Clock Tower (1995 video game)
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Japanese SNES cover art
|Distribution||ROM cartridge, optical disc|
Clock Tower (クロックタワー Kurokku Tawā?) is the first installment of the Clock Tower survival horror point-and-click adventure game series created by Human Entertainment for the Super Famicom. It was later ported to Playstation, Windows and the Wonderswan. The game was published by Human Entertainment and was released in Japan in 1995. Much of the plot and characters are inspired by Dario Argento's film, Phenomena.
Clock Tower is a 2D psychological horror point-and-click style game, where the player controls a cursor to direct the main character, Jennifer Simpson, and give commands such as investigating objects or opening doors. The interface is akin to computer adventure games of the 1990s, but simplified to work better with a gamepad. Primarily, the player can only move Jennifer left and right through the environment, although there are some rooms in which an action requires Jennifer to step into the background.
Clock Tower is unique among adventure games of the era in that it features a stalker pursuing the main character; this delays puzzle solving and requires the player to run in order to find objects or hiding places to fend off or avoid the attacker. The stalker is a slasher villain named Bobby, who wields a large pair of scissors. If directly confronted by Bobby, the player engages in a "panic" phase and must repeatedly pound the "panic button" to struggle with the attacker. If Jennifer is low on health, or the player does not tap the panic button fast enough, Bobby will attack Jennifer and the player will be presented with a game over screen.
Although the game refers to it as Jennifer's health, the color of the background where her face is shown changes to represent her current fear level. Blue means she is in a calm state, while yellow means she is startled, orange meaning she is alarmed, and finally red, where she will begin to panic. In red, she is more likely to be attacked during a direct confrontation with Bobby. Additionally, while running away from Bobby, there is a chance Jennifer might trip over her feet, making her vulnerable if Bobby is close by.
Many of Bobby’s appearances are triggered by the player inspecting certain objects, but there are some cases in which he will come out of a hiding place and chase Jennifer as soon as she enters a room.
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Jennifer Simpson is a child from the fictional Granite Orphanage in Romsdalen, Norway. She and her friends, who are also orphans (Laura, Ann and Lotte) are adopted in September 1995 (the same month the game was released) by a wealthy recluse named Mr. Barrows, who lives in a mansion known as the "Clock Tower", named after its predominant feature.
The game immediately begins with these characters walking towards the Barrows mansion and settling in the main foyer. Mary, the woman who brought the children to the mansion, leaves to find Mr. Barrows, but she takes an unusually long time. Jennifer offers to investigate, but upon leaving the room, a scream is heard from the main foyer. Jennifer returns to find the lights are off and the girls are missing. After finding either Laura or Ann killed, she finds herself being stalked by a murderous little boy with deformed features, wielding a huge pair of scissors. The boy is Bobby Barrows, the Scissorman, who will be Jennifer's main stalker and tormentor for the rest of the game.
While exploring the mansion, Jennifer will need to find out Mary's true intentions - either by discovering Simon Barrows trapped in a jail cell inside the courtyard, or by discovering her father's corpse in a hidden room. If the former happens, Jennifer will need to give him a piece of ham as food. If the latter happens, Jennifer will find his death letter that tells of his account about Mary Barrows and her twins, Bobby and Dan. It says that he was trapped there for three days, until his death on November 10, 1986.
Jennifer visits a small, occult-looking church. If the player has collected all the necessary items and clues, then Jennifer is able to gain access to the underground catacombs of the mansion - using either the Devil Idol or the Sceptor, but the former is canonical as it appears in the sequel. Jennifer sees a cloaked figure walking ahead of her; this is Mary. She follows it, wearing a disguise to fool the guard dog using Mary's perfume, and a black cloak found in the mansion. If she did not need to rescue Jennifer from the jail cell, Lotte can be found dying at an altar, and tells Jennifer about the switches in the clock tower. Otherwise, she rescues Jennifer from the jail cell, but is shot by a threatening Mary.
Jennifer enters a room, where she discovers the humongous Dan Barrows, hidden within curtains. At that point, the awakened Dan chases down Jennifer to a steep cliff. She successfully climbs over, knocking down a can of kerosene which splashes onto a nearby candle. This triggers an explosion that immolates Dan, and Jennifer rides an elevator in the catacombs. She ends up defeating Bobby in the clock tower, and Mary as well in (or around, depending on prior actions) the clock tower. If Ann (or Laura) had not died yet, then this survivor would reunite with Jennifer at the clock tower, but later be thrown down the tower by Mary. These actions would lead to one of Endings A, B, or C - any of these could be canonical according to the events of the next game. Because of the game's open-ended nature, the player can also discover a number of other endings.
