Review of Clock Tower (PS1)

Clock Tower [U] [SLUS-00539]-front

It’s about that time that I exclusively cover one of the most influential titles of my gaming career…CLOCK TOWER for Playstation One by Human Entertainment! Known as Clock Tower 2 in Japan and released in North America in 1997, this game strayed from the action formulas of other titles at the time, such as Resident Evil, in favor of a point-and-click interface. What makes this so different from Resident Evil is that the player’s character is not controlled through the D-Pad, but rather a mouse pointer.

When an item can be clicked on, the mouse icon changes to four dots, which allows the character to interact with their environment. This method is useful for discovering hints, interacting with other characters, locating possible hiding places and weapons, as well as doors and passageways.
Clock Tower for PSOne Review by Lumpz the Clown
The four dots represent where you can click.  Use it wisely and swiftly!
This pointer also signifies your stamina, and starts out “white”. when the character is in danger of being killed, the pointer will flash blue and red, at which point button-mashing is the best way to potentially survive the situation. This also occurs when interacting with Scissorman. After surviving one close encounter, the pointer will turn orange, the red with another successful encounter. If the player is unfortunate enough to be cornered by Scissorman with a red pointer…GAME OVER!
The Prologue
 
When starting a new game, the prologue is the first stop, played by Professor Samuel Barton.  This part of the game is extremely tedious in that the there is a lot of text to CRAWL through, and what makes this worse is that the text scrolls across the bottom of the screen, which slows the process even further, and at times, will flash across the screen at LIGHTENING PACE.  In other words, the text is possibly the most frustrating part of this game, but thankfully, as the game progresses, more voice acting is utilized and spares the player from having to read through the text and determine if they need to press the button to progress the text or sit back and attempt to read it as it goes flitting across the screen at CHEETAH SPEED.
 
Before Barton can leave a room, he needs to click on certain points in order to progress.  In the first room after the hypnosis, he needs to click on the bed and the giant pair of scissors on the desk.  Further, the first game’s hint can be found in the file cabinet by the treatment bed.  Once out of the room, Barton needs to look at the statue on his desk, talk to Beth and Danny twice, look at the mask on the desk and finally inspect Harris’ desk, which is the furthest in on the row next to the file cabinets.  
After leaving the lab, Barton sees Harris standing forlorn in the hallway.  This is a crucial point in the game and determines whether the protagonist will be Helen or Jennifer.  To play as Helen, talk to Harris ONCE; to play as Jennifer, talk to Harris TWICE.  You can’t miss him, on account of his snappy brown vest!
 
Meet Harris, creep extraordinare!
 
 
After providing Nolan and Tim with an interview regarding Scissorman, Barton makes his way back upstairs to the lab, where he has to perform two tasks before entering the treatment room: Talk to Harris once again and determine where to send the statue.  This is another important aspect of the game, as it determines where the player must go in Scenario 2 to retrieve the statue.  Barton has the choice of either sending it to Professor Sullivan at the Metropolitan Library or asking Harris to show it to Rick.  This has a tremendous impact on the ending the player will receive, depending on where they elect to go during the intermission prior to Scenario 2.  DON’T FORGET WHERE YOU SEND IT!
 
The Prologue ends with the first meeting with Edward and his guardian Kay, after which the player can elect to save the game.  This is highly recommended for first-timers because if a mistake is made later, they can go back and retry again.  Clock Tower allows for 3 save files, which is important in order to backtrack if needed.
 
Intermission
 
Whether playing as Helen or Jennifer, the next scene involves interacting with others and a map of the surrounding area, where the player can choose to visit either the Police Station, Oslo Weekly Newspaper Company, the Norway International Hotel, the Metropolitan Library, the University Research Building, or the University Staff Housing.  Clicking on either of these points will not change the game’s path, but is necessary to progress.  The player is rewarded with backstory and character introduction for their curiosity.  
After clicking on all the points, the character needs to select a certain point on the map to progress.  This is usually prompted by text from the character, stating it’s either “getting dark” or “I didn’t realize it was so late”, and if playing as Helen, the player would select the University Research Building, or if playing as Jennifer, the University Staff Housing.  An event will play out where the protagonist interacts with another character, after which Scenario 1 starts.
 
This can be slightly frustrating to a newcomer because they aren’t sure of which points to click to progress the story faster and is riddled with even MORE TEXT, but this comes with time and is very approachable, as it has no bearing on what ending the player will receive.  Plus, text prompts will inform the player that the story is ready to progress and that a certain click point needs to be selected in order to go on.
 
