Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma, often shortened to just Zero Time Dilemma or ZTD, is an adventure game with a visual novel-style approach to its story. Zero Time Dilemma came out in 2016 and it’s the third game in the Zero Escape series. Spike Chunsoft developed the game. Spike Chunsoft and Aksys Games published it. At the time of Zero Time Dilemma’s release, it was available on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo 3DS.
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma received generally positive reviews upon release. Since its release, the overall opinion of the game has stayed mostly positive — Steam rates Zero Time Dilemma a 9 out of 10. According to Google, almost 90% of the users who weighed in about the game claim to like it. Although the game is classified as an adventure game, its actual genre gears more toward psychological horror, with a lot of suspense and mystery thrown in. Zero Time Dilemma is a prequel to Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward.
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Premise
Although Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma is considered a sequel to Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, it’s actually a prequel. The story follows a group of people who are abducted by Zero and split into teams of three. These teams are trapped inside a facility and forced to play the “Decision Game,” where the participants are forced to choose who lives and who dies. There are nine participants and six of them need to die for the remaining three to live.
Although there are nine participants, the story focuses on three of them: Diana, a nurse, Carlos, a firefighter, and Q, a boy who stands out thanks to the spherical helmet he has. Zero is the mastermind behind the Decision Game. The mysterious figure puts bracelets on all of his hostages and injects them with drugs every 90 minutes. These drugs cause memory loss every time they’re administered. The participants are forced to explore a facility filled with escape rooms and traps. In addition to choosing who lives and dies, they must solve puzzles and navigate the labyrinth together to escape.
The basic premise of this game isn’t too far off from the Saw franchise. The role of the Jigsaw Killer goes to Zero, a mysterious figure in a plague doctor mask and costume. Similar to how Jigsaw takes on apprentices to replace him, Zero also has multiple iterations of the character. It also follows a similar formula of trapping victims (often multiple at a time) and forcing them to fight for their survival.
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Main Characters
In total, there are nine participants in the Decision Game as well as the creator of the game, Zero. There is also a dog named Gab that makes appearances throughout the game. Although the game features 10 characters, it pushes three of the participants to the front lines. Each main character is a member of a different group within the Decision Game.
- Diana: Diana is a nurse who ends up trapped with Sigma Klim and Phi. Sigma Klim and Phi were both in Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward. This trio becomes known as Team D and Diana becomes the leader of the group. As one would expect from a nurse, Diana is a kind woman who hates fighting. She’s described as a pacifist and Phi even claims that she’s “too nice”. As the leader of Team D, Diana becomes extremely attached to Sigma Klim and Phi. She’s determined to get them both out safely. Despite Diana’s cheerful disposition, she carries a heavy amount of guilt around with her. This is due to her involvement with the Radical-6 Apocalypse. Her determination to save Phi inevitably triggers the release of the Radical-6 virus, which kills over 6 billion people.
- Carlos: Carlos is a firefighter with a short temper and a strong moral compass. Carlos is paired with Junpei Tenmyouji and Akane Kurashiki, who are both recurring characters in the series. Together, these three form Team C and Carlos inevitably becomes the leader of the group. Carlos joined the Mars Mission Test Site experiment to help his younger sister, Maria, who has an incurable disease. Maria is Carlos’ main motivation for much of what he does. Carlos is, at the end of the day, a good person. He cares about saving people and he’s passionate about doing what’s right. He can, however, be somewhat overzealous, and is often described as being hot-headed.
- Q: Q is the third protagonist and the leader of Team Q. Team Q consists of Q, Eric, and Mira. Out of all the Decision Game participants, Q stands out the most. Not only is Q quite young in comparison to everyone else (he’s literally described as a “young boy”), but he’s also wearing a strange spherical helmet that hides his face behind a false face. Q’s real name is Sean, but the player believes that he’s Q. In actuality, Sean is a stand-in for another participant, Delta. Delta originally went by the name Q, but as a handicapped old man, he’s unable to participate properly. Q (Sean) is used to make decisions for Delta. Q has amnesia, but he’s a polite boy. Due to his strange appearance and story, Eric spends most of his time at odds with Q. It’s eventually revealed that Q is actually a robot with a virtual personality created by Delta.
- Zero: Zero is the mastermind behind the Decision Game. Zero Time Dilemma’s version of Zero is Zero II, a replacement for the original. At first, Zero’s identity is unknown. He wears a plague doctor mask and a disguise in order to keep his appearance hidden. No one knows what he wants or what he gains from the Decision Game either. All in all, Zero is an extremely mysterious character. When the Decision Game begins, he tells the participants that life isn’t fair and that a snail can destroy the world. He later refers to Carlos as a snail, foreshadowing what’s to come. Zero appears to the participants on monitors throughout the facility, but all of his messages are pre-recorded. Phi begins to suspect that Zero might be a player in the game. She isn’t wrong, because eventually, Zero’s identity is revealed to be Delta.
- Gab: Gab is an elderly dog that is small enough to squeeze through the facility’s air vents. The participants use Gab’s ability to maneuver through places they can’t reach in order to send messages to one another. Gab is an extremely friendly pooch that never shows signs of aggression. While he’s just a dog, his utility in helping the Decision Game participants makes him a vital asset to the teams and the story.
Zero Escape Titles in the Series
The Zero Escape series consists of the following trilogy:
- Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (2009)
- Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (2012)
- Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (2016)
In 2017, the Zero Escape: The Nonary Games bundle came out and included updated versions of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward. Virtue’s Last Reward was primarily the same as the PlayStation Vita version of the original game. It really only corrected a few minor eras, especially with typos.
