Review by Skarr

"When in Rome, you can always pay a visit to the Barrows'...."

Well, it's time to let the clock start chiming and plug into one of the most horrific interactive experiences to ever grace the Super NES, let alone ANY console.

STORY: 10/10
This is the story of Jennifer Simpson, a 14 year old child who's Father disappeared miraculously while she was very young, and now, after her Mother's passing, resides in an orphanage. Years later, Jennifer and a few of her buddies from the orphanage are adopted by a man, Simon Barrows, and are led to the Barrows' Mansion by the mistress, Mary. Well, all's well until the doors close, Mary disappears, Simon is nowhere to be found, and Jennifer's buddies are disappearing left and right, on account of one little garden shear-wielding conspiracy....A great, could-happen-in-reality story that hooks even the least caring individual and reels them in with curiosity and nerve-bending paranoia.

This game revolves around the easy-to-master ''point-and-click'' tradition, as displayed in other great games like Maniac Mansion, Uninvited, Zak McCracken, etc. It uses a unique ''click-point'' system, in which the cursor lets you know what objects you can interact with. It also relies on surviving, in which case you can hide in various places from the ''scissorman'', fend off dangers, and other such things. Usage of items also relies on this, and is a rather ''universal'' approach, narrowing it all down to a cursor, thus, making it easier to keep track of controls and rather enjoyable to scan rooms for hiding spots and other things to interact with.

For a Super NES title, this baby packs some decent eye candy. The mansion's halls and rooms have a dreaded, ominous atmosphere to them, the characters all have decent animation and origional appearances, and the interaction with objects looks just as good as it's Playstation sequel.

SOUND: 10/10
Relying on the patented ''Silent Noise'' methods, Clock Tower relies on striking fear into the gamer in terms of noise. Sounds that happen at impossible moments, sudden thumps or shufflings, sounds that are louder than they should be, eerie music for when the scissorman is on your tail, all this while the rest of the adventure is in silence. Even the opening of doors and Jennifer's lone footsteps can be eerie at times. So if you're a Silent Noise buff (I know I am), this game is for you. Who needs music at a time like this?!

If I could rate it any higher, trust me, I would. I'm proud to admit, as an adult, YES! Video games can be darned scary! And this one is no exception. Scissorman is one of the most horrifying killers in game or even FILM history, being able to make you jump out of your seat, screech in terror, or even hesitate to enter the next room or search something. The atmosphere can do the same as well, bringing that ''fradey cat'' gimmick that is often used in horror films (you'll know it when you see it;D). It's a nightmare to play alone, and could possibly even make a few friends watching to be uneasy as well, and it's quite impressive when you stop and realize a simple video game is capable of doing all of the above. Be afraid, be very afraid.

What becomes of Jennifer and her friends? Where is Simon Barrows? What happened to Jennifer's father? Who or what is the Scissorman? All this and more severe twists along the way, with a grand total of nine different, horrific endings for you to try and uncover. No, Clock Tower won't just let you get up and walk away. The game itself must be evil.

OVERALL: Beyond 10/10
Clock Tower, especially this installment, goes unrecognized by many, but holds its own in the horror genre of gamedom, and looks good to this day despite countless PS2 and XBox titles. Spawning a few equally terrifying sequels on the Playstation, and with another coming to the Playstation2, this one still goes further past the limits in terms of scares 'n' screams. The truth of the matter is, Clock Tower is the monster under your bed or in your closet, and maybe you should finally face your First Fears (no pun intended). Just keep telling yourself, ''It's just a video game....It's just a video game...''

Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/10/02, Updated 08/10/02

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