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  "On April 14th, 1912, the famous ocean liner, known as the Titanic crashed into an iceberg. After remaining afloat for two hours and forty minutes, it sank between the waters of the North Atlantic. I will give you more time. Nine Hours. That is the time you will be given to make your escape."

Junpei, a normal 21-year-old college student, arrives at home one night to find his window open. Upon closing it, he spots a cloaked figure in a gas mask in the reflection--and the last thing he can remember before passing out is being told that he's just been chosen to participate in the "Nonary Game"...

He then wakes up in a third-class room on an early 20th-century ship. Upon escaping from there, he finds out that he's trapped on the ship with eight other people who were similarly chosen, and forced to play the game lest the bombs planted inside their bodies go off. Needless to say, things get worse, and they're forced to trust each other and race against the 9-hour time limit to figure out what's happening and why they're on the ship.

The first game in the Zero Escape series, 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, or 999 as it is sometimes known, itself plays as one part "escape from the room" games, one part Saw and one part Visual Novel. The puzzles are the game play and the visual novel parts influence how the game will progress. There are several branching paths and your decisions impact the ending.

It sadly never was released outside Japan and North America. Even then, most game stores had to specifically request the game to stock. As an original DS game, it can be imported and played on original "phat" style DS and the DS Lite redesign.

A fandub is currently being set up over on Youtube at the moment.

A sequel titled Virtue's Last Reward (in the original Japanese, Kyokugen Dasshutsu ADV Zennin Shibô Desu, or roughly, Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die) was announced for the Nintendo 3DS and Play Station Vita in August 2011. It was released in Japan on February 16, 2012, with an American release planned for late 2012.


Seek a way out!

  • Abandoned Hospital: A large part of the ship is a converted hospital. Some of the rooms are pretty creepy.
  • Area 51: Building Q, out in the middle of the Nevada desert, where part of the Nonary Project experimentation is carried out ... and also where the events of the game, unbeknown to most of the cast, play out. In a nod to the real status of the site, it is a private building of a multinational rather than a gvt. bldg.
  • Arc Number: Nine, you schmuck. To be specific:
    • The Nonary Game itself: 9 victims, 9 hours to escape, numbered doors from 1 to 9, 9 seconds before the numbered doors close when they open them, and 81 seconds (9*9) to find the detonator-deactivation-scanner once inside
    • Speaking of ages, the digital root of everyone's age? Ace (50) + Snake (24) + Santa (24) + Clover (18) + Junpei (21) + June (21) + Seven (45) + Lotus (40) = 243 = 2 + 4 + 3 = 9. The 9th man doesn't count, unless his age is a digital root of 9 on its own.
    • In several parts of the game you use different bases substituting a letter for an extra number. Taking the whole alphabet into account (A=10, B=11...Z=35, 10=36), if you substitute the letters in zero for numbers you get 35+14+27+24=99. Using digital roots 9+9=18, 1+8=9. Therefore the word Zero equals nine.
    • If you got the True Ending, you'll have gone through nine puzzle rooms. Furthermore, the final puzzle in the True Ending is a sudoku puzzle, which is all about sets of nine.
    • Possibly related: Numerological Motif, as 9 in Japan is considered cursed.
    • Various bits of dialogue from examining things in puzzles can result in conversations like:

 Ace: "There's nothing in the drawer anymore."

Junpei: "Nuh-uh, there's air."

Ace: "How old are you, 9?!"

