Hidden Gem: 999
I first heard about this game at the beginning of 2010 and I was really looking forward to the European release, sadly that never came. However one kind soul decided to send it across the Atlantic for me.
Full title: 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.
Console: Nintendo DS
Released: 10th December 2009 in Japan and the 16th November 2010 in NA. No European release.
Developed by: Chunsoft
Published by: Spike (JP) and Aksys games (NA).
Basic plot: Nine people have been kidnapped and find themselves on a ship not unlike the Titanic. They must play the ‘Nonary game’ which is a game where you will put your life on the line.
Gameplay: It’s technically a graphic adventure thriller but there’s a lot more to it. The game is very text heavy breaking up to do your typical point and click adventuring. There are also six different endings to the game.
Criticisms: I can see this being a very hit and miss game for people, for me it’s a hit but I can see where others will have a problem. Take the endings, there are five bad endings and one good one, after going all through the ins and outs it’s disappointing not getting the true ending. The other thing that could also be a problem is how much text there is in the game, there are points where you don’t actually do anything for 45minutes.
My thoughts: I loved this game and I was glad I knew about the alternate endings and how text heavy it was. After playing it I can describe it as a game version of those ‘choose your adventure’ books. The game play is very simple and it’s a case of read, find some items, read some more, work out how the items work but where it really shines is the character development. There are nine characters and they’re all very different, all have a back-story and all have their flaws and because of that they seem very real.
The focus is on the character, their motives, why they’re here and what is going on than the puzzle side of things. When you finish one ending you want to get another so as to find out as much about everyone as possible and you can see the sheer amount of effort that went into this.
I also loved that it was mature but not adult, for example blood stains rather than a ripped to shreds body. It was also very oddly realistic to have characters swearing, and the innuendo’s thrown out by some characters were just hilarious. It’s a great game for getting the emotions on go.
Where to pick it up: If you’re European you can occasionally get it cheap on eBay/Amazon but your best bet is getting an American to send it over. Do a swap for The Last Window as they didn’t get that game. If you’re in the NA region check your local game store, I’m told it’s hard to find new. You can also get it from http://www.aksysgames.com/store/ but only if you’re in the USA.
If you liked: Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and the film Saw. Mix the two together.
Did you know: The game makes a lot of references to conspiracy theories and such the like. It also makes mention to Ice-nine which appears in the novel ‘Cat’s Cradle’.