9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors Review
By otakuman5000 On 14 Jan, 2011 At 05:43 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo DS, Reviews | With 1 Comment

Created by Chun Soft and published by Aksys Systems, 999 is a thriller like no other. Expect to spend at least 3 days on this mind boggling, and epic beauty. It’s quite hard to categorize this game, as it’s a mystery/visual novel. It’s a lot like those “choose your adventure” books, where what you say or do, greatly alters your path in the story. Being an M title, this game has intense storytelling, characters with foul mouths, drug reference and even sexual themes at times. Definitely not appropriate for your children, but for those interested in a mind blowing adventure, stay with me, as I explain exactly what 999 is all about.

9 Doors

Welcome to the Nonary Game, a game in which you will put your life on the line. Nona is Latin for 9 and everything in this game revolves around this special number.  You will play as Junpei, a college student who finds himself kidnapped and forced to play the Nonary Game, a game that takes place on a giant ship called The Gigantic. Trapped in a room with the number 5 painted on the door, before Junpei even gains his composure back, water breaks through a window and starts to flood the room. He must find a way out and figure out what is going on.

The Nonary Game is a game that places 9 people in danger and gives them 9 hours to finish safely. Each person has a bracelet on their wrist, with a number displayed. The objective of the game is to find a door with a 9 painted on it, for the exit is located beyond that door. Sounds simple enough right? Well your captor, known only as “Zero”, is nice enough to explain some rules to everyone. To pass a numbered door, the digital root of a group of people must match the number on the door. Junpei is number 5, and if he wants to pass say door number 3, he must seek out other players to go through with him. He will need a person with a 6 bracelet, and a person with a 1 bracelet (6+1+5=12=1+2=3).  Also, once you go into a numbered door, the bomb inside of your body will tick. If you cannot reach a DEAD (a deactivation device) once in the room, your body will explode.  Zero also mentions that you cannot pass a door with only one person. All who touch a RED (recognition device), must activate a DEAD. Therefore, no player can force another to open a door and leave them behind.  It seems like this game is very specific, and will punish anyone who isn’t a team player.

As for the motives and reasons of why you have been chosen for this sick game, that’s for you to find out! As you navigate through 999, you will come across several rooms, and in each room is a puzzle. Seeking a way out every time sounds monotonous, but the puzzles are quite addictive, with no time limit. Each room needs to be checked thoroughly for clues via stylus, and each puzzle leads to a door being unlocked. Getting past each room is challenging, but sometimes the answer is right in your face. I enjoyed choosing rooms and figuring out how to get out because there was never a dull solution. Every puzzle makes logical sense and you may even learn a thing or two.

9 Persons


While the Nonary Game seems simple enough, what really makes it complex, are the players themselves. Being trapped in a new area and put under tough circumstances, can break anyone. These players can turn on you, have ulterior motives or even refuse to help you at all. Everyone is different and that is what truly brings a sense of horror into the game. After completing the first puzzle, when Junpei is stuck in a water filled room, he will meet the other players in the center of the ship. Everyone has been gassed by Zero, but somehow may be connected. Junpei realizes that number 5 is Akane, a childhood friend of his that he hasn’t seen in years. Why is she even there? Others you will meet are Snake, Clover, Ace, Lotus, Seven, Santa, and an unknown man who seems very nervous.

In between solving puzzles and during those puzzles, you will talk with all of these people. Everyone has vital information for you and a unique skill. During conversation, you can choose what Junpei says or how he acts. What if you don’t trust someone enough to take them through a door or, what if you trust them too much? I’ve gotten into situations where what I thought about a fellow player was 100% wrong. Talking and observing is crucial in 999, and if you make the wrong assumption or choice, you will pay for it down the line. Rush through or skip a conversation completely, and you may lose a chance to gain key information. Players will fight, accuse each other, and do whatever it takes the win the Nonary Game, so be careful and be smart.

9 Hours

Even though Zero gives you 9 hours to get out of the ship alive, you being the player, are not timed. Take as much time as you need to solve each puzzle and if you get stuck, you can always back out and get help from a fellow player. The game also provides a calculator if a puzzle calls for it. Saving is also a breeze and can be done at any time during the game. If you missed or didn’t understand a conversation, pressing the Up button on the D-pad can display previous briefing on the touch screen. If you have already played a part, pressing Right on the D-pad can fast forward the section. Wait, already played a part? What do I mean by that? 999 has 6 different endings, with only one ending being the true one. At first I found this to be annoying, but each ending is actually helpful to getting the right one. I suffered a horrid death on my first play through, but I was able to save and continue with the same information that I had gathered. On a new play through, any answers, actions, or doors that you entered previously, will be marked in grey. This helps to pick new choices and makes sure that gameplay is never the same. Figuring out which order of doors to go through seems hard, but after each new ending, you will find enough information to discover the correct path. Also, the true ending cannot be achieved on one play through. You must get a normal ending before you can see what really happened. 999 is meant to be played for a while, and each time you continue, is rewarding in it’s own way. Plus, if you’re like me, you may look up a few things online and research them. You’ll be surprised at not only how many things are true, but also, if you do some math equations of your own, you may find that the game’s answer was in your face the whole time! Crafty…

Final Thought

one word: EXCELLENT

If you hate reading though, this game is not for you. Just a warning.

About - I am a 44 year old Gamer/Geek/Otaku who has been gaming and watching anime since the late 1970's. I am a passionate otaku who loves all types of games, anime and comics. I have been writing about games since I was a young man. I am an entertainment retail expert and an avid game collector. You can always find me playing or watching something geek related.

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  1. Dave says:

    Great review. The only thing is that June/Akane is number 6, not number 5. I loved the game and really hope for a sequel. I’ve even hooked 2 friends on the game XD

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