Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / The X-Files Game

Go To
"The Truth... is out there."

The X-Files Game is a FMV Game Spin-Off to The X-Files, released in 1998. Set during the events of Season 3, you play as a young Seattle FBI agent named Craig Willmore, who is tasked with tracking down Fox Mulder and Dana Scully after they go missing while on a case in Everett, Washington.

The game is close to an Adventure Game, as you explore environments for clues while using various items from your FBI toolkit to solve puzzles. These can trigger a surprising number of Easter Eggs and Bad Ends, such as phoning certain characters, or being fired or arrested for using your gun at inappropriate moments. There are also Visual Novel elements, as you can choose dialogue options which affect certain scenes in the game: for example, if you frequently choose paranoid or serious responses, then scenes shift to include more Paranoia Fuel elements (like Craig spotting a featureless black van following him).

Tropes in this work include:

  • 555: All phone numbers contain 555.
  • Abandoned Laboratory: The military facility at Alaska.
  • Agent Mulder: Believer into the paranormal.
  • Agent Scully: Willmore, judging by his skeptical reaction to the whole alien thing.
  • Alien Autopsy: A video clip of it is being provided by The Lone Gunmen.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The black oil doesn't mind killing people to get back to its ship.
  • Alignment-Based Endings: At the end Astadourian is waiting for you at your apartment only if you chose to be gentle with her earlier.
  • Almost Kiss: See Strictly Professional Relationship below.
  • Amicable Exes: If you choose to answer Cook in a neutral way at the beginning of the game, Willmore's relationship with his ex-wife will be more cordial. For instance, Willmore will find a letter from his ex-wife on his Bureau desk, she will leave him messages on his answering machine ending on a "I miss you" note and will be nicer to him.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: See Sarcasm Mode below.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Many scenes with Willmore and Astadourian end in this. Especially after the explosion where they share... an Almost Kiss.
  • Bad End: Dozens of them. Some are related to making bad decisions in the story, most of which just end in Willmore's demise. However, the player can also see Willmore arrested or fired from the FBI if the player tries shooting Non Player Characters or handcuffing them (usually with the NPC warning "Don't do that!"). The player can even go for the Driven to Suicide ending by shooting Willmore himself.
    • Touching Astadourian's butt will also result in a bad end.
  • Bad Impressionists: John Amis and his Sean Connery impersonation. "It's neither illegal nor sexy."
  • Big First Choice: Downplayed. Depending on the way you choose to answer Cook at the very beginning of the game, the gaming experience will be slightly different. If you answer Cook in a neutral way, see Amicable Exes above. If you use the paranoid answer, see Sanity Meter below. The funny answer's consequences have yet to be studied.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Russian boat in the game is called the Tarakan. "Tarakan" is Russian for Cockroach.
  • Body Surf: The alien life form is capable of switching between humanoids in its vicinity.
  • Bowdlerise: The PlayStation port is slightly toned down if you make Wilmore more paranoid.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After Willmore rescues Mulder, NSA agents arrive and Willmore says that now that he's found Mulder and Scully, "I'm outta here!" Mulder responds, "What kind of attitude is that? The game's not over yet. Don't you want to wait around for the payoff?"
  • Canon Discontinuity: Somewhat zigzagged. While the game seems to be canon in the X-Files series with some of the major characters, none of the events are mentioned later in the series.
  • The Charmer: Willmore tries to be charming. It's more funny than anything, though.
  • Come Alone: X requests Willmore to meet him alone.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: This happens if you choose to run away from the so-called NSA agents towards the end of the game, which results in a forest chase. Willmore can hide, chased by the agents trying to find him in the dark forest.
  • Consummate Liar: Cook. He claims that a witness saw Wong's murder, that Smolnikoff may be behind Wong's death and Mulder and Scully's disappearance, that he was attacked and that somebody stole Scully's laptop, and so on. Cook is, of course, behind all this. Wong can also qualify since he doesn't really have a wife and daughter. His long rap sheet also proves that he is far from being the innocent fisherman he pretends to be.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: The video footage of Mulder running into a baddie at a gas station cuts off before it gets interesting.
  • Cop and Scientist: Willmore and John Amis.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The game features several endings, two of which can be canon: both have Mulder and Scully survive, but Willmore dies in one of them. Since the latter never makes an appearance nor is mentionned again in the show, it is impossible to determine which is exactly canon.