    • In the Captain's Quarters after telling Clover about the bookmark Santa gave you she takes 6 paces to the left, 6 paces to the right, then 6 paces to the left. 6+6+6=18 > 1+8=9
    • A key aspect of the game revolved around the calculation of Digital Roots. Although not explicitly stated, calculating a Digital Root is mathematically equivalent to calculating the number modulo 9.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Junpei is called "Jumpy" by his childhood friend June, while June is called "Kanny" by Junpei.
  • Air Vent Passageway
  • All There in the Manual: There's a bit of backstory that's only available in an interview with the game's director.
  • Artificial Limbs: Snake. His left arm is conveniently able to be manipulated so that he can slip his bracelet off, though he keeps that one secret. It's also a major plot point, proving that the corpse believed to be Snake, against all odds, is not actually Snake, because it has a broken bone in the left arm.
  • Asshole Victim: Although you have to admit you feel pity for them.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other / Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lotus and Seven.
  • Ax Crazy: Clover, in the Ax ending.
  • Bag of Spilling: It possibly occurs after every puzzle except for vital items such as keys. However, the keys are removed from your inventory but still shown to be in your possession so it is possible that you still have everything else.
    • Actually, when Junpei is asked for matches later in the game, he says he has none, even if you pick them up back in room 4.
      • The matches wouldn't have done any good, lighting the engine. None of the equipment even appears to be of any use otside the room it is placed in.
    • Also Seven has been shown to use some of the items to hold the doors open so the group can backtrack.
  • Batman Gambit: Junpei pulls this off in a few scenes. In two of them, Junpei tricks the other players so he can choose the doors he wants. In another scene, Junpei sets a trap on Ace by pretending that he switched clothes with Santa. Ace's inability to recognize faces caused him to fall for the trap and reveal himself as the game's villain.
  • Berserk Button: When Lotus is called old or otherwise, such as being called an "exhibitionist grandma."
    • Also, Snake in Ending 4 over Clover's death.
  • Big Bad: Ace, or rather, Gentarou Hongou.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Snake and Santa.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Seven, nine years ago.
  • Big Red Button: There's one at the library.
  • Body Double: You think Snake actually died behind Door 3? Turns out it was someone else, and the killer couldn't tell who they killed.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: What happens to the "True Ending" if you don't go through the Safe Ending first.
  • Break the Cutie: Clover, when it isn't Kill the Cutie.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Snake and Clover.
    • Also, Santa and June.
  • The Chessmaster: The last person you'd expect, June/Akane. Words of God says she has even bigger future plans, probably due to her ability to see and communicate with the future and its infinite timelines.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Plenty, including an actual gun.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Junpei and June.
  • Christmas Cake: Lotus.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Arguably Junpei, as some of his thoughts and responses can be REALLY out there ("Apologize to funyarinpa!"). June also qualifies at some points. On second thought, scratch that, the entire main cast is probably this if they have the time to make puns in a dire situation under a strict time limit.
    • Though most of June's crazy superstitious talks are fairly justified, considering she's kinda a walking supernatural phenomenon.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Except Snake and June. Santa is the primary offender, though.
  • The Comically Serious: Ace, mainly around Santa and Junpei.

 Santa: Look, Ace! It's some kind of snowman secret meeting!

Ace: Those are just bags full of sand. You use them as a counterweight when you're lifting something with a pully system.

Santa: Man, you're too serious...

