As 999 was coming out I had some interest, but only some. The buzz was that the game had a deep, compelling story and characters; from that I was instantly intrigued. Unfortunately, as I started to see art work for 999 I began to lose my interest. Considering the hype being that it was a truly mature, Mature rated game, the art direction seemed a bit childish. Hotel Dusk had a much more fitting art style and the reason I bring it up is because it is a similar game. I figured that I would just let the game come out, not sell, price drop and pick it up on the cheap. About a month later the game was still getting talked about, a lot. I was surprised by how much attention 999 was receiving weeks after it’s release. Word was spreading that it was starting to become difficult to find in stores so I looked around. True enough, the GameStop that I work at was the only store anywhere close that still had the game. I decide that I would buy it before it was any more difficult to get a hold of.
And so my voyage began. Instantly I was drawn in to the world of 999. The opening is truly fantastic and it slightly over sold the game to me. One thing besides the storytelling that stood out was the use of sound, something that doesn’t get much attention in DS games. While the use of ambiance is used throughout I did expect it to be more involved based of the first minutes of the game. Environments look nice and the music kept me playing with my headphones on late into the night.
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors can be broken down to three parts. The first part is the story and the second part is the puzzles. The third part is the ending.
The story; as well as the translation from the original Japanese is all nicely done. There is a lot of text and I only found two instances where there was a typo. The characters within the game build off each other creating a strong cast and their dialog is almost always interesting. I never found myself breezing past the text. There is also a rich mythology surrounding the story that borrows inspiration from the likes of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and the many rumors surrounding the Titanic. I am a sucker for that kind of storytelling. Another key part in the story is your involvement through dialog choices of the character you play as. This directs the path the story will take and how it will inevitably end.
Scattered throughout 999 are environmental puzzles. Rather than having the whole game subjected to keeping track of found items to solve puzzles hours later (as in Hotel Dusk) 999 segments puzzles into single or multiple room area. In these areas you must discover a way to escape by finding objects and clues to solve math problems, visual puzzles and riddles.
After you reach the end of the game you will be left with questions, and you may feel unsatisfied by the turn of events. Don’t worry, this is likely the most important part of the game. 999 is designed to be played through multiple times; with multiple paths to be explored and in doing so you will unravel the mystery of 999. There are more puzzles to solve and new details to learn about the characters. I know by the time I reached the true ending I was glad I took the time to find it, and if any of this sounds interesting to you I think you will be too.