  • Determinator: A normal agent would've point blank refused to continue when the aliens got involved, but Willmore...
  • Dialogue Tree: The game offers many dialogue possibilities, often with different outcomes. The most representative example could be the conversation with Cook in Willmore's office before the first day warehouse stakeout.
  • Driven to Suicide: You can shoot Willmore during a cutscene if you want, which will be interpreted as a suicide and end the game. See Goodbye, Cruel World! and Heroic BSoD below.
  • Dull Surprise: Craig is amazingly unphased by most things that happen to him.
  • Easter Egg: Type "wanker" in the database to see a hidden file.
    • In the PlayStation version when you see the airport scene with Scully, shoot a passing woman and you'll be shown a secret photo of presumably the dev team.
  • Everyone's in the Loop: You can make this trope come true if you decide to send your field notes to Cook, Shank, and Skinner. They will always answer you according to what notes you sent them and sometimes thank you for keeping them informed.
  • Evil Gloating: Cook's little speech near the end of the game on why he betrayed you while he is beating you up.
  • Faking and Entering: The disappearance of Scully's laptop and Cook's mugging is entirely attributable to the latter.
  • Fall Guy: Cook, willing to slow down Willmore's investigation, tells him Smolnikoff could be behind the disappearance of Mulder and Scully along with Wong's death. Of course he doesn't have anything to do with any of these events.
  • FBI Agent: Cook, Mulder, Scully, Shanks, Skinner and Willmore.
  • Foreshadowing: Plenty, we first see Rauch quite early on, Cook's dialogue is full of it and X gives us a little too. Not to mention the book on aliens in Mulder's room.
  • For the Evulz: And the money. But Cook's so jaded that he seems to enjoy giving his old best friend a completely undeserved beatdown.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Willmore's the realist, Scully's the Cynic, Mulder's the Idealist and Cook's Apathetic.
  • Golden Ending: The one where Mulder, Scully and Willmore survive is the best. Not to mention that it is implied that Astadourian and Willmore end up together.
  • Good Bye Cruel World: Shooting Willmore, therefore having him commit suicide, will display his suicide note on the screen. The reasons Willmore mentions vary based on the way you answered Cook at the very beginning of the game. See Heroic BSoD below.
  • Heroic BSoD: The reason given if you shoot Willmore is that he's got problems.
  • Hint System: The gameplay option "Artificial Intuition" helps you find difficult items throughout the game.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Apparently Willmore has a pocket dimension in his coat for all the FBI tools he can haul around and his inventory fills up over time and occasionally empties of quest items as the story removes them. The vast majority of his gear is never actually used in the course of the game and appears to be either related to content that might have been cut or simply the developers assuming the player would find it more realistic for an FBI agent to have a full crime fighting kit even if the player will never need to, say, dust for prints, shine a flashlight, or handcuff a suspect.
  • Idiot Hero: You can turn Willmore into this by handcuffing random people (and then get fired for it), by asking a character the same question twice, who ends up wondering out loud what's the matter with you. Taking pictures of the person you are talking to is also a good means of looking like an idiot to their mind. Besides, why doesn't Willmore understand that Cook is The Mole?
    • Willmore doesn't know his own computer password, leading to one of the first puzzles of the game requiring the player to search through all of Willmore's things just to find an obscure hint to it, then search for Willmore's "favorite battle in the Civil War," something he should probably know anyway.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: At one point, Cook mentions Wong to you while he should not have known about him. Though the PC version allows the player to tell Cook about Wong by sending him the field notes and the FBI file relating to the latter before his assassination. Cook will even reply to the player and therefore acknowledge Wong's appearance in the case. Whatever the case, the PC version always assumes that Cook has never heard of him. You call him out on it, but still continue to trust him completely.
  • Inside Job: Cook's position allows him not to be suspected for his shenanigans, such as the disappearance of Scully's laptop.
  • Jerkass: You can turn Willmore into this as well, but doing it at the wrong times can result in a game over.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The player character can meet the town's detective that is on scene for a crime investigation. The detective will hate your guts and if you decide to push it further by being a bigger jerk ass over how the investigation belongs to the FBI, you will get fired.
  • Killer Cop: Cook apparently went rogue for "money". He kills Wong and won't hesitate to kill you at the end of the game if you don't put an end to his Evil Gloating.