Scenario 1
 
Regardless of whether playing as Helen or Jennifer, the first scenario occurs at the University Research Building.  At some point, Scissorman will make a dramatic entrance and this is where the game gets SCARY!  Scissorman will relentlessly pursue your character until either a successful hiding place is discovered or an effective weapon is picked up and used.  One point of caution: NOT EVERY CLICK POINT DURING A PURSUIT WILL BE SUCCESSFUL!  And even worse, some weapons can be used ONLY ONCE, then they disappear.  
An example of this would be the chair in the security room on the first floor.  You can click on it while being chased, and your character will even throw it at Scissorman, but HE WILL NOT BE KNOCKED DOWN BY IT!  
Regarding hiding places, not all of them work, either.  An example of this would be the bunkbeds in the 3rd floor women’s lounge.  The player can choose to hide in the top bunk or below the bottom bunk.  The player is safe if they choose to hide in the top bunk where Helen took a nap earlier, but if they choose to hide below the bottom bunk, SCISSORMAN WILL STAB THE CHARACTER THROUGH THE MATTRESS!  This can also be found in later scenarios, so exercise caution!
 
The potted plant on this table is an effective weapon to use!
Each character has different items they have to find in order to escape the building.  In Helen’s scenario, a pair of pliers in the 3rd floor computer room and Storage Room Key need to be found, and in Jennifer’s, a Fire Escape Key.  Further, another item needs to be discovered in order to get the best ending in the Final Scenario.  For Helen, it’s the Flashlight located in a locker in the 2nd floor office, and for Jennifer, it’s an Oil Can located in the 1st floor Storage Room.  
Without these items, the A ending cannot be achieved, which is required to unlock the “???” option under “Secrets” on the main menu.  More on that later!  Helen can escape from the 1st floor Storage Room using the Pliers and Storage Room Key, and Jennifer escapes using the Fire Ladder located at the top of the staircase after using the Fire Escape Key.  After escaping, the player has the chance to save again.  Take it!
 
This is where the game gets very spooky, as there is no in-game music unless Scissorman is in pursuit, every footstep is heard, and some click points trigger a noise or scary event.  This is a VAST departure from the text-heavy prologue and intermission as the player is required to think on their toes and click on every POSSIBLE CLICK POINT to escape Scissorman when being chased.
 
Intermission
 
After Scenario 1, the protagonist is taken to the Police Station for an interview with Assistant Inspector Gotts, and afterwards, the overview map to gather clues about Scissorman.  When playing as Helen, click on the University Research Building to talk to Beth in order to learn about Rick, after which she would need to visit Gotts in order to ask him about Rick.  Here, Gotts will volunteer to go visit Rick to retrieve the Statue.  IMPORTANT: REMEMBER WHERE YOU SENT THE STATUE!  
If Barton elected to send the statue to the Library, DECLINE GOTTS’ OFFER; if he gave it to Harris, ACCEPT GOTTS’ OFFER.  Of course, if you are trying to get the worst ending, pick the exact OPPOSITE of where the statue was sent!  This applies to either character!
When playing as Jennifer, go to the University to learn about the statue, then go see Nolan at the Oslo Weekly Newspaper Company.  He will offer to go to Rick’s to get the statue.  THE SAME RULES APPLY HERE AS IN HELEN’S INTERMISSION!  SAY “YES” TO SEND NOLAN TO RICK’S HOUSE, SAY “NO” TO GO TO THE LIBRARY!  REMEMBER WHERE YOU SENT THE STATUE (there’s that warning again!)!
 
Scenario 2 Library
 
Regardless of who the main protagonist is, the player assumes the role of Helen Maxwell at the Metropolitan Library if the player DECLINES THE OFFER FROM EITHER GOTTS OR NOLAN! Helen goes to the library to learn the history of Scissorman and retrieve the statue from Mr. Sullivan.  After going to the Reading Room and discovering “a clue” about Scissorman, Helen walks out of the Reading Room, where the bells of the Clock Tower are insistently ringing.  Mr. Sullivan loses his head over the situation and it is up to Helen to escape, retrieve the statue and leave the Library.  
Sadly, though, Edward is caught in the same building and Helen must rescue him!  In Sullivan’s office, a Collection Room Key can be found on his desk that is used on the door on the back wall of the office.  Inside, a large aquarium can be used to illuminate the pitch-black room, which allows Helen to retrieve the statue on the large table.
 
