One of the very few true console adventure games on the SNES, the Clock Tower series has a Playstation remake, a number of sequels, games using the brand name and a small but loyal cult following. The Clock Tower games, it's remakes and it's true sequels which continue the real plot, are considered to be one of the better horror console adventure games. It may not be appeal to everyone however because of the slow-pace of the game.
Gameplay and interface: 9/10
The gameplay consists of you using the pointer and telling Jennifer, the
main character where to move and what to interact with using the Y button. You can summon up the inventory by holding down the A button, moving to the item and then releasing it. This will turn your pointer into the item allowing you to use
it on the screen. In times of trouble, you can use the B button which is
the panic button to help you fight off whatever you are facing but you have to watch your stamina.
Running is accomplished by using the L and R buttons on the controller. The X button serves the very important function of stopping. This may seem rather useless at first but using it during times of danger can prevent you from moving in the wrong direction.
Perhaps the only problem with the gameplay is the slow pace of Jennifer's walking and the length of time it takes for her to regain her stamina. This can be frustrating to say the least.
The story involves your character Jennifer and a bunch of her friends, all of whom are orphans, being adopted by a mysterious man Mr. Barrows. They are brought to Mr. Barrows mansion by Miss Mary from the adoption agency. However, Miss Mary soon disappears as does the rest of Jennifers friends leaving her in the darkness. As you control Jennifer you begin exploring the eerie mansion and start encountering the evil beings that inhabit the mansion. All I can say that the story is extremely frightening and really sets the mood for the game.
Unfortunately because there are a number of ways to finish the game, a number of things about the plot may be left unanswered which is the only downside. However, the replayability is of course a plus.
The graphics in the game are extremely well-suited to the game. Darkness and shadows cover areas and the rooms are mostly different from one another. There are also a number of graphic static pictures of certain events providing close ups of the action adding to the horror.
Level design: 4/5
The mansion contains a fair number of rooms and levels. The game gives you the sense of space to explore and yet claustraphobic. Again, the only problem lies with Jennifer's walking speed rather than with the placing of the rooms.
Music and Sound: 5/5
There are very few music tracks or sound effects in the game but it is the silence and their sparse use which really add to the effect. Creaking doors. Blood-curdling screams. The sound of an unplugged ringing telephone. All of them make the hair on the back of your neck truly stand on its end. Playing this at night and alone will intensify this experience. This is an exemplar of how horror adventure games should be using sound effectively.
For: Frightening atmosphere. Good use of sound and music. Replayability.
Against: Rather short. Can a be a bit slow at times. Things not really explained in some of the adventure paths.
Saturday, March 11, 2006Reviewer: VinciScore: hits: