Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Review for Nintendo DS (DS)

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Review for Nintendo DS (DS)

999 is 666 Turned Upside Down

In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors you must evacuate a group of nine people from a doomed cruise ship to avert complete disaster, and death. You’ll have to navigate unique, interesting, and deadly obstacles and solve puzzles to accomplish your mission. The strange thing is that there is no time limit, even though it’s suggested in the title. Even stranger is the fact that it doesn’t matter. Everything about this game works well as is. The average gamer won’t need more than nine hours to complete this game anyway, but with a multitude of different paths to choose resulting in six different endings, there’s lot of reasons to go back and board this sinking ship.

I do like this game, but before you run out and buy it there are a few things you will want to know. It’s text heavy, but in this case it’s a great thing. The story is captivating, and it’s not gilded with indulgent prose. It stays on track with poignant descriptions of scenes, character development, dialogue, and comic relief. This is an interactive novel with no crappy voiceovers to distract and detract you from the experience. Don’t expect a lot of animation or graphic depictions of blood and gore. Your mind will fill in the gruesome bits much more effectively. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (from this point referred to as simply 999) is designed to ignite your imagination, something games don’t do enough. So don’t worry about the text, because if you’re reading this then you’ve already passed the test. I promise the game is more interesting than this review. 999 is an event you don’t want to miss.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Screenshot

999 is an adventure game in the point-and-click tradition, but it goes much deeper than simply wandering around collecting items from a room. I don’t mean the game is more complex, just deeper in terms of context. The story does suffer from some bad translation, but it never fails to keep you riveted with more twists and turns than a snake in a blender. The narrative will give you insight into each character’s personality and psyche. The relationships you develop with these characters are integral to the gameplay. You don’t want these people to die, and that fear of loss is what motivates you to get these nine people through all of the nine doors within nine hours.

Let’s not mince words; the premise of 999 is a Saw rip-off. But that’s not a negative comment because 999 assimilates this concept to great effect. This has to be the best adventure game I have ever played on a handheld, and I would still be impressed if this were available exclusively on the PC. Try as I might, I could not find a significant flaw anywhere in this game. Some may argue that the heavy use of text is an easy method of avoiding costly production values, but there’s just too much information to be handed over to fully-voiced characters. The fact is all elements of this game gel perfectly, with nothing appearing out of place.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Screenshot

Aboard a cruise ship, nine people find themselves unwilling participants in a deadly game presided over by a masked figure known as Zero. These captives must make it through nine marked doors before the ship sinks. But there are rules to follow, with deadly results for breaching them. Each captive is outfitted with a numbered, digital watch that figures into many numerical puzzles, in addition to acting as a monitor. The watch will trigger a bomb embedded into the stomachs of the nine people. Talk about pressure.

There are sixteen escape rooms, thirty-two puzzles, and nine numbered doors to pass through, but you don’t have to enter them in sequence. Rooms are filled with objects you will need to help solve a variety of puzzles. They are varied, with many reminiscent of mini-games, although most puzzles involve forms of numerology. I would say “math,” but it may scare some players away. You’ll have to be mindful of the number each character represents, as only certain combinations will be allowed through the doors. It’s a process of adding digits together to arrive at a single-digit root, such as adding five and seven for a total of twelve, then adding the digits one and two to arrive at three.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Screenshot

Virtually all items in the rooms are usable, although some just trigger character interaction. Items can be combined to create new tools or used in a linear fashion such as when an axe is employed to smash a crate to reveal a container you can fill up with water to extinguish a fire.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Screenshot

All of your main controls will be taken care of on the touchscreen, although you can access some menus with the buttons. Grabbing items from the environment and interacting with them is a pleasure, not a crapshoot. It’s easy to pinpoint the exact item you want by touching it on the screen. The puzzles will give you a bit of a mental workout, but at least they are logical. If you get overwhelmed, or your bus trip is coming to an end, just save your progress and start over where you left off.

As clichéd as the characters appear at first, they become more human and vulnerable as the story progresses. You’ll have to replay the game several times to learn more about each one as they will be featured more or less predominantly depending on the path chosen. Different endings will also be revealed by taking different paths. You can fast-forward most of the text on your replay to speed things up since you’ll already be familiar with the plot development.

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.

This isn’t a game for young kids. It’s rated Mature for a reason. It’s filled with adult situations and references. So grow up and grab a copy.

Not a lot of animation, but when it does appear it’s a welcome sight. 4.0 Control
Flawless control scheme utilizing the touchscreen, makes objects easy to interact with. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is perfectly suited for the game. The lack of voiceovers is not a detriment. 3.5 Play Value
Worth a few replays to learn more about the characters and discover new endings. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • In Nine Hours players only have hours before Junpei and eight other kidnapped victims are drowned.
  • Numerology, music composition, and logic puzzles are just a few of the 32 + obstacles that stand in the way of their freedom.
  • Jumpei, the title character, must uncover the mystery surrounding the lives of the captive characters and how their blurry pasts reveal a disturbing future.
  • Each hostage is cursed with a digital watch that displays their special number. These numbers are the keys to unlocking the nine doors.
  • Jumpei must explore his surroundings for clues to unlock the next door by picking up and examining objects in the different environments.

  • To top