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors had a number of changes and updates, though. The updated version of this game features a separate Adventure mode and Novel mode. The Adventure mode features the top screen presentation style of the original game, while the Novel mode uses additional narration from the bottom screen. This updated game also has a story flowchart that brings the original game in line with the newer games’ mechanics. The flowchart mechanic helps players reach the true ending of the game more easily and the other two games both have one. The updated Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors also features a different final puzzle from the original version of the game.
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Cheat Codes
Zero Time Dilemma focuses on puzzle-solving to advance the story. There are a number of passwords, codes, and other important bits of information used to navigate through the facility. Without playing through the game properly, survivors won’t gain the necessary information to leave. In Zero Time Dilemma, the player must collect X-Passes, which are the most important part of the Decision Game. Essentially, these are passwords that the player needs to collect throughout the game. Eventually, these passwords will help them unlock the X-door at the end of the game. Without these passwords, the Decision Game participants won’t be able to escape through the X-door.
X-Passes are just one of many different passwords and puzzles players needs to keep track of. Due to the complexity of keeping track of the information present, the experience can be overwhelming, especially for new players. Players might turn to cheats and exploits to make the gameplay a little easier. Unfortunately, Zero Time Dilemma doesn’t feature anything like this. It already has several mechanics built into it designed to help the player advance forward, like the story flowchart.
If a player finds themselves stuck and is unsure of how to advance, there are a few tips that might help. Refer to the flowchart frequently to keep track of what’s been unlocked and what hasn’t. Make sure to unlock all of the Execution Outcomes. There are four of them and the flowchart will keep track of which ones have been done. The flowchart also keeps track of every decision the player makes. Sometimes, going back and making a different choice can open new avenues. Players should do every fragment they unlock and look for exclamation points on the flowchart and the team fragments. These exclamation marks might reveal new paths.
Below are the X-Passes players should achieve at each major portion of the game. Please keep in mind that the X-Passes are an integral part of the game, so reading ahead will spoil the results of some of the puzzles. This may work better for players to use as a guide to check in-game progress rather than direct answers.
X-Passes Found in Zero Time Dilemma
The X-Passes found after escaping the Healing Room:
- FIRE, CRASH, FIVE, ICE, DAD, TIME
The X-Passes found after escaping the Study
- BLUE, RED, MILK, FIGHT, JUMP, POOR
The X-Passes found after escaping the Power Room
- SAVE or DOLL
The X-Passes found after pressing the Yellow Button
- If C Team Presses the Button: Q = SELF, Mira = RIP, Eric = LAKE, Diana = BIRD, Phi = TWIN, Sigma = OLD
- If Q Team Presses the Button: Carlos = DREAM, Akane = KEY, Junpei = QUARK, Diana = MOM, Phi = DEAR, Sigma = ARM
- If D Team Presses the Button: Carlos = SHIFT, Akane = SIX, Junpei = RING, Q = AGE, Mira = HEART, Eric = LOVE
The X-Passes for the Second From Left Flowchart Branch
- Carlos = FIRE
- Akane = CRASH
- Junpei = FIVE
- Eric = ICE
- Sigma = DAD
- Phi = TIME
The X-Passes for the Third From Left Flowchart Branch
- Q = EYE
- Mira = KILL
- Eric = FOOL
The X-Passes if you don’t Pull the Trigger
- Phi = FUTURE
The X-Passes if you Shoot a Live Round
- Diana = MOON
- Sigma = FATE
The X-Passes if you Find the Mask
- Carlos = HERO
- Junpei = HATE
The X-Passes if you Don’t Find the Mask
- Akane = HEX
The X-Passes after a Bad Dice Roll
- Carlos = SAVE
- Junpei = DOLL
The X-Passes for the Rightmost Flowchart
- Diana = BLUE
- Phi = RED
- Sigma = MILK
The X-Passes after the Pod Room
- Akane = JUNE
- Junpei = JUMP
- Mira = VIRGIN
The X-Passes if You Shoot Eric
- Carlos = FIGHT
- Junpei = JUMP
- Eric = POOR
The X-Passes if You Shoot No One
- Q = BRO
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Cheat Codes FAQ
What is the Q code in Zero Time Dilemma?
This question refers to Q’s (Sean) helmet code and the Force Quit Box code. The helmet code is 6140-4091 and the Force Quit Box code is 3808-0832. If players reverse the helmet code, it comes out to the date 1904-04-16, and believe it or not, the Force Quit Box code actually means the same thing. Rather than reversing the code, however, players need to divide 38, 08, 08, and 32 by 2, and it will also read 1904-04-16. Many fans theorize that this is the date Delta and Phi arrived in the past.
What is the password for the door of truth in Zero Time Dilemma?
The Door of Truth password is 11162029. It’s important to keep in mind that entering this code without understanding its meaning results in some serious game spoilers. Once players complete The Hope of Two ending, they should understand the significance of the password and can enter it safely into the Door of Truth.
How do you skip the text in Zero Time Dilemma?
If the player activates the fast skip option, they should be able to press B to skip text. Players can also pause the text by hitting Y.
What is the password for Zero Escape?
This question is a bit broad because there are so many passwords and codes for Zero Escape Dilemma. The question seems to be referring to the Computer Password for the Luna ending. In order to get this ending, players will need to collect information from Sigma’s ending and K’s ending. The username is in Sigma’s ending and the password is in K’s ending.
- Username: GTF-DM-L-016
- Password: MILKEVOLI
Is Zero Time Dilemma the last game?
Yes, Zero Time Dilemma is the final installment of the Zero Escape series. Since its release in 2016, there hasn’t been a sequel.
The image featured at the top of this post is © Noire Blue / Spike Chunsoft.