  • Companion Cube: In Room 8, have Junpei examine the mannequin more than several times for him to eventually dub it "Science Boy". His attachment to Science Boy can lead to a Funny Moments or two, especially after the fire breaks out; During the fire, try examining Science Boy and the door Clover went through.
  • Computer Equals Monitor: Lotus mentions this trope in conjunction with a wireless monitor and mentions how someone who wouldn't know better might just assume the computer is the monitor. This ties into the ongoing theme with morphogenetic fields and the theory of seemingly unconnected things passing information between them.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Santa and June.
  • Cooldown Hug: Junpei embraces June to calm her after she saw a dead body in the shower room.
  • Cool Old Guy: Ace. Except in the endings. In the safe and true ending, he's revealed to be the Big Bad and in the submarine and knife ending he's implied to kill some if not all of the game's players.
    • Word of God has confirmed Ace is indeed the killer in the Sub and Knife endings.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ace.
  • Cowboy Cop: Seven
  • Dead Little Sister: Santa's little sister, who was killed nine years prior to the events of the game. Also, in the Safe Ending, Clover is this for Snake, who takes her murderer down with him in a final act of revenge and atonement for his failure to protect her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Santa. You can always count on him to make some biting comment insulting Junpei's intelligence.
    • Also Junpei, in some instances.
    • Disabled Snarker: Snake goes throughout the game making sarcastic comments. He also happens to be blind, and if you make the mistake of underestimating him, he'll bathe you in snark.
  • Decoy Protagonist: An odd example: you learn at the very end that the protagonist is actually the June of 9 years ago, seeing things through Junpei's eyes. This is why you can start a new game with your memories intact, because even though Junpei dies, the 9 years ago June can start over. However, it could be argue that they are both the protagonist.
  • Description Porn: Your mileage may vary, but the visual novel sections tend to describe the grisly bodies in horrific detail while showing only an image of the general area around the body, not the body itself.
    • Description Gorn?
    • Justified though, since it's also an effective way to deliver a certain subtle plot point.
  • Dialogue Tree: This game is like a Choose Your Own Adventure / Visual Novel, so this is natural.
  • Determinator: Snake in the Safe ending.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Invoked in the Knife ending's narration.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: June dies in Junpei's arms in the Submarine ending, thanking Junpei as she reflects on their childhood memories together. The song accompanying the scene doesn't help.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the freezer, you can examine a piece of meat for June to say "It's really hard", which Junpei asks her too say again. And again. Doesn't help that his face was red. Also, this scene.
  • Door to Before: Most of the numbered doors either return those who go through them to an earlier area or provide keys that unlock hallways in an earlier area. Most of the time the protagonists don't want or need to go to an earlier area but it comes in handy a few times. Seven also applies doorjambs to a few areas specifically so he can backtrack.
  • Downer Ending: Most of the bad endings, but Safe and Submarine are two notable ones.
    • The official Q&A even turned the True End into one for Junpei since he never sees Akane again and spends the rest of his life chasing after her. Thankfully that's the kind of thing Fanon is for.
      • That particular Q&A answer seems to be generally seen as sarcasm due to it being shorter and snappier than the rest of the answers. Of course this could just be fans wanting it their way.
      • Actually, he mentions it several times in the interview in different forms. The other forms are vaguer than the short answer, but still make out that Junpei never meets up with Akane again and spends the rest of his life chasing after her.
    • For a comparison:
      • The " Submarine" ending ends with everybody dead. Of course, Ace was acting. However, he would not have gotten the Q door, even with Lotus's and the 9th Man's bracelet.
      • The " Knife" has Ace getting Clover, Lotus, then Junpei with a short sharp metal implement. The fates of the others depend on whether Santa (who may have had the gun) found out in time, and even then...
      • The " Safe" runs as if it were the proper ending, before having the others killed. Only Seven and Lotus would have made it, assuming they didn't go back.
      • The " Axe" has Clover taking a dive into the deep end killing Santa and Seven over her brother's apparent death. Her justification over killing Akane was she was in her way, and then she kills Junpei For the Lulz. At the same time, Ace would have killed or kidnapped Lotus, and when Clover finds them... And she wouldn't have got the Q puzzle.
      • The "True" ending is of course an Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Clover of all people, in the epilogue.
  • Dwindling Party
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The True Ending. But the fact that three people had died because of the Nonary Game and that Junpei chases after Akane for the rest of his life really doesn't considered to be "happy"...
  • Easily Forgiven: On the True Ending path, Junpei and the others seem to pretty easily forgive the culprits once everything's revealed.
    • To be fair, said culprits were a guy trying to save his sister's life, and a little girl trying not to get incinerated.
    • And it's not as if they're Karma Houdinis, since Word of God says they have to go into hiding after being responsible for the deaths of two men.
    • If Junpei goes through door 3 (leaving Clover and Lotus behind to die just so he wouldn't be separated from June), all he gets for it when he returns is a glare and a slap on the cheek.
  • Easy Amnesia: Seven. Unlike most examples, it's justified in that it's probably a side effect of the gas. This type of amnesia goes away in a couple of days. However there is that pesky nine hour time limit. Hinted to be a subversion in the True Ending.
  • The End - or Is It?: After the credits of the Safe and Submarine endings.
  • The True Ending Changes Everything
  • The Enneagram: Word of God says the nine characters were based on the nine character archetypes of the Enneagram of Personality. Specifically Ace is an Achiever (3), Snake an Investigator (5), Santa an Enthusiast (7), Clover a Loyalist (6), Junpei a Challenger (8), June a Peacemaker (9), Seven a Helper (2), Lotus an Individualist (4) and the Ninth Man a Reformer (1). Note that these are their Enneagram numbers and have no relationship to their bracelet numbers.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Ending 6.