After inspecting the room behind the main entrance desk, Helen finds Edward hiding under a desk and moves him to the Reading Room.  There is a vent on the opposite wall, which Helen can take off using a screwdriver located in a desk in the same room she found Edward.  At this point, police are swarming the building and trying to get in to no avail.  After getting the screwdriver, Helen returns to the Reading Room, pries off the screen, which allows Edward to escape.  
With that out of the way, Helen needs to find a way out and makes her way back to the front, where Gotts comes to her rescue.  If the statue is not found, the E ending occurs, but if the statue is found, the 3rd intermission occurs.
 
This scenario gives you a sense of claustrophobia because it is the smallest area that the player has to interact with, and because of that, there are limited options for hiding and weapons when being pursued.  One hiding point I have found that always works is under the front desk, but this can become monotonous when trying to locate the statue and avoiding Scissorman at the same time.  
Plus, how Helen helps Edward escape can be confusing, since she has to inspect the vent BEFORE she can find the screwdriver in the back office!  If the vent is NOT INSPECTED, the screwdriver cannot be picked up!  This can cause quite a bit of confusion, but the scenario has plenty of shockers and surprises to keep it interesting!
 
Get that kid the HELL OUTTA HERE!
 
 
Scenario 2 Rick’s House
 
If the player accepts the offer of either Gotts or Nolan to go to Rick’s house, Scenario 2 will occur there.  After discussing with Rick the background of the case, Rick comes to an untimely demise, leaving the character to deal with Scissorman!  After escaping the first encounter, the character has to search the house for two key elements: the Statue and the location of the Barrows’ Family Castle.  When playing as Gotts, the location of the Castle can be found behind a painting to the right of the fireplace in the 2nd floor lounge and the statue can be found on the table in the same room.  When playing as Nolan, the statue can be found in the green closet in the 2nd floor bedroom and the location of the castle can be found by inspecting the mask in the kitchen.  
THESE ARE REQUIRED TO GET THE BEST ENDING!  Nolan’s scenario can be confusing when trying to get the location of the castle, as the mask comes to life and attacks Nolan with kitchen accouterments!  To keep from getting killed, Nolan must grab the vase from the table and throw it at the mask by clicking it!  <— REMEMBER THIS!!!  
In order to escape the Scenario, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT to grab the Powdered Soap to throw at the ravenous Saint Bernard outside of the back door!  Without it, YOU’RE DEAD!!!  Again, if the statue is not found, the E ending is achieved and the game is over.  If the statue is found, ONTO THE NEXT INTERMISSION!
 
This scenario can be nerve-racking because there are many different points where Scissorman can jump out at you, and the mask in Nolan’s scenario can be a confusing confrontation, but there are plenty of shocks and events to keep the gameplay unnerving and interesting!
 
Don’t forget to grab the Powdered Soap, unless you like getting your throat ripped out!
 
Intermission
 
For the final Intermission, the player will assume either Helen or Jennifer and go around to the various points on the map after an interview with Gotts, where everyone promptly invites themselves along for the trip to England in pursuit of Scissorman!  After arriving, the group makes camp before it gets dark.  Helen discovers shortly after that Jennifer and everyone else has gone missing!  At this, her and Gotts make their way towards the ominous Barrows Family Castle!
 
In retrospect, I feel that this Intermission could have been removed and replaced with a SINGLE scene where the evidence is collected and discussed, with the entire party departing for England as the game intended.  It is kind of monotonous to click on every point on the map in order to round up everybody who is going to England and only serves to drag the game out before the final scenario, in my honest opinion.
 
Note: Since both Helen and Jennifer’s Final Scenarios are so different, I will be splitting this final part up into two sections!
 
Final Scenario – Helen
 
Note: It has been told in previous reviews that finding everyone is critical in getting the best ending.  In my experience, it is only necessary to rescue Gotts and Jennifer to get the best ending.  You can find other survivors throughout the castle.
 
