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Clock Tower

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:

GAME DEVELOPER:Human Entertainment

GAME PUBLISHER:ASCII

Copyright 1995, Human Entertainment

Clock Tower is an excellent horror adventure game for the Super Nintendo that is actually scary. What it lacks in difficulty leve and length, it more than makes up for in sheer atmosphere – something that is very hard to do in horror games. As Jennifer Simpson, your goal is to escape a psychotic serial killer nammed Bobby Barrows (a.k.a. “the Scissorman”) who is on the killing spree in the Barrows Family Mansion. Throughout the game, you will run down one dark corridor and claustrophobia-inducing room after another, feeling your heart skip a beat every time you hear Scissorman’s footsteps or the mashing sound of his weapons.

Similar to traditional point-and-click adventure games, the game is played from the third-person perspective, where you control Jenny, interact with ‘hotspots’ that are labelled, and pick up anything that isn’t nailed down. Using the keyboard to move the cursor around (since you will be playing this on PC, with emulator) is annoying at first, but you will get used to it. Puzzles, while logical and easy for the most part, are well integrated into the game, and figuring out new ways to run and hide from Scissorman becomes a fun – if nerve-wracking – game-within-a-game. Multiple solutions and paths lead to 10 possible endings, making Clock Tower one of the most replayable adventure games (although this ’10 endings’ boast is misleading because dying scenes are included in that count – a strange and unconventional move).

On the downside, the game is quite short: I was able to finish it in under 3 hours, and that includes the time spent loading saved games when I failed to hide quickly enough. Another nuisance is the ‘feature’ that is meant to prevent the game from becoming un-winnable, but is poorly implemented: you are not allowed to leave each room if there is still some item you need to look at or get, or someone you need to talk to. The designers should have played LucasArts’ classics to see that it is possible to make solid, no-dead-end games without restricting the player’s movements.

All in all, the scare factor in Clock Tower is what makes the game immersive, interesting, and compelling. The eerie music and sound effects make it more atmospheric. A good blend of horror and traditional adventure-gaming, Clock Tower is worth a look for every adventure fan. Originally released on the Super Nintendo in Japanese only, the game was later re-released with 3D graphics on the Playstation and spawned 2 further sequels. This download is the original SNES version that has been translated into English by Aeon Genesis, one of the best translation fangroups today. Highly recommended!



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