Clock Tower has a variety of endings depending on the choices the player makes throughout the game. The endings run from A to H, H being the worst and A being the best, with a special S ending above A. Endings A, B, and C seem to be canonical, as the sequel Clock Tower (Clock Tower 2) is compatible with any of these endings.
- Ending S
This ending is non-canonical and the most difficult to obtain. In the initial list of endings, if it has not been unlocked, it is not shown at all. Jennifer's friend is seen lying unconscious on the floor. Bobby falls to his death after Jennifer activates the clock tower, with the sound of the bells disorienting him. Mary attacks Jennifer but is pushed back and then off the tower by an enraged flock of crows, one of which Jennifer freed from a cage earlier in the game. Jennifer is then joined by her one surviving friend for the credits. (If Jennifer saw Ann die, then Laura will join her, and vice versa. Lotte can't be saved.) Two of the requirements are freeing the crows, and discovering Walter's secret room.
- Ending A
If Jennifer encounters Simon Barrows in the shed, and one of her friends survives, this ending is unlocked. After Bobby falls to his death, the surviving friend runs to Jennifer. Their reunion is cut short when Mary steps out from the shadows and tries to grab Jennifer but instead throws Jennifer's friend into the Clock Tower's gears. Mary is defeated when Jennifer/the crows pulls her off of the side as Mary attempts to stab her. Jennifer is the only survivor.
- Ending B
Having seen all her friends die (and/or failing to free the crows), Jennifer goes to the third floor using the elevator. Just before the elevator stops, Bobby attempts to break into it through an overhead vent. Jennifer escapes to the top of the clock tower using a ladder, and activates the clock tower bells with the switches, disorienting Bobby enough that he falls off the top of the tower to his presumed death. Mary, hysterical at the deaths of her two children, attempts to throttle Jennifer. Jennifer throws Mary into a generator box, electrocuting her. Jennifer is the only survivor.
- Ending C
Inside the elevator, Jennifer presses the button for the second floor, and finds Mary in the hall. Having seen her father's corpse or having been confronted by Mary in the shed, Jennifer talks to Mary before she attacks her with a knife. Mary then calls for Bobby to help her. Jennifer avoids Mary and climbs up a ladder to reach the clock tower. However, Mary grabs Jennifer's leg while she is climbing. Jennifer breaks free of Mary's grip and she is flung off the ladder to her death. At the top of the clock tower, Jennifer faces Bobby again who is out to avenge his mother and brother, but she activates the clock's bells. The bell's chimes disorient Bobby enough that he falls off the top of the tower to his death. Jennifer is the only survivor.
- Ending D
Inside the elevator, Jennifer presses the button for the second floor, and finds Mary in the hall. Having not seen her father's corpse, Jennifer talks to Mary and Mary consoles her, telling her that "You're safe now". Jennifer runs towards Mary but is stabbed in the chest with a knife. With her dying breath, Jennifer asks "Why" as Mary stands before her with an evil grin.
- Ending E
Inside the elevator, Jennifer presses the button for the third floor, and the elevator suddenly halts. Bobby breaks into the elevator through an overhead vent. Jennifer screams and the screen fades to black.
- Ending F
If Jennifer does not see Lotte die, she will continue the game normally until the elevator sequence. Upon entering the elevator, the doors close. Bobby attacks Jennifer off-screen, and blood seeps from under the elevator doors.
- Ending G
If Jennifer sees two of her friends die, she will leave in the car, escaping the mansion and return to the orphanage. A text cut scene tells that Jennifer was found dead three days later in her room. The cause of her death is unclear; the most common theories that she is killed by one or more of the Barrows, or that Jennifer committed suicide over the loss of her friends.
- Ending H
This ending is considered the "worst". Jennifer stumbles across a car in the garage, and finds the key in a crate. She is unable to leave her friends in the mansion, but after three attempts to enter the car, she eventually gives in and escapes, driving through the wall of the shed. In the ensuing cut scene, a pair of scissors can be seen from the back seat, Jennifer appears shocked, and screams. The screen then fades to black.
- Alternate Endings
There are two endings that can be obtained through a glitch in the game in which Jennifer does not see Ann or Laura die. The first is identical to endings H and G, but only displays the credits after Jennifer leaves; this results in a Ranking of D. The second is obtained if the player meets the prerequisites for Ending S, but it is identical to Ending F.