After arriving at the Castle, the group is broken up, leaving Helen alone in the now dilapidated entryway.  After entering the Castle, Helen can find the Library Key in a mousehole inside of the 2nd floor Master Bedroom.  In order to find this, the nightstand between the beds needs to be inspected first before clicking on the stand in the corner. The Mansion Key can be found on a side table in the sitting room through the left door on the back wall in the main room.  This allows Helen to open the metal gate that leads to the room where Nolan can be found inside of a coffin.  
After talking with him, Lead Balls can be found in a chest by the opposite door, which will be VERY HANDY later!  In the hallway leading to the metal gate, Helen can enter the Servant’s Quarters, where she will find the Copper Book and a clue pointing her towards the Master Bedroom fireplace.  
In order to get this clue, Helen has to inspect the desk drawer, where a disembodied hand will attack her!  After mashing the buttons, Helen frees herself of the hand, at which point she needs to grab the QUILL PEN on the desk to stab it!  (Note: I have not seen what happens if you DON’T pick up the pen, but I imagine you die!).
 
Helen then returns upstairs to the Master Bedroom to inspect the fireplace, but discovers her Flashlight is dead!  DO NOT CLICK ON IT AGAIN, OR HELEN WILL DIE! Instead, back where Nolan was found, his recorder was left on the floor, which holds the same size batteries as Helen’s Flashlight!  Once back in the Master Bedroom with the Flashlight, the Door Spell can be found which is used to exorcise Devil Children.  
Later, inside the Library, Helen can find a Wooden Box, which can be burned in the fireplace, revealing the Cosmetic Key.  Back in the library, she can inspect the skid marks on the floor by the bookshelf and then place the Copper Book in the missing spot, which reveals a hidden area!  In here, Helen uses the Lead Balls (lol) to determine which ladder DOESN’T have water at the bottom.  This is alluded to in a hint back on the desk by the fireplace, saying to “choose the dry path among the three”.
 
At the bottom, Helen finds a hallway leading to another ladder, where Gotts can be found.  This is important, as he provides Helen with a pistol, which is CRUCIAL to get the best ending!  Now armed with the gun, Helen can use it on the giant padlock on the door to the chapel in the main hall.  After using it, Helen needs to re-equip the gun because SHE IS GONNA NEED IT!  
Inside, Scissorman is menacing Jennifer, who is hanging from a cross.  Helen has about three seconds to click on Scissorman with the Pistol before Jennifer is killed.  After rescuing Jennifer, Helen corners Scissorman in the next room.  She quickly learns that it is not over yet and searches the Chapel further.  She soon finds a Mansion Map in the Cosmetics Box in a Robe Room in the back of the chapel, which reveals a hidden path under the fountain in the courtyard.  From here, one of several endings can occur, depending on the actions of the player.
 
This scenario is long with plenty of backtracking to get all the items.  This process is complicated further not only through Scissorman’s pursuit of Helen, but also with trying to find the other survivors.  The faster the player goes through the scenario, the more likelihood there is of finding everyone alive.  Again, in my own experience, I have not seen how NOT rescuing everyone besides Jennifer and Gotts can negatively impact the ending, but many reviews say this is so.  
There are plenty of points the player can click on that can spur an encounter with Scissorman and even if you do not rescue everyone, how they die can be pretty interesting, too!
 
Final Scenario – Jennifer
 
This scenario begins similar to Helen’s, only this time, it starts with Jennifer in the Castle being menaced by Scissorman.  It is soon revealed that it is an imposter, after which the real Scissorman makes short work of the trickster.  After barely escaping, Jennifer inspects the robes hanging in the Robe Room next to the library where she first encountered Scissorman and finds the Stair Key.  
Back in the room where Scissorman appeared, Jennifer finds the Foreign Note, which she herself cannot interpret, but perhaps someone else can.  Further on, in the Chapel, Jennifer can find a Star Plate, whose pattern will be important to take note of later.  
 
In a nearby torture room, Jennifer can find Gotts and a Candle as well as a keyhole on the left wall.  This can be kind of hard to find, but simply mouse over the left wall and it can be found, as well as opened with the Stair Key.  Further in, the main hall of the Castle is discovered, as well as the Master Bedroom which holds the Library Key, found in the same fashion as Helen’s Scenario.  
In the aforementioned Servant’s Quarters, the Copper Book can be discovered, but nothing can be found in the desk with the dismembered hand.  Whether Helen or Professor Barton is found first, either one of them can interpret the Foreign Note found earlier for Jennifer.  
 
