Sunday, 3 February 2013

Clock Tower 2/Clock Tower Playstation: Game Design Review

Clock Tower 2 (Japanese name) or Clock Tower (US release) is an adventure horror point-and-click game for the Playstation. It's a sequel to the original Clock Tower on the SNES. The first game was not released for English speaking countries hence the slightly different title. As before, the scissorsman returns and this time you have to try and figure out how to stop him for good.

What  I liked
Sound- Once again sound plays an important part in the game and the disquiet and ambient noise only heightens the fear. Silence is just as important as noise.

Horror- Like in the first game, you can only run and hide and occasionally ambush the Scissorman. That's pretty much it.

What I didn't like

 Very short- The game can be finished in about 40 minutes if you know what you're doing.

3D graphics aren't particularly exciting- Unfortunately the graphics haven't aged well compared to the 2D sprites of the original SNES horror.

Missing a single item or item can change your entire game- A great deal of the problem with the game is just how Japanese it is in game design. Even missing a crucial item which isn't particular special can mean your entire game is screwed or changed. There are hints in the game you can find and they are useful during replays but the fact that you sometimes don't even know why you're getting a certain ending or what requirements need to be fulfilled to get a 'good' ending is very annoying.

For example at the start, if you want to play as Helen you have to talk to someone once, if you want to play as Jennifer you have to talk to the same person twice. This doesn't really make any gameplay sense. The dialogue itself isn't related to choosing a character, it's just a comment on the other characters. You'll only know this changes your character choice if you collect a hint at the beginning. The hint is viewable in the main menu not in game either so you can only see it if you quite the game!

Missing replayability- In the original Clocktower there was some replaybility as the story itself would randomise certain events and rooms. In this game, that has been pared down somewhat so replaying the first parts of the game are pretty much the same. It's only the last scenario that has any real changes and most of them are fairly minor.

Clocktower 2 is still a scary game and some real good atmosphere going. If you enjoyed slow Japanese horror, you should definitely try it out. If you don't already like the genre however I would recommend you play it once through and just check out some Youtube videos of the multiple endings.