Top Ten: Games to Play This Halloween

Come read how to get all the scares without the legwork and face paint!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 10/29/2013 09:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

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3) 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Play it on: Nintendo DS

The visual novel is a genre of video games that doesn’t see a lot of activity outside of Japan. Visual novels are all about reading a branching narrative, with the only real interaction between player and game being to choose which path to take. 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is a non-traditional visual novel, as it incorporates simple environmental investigation and puzzles into the mix. 999 puts players into the shoes of main protagonist Junpei, a young college student who has been taken hostage aboard an abandoned cruise liner with eight other people. Their captor is the mysterious Zero, a gas-mask clad specter draped in black robes who has assembled the group to compete in something he calls the Nonary Game. The goal is for Junpei and the others to find a door marked with the number nine before that same number in hours has passed; otherwise, the ship will sink and they’ll all die.

Don’t let the seemingly docile nature of visual novels fool you; 999 is a taught and psychologically twisted video game experience. The main hook of 999‘s gameplay is that Junpei and the others are constantly second-guessing each other and making life or death decisions. Refusing to play along will result in Zero detonating a small explosive in the stomach of whoever doesn’t comply, something that is described in graphic detail during the course of the game. These sorts of gruesome outcomes are common in 999, as the choices the player makes during the course of the narrative can result in six possible endings. 999 constantly has players doubting themselves, wondering if they’ve picked the right characters to trust, what deathtrap awaits round the next corner, and whether or not Zero will pop up and end it all in an instant. This sense of paranoia colors the choices a player makes for the duration of the game. With taught writing, excellent character renderings and backgrounds, and fun puzzles to solve, 999 will leave you stunned and wanting more.

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