“Clock Tower” puts you in the shoes of our heroine Jennifer Simpson, a woman who has a brief encounter with an evil creature known as the Scissorman while climbing a cliff. Jennifer manages to escape, accidentally injuring Scissorman in the process, he is now presumed to be dead but is he really? Traumatized by the encounter, Jennifer begins to lose her memories from the experience. She soon meets Helen Maxwell, the second heroine of the game; being a Criminal Psychology Professor, Helen lends a helping hand to Jennifer to get her to remember what went on behind the Clock Tower murders. But it’s not long before new victims start dropping like flies, ones that are cut open with huge scissors.
It’s a game that was released in 1997 so it’s obviously going to have somewhat dated graphics. There were a handful of games at the time that had done better in this department actually. Everything here has a blocky touch to it, from the scenery, environments, special effects, down to the characters themselves. The scenes are fairly detailed though which is a plus for a game that assigns you the task of finding clues and such. The FMV scenes are not bad. There’s nothing really impressive about the graphics of “Clock Tower” but that isn’t what makes a game what it is, especially this one.
“Clock Tower” puts a unique spin on the survival horror genre, it’s not like the rest. This is a point and click style adventure game which requires you to use your controller’s directional buttons to move a cursor on screen that will tell the character where to go and what to do such as communicating with others, opening doors, picking up objects, and so forth. The gameplay is rather fun but it is rather slow which can lead to it getting boring at times. The manages to keep you on your toes as Scissorman is on your tail throughout the entire game, requiring you to think fast in order to escape or hide from his impending doom. “Clock Tower” has a varying difficulty level as you progress. It starts out with small environments and easy tasks but later on you’ll be traveling to larger scenes with more tasks to handle. These tasks mostly consist of hunting for certain items and solving puzzles, all while being hunted down by Scissorman. Speaking of which, this guy is easy to knock out or hide from, but that’s only temporary.
The cursor moves at a slow pace and that could get frustrating after a bit, but that doesn’t detract from the game’s fun factor. The controls are pretty much easy to get the hang of as they’re very simple. Just guide the cursor around the screen, search for clues, items, and so on as you travel from room to room. When coming into contact with an item, the cursor will open up into three bullet points which you must choose from (i.e. Open, Use, Read, etc.). Aside from the cursor, the game also has what’s referred to as a panic meter; this feature is activated whenever your character comes into close contact with danger or is about to. The cursor will also change colors when it comes to these situations: Red means you’re being attacked and are about to die, white means your character has calmed down, and purple is a heads up that some kind of danger is near.
While it is a slow point-and-click survival horror game, “Clock Tower” is great fun if you’re looking for something that doesn’t involve shooting up everything in every room. The game is very creepy and you never know when something scary is going to happen, you’ll never know what to expect as you travel from room to room and location to location. Bare in mind that the game is pretty long and has 10 different endings (i.e. 5 for Helen and 5 for Jennifer) so there is a sufficient amount of replay value in “Clock Tower”.