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Average User Score: 8.9Aug 23, 2012This game is awful. Let me preface that right off the bat. This is not a game.
What this is, is a visual novel. For those unfamiliar withThis game is awful. Let me preface that right off the bat. This is not a game.
What this is, is a visual novel. For those unfamiliar with the term, visual novels are quite literally, novels with visual elements, which can include pictures, videos, and the occasional interactive element. They are a mainstay of Japanese "gaming" and hold a special place in the hearts of lonely individuals with poor person skills and social anxiety disorders. What visual novels aren't, are fun.
The typical 'VN' as they are called, involves hours of text and left mouse clicks. You do not play a VN, merely slog through mind numbing monologues and so called character interaction. This proves to be a fatal flaw in gaming design, because games are supposed to be interactive and ENJOYABLE. There is nothing enjoyable about reading hours of text, staring and two dimensional cell shaded characters. The VN 'problem' stems from the Japanese culture itself. In Japanese gaming, the 'player' is relegated to the role of passive observer. You the player are never allowed to make real choices in a VN, and that same mix of culture and poor design crash head on in 999, rending it a bloody horrid, abortion of game design.
At it's heart, 999 is supposed to be a puzzle-solving adventure game where nine individuals are thrown together by sinister circumstances and are forced to come face to face with their pasts and the deadly traps set before them by an unknown antagonist; promising to be an exciting and enthralling tale of treachery, intrigue, and murder. Unfortunately you're forced to wade through miles of feces before you can get to eat your cake, and no you don't get to shower before it either.
Here's the problem. It's a point and click adventure game that locks you into limited, individual set piece rooms to explore. You will not get to explore anything but what have been chosen for you to enter. Nor will you get to even choose which rooms to enter. Sure, you might be presented with a choice of enter door number 1 or door number 2, but you will never be allowed to visit door number 2 should you choose door number 1. Sadly, this heavily restricts a game that could have had a great potential as you will never find multi-room puzzles, puzzles that span the length of the game, or be able to enjoy exploring the environment around you. You are locked in a linear rail ride from one predetermined set piece to another with no chance to affect any subtle changes to the plot or events that can transpire.
The game uses the archaic programming method common in VNs where specific plot events trigger specific plot lines via the few text 'choices' you are given. This means that the only effect you will ever have on the game's progression, is picking one text option over another. Everything you do in solving the puzzles is instantly rendered meaningless, as the plot is always locked into one of 6 predetermined outcomes. For a game based on intrigue, treachery, survival, and psychological horror, this proves to be a great detriment for the game, as a single "bad choice" will result in outcomes you can see coming from a mile away, simply because you the player are not allowed the option of picking up an item. That's right. This is a terrible game, because it won't let you pick up a plot critical item. Forcing you replay the game over and over hunting down "right choices". In a genre where every good player knows to loot the very last insignificant nail off a wall, the game binds your hands and prevents you from ever being able to interact with items that simply picking them up would alter the course of the game because it does not allow you to explore, and that is why it is not a good game. Hell, it's not even a game.… Expand