  • Everybody Lives: The best ending... except the 9th Man and two more of the Corrupt Corporate Executives...but you're unable to save them though.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep" / Being Watched: Early in the game, all the characters except for Junpei take a codename in case Zero just randomly kidnapped them but is keeping surveillance on them. Never mind that in most cases, they were probably carrying ID when kidnapped... Of course, if they'd all announced their names, Ace would have been clued in to Santa and June's true identity, Lotus's backplot, as well as Seven's story if his amnesia was an act. Which would have made Ace even more eager to backstab them, considering how quickly he moves against the 9th man and Snake. Not surprising Aoi and Akane went along with the idea...
  • Evil Laugh: Ace, or rather, Gentarou Hongou, quite a few times actually.
  • Exact Time to Failure: It's right there in the title!
  • Expy: Some fans see Snake as a calmer, nicer, blind Miles Edgeworth.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Snake. Justified in that he's blind. He only ever opens them when:
    • In one of the puzzles, when Seven/Clover/Snake/Junpei spell "pipe" in a cheer-leading fashion. Snake has his eyes wide open as he shouts "Gimme a P and an E!"
    • In the Safe Ending, Ace tells Snake that he killed Clover - and exactly how he did it - and Snake snaps and his eyes open as he swears to kill Ace. It's actually pretty terrifying.
    • When they're putting together what happened to Snake, his eyes are open in the still where he's going for the DEAD Though as it turns out, that wasn't Snake at all.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Seems to be the main reason that the bad ends happen.
    • An example is in the Knife Ending, when after discovering that Lotus' death had only happened recently, Junpei fails to realize the obvious and terrible reality that the killer is still there, since the floor they were on only had one entrance and exit (which was the same place) and that he just came out of the entrance with no one around.
    • Another example is the Axe Ending, where Junpei noticing Clover's sanity slippage may have stopped her from Kill'Em Alling them.
    • To be fair, both of them are actually very much justified, as Akane was controlling Junpei, and since the Knife and Axe Endings led her to finding little/no new information, she just kills off junpei so she can try again and get another combination of doors that might get her the answer.
  • Fauxshadow Clearly this is all an experiment by Cradle Pharmaceuticals to make crystals, or something. Well. That's not totally off-track, but wrong Nonary Game. This one's motive is a lot weirder.
  • Feelies: If you pre-ordered from Gamestop online you got a replica of the bracelets. Thankfully it functions as a normal watch. Also, you can buy them for 5 bucks from the official store.
  • Final Boss: This game's equivalent to one... is a Sudoku Puzzle.
  • Final Exam Boss: The game's final escape room has remixed versions of previous puzzles.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The ship's incinerator.
  • First Person Perspective
  • Fission Mailed/Nonstandard Game Over: While there are Multiple Endings, you cannot achieve the True Ending on your first play-through. For plot reasons.
  • Foreshadowing: On certain routes, the team finds a bracelet with the number zero. Upon experimentation, they discover it actually represents the number six, foreshadowing the fact that Zero is actually June.
    • What looks like a "0" on the bracelet is actually the letter "O", the 15th letter of the alphabet, whose digital root is 6. This is also a hint about another letter that looks a lot like a number...
    • There's foreshadowing all over the place; one particularly subtle bit is in a Panty Shot gag of all things.
    • When the group is looking for Snake, Junpei can talk to Ace, and remark that he's surprised that Clover and Snake are siblings. Ace asks why, and when Junpei replies it's because they look so different, Ace says he supposes so. Ace has prosopagnosia; he had no idea they looked different.
      • This one's a double! Ace states that there are many siblings who do not look alike, foreshadowing the fact that Santa and June are siblings as well.
    • In the 'Safe' ending, Junpei learns from Santa Ace's real identity, and that Ace told him this himself. Given Ace already killed two people to hide that fact, why would he tell Santa? Easy; he didn't. Santa is one of the masterminds behind the game and knows exactly who Ace is.
    • The iron-plated windows slightly hint at the team not being on a ship at all; if they could see outside, the illusion would be broken.
    • Not too important, but when you look at the lights in the 1st Class Cabin, Snake looks surprised until Junpei clarifies where they are. Light is Snake's real name.
    • In the bad endings, you'll often come across another player who has just died, with the exception of "Snake" and the 9th Man, which cannot be prevented. If you've already gotten another bad ending, you'll probably realize that it won't be long for Junpei after that. This may be a result of June simply wanting to end that path since it didn't help her.
      • Another subtle sign of bad endings are June's incinerator induced fevers and Seven's discrepancy-possible-false-memories.
    • Take a good look at June's bracelet on the cover. The upside-down 6 on her bracelet certainly looks an awful lot like a 9, doesn't it...?
    • In a bit of genius, during the safe ending you end up with the password 14383421, according to an interview with the director, he chose that number because if you multiply it by nine you get 129450789...the actual numerical value of everyone's bracelets.
    • The detonators not being real,except for the one in the ninth man, and possibly the one in Ace, is hinted at in a couple of places, specifically when Junpei observes that one of the searches for the DEAD felt like a lot longer than 81 seconds.
    • I'm surprised no ones mentioned this yet, but in the beginning of the game Junpei is talking about Zero as a he, then reconsiders wondering if Zero really is a he or as she, which of course is foreshadowing Zero is actually a girl.
      • Well, it was a [1] in [3] chance...
    • When choosing door [3], after Santa realises Junpei's plan to go into the same room as June, and that he can't talk Junpei out of it, seems more intent than others on entering. June's bracelet is, of course, not [6].
  • Four-Bad Band:The Cradle Pharmaceuticals executives.
  • Forced Into Evil: Zero, who is forced to run the second Nonary Game, as she previously foresaw its existence, and her life depends on information obtained from that foresight. She is fully aware that it's an evil act and tries to minimize the impact it has on innocent people, but is still forced to become a fugitive afterwards. If Junpei takes entirely the wrong path and disrupts the future game, Zero surprises the player with the declaration, "You misunderstand. You haven't lost... I have lost."
