999: Nine hours, Nine Persons, Nine doors (極限脱出 9時間9人9の扉) has been on my personal to-play list for so long since I foolishly passed by the chance of getting to the True End when it was free to play on niconico douga months ago. This game (and its sequel) has been the sole temptation of excusing myself of getting a 3DS… and now, I get to finish it. To maximize my personal entertainment, I’m going to keep a log of guess-works and theories after a few endings, all the way till the True End.
Remember that it is suffice to consider myself
wants to have babies with a rabid fan of Uchikoshi Koutarou. His previous works, Ever 17 and other titles of the Infinity franchise, is the finest of the visual novel medium can offer.
Edit as November 22:
I’ve finished the entire game about a week ago. Shortly after I ordered the sequel Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, along with a 3DS XL. Yes, it is that good. The following paragraphs of page one is my notes after ending 3, 5, and 6, which are the stabbing, axe, and submarine endings. Page 2 is written right after the safe/notes ending (#2 ending). Finally, the last page is the conclusion of finishing the first and True ending (Akane end); I was told by a friend that the coffin ending is basically an incomplete version of the True End and not worth a separate walkthrough, so I listened.
PS: Since my game version is different from the official translated English version, the names are rather the romaji of the original Japanese names. Here’s a conversion table for each character’s code name; courtesy of Wikipedia.
|Number||English Version Name||Japanese Version Name|
*The 9th guy is not really code-named.
Once again, the spoiler force of ending 3, 5, and 6 is strong from now on. You have been warned!
This page contains spoiler for ending 3,5, and 6. Do not read if haven’t finished these endings!
Mystery 1: The Killers
My definition of a killer: “whoever committed at least one murder of the eight remaining ‘players’ after #9’s death”. Here’s my suspect list.
Ichimiya (#1 the old, big guy)
Since he goes to through door #5 with or without Junpei, he’s a likely to have retrieved the dead nerdy guy’s watch either way. 1+9+2=12, 1+2=3 which opens up door #3. He’s a calm and smart killer. He uses the chemical he later anesthetize himself to subdue Nils, leave him to die on the other side of the door.
Two important questions: Suppose Ichimiya has the #9 watch, he can simply approach Yashiro. Yashiro can easily be convinced if she’s offered safety from a strong and smart man, and failing that, Ichimiya always have the ways to kill her. Killing Nils appears to be an unnecessary risk. Another question being what truly caused the batteries to be missing? I’ll go in a bit detail in the next section regarding Zero. Anyway, on one has the opportunity to solo the batteries, as they arrive to the sick hall in groups.
Why Nils? My theory is that in search of the batteries, Ichimiya caught Nils doing something suspicious, which may or may not cause Ichimiya to regard Nils being a threat to him (such as if he thinks Nils is Zero).
I believe he kills Yashiro in all three endings that I finished. The stab ending is the most obvious. Junpei finds Yashiro dead and her watch is removed, then he gets stabbed… curiously enough, the killer does not take Junpei’s watch before leaving the scene. In the axe ending, Ichimiya asked Yashiro to talk in private away from Junpei, and nobody knows what happened next before Yotsuba came in and start going berserk. Finally, in the submarine ending, Yashiro’s watch goes missing again when Junpei finds her body. The catch is that Ichimiya must have faked his own death, as Junpei only checked Yotsuba’s body, not Ichimiya and Santa. It’s quite possible that Yotsuba went berserk and killed Santa, and then she was killed by Ichimiya.
Now, being our master killer, Ichimiya follows Murasaki into the submarine room and kills her, then waits outside somewhere. While Junpei goes all teary with the dying Murasaki, Ichimiya kills Yashiro for her watch and Seven for… well, just because he can kill Seven I guess, lol.
And finally, poor Junpei doesn’t have a clue why he has to die (or who/what kills him).
Seven (#7 the muscled ex(?)-cop)
When we finished room #5, he kept the door unlocked for a reason… the reason can be no other to retrieve the dead guy’s #9 watch. If he’s lucky, nobody would notice the missing watch, and by killing Nils and steals his watch, Seven can walk walk out of the #9 room all by himself (7+2+9=18, 1+8=9). The problem here is of course, how does he kill Nils?
The short answer here is that he can’t, not without help from Santa or other people. Also, given the plot of his past unlikely being completely fake and red herring (Because I know Uchikoshi isn’t Ryuukishi, and he doesn’t have a habit of trolling players , it makes him an unlikely killer compare to Ichimiya.
Yotsuba (#4 Pink haired Loli (?))
Well, she’s a no-brainer. Obviously she couldn’t have killed Nils. Even though she only have reasons to kill Santa and Seven, I doubt anybody other than (a knife-equipped) Ichimiya can stop her killing spree. Yet she shouldn’t be the killer of Yashiro because, as said before, Yashiro’s killer is aimed at her watch, which has no use to Yotsuba. I am not very fond of the fact that she decided to kill Junpei at the axe end, since it basically gives her a free card to kill anybody without much of a reason…
Mystery 2: Zero, the experiment, and rules of the nonary game
Let’s agree that the dead captain is not the real Zero. Although he may look like a “player” with his watch and conforms to Junpei’s theory “Zero is among us”, I think both his corpse and his watch are merely stage items. I’m guessing the captain guy was probably someone involved with the past experiment on this ship, and is killed by the real Zero for revenge or by betrayal.