In the Castle’s kitchen, a hidden cellar can be found in the kitchen storage room, where the Mansion Key can be found.  This opens the same gate as outlined in Helen’s Scenario.  Speaking of which, Helen can be found in the same room where Nolan was found in the coffin.  To rescue Helen, the Box Key must be retrieved from the coffin, after which Jennifer can open the box.  
If the box is inspected, bats will fly in and take Jennifer down in energy.  After this, rope can be used to tether the door shut and allow Jennifer to rescue Helen.  However, in order to get into this room, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that Jennifer picked up the Oil Can in Scenario 1 or SHE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ENTER THIS ROOM!
 
Further in, Jennifer finds herself on a balcony, where she is attacked shortly after by Scissorman.  In order to escape, Jennifer must click on the gap in the balcony wall and climb through a window, where she will find Nolan.  
 
Nolan! Will you make it?
 
 
Afterwards, the Geneology can be found on top of the shelf in the library using the footstool, which mentions the 13th generation of Barrows, Quintin, who is described as a “traitor”.  Back in the lounge where Jennifer entered the Castle, Tim can be found, who will give Jennifer the Matches.  Back on the 1st floor in the sitting room, Jennifer can inspect the portraits on the wall, where she will discover a clue pointing to the Castle Map.  The Matches can be used on the candle in the Study outside of the Library to inspect the fireplace and locate the Castle Map.  
Back in the Library, the Copper Book can be used in the same fashion as Helen’s Scenario, which leads to the same three passages.  In this case, Jennifer will want to recall which symbol matches the one that is depicted ABOVE WATER on the Star Plate and descend that passage ONLY!  The others equal DEATH!  At the bottom, Jennifer discovers a Dagger, but must be quick to avoid losing her life!  The Castle Map pointed to a secret area under the fountain, so that is where Jennifer must go to end this nightmare!
 
P.S. If you haven’t gathered, regardless of who you play as, the last scenario is VERY CONVOLUTED!!!
 
Summary
 
All in all, Clock Tower features 10 different endings that are possible and greatly influenced by in-game decisions.  There are also 10 hints that can be discovered throughout the game which will assist the player in completing the game.  The “???” section under “Pamphlet” in the Main Menu is opened up after achieving both Helen and Jennifer’s A endings and this has worked WITHOUT FAIL for me.  
(Note: There are accounts online that say that “???” is not unlocked even after achieving this, but I have played through the game multiple times and can attest that it does indeed work. I also have the disk and not using a ROM, which could impact this of course, and a faulty disc or console could be the culprit.  I encourage you to check out YouTube if this is the case!).  
Inside, the player will find an art section as well as a sound test, which provides remixes and other fun tracks from the game.
 
Bottom line, this game may not be for everybody, especially those who crave lots of action, but for someone who likes to feel threatened and out of control, all while inspecting the ominous environs in search of clues or items, AND DOESN’T HATE TO READ, I would highly recommend Clock Tower.  This game has striking similarities to more modern titles (such as Amnesia: Dark Descent), where the protagonist is essentially powerless in the face of danger and needs to use their quick wits to escape dangerous situations.  
When approaching this game, it is helpful to think outside of the box and approach problems from different angles in order to get the best result and continue with the story.  Even with a lengthy, unwelcoming Prologue, Clock Tower makes up for it in SHEER AMBIENCE AND PRESENCE.  No other game has made me feel more powerless than Clock Tower, which achieves this not only with its genius placement of sounds and music (or lack thereof), but also through the sheer spontaneity of a serial killer hellbent on your destruction.  
The overview can be maddening, but the actions sequences serve to JOLT the player out of their reverie while navigating the Prologue and Intermissions, which feels intentional and FRESH!  Even certain click points serve as SHOCK POINTS, examples being an exploding light bulb or a sudden flame!  
Character deaths are also intriguing and innovative, set in true B-movie fashion complete with over-the-top deaths and reactions!  This game would be recommended for the horror fan that also enjoys reading as well, since this game comes with a LARGE AMOUNT OF TEXT opposed to voice acting!  You have been warned!
 
Clock Tower Nolan Shower Kill
Did NOT see this coming!
 
 
I hope you have enjoyed reading my review of Clock Tower for Playstation.  I did not intend to make this a walkthrough of the game, but numerous walkthroughs can be found online; just use your favorite search engine!  Thanks again for reading!!!
 
 
Lumpz the Clown is an avid gamer who does Let’s Plays, reviews and other assorted clowny goodness   He aspires one day to make video games his full-time career and enjoys interacting with like-minded individuals with the same passion for gaming. 
 
 
 

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