Welcome to my Clock Tower: The First Fear website!
It's a very unique video game that was released only in Japan for the SNES in 1995, by a company named Human Entertainment. Technically, it was known simply as Clock Tower. "The First Fear" is a subtitle given to the game when it was remade for the Sony Playtstation. Furthermore, Clock Tower II was named "Clock Tower" when it was released outside of Japan, so I'm referring to the original Clock Tower as Clock Tower: The First Fear to differentiate the two. This page is about the original SNES version.
The game is about an orphan named Jennifer Simpson, who is adopted along with her friends and brought to a mansion. Once there, things immediately begin to go wrong. Your job, as Jennifer, is to find out what's going on and make it out alive, if you can. There are 9 different endings possible, and many different things to do in the game. Some elements of the game change either depending on your actions, or are even completely random.
The game itself is a take on the point-and-click genre, but it contains real-time action elements. Generally, you move your cursor around, and it will change from a pointer into a square when you reach something that you can interact with. Clicking the Y button causes Jennifer to attempt to interact with what you clicked on. The A button is used to switch items - hold it in and press left or right, then let go, to use the item you have highlighted.
There is also real-time control of Jennifer. Pushing L or R causes her to take off running either left or right. Pushing X will stop her movement, which allows her to rest and recover her energy, a process which can take a while. During some moments in the game, when Jennifer is in imminent danger, her portrait in the corner of the screen will flash red and blue. Rapidly pushing the B button is the key to survival there. It's basically your "panic" button, and can be the difference between life and death.
The game is divided into "exploration" and "action" moments. Most of the time, you can explore freely and examine and interact with things. When Jennifer's life is in imminent danger, such as when you are being pursued, you can no longer examine items or the environment, and the game switches to "action" mode. During that mode, clicking the Y button instead interacts with the environment in a defensive manner. For example, when in "exploration" mode, clicking on a bed may cause Jennifer to examine it and comment that the bed has been unused. While in "action" mode, clicking on the bed makes Jennifer hide underneath it.
Left: While in relative safety, Jennifer examines a bed.
Right: But while being pursued, Jennifer hides under the bed.
Jennifer's trek through the mansion will have her exploring, solving simple (yet logical) puzzles, and even running and hiding for her life. It is a unique blend of adventure, mystery, and action.
Although Clock Tower was released only in Japan, a separate group has released a translation patch for it to translate the game into English. All pictures on this site are taken by me of the English-translated game.
What's here on this site
This site contains many pictures of the game and descriptions of the many things that can happen in Clock Tower, along with explanations of what to do in many of the rooms. The game is technically short if you are going for any one particular ending, but the many varied things that can occur, both randomly and based on player action, yield a large amount of replay value.
Because much of the fun of the game comes from finding things out for yourself, I must warn you that there are MASSIVE SPOILERS in this site. If you'd rather play the game and experience it yourself, by all means do. This site is going to go very much in-depth about the game, so bear that in mind if you plan on reading a lot.
Why do you like this game so much?
I enjoy many kinds of games. Games with no story whatsoever (New Super Mario Bros., Sonic Rush), games where story is directly integrated into the gameplay and the atmosphere (Silent Hill 3), games where story is there, but not directly integrated into the play (Elite Beat Agents), single player games, online games (Counter-Strike: Source), etc.
Clock Tower can be considered a game where there is a story, and it is directly integrated into the gameplay in a way that fits the game. As you explore the mansion, you sometimes interact with characters, and you can read things that reveal insight into what is going on. Your choices can change things considerably, and there are not only 9 different endings, but a fair share of randomized minor events that shake things up a bit. The game can technically be considered short, but there is a lot to do.
Furthermore, games of this type are rare. Most games have a distinct form of progression. Often, you go level-by-level, or travel a large overworld only to end up having to visit certain places in a very specific order. Here, although there are technically limits to where you can go, such as doors that are locked until you have the appropriate key, this game is more open-ended and free than most. It provides a better feeling of truly exploring at one's own pace, rather than limiting the player to a portion of the world at a time.
I also enjoy the experience of how the events play out. I do not consider myself a story person. If a game has a good story but bad gameplay, I am not satisfied with it. However, if a game is able to unify its elements in such a way that you feel like you are actually experiencing its story and its world, then I am outright impressed. This game is a creative attempt to do just that sort of thing. The amount of freedom the player has in the mansion, along with the diverse and randomized elements, make it feel alive and not blatantly scripted like many games which place too much emphasis on story. The end result is an experiment that, in my opinion, works pretty well.
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