fans, listen up: There is a new game out that you need to play. Even
though you have probably heard that the first games in the Clock Tower
series were steaming piles, dont cast Clock Tower 3 aside just yet. It
packs unique gameplay elements that make it very different from other
survival horror games, plus it has a fantastic story told through
Hollywood-quality cinema sequences. If youre tired of blasting zombies
and have taken more trips through the hellhole that is the town of
Silent Hill than youd care to mention, give Clock Tower 3 a chance. You
wont regret it.
story in Clock Tower 3 follows a young girl named Alyssa Hamilton after
she receives a letter from her mother telling her to go into hiding and
to not return home no matter what. As any teenager would do, Alyssa
returns home from boarding school to find out what is wrong and is
thrust into an adventure where she finds herself traveling to different
time periods in London in order to discover her family history, stopping
every so often to confront a deranged serial killer. That is the most
basic description of the story, but rest assured, there are plenty of
twists and interesting things to see.
What sets Clock
Tower 3 apart from other games in the genre is the gameplay itself.
First of all, Clock Tower 3 uses a Fear Gauge instead of the standard
health bar. When Alyssa is calm, she can run and hide and do things
normally and it takes a few hits from a killer to actually do her in.
When she becomes afraid, she stumbles around and becomes hard to
control. If Alyssas Fear Gauge is completely full then it only takes
one shot from a serial killer before its game over. The Fear Gauge is a
great idea and actually does a pretty good job of showing not only how
afraid Alyssa is, but how scared I am while Im playing it.
difference is that there are only two different types of enemies.
Roaming each level are the ghosts of recently deceased people that are
in limbo because they lost a sentimental item that you have to return to
their body so that they can be at peace. These ghosts are more annoying
than anything else and cant really do too much damage to you. The other
enemy in each level is the serial killer. There are six of them in the
game and they tend to pop out when you least expect it. These guys are
the bosses of each level and can only be defeated once you have solved
all of the levels puzzles, but they will appear several times during a
level and scare the crap out of you.
the serial killers is no easy task. You cant fight back until you have
solved all of the puzzles in the level, so when you are confronted by a
killer before then your only choice is to run and hide. There are
several points in each level that serve as hiding spots that allow you
to elude the killer for a little while. It is pretty weird when a killer
can be hot on your heels only to become suddenly confused when you duck
into hiding even though he saw you do it. This isnt realistic, but it
didnt ruin the experience for me. Once you have completed the puzzles
in a level and can finally start fighting the levels boss, and the
gameplay changes a little bit. The fear meter is replaced by a standard
health gauge and Alyssa is given a special bow and arrows that you have
to charge up in order to do maximum damage. You cant move while the
arrow is charging and you cant change your aim either, but once you
figure out the pattern that the killers all use it is fairly smooth
Clock Tower games that used a point and click interface, CT3 uses the
standard third person perspective and fixed camera angles that other
survival horror games use. Most of the time the camera angles are just
fine and traveling from room to room wont be much or a problem for
veterans of this type of game. It is a fun experience and is very
different from the other games in the genre, but it could have been
better. It is entirely worth it, though, as the story and accompanying
cinema sequences are enough to warrant struggling through any
shortcomings in the gameplay. The game will only take you about five or
six hours to complete, but like I said, it is worth it if youre a fan
of survival horror games.
Clock Tower 3
is also one of the scariest and most disturbing games I have played. It
has its share of jump-out-and-say-boo moments, but it is also
frightening due to its extreme realism. CT3 features some of the most
realistic depictions of murder that have ever appeared in a video game.
The blood looks like blood and when a killers axe hacks into the body of
one of his victims, it looks entirely realistic. Another thing that
makes Clock Tower 3 scarier than other games is that there isnt really
any escaping from the killers. Sure you can hide, but eventually theyll
find you. You cant just run to the nearest doorway and load the nearest
room to escape (ala Resident Evil) because your enemy will just crash
through and keep coming at you. The murderer is hungry for blood and
when he isnt attacking you he is making you watch him kill someone
else. This is disturbing stuff, but is very cool to watch all the same.
Clock Tower 3 looks very good. The environments are suitably dirty and
gritty and look like youd imagine London would look in the different
time periods. The character models are nicely detailed and the animation
is very smooth. The way Alyssa walks or stumbles when she is frightened
is very realistic and it is something that you will notice since it is
so different from what we usually see in this genre. When Alyssas fear
gauge is full, a motion blur effect appears on screen and it goes a long
way towards making the game even scarier. Like I said above, the gore is
awesome looking and completes a great visual package.
sequences are simply amazing to watch as they seem more like a movie
rather than a video game. The lighting, camera work, and pacing of each
scene is head and shoulders above just about everything else in not only
the survival horror genre, but in video games in general. I know I keep
saying this, but this game is worth playing through just to experience
The sound in
Clock Tower 3 is every bit as good. The voice acting is perfect and the
voices of the six killers will make your skin crawl. There isnt much
music in the game but what is there is well suited to the action on
screen. The sound effects are everything youd expect and things like
cans rattling on the street or glass breaking as you stroll down an
otherwise silent alleyway will make you jump every time.
If you are one
of those people that complain and say things like "I like games, not
interactive movies" you might not like CT3 too much. All I have to say
to you is that maybe, just maybe, games can actually try and feature a
compelling narrative and that not all games have to be 100% action. Grow
up, learn some patience, and realize that having lots of different types
of games around is a good thing. And don't say you haven't been warned.
Overall, Clock Tower 3 is a lot better than I expected it to be and
fans of survival horror games definitely need to give it a chance. Im a
huge fan or horror movies, so the blood and guts in CT3 didnt bother me
too much, but if you are squeamish you might not want to play it. It
really is that disturbing. The game can be pretty difficult, especially
on the later levels, but it isnt anything too impossible to overcome.
It will only take about five or six hours to complete your first time
through, though, so Clock Tower 3 is a game you should rent before you
decide to buy it. CT3 is an excellent game that makes the future of the
series look very bright indeed.