Welcome to my Riven walk-through. (-: If you're new to my series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea is to point players
towards things they might not have thought of in each game rather than giving away puzzle solutions or offering step-by-step instructions. There's not much
point to playing an adventure game if you know all the puzzle solutions in advance, after all.
So these pages are as close to spoiler-free as possible.
If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example, and just want to know whether there's
anything you're going to hate in it--visit my Riven Review page to find all
the pertinent information in one convenient spoiler-free package.
I actually have two different Riven walkthroughs available:
Fun Things To Do In Riven: My "Fun Things To Do" walkthrough series
started with CRPG's, where there tend to be a lot more optional actions and subplots than in the adventure game genre. Riven's gameworld is detailed enough, though,
that there are actually a few things in it you might miss if you only did what was strictly necessary to win the game. This Riven walkthrough lets you know where each such thing
is, without spoiling what happens when you try them. Includes easter eggs and alternate endings.
The Non-Boring Guide To Riven: The "Non-Boring Guide" series is
aimed at distilling just the fun parts out of games with difficult navigation and flawed interfaces. Riven has some of the most carefully-thought-out and
well-integrated puzzles I've ever seen in a computer game, but getting back and forth between them in the proper order without clawing your eyes out
from sheer boredom can be hell. This Riven walkthrough tells you exactly where each puzzle is and whether it's possible for you to solve it yet, so you don't keep banging
into dead-ends or having to retrace the same long winding route 28 times, but does not spoil the solution to any of them.
If you are looking for the solution to a particular puzzle, I recommend the excellent UHS site--you
can only see one hint at a time there, so you can get the answer to one puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. My website here focuses on exactly the
things UHS and traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-critical parts of the game, little detours you can take, extra details you might miss if you only
did what was strictly necessary to win the game.
Adventure games in general tend to be more linear than CRPG's, and Riven is no exception. It's impossible to miss the vast majority of this
game--if you don't finish all the puzzles, you won't be able to find Gehn or free Catherine, and if you don't do both those things, you won't win the
game (Atrus tells you as much in the opening sequence). Even so, there are a few optional game elements that it's possible to skip accidentally:
*On the first island, you can look down the cliff to see the guard's body lying down there. After a while, the guard's body disappears (according to the journal
in Gehn's bedroom, he recovered and returned to tell of your arrival).
*On the first island, inside the rotating room, you can manipulate the gold beetles to see some religious art designed by Gehn, depicting himself as
a sometimes-benevolent, sometimes-angry god.
*On the first island, when you enter the temple from the outside (by where the cable car picks you up), you can briefly see a hologram of Gehn. Not sure
why he projected it there exactly. It's not as if there are any natives on this island for him to impress.
*The second island is frustratingly full of life that there's no way to interact with. As you approach the watchtower, you can catch a glimpse of somebody
up there sounding (presumably) an alarm, perhaps to let the people know you're coming so that they'll hide and not put stress on the game's limited AI.
As you continue towards the round houses, you may catch a glimpse of a mother running to collect her stray child and usher him offscreen. If you knock
on the knockable door five times, a face will peek out the window at you and then disappear. As you walk down the forest path, a little girl will occasionally
appear and run away from you into one of the buildings. None of these events can be affected by you in any way.
*On the third island, you can power and turn on the wood chipper. There's no point to this, but it's kind of neat. Can't turn it on while you're inside it, though.
*On the third island, inside Gehn's workshop, you can see his blowdart gun on the table (but not take it or sabotage it, of course, because good is dumb). If you
return to the lab later, you'll find the gun gone. (If you choose one of the bad endings, you'll even get to see him use it on you or Atrus.)
*Also inside the workshop, you can examine one of Gehn's broken books inside the furnace and play with his lava lamp (watching the water flow away from the
heat when you turn it on just as described in his journal). None of the dozens of other views you can get of Gehn's worktables are any use whatsoever, from what
I can tell. One of the eggs in the one openable drawer seems to react to being clicked on, but nothing happens; this is apparently part of an elaborate
easter egg. If you solve all five riddles on that page and click on the five locations indicated,
you'll be able to see Gehn sing an opera song (or so one of my friends tells me).
*On the island of topographical maps, there's a throne you'll need to play
with to learn a color code you need for one of the puzzles. While you're there, though, you can use the left-hand viewscreen to spy on Catherine in her
prison cell, and also use the red light corresponding to your own position to summon a real wahrk to swim around outside the window. Summon him three times
in a row and he'll get pissed off and ram the glass. (-:
*On Tay (the Moeity Age), if you peek through the window of your prison cell, you can catch tantalizing glimpses of the rebels moving about their world. It's
too bad it is impossible to explore this Age further; it's truly mesmerizing in appearance.
The Game Endings
Unlike in Myst, there are no alternate endings presented as deliberate choices (you have no option to trust Gehn and see what happens the way you did
with Sirrus and Achenar), but there are several endgame movies you can watch if you lose the game--either by failing to do the quest you were assigned,
or by doing something rather willfully stupid. To be specific, there are different endgame movies that play if you:
*trap your own self in the prison book (there are at least four different movies available depending whether you execute this boneheaded maneuver while
on the Rebel Age, while on Riven, after trapping Gehn, and after meeting Gehn and promising to return with the book).
*ignore Gehn's warnings to stop bothering him and summon him three times in a row without using the book.
*call Atrus without even getting the linking book back.
*call Atrus with the linking book but without having trapped Gehn.
*call Atrus having trapped Gehn but without having rescued Catherine.
If you want a more concrete walkthrough (one with explicit travel directions, yet still no puzzle spoilers), please continue on to my
Non-Boring Guide To Riven.