  • Four Is Death: Not related to the puzzles, per se, but the history and people behind the Nonary Game: Cradle Pharmaceutical's CEO Gentarou Hongou, who designed the project; Nagisa Nijisaki, Hongou's right-hand man and planner of the game; Teruaki Kubota, who developed the puzzles; and Kagechika Musashidou, who funded the project. Their experiment nearly kills several children in the process.
    • The Axe ending. Most of the group is murdered by Clover, who has bracelet number 4. It's also the only one of the four bad endings where the face of Junpei's murderer is revealed.
  • Four-Leaf Clover: The clover bookmark in second Nonary Game and nine clovers in first Nonary Game.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason Ace, or rather, Gentarou Hongou gives for starting the Nonary Game.
  • Gainax Ending: Even the "True" ending qualifies as this, with 'Alice'.
  • Gainaxing / Gag Boobs: Lotus.
  • Gas Mask Trenchcoat: Zero. And justified as Zero threw incapacitating smoke bombs at the players to kidnap them.
  • Gambit Roulette: Although admittedly being able to see the future, even if only once and when in mortal peril, gives a pretty good edge as to how to set up some of the crazier stunts Zero pulls - such as Snake's switcheroo, and knowing how and when Ace would react to "Snake" alone and seemingly confused.
  • Generation Xerox: Take one look at Nona and you'll immediately see her as a young Lotus.
  • Genre Savvy: Junpei can be this if you choose the right dialogue choices.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Ace, and the rest of Cradle Pharmaceutical, set up their Nonary Game for the purpose of getting people to tap into morphogenic fields, and control people. Ace in particular was extremely invested in getting them to tap into full sensory replacement. In the end, one of the children he kidnapped tapped into the fields perfectly. And she used that power to save herself from his twisted experiment, manipulate him (without using the fields on him) into killing his own accomplices, and ruin him financially and legally. The real twist of the knife is that she financed her revenge by buying stocks in Cradle. His own financial success funded his ruin.
  • Gorn: Meticulously detailed descriptions of exploded corpses, anyone?
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The game refuses to directly show you any of the exploded people, but to undo that, gives sickeningly detailed descriptions of the corpses in text.
    • Thies doubles as a way to avoid a spoiler with the second victim, since if the corpse was shown any decently observant player might notice that it's hair color does not match Snake's (Nijisaki has black hair while Snake's is sandy brown). Even with all the blood and half the head gone it would have been a dead giveaway that Snake was still alive. Strangely enough, absolutely no one notices the difference.
  • Guide Dang It: One of the most common criticisms of the game was that the path to the true ending was very well hidden, practically requiring the player to make random guesses in order to find it. Considering the game does contain clues for the correct choices for the two hidden endings.
    • Yes and no, since you unlock "Previews" for finishing the Coffin Ending and the Safe Ending (Which gives you the path towards the Safe and True endings, respectively.) You still, however, gotta look for clues/random guess your way through the Coffin Ending.
      • Though, if you play the game like you're supposed to, and do all the puzzle rooms, it's not that hard to figure out how to get to the Coffin Ending. Ice-9 is both mentioned in the second-class cabin and the operating room, and Clover's knowledge of an experiment is introduced in the operating room, so it would be wise to team up with her to hear the rest of her story. The conversational options aren't difficult to the Genre Savvy, so...
  • Guile Hero: Junpei, by making it so that he can get any result he wants in the door lottery.
  • He Knows Too Much: Ace murders the 9th man and the man he thinks is Snake to avoid his involvement in the Nonary Project leaking to the rest of the cast.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ace. Subverted in that it wasn't needed. Played with in that it was a Batman Gambit to keep the others from finding out he murdered who he thought was Snake.
  • Hidden Depths: EVERYBODY.
    • The director had this in mind creating the game - building the characters upon stereotypes, then subverting them.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Surprisingly averted; when a console needs to be hacked, said hacker writes a simple program to perform a basic but valid operation, namely brute-forcing the password. Unfortunately, programming does not work that way, especially on what is basically a DOS Prompt that is locked.
    • Justified, since it can be assumed that Zero and Santa planned each room around the capabilities of all party members that could plausibly enter, such that any clues and allowed actions are deliberate alongside any lack of clues. See also: the dry ice bomb in the freezer. It can thus be presumed that a shell is provided with a rudimentary programming or scripting environment, and Lotus simply fails to communicate this effectively to Junpei. And if Santa or June had entered...
    • Further justified, because the game tries to make computational topics like different numerical bases and computer hardware accessible to players that aren't familiar with these topics. Examples include the rather long and detailed discussion on hexadecimal and octal number systems and the lack of precision when describing removal of the ground prong from a three-prong power adapter.
  • Hot Mom: Lotus, who has twin girls. [1]
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Junpei and June at the Saturn elevator, if you choose to assume the right (that is to say, wrong) reason for her nervousness. Doubles as Innocent Innuendo, but works better as this trope simply because of how long they go at it before Junpei realizes what June is referring to.
    • Spoiler for the curious: Junpei and June are considering going down in an elevator to a lower floor of the ship they are on. June is concerned that the lower levels of the ship may be flooded, but Junpei (at your choice) assumes it's because she's nervous about getting into a lift on her own with a boy. Her first words to him are: "I'm afraid I might get wet down there." Hilarity ensues.
    • Paradoxically, If Junpei does assume the "wrong" reason for June's nervousness it's because the younger Akane (ie, the younger June) has directed him to. And she's done so while about to be burned to death.
    • There's also a Too Funny to Be Evil dimension to this: it's unlikely you'd realize that's Zero you just had that conversation with!
  • Hurricane of Puns: Pick a door, any door. Chances are that you'll see at least one pun if you examine everything multiple times. Junpei, June, Clover, and Seven are the most major offenders of this trope.
