Clock Tower 3 Review

Clock Tower 3: Survival horror at its worst?

Clock Tower 3 cover

Warning: This review contains plot synopsis and therefore spoilers.

Years ago, in 2003, Capcom decided to publish a title in a survival horror series that was different from Resident Evil. While they achieved that, the end result of the third installment in the series, Clock Tower 3, is a game that feels like it was created years before it actually was.

The story of the game follows a 14-year-old girl named Alyssa(which sounds just a BIT like “Alessa,” the antagonist from the Silent Hill series, to me), whose ordinary school girl life has just been interrupted by a letter from her mother (who mysteriously vanished) warning her to go into hiding before her 15th birthday. Alyssa finds out later in the game that her family are “Rooders,” which are people responsible for setting free the trapped souls of victims of serial killers, or, as the game refers to them, subordinates. Alyssa has to face off with six of these subordinates and the spirits of a few of their victims throughout her last day as a 14 year old.

This game gets a lot of praise for its cutscenes. I suppose at the time of the game’s release, they were quite impressive. However, today they feel very dated, considering, for example, the protagonist, Alyssa, is always rendered wearing her default outfit (a school uniform) even if the player had selected a different one. Having played games of today in which cutscene elements can now take place during gameplay, this style of game cinematics feels extremely dull.

Though I feel much of GameSpot’s review of this game is too nice, I do agree with the overall point that they make: “Clock Tower 3‘s movie portions are stronger than the gameplay that underpins them, and the result is a game that you’ll probably want to finish more for its storyline than for the fun you’ll have actually playing it.”

The review adds that the gameplay gets “maddeningly frustrating” at times. I agree fully. Instead of combat, the object of this game is to evade the subordinates, and hide from them. Alyssa’s only defense (while not in a boss battle) is a bottle of Holy Water, which halts an enemy temporarily when used. The gameplay becomes very tedious because of this system. The bottle of Holy Water must constantly be refilled after a certain number of uses, and the subordinates chase after you entirely too much, making exploration impossible throughout much of the game.

I’ve got plenty more to rant about Clock Tower 3; be sure to check back for my next post, which will continue the review.

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