September 6, 1998
by John Engler
SRP: $54.99 Street: $43.99
The X-Files Game
Pros: impressive movies and sound; clean interface; informative manual;hybrid CDs
Cons: only three save slots (undocumented workaround: hold down shift while selecting Save from the File menu); fairly linear game play
Fox Interactive has given new meaning to the genre of Full Motion Video (FMV) gaming with their new title, The X-Files Game. In the past, few FMV titles have done well in the gaming market due to their complexity, often second rate story line, and usually poor acting. But The X-Files Game has mass market appeal and uses superb production techniques. This makes for a spectacular game with clean and polished video tracks, crisp and realistic sound tracks and a level of game play fluidity never before seen in this genre.
Trust No One...
The X-Files Game is based on the popular television series and is a set primarily in Seattle, Washington. You play the role of Special Agent Craig Willmore, an up and coming FBI agent with a perfect record. You arrive at work the first day of the game to find a big shot (Assistant Director Skinner, for those of you familiar with show) from D.C. is in town looking for two missing agents: Mulder and Scully. As the Seattle office's "golden boy" you are assigned to the case.
During the first part of the game you interact with your partner, your boss, and other characters in the game. The interface of the game is simple, polished and very intuitive. The navigation of your character is done via the arrow keys or by using the mouse to point where you want to go. You can walk around on the ground, or you can use your Newton PDA to choose where on a map you want to go when you are driving your car.
To accomplish your task you are given an array of realistic tools: a pair of night vision goggles, a flashlight, an evidence gathering kit, and other standard issue FBI gear. In certain parts of your investigation you may need to use these implements to find clues, take pictures of suspects that are speeding away, or gather evidence that may have a bearing on your case.
The Truth is out there...
The game is distributed on 7 CD-ROM's in hybrid Mac/PC format and uses Quicktime 3.0 on both platforms. All of the video scenes that are used were shot specifically for this game and star the identical actors and actresses as the movie and the TV series.
You have a couple of options as far as concerning intsallation of the game, and both require rather large amounts of disk space. The standard intsall occupies 320 MB while the full intsall takes all 7 CDs and intsalls them (over 4 GB) so you'll never have to insert them during the game. The latter option is really only for slower CD-ROMs, or users who have the extra space and would like the increased speed.
Fox has built into the game a way for non-gamers to play and not get bogged down by the puzzles. There is an artificial intelligence option which will present clues and even the solution to puzzles allowing you to more or less watch the game instead of playing it. To use this function set the game to it's easiest settings. The Artificial Intelligence will provide the clues and even perform the actions neccessary to complete most of the tasks in the game. In contrast, on the game's hardest settings you might feel like you're really in the world of the X-Files.
The puzzles that are presented as part of the case you are working on get progressively harder during the game. The first problem is getting into your FBI computer. You have to figure out what the password is. Luckily enough it's written on a piece of paper in your office. The next hardest puzzle in the game is getting things to happen. Once you figure out that you have to visit certain areas of the game so that the next piece of the case will be revealed you'll be satisfied. If you find yourself stuck, go somewhere new or ask your boss for some help and he'll give you some hints.
I want to believe...
Fox Interactive has evidently worked very hard to bring their TV series, movie and now game together in harmony. In the game you'll find familiar characters, hints of a new season, and the chance to work along side Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. For fans of the X-Files, purchasing this game is no brainer; but any other fan of role playing, FMV, or adventure/mystery games will also be impressed with it.
© 1998 The MacNN Review