On the other hand, everyone saw “Zero”, the masked figure, before they were abducted. I also don’t think that’s the “real” zero, simply because one person cannot realistically go to different locations and abducted all these people within a reasonable frame of time.
The “real” Zero is the mastermind of the madness game, and out of this madness, I tend to agree with Junpei’s theory. Zero is a player. His number is between 1 to 8.
Let’s examine some possible candidate for this mastermind.
Nils (#2 blind guy)
It’s very suspicious to me for that Junpei (and everyone else) concluded the exploded corpse in the shower room is Nils only by looking at the clothes. I suppose they cannot be blamed, for under that situation there isn’t any other way to examine the corpse.
Consider what I said in Ichimiya being the killer… why he has to kill Nils? Or rather, what is the truth behind the missing batteries in the sick hall?
This is my theory: And Then There Were None. Nils being Zero, wants to first fake his own death, and then hides somewhere to see how the game plays itself out. He prepared another dead guy wearing the same clothes in the shower room, schedule to be blown up. He then hid the RED batteries in room that only he knows. When everyone scatters and looks for the batteries, he retrieve and install the batteries back to the RED and vanish. Other people will discover Nils’ “death” and start to breed mistrust among them.
Nils was a victim of kidnapped children from 9 years ago. His motive is either revenge against those who were responsible, or himself is conducting the experiment this time.
We know Yashiro is the mother of the kidnapped victims, and Seven was a police officer following the case. Nils is directly involved, of course. And so is Yotsuba for she and Nils declared themselves being siblings, and Yotsuba’s disclosure of some dark secrets to Junpei. Junpei, Murasaki, and Santa, however should be related to the incident as well.
Santa is … strange. He must have some dark history that caused him to hate humanly emotions. Although his personality makes a good Zero consider how the game is set up, but somehow I just feel that it wouldn’t be very interesting if he turns out to be Zero.
Murasaki, on the other hand, is either a giant red herring or a cruel revelation in waiting. Murasaki never talks about her past with Junpei. It is unnatural that a surprise encounter with a childhood friend does not produce follow up questions, like which school did Murasaki went to after elementary?
And Junpei. It will not make sense for the game’s PoV to be either a killer, or the mastermind. But I think he has some secrets; some secrets that share with Murasaki, thus landing themselves a place in this nonary game. Could it be that Junpei or Murasaki has been kidnapped in that incident? I highly doubt Junpei was, since I’ll have to call the writer a troll if that’s the case :p Murasaki on the other hand… not sure. They haven’t seen each other after elementary school, and if I’m not mistaken, the kidnapping incident occurred during Junpei’s first year in middle school. But the children’s names are published on newspaper. It be unlikely for Junpei not to know about it if Murasaki has been involved in that incident.
The Experiment and Mind Control
To my understanding. The pharmaceutical company (whose name isn’t Leiblich, yet I inconveniently forgot) used children as lab rats to research on telepathy and mind control. It doesn’t look like the former is successful between Nils and Yotsuba. And neither of them have invisible arms that choke people or make sharp objects float in thin air and then stab into others (wait wouldn’t this be telekinesis?)
Now, about mind control. I sincerely hope it isn’t used as a plot device, because it would be stupid and cheap. Yet I can’t ignore the possibility of Seven being a victim of mind control, you know, his lost memories and stuff…
Some misc note on rules of the game
Sick hall batteries mystery is hypothesized.
Using objects to prevent doors from closing and locking. As stated, this is how Ichimiya (or whoever) obtained the #9 watch. I wonder if this trick can be used else where for people to go back to where they not supposed to. The pistol in the storage room may be retrieved… and that knife from the kitchen etc.
Yotsuba seems to have disappeared in the stabbing ending? From the description it sounds like she locked herself in a room and then Yashiro and someone else claimed that they couldn’t find here. Possibility of foul play, or did they not check the very noticeable big coffin in middle of the room? Isn’t that where the knocks come from? I forgot which room they were in, but it may be possible that Yotsuba knows some secret paths inside the ship, since she’s been here before.
The submarine ending. A supposedly locked door is opened without Junpei has the chance use its key. There was never any mention of duplicate keys, so either it’s Zero who probably has a master key, or something else is going on??
Mystery 3: the Narration Trick
This feels impossible to predict at this moment. I think I saw the phrase somewhere saying that this game is impossible to present out of a DS. Either that is meant to say the touchscreen investigation is integral to the gameplay, or maybe hinting a trick somewhere regarding to the split PoV in narration? Currently the upper screen is all dialog, hence first-person narration. The touchscreen, however, employs third-person limited narrative style. This may be nothing, or possibly a Every 17 OMG moment.
The following page is bad, bad spoilers for the Safe/Notes ending (ending #4).