  • Idiot Ball: Junpei can hold onto this firmly depending on the player's actions.
  • I Gave My Word
  • Informed Deformity: Other characters keep commenting on how old Lotus is. She doesn't look old..
    • Although one could argue that the three characters who comment on that most often - Santa, Junpei, and Seven - are mainly doing it to dick with her. Junpei seems pretty...overwhelmed by her presence when he first meets her and at one point Akane laments how she knows guys would prefer someone who looks like Lotus over herself.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Besides the Saturn elevator example above, there's also the frozen chicken in the kitchen freezer beyond door 4. If Junpei examines it, June will say his "chunk of meat" is "really hard." Junpei will ask her to repeat the "really hard" part multiple times.
  • Interface Screw: You have to flip the DS upside-down for the final puzzle. This actually makes sense in-story, because all this time you've been playing as Akane 9 years ago, sending answers to Junpei in the present, with the top and bottom screens representing the two time periods respectively; this is the first and only time the situation is reversed.
  • In the Back: Knife and Submarine endings.
  • It's Up to You: In spite of everyone working to escape the place, you're the only one who actually does any real work in the groups you're in.
    • It does avert it from time to time - such as in the Hollywood Hacking aversion above, where Junpei just watches while Lotus does the work. Further averted, because in many cases, multiple failures to find the correct solution to a puzzle or the right piece of evidence will cause characters to give you more and more of the answer, until they practically solve it for you. In some cases, the character giving the hints will be Junpei himself.
      • Actually it's Akane nine years in the past sending Junpei the answers. You're still doing the work.
      • Justified: Ace knows all the answers as the CEO of the company that set up the first Nonary Project, but doesn't want to blow his cover. Same thing with June and Santa and possibly Seven, but from the opposite side. Snake can only hint towards answers thanks to Zero's warning, and Clover is only in the same party with Junpei after "Snake" dies, and is therefore understandably depressed for the most part. The only one who is totally out of the loop is Lotus, who is also the only one to really help with anything.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The fourth ending contains many plot-relevant revelations that are required to unlock the true ending.
  • Kill'Em All: Ending 6.
  • Leitmotif: Even Ace has his own theme.
    • There's also a track on the OST called "Imaginary" that seems to pop up whenever you're talking to June...
  • Lack of Empathy: Ace/Hongou. The problem might be related to his prosopagnosia: at a few points, he rants about how he can't really "see" people.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!.Justified by the way the numbered doors work.
  • The Library of Babel: Small door 9.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Door 4.
    • The Incinerator.
  • Lost in Translation: Unfortunately, what's lost is a pronunciation pun...which is rather important during the climax of the True End, and makes no sense for the players unless they know Japanese. Specifically, the romaji letter "q" and the number "9" are both pronounced "kyuu" in Japanese.
    • Junpei's deduction of figuring out how the authentication of the 'q' door works would make sense for a non-native English speaker, but a more simple explanation for a native English speaker is "Q is the 17th letter and its digital root is 8." The logic of the 'O' bracelet working as a 2nd 6 falls under the same logic; O = the 15th letter and its digital root is 6.
    • YMMV on whether it's Averted Trope or not. One thing to remember about the rules regarding the last part of the rules regarding the door is, it's never spoken out loud by Zero himself. And the font of the letter's text makes it perfectly ambiguous as to whether it's a "9" or a lower case "q". The assumption is made by everyone simply due to the theme, making the misunderstanding purely a textual one. Along with the use of bases, the wordplay itself is rather obsolete.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: See Power of Love
  • Magic Square Puzzle
  • Mind Screw: Done well and makes sense when you think about it.
  • Mirror Scare: Right at the beginning, in the flashback to when Junpei was caught.
  • Mood Whiplash: The game goes from mystery to funny to dark to funny again to really dark. In a moment of Fridge Brilliance that's how humans in a similar situation would respond.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Averted, unusually for the genre. Sometimes you have to look around some more and examine things more thoroughly, but you'll be able to solve everything.
  • Murder by Mistake: Ace's prosopagnosia results in him murdering Nijisaki, the decoy, instead of Snake. Granted, judging by the murder of the 9th man partly being motivated by him knowing too much, he would have murdered Nijisaki, an accomplice in the Nonary Project, anyway.
  • My Greatest Failure: Seven, regarding nine years ago.
    • Though, Akane did in fact live. The reason he states so, the creator left it to the player to decide whether he lied or had a false memory implanted.
  • Narrator All Along: June; see Painting the Fourth Wall for details.
  • Never Say "Die": When on the elevator with Junpei, June inadvertently fuels existing sexual tension by referring to dying as going to heaven instead.
  • New Game+: How you keep track of what endings you already got.
  • Nine Little Murder Victims
  • No Name Given: The 9th Man. At least, not initially.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: In the true ending, Lotus offers to stay in the incinerator so Junpei, Seven, Clover, and Snake can escape. They refuse.
    • And before that, Seven offered to stay by himself in the Chapel, so that two teams of 3 could go through the nine doors, he was summarily refused by everyone.
    • Not to mention Snake offering to stay behind for the ninth door. He had a trump card.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: The Saturn elevator conversation mentioned in Hurricane of Euphemisms.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Invoked for everyone except for Junpei. Doubles as Meaningful Rename as the names are themed after the bracelet numbers.
    • Actually Clover is exempt too since it's revealed in a flashback that her name is actually Clover
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Done by several people but notably Snake during the Safe Ending as he snaps his eyes open while Ace is describing exactly how he murdered Clover. He then proceeds to get Ace killed after getting shot 6 times.
  • Opening Narration: "Why do I...know? Why...Why do I know...these things?"
