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half CD’s out of a total of seven CD’s of some of the most mundane, outdated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
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.