Claw (video game)
|Publisher(s)||Monolith Productions, Wizard Works|
|Engine||Windows Animation Package 32|
Captain Claw, (also known as Captain Nathaniel Joseph Claw or N. J. Claw) by Monolith Productions, is a classic-type platform video game that features a two-dimensional platform world featuring a main character at its focus and enemies roaming around. There are traps, secret areas and treasure. It is the developer's second release, after Blood which was released the previous May.
The story is similar to many pirate films, games and other sources: a famous cat pirate, Captain Nathaniel Joseph Claw, is imprisoned by the Cocker-Spaniards (a dog species, a pun on Cocker Spaniel) after they attack and sink his ship. In the prison cell, waiting for his execution, he finds a note and a map hidden in the wall, signed as Edward Tobin, in which he learns about the Amulet of Nine Lives—a mystical artifact that grants its wearer near-immortality. Breaking out of his cell, Claw sets out to collect all 9 gems of the amulet and retrieve it for himself.
The game begins with Claw outside his cell. As he progresses through the prison, he eventually gets to the outer wall and escapes to the forest after defeating the warden, La Rauxe. In the forest, he encounters a gang of thieves, headed by his former love interest, Katherine. He manages to defeat them and finds his way out of the forest, and into the nearby port town called El Puerto del Lobo, where he is hunted down by the magistrate, Wolvington, and the city guards.
After running through the city, escaping the guards, and defeating Wolvington himself, the Captain stumbles into a bar and overhears a conversation between two of the crew of Captain Red Tail, a lion who is Claw's arch enemy. He learns from them that Red Tail is looking for the gems of the amulet as well, and that Red Tail's first mate, Gabriel, has one of them in his possession. He also hears Red Tail himself might have more.
Claw quickly makes his way through the port and jumps on Red Tail's ship, where he defeats the seamen (Gabriel among them) and hides in the ship until it sets port near the Pirate's Cove. Claw goes through the rickety wooden structures of the pirate cove, defeating the pirates and their leader, a Pirate who used to be a close friend of Claw, Marrow, before descending into the caverns, where he meets his old crew (presumed dead after the attack on his ship).
Claw finds that they were given three gems by a merchant in the tavern, two of which were taken by Red Tail who already set sail to the legendary Tiger Island, which was thought to be fictional in the game itself. The crew also showed Claw a piece of map the merchant gave them, showing a path to the Island through a labyrinth of underwater caverns.
The Captain decides to descend down the caverns, where he finds a race of mermaids and mermen, who fight him in order to defend their queen, a giant frog-like creature called Aquatis. He manages to defeat Aquatis with explosives.
Claw resurfaces to face Red Tail and his crew on Tiger Island. After managing to bring Red Tail down and acquiring the final two gems, Claw goes to the Tiger Temple at the heart of the island, to find the amulet. There he fights the well-trained tiger guards, avoids the many death traps in the lava-filled temple, and defeats Omar, the captain of the tiger guard, who holds the last (and largest) gem.
Claw places the gems on a pedestal. They rearrange themselves and the ghost of a princess comes and gives him the amulet, granting him 9 lives, after summarising his adventure. The final scene shows him leaving on his ship with the amulet, his crew, and Omar with him.
The game has 14 levels in which after every two levels Claw has to defeat a boss. At the end of each level the player will receive either a piece of the map or a gem (2 at the end of level 13). The fourteen levels are as such:
Captain Claw has three types of gameplay: single player, custom level, and multiplayer. The single player mode, the "campaign", contains the main storyline of the game. The custom level loader allows the player to run custom content made by the player or others. The multiplayer mode allows the player to connect to the Internet and play with up to 64 other people. In the multiplayer mode, the player has to kill as many enemies as possible and gain loot for points to rank up.
A special DVD edition of the game was released which contained extra content, like fully animated cutscenes and more detailed graphics. It also included the Creative PC DVD Encore Dxr2 set.
Allgame gave Claw a highly positive review, comparing its enjoyment value to the Super Mario and Crash Bandicoot franchises. Gamespot gave Claw a score of 7.7, stating that it is "easily the finest modern side scroller available for the PC". Despite its success, the game is known for its high difficulty. It is considered a cult classic for its unique style, sense of adventure and beautiful graphics.
Around 1999, work on a sequel to Captain Claw called "Captain Claw 2 in 3D" was in development by Monolith. However, due to copyright issues with the character Captain Claw, Monolith dropped the project, and passed all codes and assets of the unreleased sequel to a Polish game developer called Techland. Techland announced that a sequel to Captain Claw was going to be released in November 2007 under the name of Captain Claw 2. The release date was delayed to 2008, but the game was renamed to Jack, the Pirate Fat. The game was later renamed to Nikita: The Mystery of the Hidden Treasure and a trailer was released on YouTube. The game was released later that year and became a stand-alone game that had nothing to do with the original game.