Friday, January 7, 2011

999 Disappoints, and Covering Up Saggy Weevil Junk  

Games: I've been hearing a lot about 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors on the DS from people that I pay attention to, and the reviews that have been coming in from everywhere except my site have been pretty stellar. Described as a kind of hybrid between a digital novel and a series of locked-room puzzles, it sounded like it was right up my alley.

Since I figured something like this was going to end up being rare if I didn't snap it up immediately, I took a risk and ponied up for a new copy on release day, but I didn't have time to get to it. Instead, the wife played through it first.

She completed it three times (out of a total of six possible endings, if I remember correctly.) I finally cleared my schedule enough to take it on yesterday, and after spending a couple of hours with it, I'm pretty impressed that she managed to finish it even once.

I know I won't.

I have to say, I'm finding the glowing testimonials on the game to be completely at odds with my own experience. Now, it's granted that I have not finished the game so I can't comment on how mindblowing the ending(s) may or may not be, but the time spent with 999 so far has been so incredibly boring and tedious that there is no ending conceivable that would convince me to push on.

The setup is a good one: nine people are trapped on a sinking ship and must work together to solve mindbending puzzles and escape. Unfortunately, for a game that places so much emphasis on the player reading text, the writing is shockingly poor and there’s so damn much of it that it's completely turned me off.

In what is probably the worst example of telling and not showing that I've seen in some time, the game devotes entire paragraphs to things that could easily be displayed with a frame or two of animation. Even worse, the writers have absolutely no sense of pacing. The characters think nothing of lapsing into painfully lengthy and incongruous conversations at totally inappropriate times and there is no way to make the text go faster if you’re a speedy reader, like me.

Seriously, to everybody who said this was great writing… I’m sorry, but 999 is the opposite of great writing. Really.

I get that there is a lot of love for this game right now and it's getting talked up pretty mightily from all sides, but I just don't see it. I'd hardly call myself an adrenaline junkie and I've got quite a bit of patience for games that require it, but I have to get something in return. So far, my relationship with 999 has been entirely too one-sided and I just can't take it anymore.

I'm done.


In other games news, I completed Splatterhouse last night and will be turning in the full review in just a few minutes. Look for that soon.

I've also been taking a few quick stabs at ilomilo, but I have to be honest and say that it really isn't grabbing me. It's cute and has that weird, semi-forced, off-kilter art-house vibe, but I can only take a few levels of it at a time before I feel the need to move on. it's not bad at all, I simply feel no connection with it.

Finally, I'm strongly considering starting Amnesia as my next full-on game to play, but I think that depends on whether I can get a controller to work with it or not...


TV: To those of you who watch Torchwood, the spin-off of Doctor Who, I need to ask this question:

Where exactly do the Weevil aliens get their coveralls, and why do they wear them?

Welcome to Texaco. Can I fill 'er up?
I mean, think about it... they don't seem to display anything above base animal intelligence, and they apparently pop into Cardiff through some sort of dimensional gate. Doesn't it stand to reason that they would arrive in their natural state, which is (I'm assuming) naked? Yet, every Weevil that's been on the show has been wearing clothing as though they just stepped away from their position at the local service station. Some of them even had shoes. I'm waiting for one to have a stitched-on nametag that says 'Bob'.

If it was just a matter of covering up saggy Weevil junk, it seems as though there could have been a better solution, yet every one is in coveralls. What the hell is up with this?

Inquiring minds want to know!


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3 comments: to “ 999 Disappoints, and Covering Up Saggy Weevil Junk


    Hahaha, oh man, those Weevils. They remind me of something out of Tales from the Crypt or Tales from the Darkside. VERY 90s. I think the coveralls invoke the likes of Jason Voorhees, but its a pretty cliché image of a baddie at this point. At least, I think that's where the inspiration comes from.

    But seriously, they're aliens! They don't have to have junk. They could just be like grotesque Ken/Barbie dolls, asexual, but no... they get coveralls. LAME (yet hilarious).

    On second thought, are you sure it's not a prison uniform...?


    Ha! I played the flash demo of 999 and found it awful. I'm sure some of it was lost in translation, but I still couldn't figure out why having your middle school friend who you haven't seen in years make overt passes on you while you're trapped in a ship that's going to explode is in any way a good idea.

    Okay, that was a hard to follow run-on sentence, yet still better than any of the writing I saw in the demo. Baffling!


    And I was hoping to see a list of 999 disappointments from 2010. Haha. What a disappointment.