If ever a television series was ripe for conversion into a computer game, The X Files is it. Millions of viewers, charismatic lead characters and unusual, unpredictable plots; even if the game had turned out to be Mouldy and Scummy, it still would have sold well. As it is, this is a good game by any standards. The experience starts when you open the box, which contains a miniature document file holding the seven CDs. Yes, seven. That’s usually a bad sign, but this game depends heavily on full-motion video (FMV) to keep the plot and atmosphere real.
Here’s where we had the first laugh. A minimum installation of the game will set your hard drive back 250MB. That’s a lot, but not quite as ridiculous as the full installation, which consumes a whopping 3.5GB. Still, one installation and a cup of tea later, we were ready to play. Despite the introductory sequence showing Mulder and Scully under attack from unknown enemies, you don’t actually get to control either of the main characters. Instead, you play Agent Willmore, assigned to find out why Mulder and Scully have disappeared.
After the briefing, it’s all point and click stuff, in the standard tradition of adventure games. There’s plenty of video footage to keep the suspense going, and the interface works well in an unobtrusive way. As you’d expect, solving the mystery of the missing agents requires plenty of brain work and clue-searching, and several well-known characters from the television series put in cameo appearances. It’s not all puzzle-solving, either, as there are plenty of people out to get you, so you often have to move fast to avoid death, or worse.
Without giving away too much of the plot, the game involves Russians, aliens and cigarettes. But not necessarily in that order. It’s all been put together very well, and carries much of the feel of the television series with the added bonus of interactivity. X Files fans will almost certainly love it, and there’s quite a bit here for the rest of us, too.
Incidentally, product placement is finding its way into games, not just films. Willmore’s pocket computer, which you use to navigate around the country and send e-mails, is an Apple Newton, while his mobile phone has a prominent ‘Nokia’ badge on it. Not exactly subtle, but it doesn’t interfere with the gameplay.
Company: Fox Interactive