Clock Tower (1995 video game)

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This article is about the 1995 Super Famicom game. For for the 1996 PlayStation game, see Clock Tower (1996 video game).
Clock Tower
Clock Tower (video game box art).jpg
Super Famicom cover art
Developer(s) Human Entertainment
Publisher(s) Human Entertainment
Director(s) Hifumi Kono
Producer(s) Hiroyasu Ichizaki
Programmer(s) Naoki Sonoda
Nobuhiro Fujii
Artist(s) Akiyoshi Iijima
Composer(s) Kōji Niikura
Series Clock Tower
Platform(s) Super Famicom, PlayStation, Windows, WonderSwan
Release date(s) Super Famicom
  • JP September 14, 1995
Windows
  • JP March 28, 1997
PlayStation
  • JP July 17, 1997
WonderSwan
  • JP December 9, 1999
Genre(s) Survival horror, point-and-click adventure, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player

Clock Tower (クロックタワー Kurokku Tawā?) is a survival horror point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Human Entertainment for the Super Famicom in 1995.[1] It is the first installment of the long-running Clock Tower series. An enhanced port titled Clock Tower: The First Fear was developed and released for PlayStation and Windows in 1997, featuring enhanced sounds and visuals.

The story follows Jennifer Simpson as she learns the secrets of the Barrows Mansion and attempts to escape the game's antagonist, Scissorman. Much of the plot and many characters are inspired by Dario Argento's film, Phenomena, and the villain being partially inspired by Tony Maylam's film, The Burning. The game features multiple endings dependent on choices the player makes throughout the game. Clock Tower has been re-released on the WonderSwan, Wii, Wii U, PSP, and the PlayStation 3. It has never officially been released outside Japan, although several fan translations exist.

Gameplay[edit]

Jennifer struggling with Bobby while in 'panic mode'

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[clarification needed]; 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 9-year-old slasher named Bobby Barrows/Scissorman, 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 attack the enemy. 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 "Dead End" 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 means she is alarmed, and finally red means she will begin to panic. In the red state, she is more likely to be attacked during a direct confrontation with Bobby. Additionally, while running away from Bobby, there is a chance she might trip over, 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.

Plot[edit]

Jennifer Simpson is a child from the fictional Granite Orphanage[2] in Romsdalen, Norway.[3] She and her friends, who are also orphans (Laura Harrington, Anne and Lotte) are adopted in September 1995[2][4] (the same month the game was released) by a wealthy recluse named Simon Barrows, who lives in a mansion known as the "Clock Tower", named after its predominant feature.[3]

The game immediately begins with these characters walking towards the Barrows mansion and settling in the main foyer.[5] Mary, the woman who brought the children to the mansion, leaves to find Mr. Barrows,[5] but she takes an unusually long time.[6] Jennifer offers to investigate,[6] 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 (Laura can be found hanging inside the bathtub where Scissorman rises from the bathtub water, and Anne can be found dropping from the stained glass ceiling while being impaled by Scissorman) , she finds herself being stalked by a murderous little boy with deformed features, wielding a huge pair of scissors.[4] The boy is Bobby Barrows, also known as the Scissorman, who will be Jennifer's main stalker and tormentor for the rest of the game.[4]

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.[7][8] If the latter happens, Jennifer will find his death letter that tells of his account about Mary Barrows and her twins, Bobby and Dan.[9] It says that he was trapped there for three days, until his death on November 10, 1986.[9]

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 Scepter, but the former is canonical as it appears in the sequel.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] Otherwise, she rescues Jennifer from the jail cell, but is shot by a threatening Mary.[13]

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,[14] and Jennifer rides an elevator in the catacombs. She ends up defeating Bobby in the clock tower,[15] and Mary as well in by getting pecked by crows that Jennifer has helped escape from (or around, depending on prior actions) the clock tower, earlier. If Ann (or Laura) has not died yet, then this survivor reunites with Jennifer at the clock tower in the case of Ending "S". Alternative Ending A has that survivor being thrown down the tower by Mary; other actions lead to one of Endings B and C - any of which 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.

Development and release[edit]

The game was inspired by the films of Dario Argento, most notably Phenomena and Suspiria.[16] The films (mostly Phenomena) and the game share several similarities: the name and basic appearance of the leading character resemble Jennifer Connelly, and the major antagonists are a deformed killer child and a deranged mother. Scissorman also takes some inspiration from the 1981 movie The Burning. It was developed and released by Human Entertainment, originally for the SNES September 14, 1995 only in Japan.

In 1997, Human Entertainment released an enhanced port of the original Clock Tower for Windows 95 and the PlayStation. Titled Clock Tower: The First Fear, this version took the advantage of more powerful hardware, adding 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 aesthetic changes were also made to the game.

The game has not been officially released outside Japan; however, multiple fan translations exist. The Super Famicom version has been translated into English, Turkish, Russian, Portuguese, French, and Korean.[17][18][19][20][21][22] The PlayStation version also has an English fan translation,[23] as does the Windows 95 version.[24]

Reception[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shane Patterson (2009-02-03), The Sneaky History of Stealth Games, GamesRadar, Retrieved 2009-06-21
  2. ^ a b 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... 
  3. ^ a b 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... 
  4. ^ a b c 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. 
  5. ^ a b 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. 
  6. ^ a b 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. 
  7. ^ 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... 
  8. ^ 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....? 
  9. ^ a b 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... 
  10. ^ 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... 
  11. ^ 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... 
  12. ^ 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... 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ 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! 
  15. ^ 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! 
  16. ^ Vallejo, Hernando. "Clock Tower". Hardcore Gaming 101. September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  17. ^ "Translations - Clock Tower". Romhacking.net. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  18. ^ "Translations - Clock Tower". Romhacking.net. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  19. ^ "Clock Tower (SNES) п╫п╟ я─я┐я│я│п╨п╬п╪ я▐п╥я▀п╨п╣". Ifritz.narod.ru. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  20. ^ "Translations - Clock Tower". Romhacking.net. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  21. ^ "PO.B.R.E. - Traduções". Romhackers.org. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  22. ^ "Clock Tower (SNES) - Patchs - TRAF v8". traf.romhack.org. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  23. ^ "Translations - Clock Tower: The First Fear". Romhacking.net. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  24. ^ "Silanda's improved translation patch for Clock Tower for Windows". W11.zetaboards.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 

External links[edit]