Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within
|Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within|
North American cover art
|Genre(s)||Point-and-click adventure, survival horror|
Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within, released in Japan as Clock Tower Ghost Head,[a] is a survival horror point-and-click adventure game developed by Human Entertainment and released for the PlayStation in 1998. The story follows 17-year-old Alyssa Hale who suffers from multiple personality disorder with an alter ego named Mr. Bates. The player must guide Alyssa through various environments, altering between her normal and twisted personality, to uncover the secrets of her and her family's past. Upon release, Clock Tower II was met with negative reviews. Critics found the game to be dated in terms of both its point-and-click gameplay and poor graphics. The story was also found to be disjointed, and the trial-and-error gameplay was heavily criticized.
Following its predecessors, Clock Tower II is a point-and-click adventure game with 3D graphics. The player can use either a standard PlayStation controller or mouse to control the protagonist, Alyssa Hale, through the game. The cursor will change shape when placed over certain objects, which the player can click to interact with. Clicking in any location will guide the Alyssa in that direction. Moving the cursor to the top of the screen will reveal the player's inventory. Clicking an item and then clicking an object on the screen will use the item on that object or in that location.
Alyssa starts the game with an amulet which keeps her alter ego, Mr. Bates, from emerging and controlling her. However, the amulet can be placed within cases or other containers. Without the amulet, Alyssa will become Mr. Bates if provoked with fear. To change back to Alyssa, the player needs to simply retrieve the amulet back. Some events can only be cleared as Mr. Bates and likewise some only as Alyssa. The choices the player makes as both Alyssa and Mr. Bates will change the scenario development and lead to one of 13 possible endings.
When Alyssa is being chased or is in danger, the cursor will flash red. During this panic mode, the player must rapidly tap a button to escape. When escaping enemies, click points will appear on items or objects that Alyssa can use to fight back or hide from the enemy. Escape mode will not end until the enemy is repulsed or successfully evaded. If playing as Mr. Bates, the player may use obtained weapons against the enemies. When equipped with a weapon, the cursor becomes a crosshair used to aim and shoot. The cursor will change color during panic mode from white, to yellow, and finally red to indicate the Alyssa's stamina. First aid kits can be used to reduce stamina by one level. If Alyssa's stamina reaches zero or the player fails a panic scenario, the screen will read "game over" and provide the player the option to restart from the last room they entered with one extra stamina level.
Alyssa Hale is a 17-year-old high school girl who, during the spring of 1999, is on her way to the small town of Salinas to visit her father's friend Phillip Tate. Previously, it was discovered that another personality resides in Alyssa's soul named Mr. Bates. Alyssa underwent intense therapy because of this. Along the way to Salinas, Alyssa looks at her amulet, which she believes has some sort of power over her. As she stares at it, she realizes that it must somehow be related to Mr. Bates, as she remembers not having it when she awoke from Bates' invasion of her psyche. Meanwhile, at the house, Philip and his wife Kathryn hear a noise at the door, Kathryn goes to see if it is Ashley. Philip says something about the "Maxwell Curse", before Kathryn screams and he rushes over to see what is happening. When Alyssa arrives at the Tate's residence that night, no one appears to be home. She comes across her cousin's bedroom to find her cousin Ashley decapitated. Her other cousin Stephanie attacks her with a knife and stalks her around the house. She hears a series of odd noises through the home and eventually finds Philip, who requests that she burn a statue related to the Maxwell Curse. Stephanie tries to stop her but Alyssa turns into Bates and stabs her. Alyssa manages to throw the statue into a fireplace but loses consciousness.
She wakes up in a zombie-infested hospital and meets a detective named Alex Corey, who saved Alyssa from the house. She is later overrun by zombies as she tries to escape and faints. When she awakens again, she finds that Alex took her to a pharmaceutical lab. She soon finds a man armed with a hatchet and wearing an oni mask named George Maxwell, who begins to stalk her. She also finds her adoptive father, Allen. He explains that Alyssa is not his daughter, but rather, the daughter of George. The Maxwell Curse states that every few generations, "Cursed Twins" are born into the Maxwell line. To protect their family, they must be buried beneath the Maxwell tree as soon as they are born and left to die. Allen, jealous of George's wealth, dug up the children with Philip to spite him. However, Alyssa's twin had suffocated to death; Alyssa realizes that her twin was Bates, who transplanted his soul into her body. George tries to attack Alyssa, but Allen shoots him. He then requests Alyssa to go, explaining that the building is about to explode. Alyssa escapes and watches the building burn from the hillside. Alyssa mourns her father's death, claiming that she should have died instead.
Clock Tower II was met with "generally unfavorable" reviews upon release and holds a Metacritic score of 49 out of 100. IGN's Marc Nix argued that the game fell considerably short of its potential and was a step back for gaming in terms of its play control. He found that the point-and-click interface did not function very well since Alyssa's animations were too slow and an option to skip these animations is flawed. Nix also criticized the trial-and-error gameplay which was partially due to the dual personality mechanic and poor storytelling methods. The environments were found to have clear and sharp graphics, although somewhat lifeless, and good atmospheric sound design. Nix also believed the characters well-made and animated smoothly, but with poor voice acting. He found the rumble feature the "sole perfect feature of the game."
GameSpot's Joe Fielder described Clock Tower II's storyline as disjointed, and although there are different endings, the poor gameplay will prevent the player from wanting to replay. He criticized the poor point-and-click controls which were not always accurate or correctly acknowledged. Fielder also disliked the gameplay in which events are triggered or areas become accessible only after spending time exploring other unrelated areas. He believed these puzzles were counterintuitive like "like being stuck on a Rubik's Cube, going into the next room,...and coming back later to find the cube solved." He described the character models, animations, and environmental graphics as "pure first-generation PlayStation," and also found the sound and music to be poor. He concluded that Clock Tower II wasn't good for players looking for either a puzzle adventure or scary game, saying, "leave this one for the antique collectors."
Notes and references
- Fielder, Joe (November 5, 1999). "Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within instruction manual, pg. 5-7 (US, PlayStation)
- Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within instruction manual, pg. 9-10 (US, PlayStation)
- Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within instruction manual, pg. 11 (US, PlayStation)
- Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within instruction manual, pg. 12-13 (US, PlayStation)
- Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within instruction manual, pg. 14 (US, PlayStation)
- "Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within for PlayStation Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- Kanarick, Mark. "Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
- Nix, Marc (November 11, 1999). "Clock Tower 2: The Struggle Within". IGN. Archived from the original on September 21, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. 1999.