The X-Files: Resist or Serve

aka: Akte X: Resist or Serve
Moby ID: 13608
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Description official descriptions

Based upon the successful television series The X-Files, Resist or Serve acts as 3 new episodes in the show's 7th season. The game features music from the series as well as voice acting by the show's stars.

As is routine for the team of paranormal investigators, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully travel to a small town in the Rocky Mountains to dig into the source of some strange and unexplained murders. The two prime suspects are girls accused of practicing witchcraft, but Mulder believes there's more to the story. Each episode has two acts, and takes players from secret facilities, to FBI headquarters, to a remote location in Siberia in search of the truth.

Gameplay is similar to the Resident Evil series. A fixed camera tracks the player and changes angles at specified points in the room. Control is similar, and players lock on to enemies to fire, and cannot move while shooting. Each episode can be played as either Mulder or Scully, with a few different locations and challenges (such as autopsies and puzzles for Scully) for each side of the story.

Bonus content includes brief videos of the dialogue recordings and concept art for the game.

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Average score: 68% (based on 34 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 9 ratings with 1 reviews)

I want to believe

The Good
Red Falls, CO—When the only suspect in a vicious series of homicides is a dead man, townsfolk are quick to blame two sisters known to be practitioners of Wicca. Fearing trouble, Sheriff Bud Smith has called upon FBI Agents Mulder and Scully of the X-Files. Arriving at Red Falls, the two agents find a nightmare. The only citizens around lurch towards them with homicidal intent and are frighteningly resistant to gunfire.

Are the agents witnessing a medical horror or a supernatural one? Are they being used as agents of truth or tools of the shadowy Syndicate? Divided into three two-part episodes, players choose either Mulder or Scully and then control them from a familiar third-person Survival Horror perspective, each agent uncovering the mystery at Red Falls and following the path it takes them on.

The core story of The X-Files: Resist or Serve is the same regardless of whether the player chooses Mulder or Scully, however the game play experience greatly differs. Each agent works through the core story by exploring different areas and completing different missions. What this means is that while Mulder and Scully get to Red Falls in the same car, it's not long before they go their own way, meeting up occasionally to compare notes and to watch each other's back.

Interestingly, this plays out philosophically as well. Scully's approach to the game is to treat the Red Falls crisis as a natural problem with a scientific solution. While Scully will rely on her pistol, she will also need to conduct autopsies, study microscope slides and play around with chemicals. Mulder's approach is more visceral, tackling the problem head-on, gun-in-hand. However, what he encounters is less tangible but more provocative.

The game has a nice combination of puzzles and combat to keep the player busy. Most puzzles require the proper use of inventory: including investigating the inventory you have and finding innovative yet plausible ways of using it. Scully's story, almost by necessity, is more puzzle-heavy and Mulder's is more combat-based (which leads to a serious miscalculation at the game's end). Depending on the player, either Scully or Mulder's adventures may seem more difficult.

The X-Files: Resist or Serve has several elements that strongly resemble Resident Evil, both in story and design. The inventory system is almost identical and the camera angles are similar (except Resist's camera moves around in larger areas). However, I found the tone to be closer to Silent Hill—more atmospheric and foreboding.

The game brings back all the major characters from the series and they are voiced by all the major actors—no small feat. This lends Resist tremendous credibility, heightened only by a story written by Thomas Schnauz (one of the series' writers) and Mark Snow's and Chris Carter's ambient themes. The game is set during the show's seventh season and is conceptually three "missing" episodes. Resist's greatest accomplishment is in giving equal time to Mulder and Scully, providing each character with enough to do, and providing a story interesting enough to play out through both perspectives.

Finally, The X-Files: Resist or Serve uses a nice DVD-like interface. You choose the episode and the chapter (providing you've completed enough of the game to unlock that), there is concept art, behind the scenes outtakes, and more.

The Bad
Survival Horror games typically have poor control schemes, a tradition upheld by The X-Files: Resist or Serve. The characters are controlled by the analog stick. Move the stick a little and they creep, a little more and they walk. To run though, you have to hold down another button. Why not use the analog stick to its fullest?

Resist uses automatic aiming for the gun, but it's not aggressive so you kinda have to be aiming at the enemy to begin with. Occasionally the autoaim is a little reluctant to lock on and if the enemy is below knee level autoaim becomes downright resistant.

If one of the agents shines their flashlight on inventory they can pick up, it will flash. However, if there is something the agent needs to interact with, then you must inch them around the area (while being thwarted by unyielding chairs) to find the correct hot spot. The extreme level of precision required can lead to painstaking searches and some difficulty during boss battles.

While I can extol the superb voice acting, the wonderful music, and excellent sound effects, the graphics just aren’t there. This is largely evident with the character models who have over broad shoulders, inexpressive (and poorly synched) faces, and who clip horribly during combat. The flashlight has a tendency to shine through walls and this game could really use a true "free look" option instead of just waving the flashlight about.

Finally, Mulder's end game has some serious problems. It's no spoiler to state that there is a boss battle, but it is poorly handled. Too long, too hard, too repetitious. I'm not sure if the intent was to lengthen game play or to make up for Mulder not having the cool science skills Scully possesses. For whatever reason, it is a big misstep which hurts an otherwise strong game. My advice is to cheat; you will do so with impunity.

The Bottom Line
Resist or Serve is a better X-Files game than a Survival Horror game—which is faint praise, but hopefully not damning. Better controls, graphics, and some tweaking would have elevated this game, but as it stands now, it is still an X-Phile's dream come true.

PlayStation 2 · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2004

Trivia

Thomas "Tom" Schnauz, who wrote the script and dialogue for the game, was also a writer for the series and "The Lone Gunmen."

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Terrence Bosky, Wizo.

Game added June 9, 2004. Last modified May 16, 2024.