In The X-Files Game the player assumes the role of an FBI agent named Craig Willmore who is tasked with solving the disappearance of FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Throughout the game the player is assisted by their FBI partner and other characters from the show, including Mulder and Scully’s boss A.D. Walter Skinner. These characters feature sporadically, along with others such as the Smoking Man and the Lone Gunmen.
The game is a point-and-click adventure, and features a cursor that adapts to the environment. This means that it changes depending on what is highlighted – to an eye, or a hand, or a mouth for initiating a conversation. Players also have an inventory of stock items, such as their FBI badge and a handgun, as well as items collected in the game world.
The game relies heavily on FMV (full motion video) featuring live actors, including several of the show’s stars such as David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and Mitch Pileggi. Conversations, while featuring dialogue trees, are pre-recorded videos.
There are also shooting moments that generally play in a manner similar to FMV light-gun shooters, such as Mad Dog McGraw. These are also alongside moments where the player must make a snap decision, similar to modern quick-time events. The environments are generally static, and rather than have the player fluidly move through them, they are made up of slides of images.
The game features various moments of ‘fan service’, referencing events, characters and elements of the mythology. This includes the famous ‘black oil’ as well as the radiation from alien encounters, and the famous ‘stiletto’ weapon. There are also other nods to fans, such as Willmore asking Skinner about Mulder and Scully’s romantic relationship.
The game was originally released for the PC and Mac in 1998, and later ported to Sony’s Playstation for release in 1999. The PC release took up 7 discs, whilst the Playstation release was spaced over 4.