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9: The Last Resort is a 1996 adventure computer game developed by Tribeca Interactive. The game was produced by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, and sported an all-star cast of voice-artists including Cher, James Belushi, Christopher Reeve, and two members of Aerosmith. It also includes the visual style and artwork of Mark Ryden.
The game came soon after the release of Myst, which revolutionized the graphic adventure genre. Like Myst, 9 is a graphically-rich 3D pre-rendered world, taking advantage of high-quality QuickTime video, and solely available on CD-ROM. It was written for the Windows platform, unlike most games of the time which ran on DOS and the Mac OS platform.
9 features a large cast of characters, and is rich in character interaction. The game world is populated by bizarre environments, objects and creatures. The game world is designed to represent the limits of man's imagination. There is a strong musical theme running through the entire game, as evidenced by a majority of the puzzles, including the main recurring puzzle. There is also a strong element of humour in the game.
The gameplay, coupled with the extremely high hardware requirements and the high cost of the game led to very few sales, and the game was remaindered.
Formally, the title of the game is just "9", as shown on the box cover. However, the title "The Last Resort" is also displayed on the packaging in different locations, leading most people to refer to the game as "9: The Last Resort". Although the game never uses the two names together, it also does not consistently use one of them. For example, the game's executable is called "Nine", but the game's data folders are prefixed with "LR".
The title is always written as '9', the numeral, not the word (except in some of the game's files).
The name "9" refers to the nine muses which inhabit the resort (from Greek mythology). The muses are represented by various characters in the game.
The name "The Last Resort" is the title of the building in which the game is set. It is a luxury hotel which belonged to a man called Thurston Last, but is also a pun on the term "last resort". The title paves the way for endless numbers of puns on the name "Last", which are made throughout the game.
The premise of the game is that the player has just inherited a hotel, The Last Resort, belonging to his/her deceased uncle, Thurston Last (Christopher Reeve), which is inhabited by 9 muses. As the player enters the hotel, it becomes clear that it is no longer a hospitable place. Its wacky inhabitants live in fear of a pair of squatters known as the Toxic Twins (Steven Tyler and Joe Perry). Only the aeroplane-man Salty (James Belushi) is brave enough to wander around and talk to the player. The player's goal is to reconstruct "The Muse Machine" and banish the Toxic Twins.
9 features a large number of puzzles, of varying difficulty. It is considered to be a very difficult game overall. Most of the puzzles relate to the musical theme, provided mainly by Aerosmith. Many of the puzzles are based in a specific musical instrument, such as the drums, guitar, and organ; however, no musical knowledge of these instruments is required to enjoy this game. The gameplay centers on an organ upon which the player can play musical codes. On each "floor" of the resort, the player finds a code sheet containing instructions for playing a short musical piece on the organ. However, each sheet extends the code making it more difficult to interpret. This culminates in the final puzzle in which the player must be thoroughly familiar with the code. This concept has been regarded by players as either a blessing or a curse.
The value of the game was increased due to the inclusion of "feelies" in the packaging - physical items included to increase the realism of the game, and also for copy protection. 9 included the following items:
- The Last Resort hotel brochure
- Postcard with a picture of the resort, in its finer days
- Sealed envelope containing the Last Will and Testament of Thurston Last (including a copy protection code required to begin the game, although not all versions were sealed or included a protection code)
In addition, the quick-start guide is packaged as the "Guest Services" guide.
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