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999 is a niche title that won’t appeal to everyone: those who dislike mountains of text between brief periods of interactivity should stay away; however, fans of thrillers, puzzles, and the escape the room genre should absolutely give 999 a try.
The puzzle portion of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is substantial and enjoyable enough in its own right, but it's the story that keeps you hooked. Here is proof that videogame narrative can be everything we wish it could be and more. It gets you thinking, pulls at your fears and emotions, and hits you with a few perception-altering twists. What else can I do but give this game my highest recommendation?
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is likely to go unnoticed by many, and that's a terrible shame, because it really demonstrates the potential of visual novels as a medium of expression. Much praise must go to director and writer Kotaro Uchikoshi and the team at Aksys for bringing this project to the English speaking world. 999's "True" ending is one for the ages, and a complete success. A perfect 9, and very recommended.
The Review Busters
Basically, I could not put this one down and recommend it to someone looking for that niche game because this is definitely it.
999 : Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors est de ces bijoux trop peu connus du public. L'un de ces titres dont on ressort chamboulé et qui prouve une fois de plus que le jeu vidéo est un art à part entière. La Nintendo DS n'étant pas zonée, pour peu que vous soyez familiarisés à la langue de Shakespeare, vous n'avez aucune raison de passer à côté de ce roman interactif qui fait l'unanimité auprès des joueurs.
Cheat Code Central
Only the puzzle sections are animated, and they look great. Some of the characters' icons will smile, blush, or display anguish during the narrative. The rooms are littered with goodies, and the ship itself is vast. It's a recreation of the Titanic, and that was a pretty big ship. Musically the score is beautifully married to the moods of the scenes, most of which toggle between horror/mystery and fast-paced action themes. All aspects of production help to bring the story to life.
I enjoyed every second of my time with Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. If someone were to ask a gamer to recommend a great puzzle game for the DS, nine out of ten of us would most certainly point our friends to the Professor Layton series. Now, it seems there is a new puzzler on the block and it really comes in 9s.
PAL Gaming Network (PALGN)
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is a mature and rewarding visual novel experience with an unforgettable story that features some truly excellent writing.
Despite its repetitive replay structure, 999 is a thrilling, thoughtful, and fascinating visual novel that represents some of the best the genre has to offer. If you are averse to reading lengthy reams of text in general, then 999 definitely won’t float your boat. If you’re craving a complex, engaging adventure game, however, 999 should absolutely not be missed.
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is a fantastic experience from start to finish. It is a game that truly expands what narrative video games can be capable of, and does so with a engrossing story that draws players in until the very end, all six of them.
9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors isn't for everyone. A digital novel requires a lot of reading and will seem like a passive experience to most. If you're the type of person who skips cutscenes or nods off during long bits of exposition between explosions then steer clear of 999. If you want to try something new, though, I would suggest giving the game a look. Aksys has taken a huge risk in bringing something like this to America, and it may just be the necessary ice-breaker to bring a whole new genre to our shores.
My mind, I hope, is nearly finished unraveling. After three straight days, nights and early, early mornings spent playing through the entirety of 999 and accessing each and every alternate ending, the enrapturing spell this game has cast on me is finally beginning to let me think straight again. This experience, and this story, though, is one I hope every DS owner (17 and up) will explore. 999 will break your mind. And that's a very, very good thing.
Computer and Video Games (CVG)
A meaty - often literally - thriller, well told. With no UK release currently on the cards we point all adventure nuts towards their nearest import site.
Like a great page-turner, Nine Hours is very tough to put down once you start. The engrossing puzzles work hand in hand with the terrific storytelling to pull you into the gut-wrenching situation Junpei and his companions find themselves in, and the tension progressively ratchets up to keep you glued to the game and biting your nails as you seek an escape from this terrifying dilemma. At least on your first play-through, you may spend more time reading Nine Hours than playing it, but this is reading that makes you feel more involved in the story, not less, and you'll be eager to jump right back into this tale from the beginning when you encounter one of its six possible endings. For those who enjoy point-and-click adventure games and don't mind the gruesome possibility of having someone explode all over them, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is a delightfully chilling treat.
Raramente abbiamo avuto tra le mani un esempio migliore di convergenza tra diversi media: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors è quanto di più vicino ad un romanzo si sia mai visto non solo sui due schermi della portatile Nintendo, ma probabilmente su qualsiasi console da parecchi anni a questa parte. Se si pensa che anche l'attribuzione del genere letterario a cui il romanzo apparterrebbe potrebbe generare dubbi (fantascienza? thriller? horror?), appare chiaro come Chunsoft abbia avuto un grande coraggio a proporre un prodotto così text heavy in Giappone, ed Aksys ancora di più a portarlo all'attenzione del pubblico occidentale, con un palato tanto diverso da quello nipponico.
E nel voto finale intendiamo premiare proprio questo coraggio, sebbene non ci sentiamo di consigliare il gioco a chi non può vantare una perfetta comprensione della lingua inglese, ed a chi non ha comprato il DS per utilizzarlo come un e – book.
The A.V. Club
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is what Japanese folks call a “visual novel.” The story’s major incidents, its characters’ emotions and background, and much of the game’s tone comes through text and light animation; a character portrait will blush, an explosion will shake the screen, etc. Time not spent reading is devoted to solving environmental and logic puzzles in contained rooms, where you must discern the use of items to escape. It succeeds as a game thanks to an impressive thriller plot, a deceptively deep choice array, excellent pacing, and actual logical puzzles.
Pocket Gamer UK
If you're willing to forgive its foibles this is a fresh and exciting narrative driven experience like no other.
Because it involves so much reading, 999 moves at a somewhat slower pace than many games, but its grisly and mysterious subject matter make up for the lack of pulse-accelerating action. You won't die if you take a long time to figure out how to get the code out of the piece of frozen pork (no, really), but you just might die if you take the wrong person with you through a door. When observing tiny details make the difference between winning and receiving a knife in the back, reading long passages takes on a whole new kind of urgency.
It’s great to see a game in this obscure genre come to the United States, and kudos to publisher Aksys Games for taking the risk. I’d love to see more developers play around with storytelling techniques like Chunsoft does here — although I could do without the freezer tangents.
It might be a pain to get hold of but this engrossing visual novel has more mystery and tension in its simple text screens than a hundred CGI cut scenes.
The game 999 most reminded me of was the similarly dark – and bafflingly underrated – Lux-Pain, which was equally inconsistent and suffered from a significantly weaker translation, but arguably blended shocks and laughs a little more skilfully than this does. Expect the revolution in storytelling some have suggested and you'll be disappointed. But if you're in the mood for a faintly silly potboiler with a handful of cracking twists, you'll find this a thoroughly enjoyable read.
With its enticing premise and solid gameplay elements, 999 manages to deliver on some of its gigantic promise, but its repetitive, tedious storytelling technique threatens to sink the rest.