X-Files Review

If you find that the game's storyline hooks you, and you don't mind the interface, keep it for a couple of extra days and beat it, since the game only takes about ten hours to complete.

X-Files is a pretty direct port of the PC version, though a few of the game's more annoying puzzles have been removed. The series creator, Chris Carter, wrote an original story for the game and shot original footage exclusive for the game with some of the show's cast, namely David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and a few other regulars, as well. For fans of the series, the story will seem quite typical of an X-Files episode. Players who aren't fans of the series will find the constant references to the series trivial and unnecessary.

The game starts off with the typical X-Files opening, where it shows something mysterious happening and then leads into the show's standard introduction. The game then starts you out as agent Craig Willmore, who gets a case involving two missing FBI agents - who, of course, happen to be Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. From there, you hook up with assistant director Walter Skinner and visit various locations, like the last place the missing agents were seen, their hotel, and so on. Along the way, you find clues and information that lead you to other locations, with other clues, and other people to interact with. The interaction is limited to asking them various questions that you select from a topic window. While the characters certainly respond with appropriate answers, it's not really an interactive conversation, since, in most cases, you simply ask them about everything that's listed on the topic window. The same is true when searching environments for clues, you basically check everything you possibly can, take everything you can, and go everywhere the game lets you go.

The only skill, other than finding everything and asking all of the questions, that's involved while playing is during the game's "action" sequences. These sections mostly involve you placing crosshairs over FMV bad guys and shooting them before they shoot you. Very reminiscent in look and style to the old Sega CD classics, the shooting sequences involve a bad guy who steps out from behind a suspicious-looking pile of boxes. You shoot him, and then another bad guy steps out from behind a pole. You also shoot him. Other action sequences aren't as obvious - for some you must you use your head and your inventory at the appropriate time, like taking a picture of a fleeing car to get its license plate number.The game can be rather fun when you're playing through these action sequences, figuring out what to do next, and moving the story along. Unfortunately, it's horribly frustrating when you're not moving along briskly, mostly because you know exactly what you need to do but can't find a way to do it. The constant problem that X-Files suffers from is the way it hides objects. For instance, you'll be standing in a bedroom, looking at the bed. If you look to the right, you'll see the dresser. If you look to the left, you'll see the nightstand. If you spin around in a circle, all you can see are those three screens. But if you walk forward while looking at the bed and then turn around, you can see there is something on the dresser behind you. Why couldn't you see that when you turned around before? This happens throughout the game. Even with the game's sixth sense help icon turned on (which gives you visual clues about where you're supposed to go next), it's occasionally very frustrating.

One other major problem occurs toward the end. During most of the action sequences, you can put the crosshairs anywhere on the bad guy's body and shoot him. But there's one generic guard near the end of the game whom you must shoot - before he shoots you. We tried to accomplish this simple task ten times. We tried shooting the guard in the face, the legs, torso, everywhere. It just simply wouldn't work. Then, finally, we shot right at the center of the guard's chest, a place we all swore we had attempted to shoot several times before. This time, for whatever magical reason, he went down. It's this kind of random behavior that really cripples the game.

Visually, the game looks very sharp. Half of the game is composed of FMV sequences that look surprisingly nice, and the other half of the game is Myst-style stills of the environments you are in. The camera angles and lighting give the game a striking resemblance to the series. The game also does a nice job of recreating the atmosphere of the series with ominous music and sound effects. The quality of the voices and music is also very good.

In the end, if you're a fan of the series, the game's worth renting. If you find that the game's storyline hooks you, and you don't mind the interface, keep it for a couple of extra days and beat it, since the game only takes about ten hours to complete. However, if you're not a fan of the series, you shouldn't even really bother.

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The X-Files Game More Info

  • First Released May 31, 1998
    • PC
    • PlayStation
    If you find that the game's storyline hooks you, and you don't mind the interface, keep it for a couple of extra days and beat it, since the game only takes about ten hours to complete.
    Average Rating355 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    HyperBole Studios
    Published by:
    Fox Interactive, SCEE
    3D, Adventure, First-Person
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Mild Language, Realistic Violence