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It has been stated by the producers of the game that the game design was inspired by Dario Argento's Phenomena (known as Creepers in the US). This is likely because the film and the game share similarities, including the name and basic appearance of the leading character (Jennifer), a deformed killer child and a deranged mother.
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In 1997, Human Entertainment released an enhanced port of the original Clock Tower for PC and PlayStation. Titled Clock Tower: The First Fear, this version took the advantage of the newer 32-bit hardware of the Sony PlayStation, and added new sounds, scenes, and FMVs to enhance the experience.
In 1999, the PlayStation version of The First Fear was ported to the WonderSwan. Due to the system's small black-and-white screen, the games graphics were less detailed. Other aestetic changes were also made to the game.
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- Shane Patterson (2009-02-03), The Sneaky History of Stealth Games, GamesRadar, Retrieved 2009-06-21
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Intro. "Raised in the Granite Orphanage, Jennifer and her friends were wanted as adopted daughters. It happened in September..."
- Human Entertainment (1997-09-30). "Clock Tower". PlayStation. ASCII Entertainment. Level/area: Clock Tower Story. "In the mountains of Romsdaaren [sic], Norway, stands the Barrows Mansion. This mansion had a large clock tower, by which the locals tended their flocks in the surrounding fields. The local people called the mansion the Clock Tower..."
- Human Entertainment (1997-09-30). "Clock Tower". PlayStation. ASCII Entertainment. Level/area: Clock Tower Story. "In 1995, a young girl [Jennifer] from the Granite Orphanage, whose parents died when she was quite small, was lured into the Barrows Mansion where she was attacked by a monster wielding a giant pair of scissors. That monster was the grown-up Bobby."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Main Foyer. "Laura: "What a huge place..." / Ann: "Yeah! The main hall's gigantic!" / Mary: "I gotta go get Mr. Barrows. Everyone wait here."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Main Foyer. "Lotte: "Mary...she's taking a long time. Should I go find Ms. Mary?" / Jennifer: "No, I'll go look for her."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Courtyard Shed. "Jennifer: "W...who are you!?" / Simon: "Uhn...huh...F...food..."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Courtyard Shed. "Jennifer: "Um...Who are you?" / Simon: "Simon...B......Barrows..." / Jennifer's thoughts: "This man...is Barrows....?"
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Secret Room. "11.10.1986 - This is the third day I, Dr. Walter Simpson, have been in here. I'll not last long. Before I die, I will record this...There are twin children who are a blemish on this world. When the lady was to give birth, I was called to this house. She gave birth to two chil...no, demons. When they were born, they ate my right hand. They were ill, their bodies deformed...they should have died. But they lived...I should have tried to...Breathing is painful. The air in this room is already gone...They are in a cradle under the star..."
- Human Entertainment (1997-09-30). "Clock Tower". PlayStation. ASCII Entertainment. Level/area: Prologue - University. "Narration: "A statue, it is cold...one of the items found at the scene of the Clock Tower murders. It seems to be hiding some sort of secret." / Barton: "It would be a good idea to get an expert opinion on this..."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Underground Catacombs. "Narration: "You can no longer smell the perfume." Jennifer's thoughts: "The dog won't be tricked again..."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Underground Catacombs. "Jennifer: "Lotte. Lotte!" / Lotte: "Uhh..." / Jennifer: "Lotte, you're still alive!? / Lotte: "Mmm...Jennifer...The switches in...the clock tower........" / Jennifer: "Lotte? Don't...leave me alone..."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Courtyard Shed. "Lotte: "Jennifer, you're okay!" / Jennifer: "Lotte!!" / Lotte: "Half a sec, I'll get you out. There we go! Now, get out of here before Mary comes!" / Jennifer: "Huh...?" / Lotte: "Quickly, Jennifer!" / Narration: "A voice is heard outside the shed..." / Mary: "Now isn't that a pity...Jennifer, don't move a muscle. I will punish you."
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Ending C - Clock Tower. "Mary: "Bobby! Bobby! Get this girl [Jennifer]! She's the one who killed Dan!"
- Human Entertainment (1995-09-14). "Clock Tower" (in Japanese). Super Famicom. Human Entertainment. Level/area: Ending S - Clock Tower. "Mary: "You [Jennifer]...you...killed my sons!"
- Clock Tower Instruction manual at Giant Bomb
- Clock Tower at GameFAQs
- Clock Tower ~The First Fear~ at GameFAQs
- Clock Tower English screen captures