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999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

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Title Screen

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Also known as: Kyokugen Dasshutsu Ku: Jikan Ku Nin Kyū no Tobira (JP), Zero Escape
Developer: Chunsoft
Publishers: Spike (JP), Aksys Games (US)
Platform: Nintendo DS
Released in JP: December 10, 2009
Released in US: November 16, 2010

GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.

NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page

In 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the main character, Junpei, is abducted and wakes up on an old ship. He and eight other people whom have also been abducted, are then forced to play a game where the penalty for breaking the rules is death. Suffice to say, it's a real blast!


999 US deck bottom label.png
Unused Graphics
Want to know what the map of the Bottom Deck looks like?
999 Test 2 menu.png
Debug and Test Novel Sections
Remnants of what was used to test the game's engine
999 US Minor Hidden Menu a21d Clover.png
Hidden Menus
Disabled menus that let the developers jump to any point in the story and choose story arcs more easily

Odd Sound File Name

There is one sound file found in the game that has an odd name compared to other sound files. Its name is m07_bgm_e_03_old.bgm. The odd part is the fact that it has “old” in its name. This hints that a newer version of this sound file had once existed. As it is, there aren’t any newer versions of the file on the ROM. Either the newer version of the file got deleted and the developers went back to using the old version or the developers quickly changed their minds and never bothered developing a newer version to begin with. As for what this sound file actually is, it is called “Tranquility” from the 999 music soundtrack. It is used for the last conversation between Junpei and Akane right before the Knife Ending. It doesn’t get any more tranquil than that...

(Source: Cuber456 (Discovery))

Text and String Files

To do:
There are other DAT files in the root/etc directory that also appear to be unused and are in a similar format. List them and the strings that they contain.

These files are found in the root/etc directory that go unused. Most of these files are composed of strings.


While this file does initially get loaded at boot, the game doesn't appear to do anything with it and it's quickly overwritten. Evidence of it being unused is supported by the game operating normally when all the text in this file is replaced with a single / character.

Original Text File English Translation
// ------------------------------------------------------------------
// ------------------------------------------------------------------
NoMouthAnime = 「」『』<>〈〉()〔〕[]《》【】… 、。?ー―

GetItem = q0.$i0を手に入れた!

SelectItem = どのアイテム?
// ------------------------------------------------------------------
// ------------------------------------------------------------------
//Glyphs to not lip-sync to
NoMouthAnime = 「」『』<>〈〉()〔〕[]《》【】… 、。?ー―

GetItem = You got q0.$i0!

SelectItem = Which item?
(Source: Cuber456 (Text Rip), Bast (Translation))


Looking at debug.dat with a hex editor shows that it contains strings of text related to debugging. It doesn't appear that this file can be called directly by the game as it isn't listed in the ARM9 binary or global.ini. At this point in time, it is unknown if it can somehow be properly loaded in game.

Debug Menu
Scene Check
Escape Check
Mini Game
Sound Check
Chara Check
BG Check
Item  Check
Movie Check
Stage Setting
Item Select
Flag Setting
Stage Start
Stage Setting In Game
Item Select
Flag Setting
Novel Debug Menu
Return Game
Debug Setting
Global Flag Setting
End Game
Escape Debug Menu
Return Game
Debug Setting
End Game
Item Select
Flag Setting
Global Flag Setting
Debg Setting
(Source: Cuber456 (Text Rip))


The strings in this file are all in Japanese. Most of the strings share the theme of emotions and would probably have been displayed alongside character graphics to ensure the correct graphics were being displayed at the intended times. In other words, this file was used for character debugging which explains why the file is called debug_c.dat where the "c" probably stands for character. Like the previous file, it is unknown if it can somehow be properly loaded in game.

Original Japanese English Translation

Character selection invalid poses
18:Sudden change
19:Motion related 1
20:Motion related 2
21:Motion related 3
22:Motion related 4
23:Motion related 5

Motion 1 - Frame cycling has invalid eye-closing,
invalid mouth open/closing,
invalid background,
invalid conversation movement,
invalid left/right/middle standing positions
(Source: Cuber456 (Text Rip), Bast (Translation))

Unused Functions


A function that is only found in the test5.fsb file and is otherwise completely unused. When enabled, any text shown is sped through and this is done regardless if it is the first time the player has seen the text or not. When in escape rooms, the computer will randomly select items or objects of interest making it nearly impossible to play. The effects of “DebugAuto” can be seen in-game, at any part of the game, by using the following codes. One code is for enabling and the other is for disabling. Only turn on one code at a time.

Effect Japan US
Turn on DebugAuto Effects 2220BA84 00000001 22207184 00000001
Turn off DebugAuto Effects 2220BA84 00000000 22207184 00000000
(Source: Cuber456 (Codes))

Sound Test

An interesting function found in start.fsb which is responsible for loading the game's title screen is "Sound Test".It suggests that some sort of sound test might be possible to load in the game from this file. At the moment, it has yet to be loaded if the coding for it still exists.

