Resident Evil throws waves of enemies at you, Silent Hill gets in your head, and Fatal Frame forces you to get up close and personal with the things that want to kill you. But there’s one series that doesn’t use any of these strategies, in fact, you usually only have a single adversary, occasionally two, that want to hang you over their mantle.
This series is one of the original survival horror series but its last two games weren’t very warmly received so that’s kept it in hiding for almost a decade. Despite that there are rumors a (likely awful) film adaptation is in the works which, depending on its success, might bring with it a new installment in the series. Are you hating this long-winded tease? Fine, I’ll tell you what franchise I’m talking about, it’s… waiting to reveal itself after the jump. Clock Tower! Come on, you had to know that. You’re so smart, I could never fool you. Way back in 1995 we were introduced to the stalkerish Scissor Man, otherwise known as devious Bobby, who apparently wasn’t ever told that running with scissors was a bad thing. This game managed two things: it introduced us to the idea of a singular recurring enemy that was later implemented in other games (like Resident Evil 3’s Nemesis) and it also created a new generation of scissor fearing people. I swear, after playing this game back in the day I’ve never been able to look at a pair of garden shears without breaking a sweat.
The following year Clock Tower made its console debut on the PlayStation, with added multiple endings, five playable characters, and those crisp high-def visuals offered by the highly evolved piece of geekgasmic tech known as the Sony PlayStation. Yeah, that 32-bit tech might not look like much now but if it was 1996 your mind would be blown.
Not long after that we were given a spin-off called Clock Tower 2: The Struggle Within, which outside of similar gameplay mechanics had virtually nothing to do with the previous games. Sadly, despite its offering over a dozen different endings, a larger cast and an increased focus on hiding and puzzle solving, the game mostly sucked. Since its inclusion in the series voice action has never been done well, but its many glaring plot holes and not a single interesting end scenario kept it from living up to the expectations set by the first two games.
I love when developers take criticism from their communities and use that feedback to improve their games. Unfortunately, little was fixed when Clock Tower 3 released a handful of years later. It was still plagued by terrible voice acting, clumsy controls, and bad animating (there wasn’t a single character in the game that didn’t look like they weren’t ingesting heavy amounts of drugs.) That’s likely the reason we never saw a fourth game, but for the few fans left of the series there’s still a small amount of hope for a continuation of this dying series.
For a few years now a film adaptation starring Brittany Snow (Prom Night), who’s face looks remarkably similar to Alyssa, has been going in and out of the dreaded development limbo. This can likely be blamed on the economic recession that’s forced many film studios to go with sure bets instead of risks (a Clock Tower film being a member of the latter group). As for a Clock Tower 4, Haunting Ground was initially supposed to be the fourth game in the series before taking a different route and becoming the game many of us know and love today.
The fate of the series is still really foggy; it’s a safe bet we won’t be seeing the film anytime soon and the chance of a fourth game is even less likely. However, as with all games if the demand is there then there’s a better chance of Capcom greenlighting a sequel, so if you’d like to see a Clock Tower 4 I suggest you start picketing Capcom’s headquarters.
In case you missed the rest of the series, here’s a quick recap:
Day 1, A Resident Evil Retrospective
Day 2, A Silent Hill Retrospective
Day 3, What Do You Fear?
Day 4, The Four Scariest Kids in Gaming
Day 5, A Look Through the Lense
Day 6, Six New Games You Need to Play this Halloween
Day 7, The 7 Biggest Horror Games of 2011