The truth is in here...
Alas, the truth of the matter is that this is not a fun game. There, I said it! Unless you are a die-hard, die-hard X-Files fanatic, it will be difficult for you to enjoy this game.
Requirement 1; you will need to be willing to wade through two and half CD's out of a total of seven CD's of some of the most mundane, outdated game play, before this game remotely becomes interesting. [Total HD installation of 3.5Gig's] Requirement 2; you must be willing to consume large amounts of caffeine saturated beverages in order to maintain an adequate level of coherence. [Willingness to use performance-enhancing drugs is also a plus.] Requirement 3; you will need to have a strong motivational force pressing you forward to finish through to the end. [i.e.; an angry editor waiting for you to finish your late review of the X-Files Game.]
This is your mission should you choose to accept it. All volunteers please take one step forward and report to the ready room for briefing. Am I making this sound like a job? Perhaps this even sounds like a military operation into unknown enemy territory? Well, then you're getting the picture. Strap yourself into your computer chair and reaffirm your belief in God. Let me prepare you as to what you can expect to find when you enter the world of the X-Files Game.
The X-Files Game is an interactive movie. It is really nothing more than an animated choose your own adventure book, the kind you used to read as kid because you had no friends to play with. You are field agent Craig Willmore, and you have been assigned to locate Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who have both disappeared while on their latest investigation into paranormal activity in the Everett, Washington area. Follow their trail using clues about their last whereabouts and if you find them, assist them in whatever means necessary.
You basically go around the game gathering clues from crime scenes and talking to people in your environment. Each time you see someone, you place the mouse over his or her mouth and lips will appear, after which a drop down file menu of questions to ask will pop up. You're allowed to ask all of the questions in any order. It does not make a difference. I don't know why they just didn't have the character say everything they had to say all at once. To me, this is just some frail attempt to create the appearance of interaction.
At some points of the game you are even allowed to change the tone in which you answer or respond to questions. You can choose between giving a mean, humorous or technical response. It is supposed to make a difference. I have tried all three responses and saw no significant change in the overall outcome of events later. It seems to me to be just another vain attempt at spicing up the canned responses you get from the characters you interact with.
The game does have a few innovations. For instance, you do have a limited amount of navigational ability. You can place the mouse to either the far left, right, top or bottom of the screen after which a directional hand will appear and you can scroll in that direction. You also have the ability to zoom in on pre-designated objects, whenever an eye appears over the object. You also get a number of tools and FBI equipment to help you in solving your case. These tools range from an evidence kit, lock pick, digital camera, PDA, cellular phone, night vision goggles and flashlight, to your trusty FBI-issue handcuffs and gun.
You have an 'artificial intuition', which is basically a 'help prompt'. It allows you to highlights visual clues, and enables input from other agents. Last but not least, you get a computer workstation called the ING or Intelligence Network Gateway where you can run background checks, run license plates and trace telephone numbers.
By the way, at least the actors are good. It does capture the look of an X-Files television episode. Even with all of this packed into the game, X-Files is just too slow paced and monotonous to really get excited about. All too often, you find yourself stuck in a rut trying to figure out what to do next. During this time you end up just repeating steps, backtracking details and doing the same things over and over and over again. That's when the sleepiness and frustration begin to settle in.
The game does not flow. It gets too bogged down and quiet. There's neither creepy mood music nor anything spectacular to hold your attention, even when you're trying to pay attention.
I myself am an X-Files fan (I'm not a fanatic that follows every episode). Then again, a good game based on a movie or TV show shouldn't have to rely on the player being a fanatic. It should have enough going on for itself to be able to function independently of its origin.
I'll be honest and tell you that I did not yet finish this 3.5Gigayte long interactive movie. That is why I cannot tell you yet if this is even an especially interesting episode of the X-Files. Even if it were an especially interesting episode, the game itself moves along too slowly to keep your interest. So as a player you find yourself wanting to go outside and play with the rest of the kids, enjoy the sunshine, and the singing of the birds in the trees.
Half the time you're playing you find yourself staring into the screen at the same old scrap of evidence, no music, no sound, no action. If you like the X-Files, you're better off watching reruns on the television program or going out and seeing the movie. In the movie, at least Mulder and Scully finally kiss! And that, is the truth.