(Source: Cuber456 (Discovery))

Missing Novel Sections

There is a file in the ROM called global.ini, which contains a list of strings that seem to relate to various functions within the game. In particular, there is a list of function names that actually match file names in the root/scr directory. Most of the files in the root/scr directory hold the information to load novel sections, puzzle/escape rooms and the credits. The interesting part is that there are two function names, "~Test" and "~D01d", which are listed in the global.ini file but don't have corresponding files in the root/scr directory. The absence of these two files is confirmed by another file called novel.dat, which lists what files in the root/scr directories are novels.

D01d File

The mere existence of the function ~D01d is even more interesting than ~Test. The first thing to note is that the file name has the syntax of visual novel sections of the game. For example, look at the group of functions responsible for loading the first puzzle and novel sequences for when Junpei is on deck D.


The first function is the call to load the puzzle room for the third class cabin. The rest of the functions load novel sections for this point in the game. In this case, the novel sections would be the intro of when Junpei wakes up in the cabin, when Junpei remembers being grabbed by Zero and then when Junpei is able to escape from the cabin respectively. Other puzzle and novel sequences use this format too. Take notice of how the functions for the novel sections use the prefixes b, d, and e on the end. The novels sections that involve puzzles are always played in this "b d e" order. Notice that the function ~D01d has the letter d attached to the end. Given this information; this could be a hint that a novel section and a puzzle/escape room were cut from the game.

There are a few oddities however and some other things to point out. The first to note is the letter at the start of the file name for visual novel sections. The letters used for visual novel sections in game are A, B and C. The letters seem to represent story paths. For example, following all the way down the B path will result in the Safe Ending for the game while following all the way down the A path once the B path is completed will result in the True Ending for the game. The C path always results in a bad ending as well as straying from one path to another after the first/second class cabin escapes. The D path goes unused entirely as ~D01d is the only file syntax to reference it.

The oddities don't end there. All novel and puzzle sections have numbers in their titles. Simply put, these numbers represent how far down a path that particular section is. Look at the puzzle sections for path A (True Ending).

~A01  // 3rd Class Cabin
~A11  // 2nd Class Cabin
~A12  // Kitchen
~A21  // Operating Room
~A31  // Chartroom
~A32  // Captain's Quarters
~A41  // Library
~A42  // Study

The numbers increase the further the game progresses. The situation with the missing D01d file is that its numbers place it around the novel and puzzle sections for the 3rd Class Cabin.

(Source: Cuber456 (Discovery))

Other Tidbits

The last bit worth mentioning is that the file op.fsb that is also found in the root/scr directory doesn't appear to have a similar function name on the global.ini list or on the novel.dat list. It is unknown why this is and trying to force the game to load the file only causes the game to crash. One thing to note about this file is that it has a string reference to test2.fsb which means that, after this file did whatever it was supposed to do, it would then load test2.fsb.

(Source: Cuber456 (Discovery))

Regional Differences

Game Startup

The publisher logos and title screens were changed between the Japanese and US versions.

Japan US
Startup Screen Spike Aksys Games
Title Screen The title screens... ...are different

3rd Class Cabin

While all the puzzles in this room are present in both versions of the game, the way to figure out the number combinations that open the blue and red suitcases is different. This is due to the fact that the graphics that are on the picture of the cruise liner, the memo from the bed and the note from the bulletin board were changed. These changes are the result of localization.

Japan US
Picture of an Old Cruise Liner 999 picture of an old cruise liner Japan.png 999 picture of an old cruise liner US.png
Memo from the Bed 999 memo from bed Japan.png 999 memo from bed US.png
Note from the Bulletin Board 999 note from bulletin board Japan.png 999 note from bulletin board US.png

In the Japanese version, the memo from the bed and the note from the bulletin board have two colored katakana on them which correspond to one of the suitcases. The way to figure out the number combinations is to look at the first katakana and match it up with the katakana written on the back of the one on the picture of the cruise liner which will reveal a two digit number. That number corresponds to the first half of a number combination to a suitcase. Doing the same for the second katakana will reveal the second half of a number combination to a suitcase.

In the US version, four different shapes are written on the back of the memo from the bed and the note from the bulletin board. The first two shapes are in one color and the last two shapes are in a different color. Putting the shapes of the same color together from the two pieces of paper will reveal the number combination to that respective suitcase. To get the number combinations from the shapes, match the shapes to the shapes written on the back of the picture of the cruise liner.

The number combinations for the blue and red suitcase in the Japanese version, 1121 and 1115 respectively, differ from the US version, 0263 and 7485 respectively. They were most likely changed in the US version so that the same shapes weren't used since the number "1" appears three times in the Japanese number combinations.

(Source: Zero Escape Wiki, Ben Bateman Interview, Cuber456 (Screenshots))