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Waking up, unsure of where he is, Junpei discovers a watch-like device attached to his wrist with a digital "5" on the face. Trapped inside the room with the only way out being a solid, steel door with a menacing, blood-red "5" painted on it, Junpei has little time to take in his surroundings before a porthole cracks, and water rapidly begins pouring in. As he makes his escape, pieces of memory return, including a strange figure in a black coat and gas mask known only as Zero. He soon meets eight other people aboard what they soon discover is a huge ship. Who are they, why has Zero brought them here, and what is this strange game that Zero has decided to play with their lives?

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is an adventure game with two different styles of play. The first is a traditional Japanese "Visual Novel" style game, where most of the game is spent reading through text, with occasional choice selections being prompted at points. However, unlike most visual novels, the majority of choices presented in the game send the player on different paths, leading to different areas of the ship, eventually leading to one of the game's six different endings. Based on how the player responds, other characters change their attitudes or personalities, and different events will occur. In the narrative sections, characters and dialogue are shown on the DS' top screen, while a narrator describes thoughts, feelings, and actions on the bottom screen.

The other style of play is more akin to a traditional point-and-click adventure game. At key points in the game, the player and other characters become trapped in one of the ship's many rooms, and must solve a number of puzzles to discover the key and unlock the exit. Puzzles are all logic-based, and relevant clues are placed within the room. Everything you need to escape is within the room, so there is no need for trial-and-error guessing, and you can't get "stuck" because you've missed an object. During puzzles or interactive escapes, the DS' bottom screen is used to navigate the room and select objects to interact with, while the top screen shows dialogue from nearby characters.

A major gameplay element comes in the form of Zero's sealed metal doors spread around the ship. Doors rely on an arithmetic function the game calls the "digital root." Each door has a number, and three to five characters must pass through the door at any one time. The characters that pass must have a total bracelet value that adds up to the "digital root" marked on the door. Digital root is calculated by adding the numbers, and then the sum of those numbers, until only a single digit remains. For example, 7, 8, and 9 would add up to 24. 2 and 4 would then be added to get 6. So the digital root of 7, 8, and 9, would be 6.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors features multiple endings based on the choices and actions of the player. It is also possible for any of the characters (including Junpei) to be killed in the course of the story, making the game somewhat less linear and the choices somewhat more profound.


999: Nine Hours · Nine Persons · Nine Doors Nintendo DS The map shows your location and what you are facing in the room.
999: Nine Hours · Nine Persons · Nine Doors Nintendo DS The door seems to have strange marking... in blood?
999: Nine Hours · Nine Persons · Nine Doors Nintendo DS Found a key inside a kettle.
999: Nine Hours · Nine Persons · Nine Doors Nintendo DS The water is pouring into the room, better find a way out and soon.

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Alternate Titles

  • "Zero Escape: Volume 1 - 999: Nine Hours · Nine Persons · Nine Doors" -- Re-release title
  • "Kyokugen Dasshutsu 9 Jikan 9 nin 9 no Tobira: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors" -- Japanese title
  • "999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors" -- Informal title

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Critic Reviews

Mania Nov 16, 2010 A 100
The Review Busters 2010 9.9 out of 10 99 Jun 30, 2011 19 out of 20 95
PAL Gaming Network (PALGN) Jan 25, 2011 9 out of 10 90
RPGFan Dec 26, 2010 90 out of 100 90
The A.V. Club Nov 22, 2010 B+ 83
Spazio Games Mar 14, 2011 8.3 out of 10 83 Jan 10, 2011 8 out of 10 80
Pocket Gamer UK Feb 10, 2011 8 out of 10 80
Bordersdown Jul 15, 2013 8 out of 10 80


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Ben K (23888) added 999: Nine Hours · Nine Persons · Nine Doors (Nintendo DS) on Dec 27, 2010
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