  • Kill Screen: If you play the PlayStation port on a PS2 or PS3, the screen can look buggy.
  • Large Ham: Cook is this when he's not busy being one big foreshadowing.
    Willmore: Cover me!
    Cook: (enthusiastically) You got it!
  • Love Interest: Astadourian for Willmore.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The game was produced between seasons of the show but also in the run up to the first movie. This kept both Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny too tied up to film much. To get around this, the game instead focused on the new character of Craig Willmore and the entire plot focused on locating Mulder and Scully, ensuring the filming commitments for both actors was relatively short.
  • The Many Deaths of You: There are tons of ways that Willmore can die and most of them have their own unique bad ending in how you met your demise.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Willmore asks Astadourian if he can take a shower first, she asks "I don't know, can you?"
  • The Mole: Cook.
  • Multiple Endings: Willmore can die while Mulder and Scully survive, Mulder can die while Willmore and Scully survive, everybody can survive, not to mention every game over this game has to offer.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Willmore's reaction when he learns that he indirectly caused his friend John Amis (the bloke from the crime lab) to get radiation poisoning.
  • Mysterious Informant: X, who helps Willmore get his investigation back on track. You must be very careful with him as he will kill you with his knife if you give him answers he doesn't like. Lampshaded by Willmore: "So... it's the mystery man. I was expecting someone a little more Sean Connery."
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Try killing any of the characters from the show doesn't count, even the ones who die later in the series proper.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Other than death by low health there are many ways to fail the game (usually you'll get jailed or fired respectively), this involves:
    • Not finding out enough or not getting started with the investigation.
    • Committing a crime (like killing or handcuffing random people) or doing random stupid stuff (like annoying the motel lady too much).
    • Lying in the hospital where Scully is, failing to guess what the homeless guy has, entering the car to the "airport".
    • Two very cruel ones in the end: you can let Scully die in the laboratory and you can even kill Mulder yourself if you please, both will end in immediate game over.
  • Not-So-Abandoned Building: The seemingly Abandoned Warehouse where Mulder and Scully went missing turns out to have been used for smuggling operations from time to time.
  • No Warrant? No Problem!: Cook actually has no warrant to raid Smolnikoff's warehouse.
  • Omniscient Database: The FBI database features a lot of information regarding the many characters Willmore encounters during his case. Even minor ones, such as police officer Mendoza.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: You have to solve the railroad bum's riddle to get the video tape. If you fail, the game is over.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter:
    • Averted after the explosion where Willmore doesn't get to kiss Astadourian, no matter how nicely he has treated her up to that point... however if the player did treat her well, she'll at least signal being open to it later.
    • Played straight (or so it can be assumed) at the end (see Alignment-Based Endings).
  • Outrun the Fireball: Willmore and Astadourian running from the explosion at Gordon's Hauling.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • Played straight early on when you try to find the password to your own computer which turns out to be a place from a postcard tagged to the wall next to your desk.
    • Subverted later when you find Scully's laptop. It's password-protected, and you can ask Skinner for suggestions on what the password might be. None of his guesses (such as "faith") are correct, and after three incorrect tries the laptop locks you out. In fact, it's impossible to gain access to the laptop. You have to send it to the FBI's IT division to get it hacked, so that it can later be stolen just before you get the information inside.
  • Pixel Hunt: Finding the bullet and the cig butt at the warehouse certainly qualify.
  • Police Brutality: This is what happens if you decide to shoot people with your service pistol. Then you go to jail. Unless they're shooting at you first. Obviously.
  • Press X to Not Die:
    • Some scenes require you to shoot enemies and failure to do so will get you shot and killed.
    • Many of the multiple choice questions can result in you being killed/fired/etc if you make the wrong choice.
  • Product Placement: The MessagePad 2000 sports an Apple logo.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The black oil can control human beings.
  • Reading Your Rights: Cook tells you he is going to read Smolnikoff his rights while you go search for the gun he asked you to find.
  • Red Herring:
    • Scully's laptop. Its content seems to be plot-relevant but we never get to see any of it.
    • The Plutonium smuggler operation was a setup by Cook who tried but ultimately failed to divert Willmore's attention away from the real alien plot.
  • Sanity Meter: Choosing the "paranoid" mood response throughout the game results in seeing Wong's body move at the morgue as well as his arm falling out of the body bag. It also triggers a special game over screen where if Willmore is killed in the hauling yard explosion, you see a small secret cameo from the Cigarette Smoking Man who stands over the wreckage.
