The Power of 9: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

You guys seriously have to thank 999 for bringing me back from the dead.

So I’d be opening up the start of the second semester with a gush post. Semestral break just ended and, well, I did nothing productive except doing Little Sister’s project (which took me weeks), reviewing her for her Biology competition and finishing up a game. Yep, nothing spells ‘sem break’ better than ‘finish a game!’. Actually, I’ve been playing this one even before the semestral break but it was only during that time that I actually finished, finished it. And I’m talking about 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors.

Junpei and the unlucky gang of the abducted.

Developed by Aksys Games, 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, or simply 999, is a mystery/suspense/puzzle/visual novel game which features six different endings. Which explains why it took me so long to finish it. And which also explains why I’m all “Oh, good Lord God! What is this masterpiece!” about it. Basically, you’ll be playing Junpei, your average teenage boy. Well, now he’s not so average anymore considering how he wakes up–no, falls off–from the top bunk of a bed inside a ship’s cabin. All would’ve been well and good if seawater didn’t come gushing in from the tiny cabin window. If this wasn’t bad enough, the door’s locked. You’re now tasked to sniff around the room for clues on how to open this obstruction to safety before you swim your way to the Underworld.

From this initial puzzle, one pretty much gets a grasp of how the whole game operates. Quite simple, really, since it only involves looking for stuff inside rooms. Plus, there’s a pattern: search for the code for the locked door. But some rooms would just stump you. However, what would really hook you to this game is the story. From the outset, you have nine people trapped in a ship

Told ya it’s not Lelouch Zero.

by some mysterious masked figure named Zero. No, not Lelouch Zero. It’s…some other Zero. Anyhow, he tells the nine of you that the ship is sinking and that the group has nine hours to find the door with the number nine, your door to freedom. Great, just great. And so, you and your group skeddadle all over the ship, trying to look for the numbered doors, solving puzzles and trying to keep each other alive–or killing each other off.

The game possesses multiple endings which are determined by the doors you go through. There are nine doors in total so you have plenty to choose from. I took the 5, 7, 1 route in my first playthrough which got me the Axe End so you can just imagine my horror when *mumble, mumble, blahblahblah*. (ke. No spoilers.) Since you’re probably going to get the endings in a jumble, it’s quite a different feeling when the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. What you might get to discover in one route which just confused the living daylights out of you, might suddenly make sense in another route. In a sense, the whole

June’s so pretty. Lucky bastard, Junpei.

story is a puzzle that you have to piece together on your own by gathering all the information from the different endings. I saved the True End second to the last and, jumping Jupiters, it was so fulfilling.

Now I understand why a lot of gamers love 999. It’s a stroke of genius. From the story to the gameplay, it was very well thought of. And it doesn’t skimp on the visuals either. I…don’t remember the in-game mus–scratch that. I remember. It was so traumatic. I dread every moment that a knock comes from the coffin. Seriously, 999 is perfection. If there’s one game to play in the DS, this is it. Playitplayitplayit.


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A shy and quiet person who loves anime, books and Japanese food.

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