Riven
Robyn Miller

Review

Myst, the biggest selling computer game of all time, was acclaimed for its superb graphics and atmospheric setting unrivalled in any other game. Riven, the sequel in name only, takes this concept and pushes it to the nth degree. The graphics, sound and music are better by far. And thus we turn to the music, produced, composed and performed by one-half of the Miller brothers: Robyn Miller.

Riven is a much more mature product, and nowhere can it be seen more clearly than in the music. Whereas Myst was filled with simple, understated melodies, Riven's backdrop seethes with an undercurrent of music. Eerie, dark and brooding, it envelops the player in a world, which is too unreal not to be real.

The soundtrack to Riven is so much more enjoyable than that of Myst for a number of reasons, but more importantly it is much more useful to be used in roleplaying adventures than Myst could ever be. The tracks are a little longer for one thing, but not overly so. This means they could either be used as pure background music, or better still, as carefully timed pieces for pre-worked descriptions and events. There is a much larger tapestry to work with . . .

The music is going to be recognisable to those who have played the game (as long as they were paying attention) but most of your group might not have encountered this "atmospheric" music. Most of the music has undercurrents of eeriness and magic, but I have tried to attach some theme to each track. Almost all of the tracks are quiet, as in the game they aren't supposed to dominate the scene but enhance it, perfect for you.

The music can be used in either fantasy or science fiction settings, but there is a strong leaning toward the fantasy due to the subject matter of the music. In science fiction settings I would use the music for alien cultures, especially long dead ones.

Overall a great buy. It is not only beautiful to listen to on its own, but makes great roleplaying music.

Track Listing and Notes

  1. Link (0:10)
  2. Atrus' Theme (4:06) - dark brooding
  3. Gateroom (3:45) - eerie
  4. Jungle Totem (2:41) - longing
  5. Survey Island Theme (2:13) - sad
  6. Temple (2:42) - discovery
  7. Village Entrance Theme (2:33) - tension
  8. Moeity Caves (2:53) - tracking
  9. Moeity Theme (2:13) - danger
  10. Boat Ride (3:25) - eerie
  11. Moeity Prison (1:47) - danger
  12. The Red Cave (1:54) - eerie
  13. Whark Room (2:24) - eerie
  14. Catherine's Prelude (1:59) - magical
  15. Catherine's Theme (1:05) - eerie/mystical
  16. Catherine's Freedom (1:58) - danger
  17. Gehn Speaks (4:23) - sad
  18. Gehn's Theme (4:00) - tension
  19. Fissure (5:31) - endings
  20. Bonus Track (2:17) - mixture of previous themes

Total Running Time: 54:08


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Riven © 1998 Cyan, Inc.