Thursday, 20 October 2011

Nine hours, Nine persons, Nine doors

Gamespot score:8.5 (great)

my score:9.0

(+)Pros:-Amazing story that draws you in,-clever puzzles that vary alot from each other,-realistic cast of characters that are easily likable,-multiple interesting endings provide tons of replay value,-choices made during the game alter its course greatly.

(-)Cons:-Too much of the game is spent reading.

Gameplay time:30-40 hours

Time to introduce probably one of the best DS titles up to date. Nine hours, nine persons, nine doors (I'll shorten it to 999) is intruiging, exciting, emotional and clever....its everything you can wish for in a visual novel. While the game is classified under adventure, 999 is more of a visual novel combined with some very smart and clever puzzle gameplay. It may not be the most complicated of games to understand, but the story, character cast combined with the puzzles make 999 one hell of an engaging journey of choice, where every one you make actually matters, BIG time.

The story of 999 is easily one of the best I have seen in any game. The story is kind of like a japanese version of saw, locking a bunch of people up to play an incredibly twisted game. 999 sees junpei as its protagonist, and he wakes up in a room of what seems to be a ship. It doesnt take long for him to remember that he got kidnapped, after realising that the door out of his room is locked, and that there is a watch with a number 5 on it. The window to his room suddenly cracks and water pours in, junpei panicks and tries to find a way out. After solving what seems to be a puzzle made especially for him, junpei escapes the room to find a bunch of other people sharing the same fate as him, one of which he recognises as akane, his childhood friend. After realising that the kidnapping of all these people is just a game devised by the ship's captain zero, the group of people introduce themselves depending on the number on thier watches, and they work together to traverse the ship's puzzles, to find the door numbered 9....the door to thier freedom.

Even an ordinary screwdriver may be a crucial piece to solve a puzzle.
 Most of 999 is story and text driven, meaning most of the time you will be reading other than playing. This is really not that big of a deal, since the story is amazing and the way they tell it in junpei's perspective is intense and almost realistic. Its not just junpei, all of 999's cast are superb in thier own way, and seeing them break down in times of distress, argue with others during times of disagreement or just screw up due to pressure can be quite......absorbing. It sorts of pulls you in to make you feel what the characters are going through. This easily makes players of the game feel attached to the very characters of the game. To top it off, they all look kinda unique! Lotus is a pretty sexy looking dancer for someone in her early forties, clover is a cute pink haired girl who gets pissed easily, ace is like a father figure, a leader to the group, santa kind of exists to piss the hell out of people, but proves to be useful.

All the characters are awesome in thier own way, and some of them having hidden agendas or dirty secrets make the scenes all the more imposing when you discover these very secrets through the course of the game. During the game, you will also be faced with a great deal of choices, like answers to seemlingly pointless questions or deciding which door to enter, these affect the game's course greatly, and ultimately decides upon which ending you get. This makes each and every choice you make feel heavy and important, bearing quite the burden.

Each and every character in the game proves to be
interesting one way or another.

Now comes another intruiging part of the game, the puzzles. The puzzles are all cleverly made, and involve you switching views of a certain area, and finding a key to unlock a door to proceed to the next story area. To find a key to open a door sounds simple, but the puzzles are rather complicated, meaning that you will probably have to do a bunch of stuff before getting the key....sometimes, the door just unlocks itself after meeting certain requirements during the puzzles. While most of the puzzles require lots of thinking, brainstorming, trial and error, there also many times where you have to find pass codes for code locks. Theres quite alot of variety in these puzzles, ranging from matching nodes, mixing chemicals (one of my personal favourites), playing a weird version of tick tack toe or even gathering gambling cards for a simple mathematical puzzle.

 While you will be replaying the game many times due to its many endings (about 7 in total), these puzzles will rarely get old, since they are so well and clerverly made. If you happen to just scrape through a puzzle before, a 2nd time will have you prove yourself to finally clear it properly. Speaking about the endings, most of them are....terrifyingly good (I dont really know why Im saying this, those who played the game should know what I mean). Fear not though, after replaying the game so many times, the final and true ending provides new and exclusive puzzles that the other endings don't have.

The game explains every grosteque and disgusting detail so
properly its kind of scary sometimes....

The game has totally no drawbacks at all in my opinion -.-. Though I say there are no drawbacks, the game itself IS just a visual novel...meaning that theres alot of reading to be done. Don't be fooled, I think the game is awesome and I dont mind reading walls and walls of interesting text, but since its just reading, some people might be put off.

Thats it. I conclude the review of 999. I can only say this, its an awesome game and I recommend ANYONE to play it. Its the kind of game that you simply have to play to understand what I mean. Though what I say in this review might sound boring (reading and puzzle solving), trust me, its so damn awesome that it will change the way you look at such games. If you own a DS, 999 is definetely a must have for your collection. If you don't like reading, don't worry! Just get the game, you might not be able to play constantly for hours straight, but the story is so epic that you might actually force yourself to read further. If you really cant, just turn it off and play it again later, the game autosaves.

Happy gaming!