Thats too bad your not able to enjoy Secret Mission or Myst (which puzzle in Myst is giving you trouble?) I doubt your copy of Secret Mission is defective, perhaps you just arent overly familiar w/classic point n click style graphic adventure games? They do require more thought than say a Lost Eden ...
Lost Eden (to me at least) was more about telling a story. It was interactive ... but it was mostly talking (great voie work mind you). Few puzzles, little challenge, etc ... You didn't really have to think about what to do, characters would tell you what was next, you had a built in hint system, etc ... I don't mind this at all ... I lreally do ove the game for it's atmosphere, the strong graphics, the great music, the memorable characters, etc ... But it is a simple game.
Secret Mission is more about thinking and puzzles ... how to complete an objective with the tools you have at your disposal. For instance with the example you gave, you may not have known that you needed to knock the receptionist out ... but you did know that she was preventing you from reaching a goal. These types of games present a challenge and than leave you to (mostly) your own devices to figure them out. It may mean trying different combos and inventory items, but eventually you'll get it. And in hindsight, the puzzle makes sense. How dissapointing would it be to fly through the puzzles and have the game be over quick? With practice, solutions will start to be intuitive I bet.
Myst is different ... it makes a deliberate effort to give almost no guidance (at least Secret Mission gives yous some idea) Actually, lots of gamers seem to love the challenge of figuring things out on their own. I prefer the latter style more myself, and can see where Myst may frustrate you, especially if you aren't overly familiar w/the style of game.
Don't give up on Secret Mission ... you may find it grows on you. And if you don't wanna use the walkthrough (I don't blame you, I'd rather not) post a question in this thread. I'd be happy to give you hints on my favorite Cd-i game.
Anything relating to CD-i can be discussed in this forum. From the multiple hardware iterations of the system to the sofware including games, reference, music and Video CDs. Maybe you hold an interest in Philips Media and the many development houses set up to cater for CD-i if so then this is the forum.