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Ending spoilers follow: The whole game - especially its Multiple Endings - is the past June using the morphogenetic field to see the future. The branching paths are ideas she explores to figure out the right path; ultimately, she uses the knowledge gained in the Gainax Ending to tell Junpei how to open the coffin and move things along to the true ending.
  • Plot Time: Might as well list the whole index. Suffice it to say that your characters do things in exactly the amount of time they are allowed to get things done, no matter how long or how short a time it takes for you to solve puzzles, read dialogue, and walk around the ship.
  • Point and Click Game
  • The Power of Love: Word of God states that Akane and Junpei had such a strong bond in the first place especially when they both solve the last puzzle together.
    • God states that "the power of love" is how Akane and Junpei were able to resonate even though Junpei did not have any affinity with the Transgenetic Field like the original 18 children, at least not anymore than a normal person did. Also an example of Love Transcends Spacetime.
  • Preorder Bonus: See Feelies above.
  • Red Herring: Ice-9 and Alice can seem like this...right up until the final scene.
    • Except they, for all purposes, are a red herring. They don't serve an iota of relevance to the main plot, and Word of God says it needn't necessarily be ALL-ICE we se at the end.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Clover and Snake, with the colors to match. However, when Snake disappears, Clover's distress makes her become both onis, being alternately passionate and aloof.
  • Running Gag: Lotus tends to get quite abusive when mentioning that she is a Christmas Cake or, well, abusive. Expect some Comic Relief scene for most of the time.
  • Sanity Slippage: Clover in the 3rd ending.
    • Ace in the "safe" ending.
  • Scare Chord: Whenever somebody shows up dead. And then some.
  • Scars Are Forever: Word of God reveals that Seven got his scars from an incident after the first Nonary Game before. He fought a large evil organization.
  • Scary Black Man: Seven at first.
  • Scrolling Text
  • Sequel Hook: Akane and Santa make a getaway in the True Ending. Subverted, in that the ending actually trails off before their escape, with Junpei and the other Nonary Game contestants following them in a separate car. Word of God, however, states that they have to escape and this is partly because they are responsible for the deaths of two people and partly because something bigger is going down that they need to take care of.
  • Sequence Breaking: In-game, Seven puts things into the doors so they won't lock. These tend to be plot points.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The reason behind the game is to save Akane in the past.
  • Shipper on Deck: EVERYONE with Junpei and June, primarily Lotus, who repeatedly teases you about June. Twice as funny due to the boat pun you can make this trope into.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Ending 5, where you learn very little of importance and are killed right in the middle of trying to figure out stuff. It is very confusing for both you and Junpei. Even the other "bad" endings give you more hope than this.
    • The safe ending can seem this, if you don't know that you need to get that ending first to reach the true ending.
  • Shout-Out: Cats Cradle with Ice-9 and the name of Cradle Pharmaceutical.
  • Shown Their Work: The Gigantic? That one's mostly real. It was to be the intended name of the third ship Britannic. William Thomas Stead is also completely authentic. The mummy, however, is a debunked legend, just Historical Fiction.
  • Six Is Nine: June's bracelet (a 6) actually being a 9, which allows her to open any of the doors in the game, making it an important hint to who Zero actually is.
    • Subverted since Snake makes this assumption and concludes that Santa has a number 0 bracelet when in truth June has 0 and Santa has 9.
  • Skyward Scream: In the fourth, or Safe, ending.
    • Ace: ZEEEEEROOOOOOOOO!!!
    • Junpei: KAAAANNYYYYYY!!!
    • And don't forget Santa/Aoi who does this after finding the charred remains of his sister. Of course, due to the Set Right What Once Went Wrong plot of the game he doesn't technically end up doing this.
  • Slasher Smile: Clover in ending 3.
  • Spinventory
  • Stable Time Loop: An alternate interpretation to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, though it doesn't make it any less confusing.
  • The Stinger: The very last scene.
  • Summation Gathering: The "Safe" ending, after Junpei opens the safe and learns Ace's identity.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: Junpei conversing with the ladder in 3rd class cabin.
  • Take Your Time: All the puzzles aren't on a time limit and when people start talking they can talk a while. This gets kinda of silly when Junpei is locked in a flooding room or they're talking while freezing to death in a sub zero freezer. Apparently Talking Is a Free Action.
    • In the incinerator room during the "True" ending, you only have 6 minutes left when you start working on the puzzle. That's 12 minutes of time wasted just talking, and seven minutes of that is of Junpei talking with past Akane.
  • Taking the Bullet: Snake to Junpei, Seven and Lotus, from Ace in Safe ending.
  • Taking You with Me
  • Temporal Paradox: If the player follows a route that leads to failure, Akane starts to feel "hot flushes" as her death in the incinerator enters the timeline. In the Safe ending, the success route is destroyed completely and Akane disappears altogether.
    • The whole plot hinges on Akane being saved from certain death by getting a premonition of a future that will only exist if she lives to carefully fabricate it nine years later, so yeah.
  • The Tetris Effect: Play through the game often enough and you may start calculating digital roots out of impulse. Alternatively, numbers begin taking on more meaning.
  • Theme Naming: Everyone takes up code names based off their number, except Junpei. Ace (1), Snake (as in "snake eyes," 2), Santa ("san" is "3" in Japanese, plus he's got a few stories about "Santa" to tell), Clover (4, like the leaves), June (The 6th month), Seven (which, uh, probably sounded cool and foreign in Japanese), and Lotus (8, like the petals on the flower).
    • The same applies in the Japanese version, where most of their assumed names either have the character for their number in them, or are similar in sound (again, except Junpei). Ace is Ichimiya ("ichi" is "1"), Snake is Ni(e)ls ("ni" is "two"), Santa is the same, Clover is Yotsuba ("clover" in Japanese), June is Murasaki (the character for "six" can be pronounced "mu"), Seven is... Seven, and Lotus is Yashiro (the character for "eight" can be pronounced "ya"). Mu can also refer to nothingness in both English and Japanese... that is, zero.
    • Averted in that Clover's name is actually Clover, well, Yotsuba.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: At the beginning of the game.