  • Sarcasm Mode:
    Craig Willmore: So what happened?
    Arley: Well, Agent Willmore, barring some unexpected revelation it looks like someone shot this man in the back of the head.
  • Sassy Black Woman: The receptionist at the motel. She is generally annoyed by your presence, hopes that there is no dead body in the motel because she has a final exam coming up, gets annoyed when you ask her to get a copy of the billing records, and gets ticked off if you ring the bell too many times. She'll always have some form of sass with everything she says.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Willmore and Astadourian were getting quite close half-way through the story. But then they have a falling out over Willmore not keeping her in the loop about the raid at Smolnikoff's office.
  • Sequel Hook: The good ending suggested that there will be a sequel because X orders Agent Willmore to hold on to the stiletto because he will need to use it again soon. Obviously no sequel happened and the events of the game never get referenced in any other X-Files media.
  • Shout-Out: See the sub-page listing Shout Outs from the whole franchise.
  • Small Reference Pools: When Willmore asks Cook if he has a warrant to attack Smolnikoff's warehouse, the latter replies by saying "Who do I look like? Mark Fuhrman? I have a federal warrant from a federal judge."
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny:
    (Willmore hands Amis a cigarette butt in an evidence bag for him to analyze)
    John Amis: No thanks, I'm trying to quit.
    Craig Willmore: That's very funny.
  • Speaking Simlish: Upon entering Smolnikoff's office, the latter can be heard speaking "Russian" on the phone just before hanging up to face Cook and Willmore. What sounds like Russian is nothing more than random Russian-sounding sounds and therefore does not mean anything.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: It is possible to find and read documents that have no relevance to the plot whatsoever, such as Willmore's diary, divorce papers or even various leaflets etc. which only point is to make the game world and its characters more credible. See also Omniscient Database above.
  • Strictly Professional Relationship: The player can try to kiss detective Mary Astadourian after the explosion at Gordon's Hauling if they want to. If the player has been nice enough to her, she will flirtingly decline to kiss Willmore and tell him that they should wait before the case is wrapped before they go "tampering with the evidence". If you have been a total jackass to her and try to kiss her anyway, get ready for a humiliating rejection.
  • Title In: Just as in the series, all locations you are visiting are introduced via on-screen display including a timestamp.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: Whatever happens, Cook, who killed Wong and tried to kill Willmore, always end up being killed, either by Scully of Willmore.
  • Turn in Your Badge: It happens if you fail to perform your FBI agent duties/fail the case due to various reasons such as handcuffing someone/being way too much of a jerk to Astadourian and so on.
  • Tuckerization: The game has several characters and locations named for X-Files staff members.
    • Detective Astadourian is named after Mary Astadourian, Chris Carter's personal assistant. Her name was also used for an observatory in the season 3 episode "D.P.O."
    • James Wong was a staff writer in seasons 1, 2, and 4 and a number of episodes in the show sneak his name in. His name is used in this game for the shady fisherman.
    • The town of Charno is named for Sarah Charno, another staff writer.
    • Willmore's apartment building, Eavelyn Apartments, is named for the game's executive producer Halle Eavelyn.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: The two doors at the opposite ends of the isolation chamber are controlled via two push buttons that have to be pressed simultaneously.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • There's one optional encounter with Cook near the very end where you can stun or shoot him. If you shoot Cook then in the very end the alien can't pick him as a host and instead will become you. While you still can make significant progress after the meeting there's no way to get rid of the alien and so Scully will kill you just before the end and you lose.
    • In the very end, there's the room with the jars. You shouldn't enter it, because if you do, you'll encounter Scully being controlled by the black oil, and it's game over as she kills you.
  • Useless Item:
    • The handcuffs have no use at all. You can use it on people to arrest them, but it results in you being fired for wrongful arrest.
    • The wire cutters also count if you try defusing the bomb
  • Visual Novel: Similar to the style. It uses full motion video technology called Virtual Cinema, and it includes a large number of cut scenes.
  • Who Shot JFK?: The onsite doctor examining Wong thinks that aliens did.
  • Will They or Won't They?: A lot of tension between Astadourian and Willmore.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Astadourian, as it turns out, was way off. So was Cook, but he was lying anyway.