to play the saviour one more time.

MotherlyCatherine: Unfortunately, the actress who played Catherine in Riven did not return for this opus, and maybe it’s just me, but I find the change rather jarring. Not only do they not look alike at all – Riven’s Catherine was taller and darker-skinned, with more exotic features and thicker hair –, but their behaviour also differs: Catherine in Riven had a proud, regal bearing, whereas this one appears like a homely, good-humoured busybody. I guess you could ascribe the change to newfound domestic happiness, but I’m not convinced and find that it lessens her appeal as a character. Be that as it may, Catherine greets you upon your arrival and directs you to Atrus’ study while she dandles baby Yeesha on her knee, and you’ll only have one other brief meeting with her during the ending.

And just who are you?Saavedro: This dishevelled blonde man with wild blue eyes is played by Brad Dourif, whom you may remember as Grima Wormtongue from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or the voice of Chucky, and who brings a lot of raw energy to the part, gleefully chewing the scenery at every possible opportunity. A native of Narayan, Saavedro befriended Atrus when he first visited the age and introduced him to the local customs, which were very demanding, due to Narayan’s unusual ecosystem. Unfortunately, Narayan was the last step in the ‘educational age tour’ Atrus wrote for Sirrus and Achenar, and they visited it as part of their greedy rampage. Their interference sparked a civil war, and the age descended into chaos, leading an incensed Saavedro to confront the two brothers. Unfortunately, they bested him and left him stranded on J’nanin. He eventually managed to return to Narayan, which, to his horror, he found locked behind some sort of energy shield. Believing that all its inhabitants had perished, he began plotting revenge, until he fortuitously acquired a linking book to Tomahna. He has been visiting Atrus’ home, hoping to discover clues as to his sons’ whereabouts. Finding none, he decided to steal Releeshahn in hopes of forcing a confrontation with Atrus himself. Saavedro elicits a complex response. On the one hand, he’s clearly unhinged and a menace. But on the other hand, as you uncover his history, you get a picture of a scarred, desperate man who lost his family because of two greedy fools, and you can’t help but pity him.

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