  "This game is fiction. All names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious."

  • The Three Faces of Eve: Clover (child), June (wife), and Lotus (seductress).
  • Time Bomb: Invoked in the text, see above.
  • Torture Cellar: Door 2.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: The path to certain endings may seem like this at first, although more and more hints pop up as the game progresses. Plot-wise, the whole game can be seen as Young Akane experimenting with all of the story paths to see which one will lead to her salvation. Santa, behind Door 6, will discuss rats trapped in a flooding box and how, after enough repetitions, they figure out the exit from among seemingly arbitrary choices... hmmm...
  • Trope 2000: Pushmaster 5000.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Junpei decides not to test Snake after he informs him that, despite his blindness, he is quite capable of beating him up.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Junpei. He seems to be the only one without some horrible back story.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ace, of all people, has one in Ending 4.
  • Weird Science: Some of the paths make repeated references to "morphogenetic fields," the ability to transmit information between seemingly unconnected things. Morphogenetic fields are an actual phenomena - though it's very localized and revolves around discreet biochemical signals(and the shapes cells will conform to) rather than memories and image-sending. The game actually uses the concept of that name developed by Rupert Sheldrake (who is mentioned by name at one point when the concept is being explained).
    • Not to mention Ice-9 and the entire Alice incident. [2]
  • Westminster Chimes: Used as a puzzle; you have to play the tune on a piano that's had its keys rearranged.
  • Wham! Line: One can be seen in one of the previews: "Unfortunately, you're wrong. Actually I'm Santa". It's not what you might think before ever playing the game, and not what you would think hearing it even after playing it at first, [3]
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The game's equivalent of the final boss is a Sudoku puzzle.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: People get pissed if you go through door 3.
  • When It All Began: The experiment, nine years ago.
    • Although, according to the Word of God, the Nonary Game was created by Lord Gordain. Meaning it all began with the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Santa at first in the Coffin (2) and True Endings (1), then subverted because it was all part of a big plan to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Ace does this, detailing how he killed Clover to her big brother Snake and all the excitement he felt about it. Needless to say, that activated Snake's Berserk Button.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Meta-example. The colloquial name of the "Safe" ending implies that you will, in fact, be alive. No such luck...
  • Your Head Asplode: In this case it's your bowels. No less lethal though.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The game starts with your character waking up in the cabin of a large passenger ship. Of the nine characters involved, however, only one has amnesia and it isn't you. In fact, Junpei only needs a few minutes to get his bearings before the player sees exactly how he was abducted from his apartment.

You found it!

Notes

  1. No, not THOSE twin girls.
  2. Ice-9 is real, but the substance discussed in the game is a fictional element (inspired by Kurt Vonnegut) and Alice is a reference to the Urban Legend of the Titanic sinking caused by a mummy's curse.
  3. Santa is NOT Zero, though is helping her
  4. Junpei starting to reveal to everyone that Ace can't identify faces and what levels of bastardry Ace had committed since the start of the Nonary Game
  5. Spoken by the narration.
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