Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.
Game: Clock Tower 3
Release Date: 03/18/2003
System Released On: Sony Playstation 2
Genre: Survival Horror
Who Nominated The Game: Dave Olvera, our lone West Coast staffer.
Why Was It Nominated: Clock Tower 3 is actually the fourth game in the series. In North America, the original SNES game was never brought over and localized, so when Agetec brought Clock Tower 2 to the US version of the Sony Playstation, they just treated it as if it was the first game in the series. On paper, CT3 seems like it would be a winner. After all, it was the first Clock Tower game made after the death of the much beloved Human (The original creators of Clock Tower and Fire Pro Wrestling.) Capcom picked it up and promised to treat the series as well as Resident Evil. The game was also directed by Kinji Fukasaku of Battle Royale and Tora! Tora! Tora! fame.
Unfortunately the end result is one of the worst games in the history of survival horror games and a far cry from everything that made the previous Clock Tower games so beloved. Gone were the point and click mechanics. Gone were the multiple endings with an emphasis on the impossibility of a truly happy ending. Gone was your inability to hurt or kill your relentless stalker. Now you had the ability to kill your enemies with a magical bow that shoots holy water light beam arrows. It also involved time travel and a heavily convoluted plot that annoyed everyone who played the game.
Clock Tower 3 was basically a insult to the previous games in the series and it was so bad, Capcom killed the series as quickly as they purchased it. The end result is bad blood between Capcom and Clock Tower fans to this day. Because of the known love the Diehard GameFAN staff has for the Scissorman titles and the known hate EVERYONE has for this game, Clock Tower 3 became this week’s nominee.
All in Favour:
Dave Olvera: I’m not going to mince words: Sunsoft took everything that made the original two Clock Tower games and threw those qualities out. Instead we get a cheap version that makes no sense (even less than the first third CT game) and is basically an insult to Clock Tower fans. Gone is the feeling of being a regular person thrown into a harrowing situation, replaced with the typical schlock most survival “horror” fans love. The point was missed and this piece of trash was foisted upon people instead. Hall of Shame, indeed!
Matt Yeager: Most horror games start with an interesting premise, then somehow screw it up in the following games, or they start off badly, but get better with sequels. Nightmare Creatures was a decent try at something new, but Nightmare Creatures 2 killed any progress they made (otherwise known as Syphon Filter syndrome). Silent Hill was only okay, but the sequels improved the series. With Clock Tower, the first two (or three in Japan) games were great. The games were essentially a very freaky version of hide and seek. You played the game trying to solve a mystery while a killer came after you, and you had to hide or throw objects to slow the killer down. No guns, or any other type of combat for that matter. In Clock Tower, you played the defenseless victim, which added a lot to the tension of the game. If you tried to hide in the same place a couple of times, the killer would figure it out, and it would be game over. Very few games have the kind of intensity that Clock Tower does, like when you’ve hidden in the bathroom stall for the third time, and as you hear the killer come into the bathroom, you wait to see if this time Scissorman has figured out where you are hiding.
Clock Tower 3 is barely like any of the previous games. Set in 3D, with analog controls, it had the potential to be an even more messed up experience than the previous titles in the series… but somewhere along the way, the developer must’ve thought that what worked in the series already wasn’t scary enough for modern day horror fans. So instead of the usual hide from the killer mystery, Clock Tower 3 had you traveling through time facing serial killers and freeing wayward poltergeists. There was still the element of hiding from the killer, where it felt like a Clock Tower game, but those parts are brief. One of the most confusing additions to the game were these really odd boss battles where you had to chain down the villain in chains made of light, then shoot the boss with a magical arrow. It felt almost like a completely different type of game, with the Clock Tower name slapped on the cover to sell a few more copies.
Alex Lucard: No one likes Capcom’s Clock Tower 3. I get that. Hell, *I* don’t like it. Compared to both Scissorman’s games and even the real CT3 (known as CT2 in the states since First Fear was never released here) it’s a crappy game. Yes, I also hate Capcom for not doing anything awesome with the license and for giving us haunting ground instead of a real Clock Tower. But at the end of the day…it’s not one of the worst games ever made and I blame Sunsoft more than I do Capcom. The game was partially made and Capcom just published it and picked up the license when Human closed.
It’s a bad game and there is a lot of anger out there towards Capcom for killing the Clock Tower series right after picking it up, but I don’t consider CT3 one of the worst games I have ever played, much less than worst Survival Horror game I’ve ever played and so I have to vote Nay. It is the worst in the CT franchise though (Including Haunting Ground) so by all means, the game is bad whether or not you have an attachment to the franchise name. It’s just not Hall of Shame bad.
Mark B.: As a Clock Tower game, Clock Tower 3 is pretty much the worst of the series. That’s not even a question. Whether Sunsoft or Capcom takes the lion’s share of the blame for the product is something that will likely be debated forever, I’d wager, but the fact is that it is the worst game in the series, even if you count Haunting Ground as a part of the franchise. It completely deviates from what made the series unique and enjoyable, and it’s honestly kind of depressing as a product if you’re a fan of the series. I don’t think anyone who counts themselves as a fan of the series can disagree with that. Hell, it even made the Top 32 Worst Horror Games list Matt Yaeger and I wrote up what seems like forever ago, which has to say something, I think.
But one of the worst games ever? Eh. Nah.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Clock Tower 3 is by no means a joy to play or anything, but if you wanted to it’s entirely possible to do this thing and actually make a pretty good amount of progress, if not complete the game entirely. The plot is kind of silly, to be honest, but it’s not wholly without merit, as the various serial killers you’ll have to deal with are somewhat interesting, at least. Really, the worst thing one can say about the game as a game alone is that it is aggressively mediocre, and while that’s not a GOOD thing to say about any game, it’s not at all a good argument for why something should be counted amongst the worst games of all time.
Result: 2 In Favour, 2 Opposed, 50% Approval = REJECTED
Conclusion: Well, everyone on staff that’s played Clock Tower 3 hates the game – that’s pretty obvious. However, it’s split down the middle as to whether it’s one of the worst games of all time or not. As such, CT3 doesn’t make the Hall, but we did at least get to huck garbage at it.
Next Week: IA! IA! Cthulhu Fhatgn!