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Clockworks Area

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Basil has to keep the gears turning.

"The gears meshed together in order to transmit torque. You see, they're finely tuned to make sure that the hour and the minute hands of the clock rotate at steady accurate pace. Also, they make convenient footholds."

When a character enters a factory or, more often, a Clock Tower, it usually results in the character riding on the moving gears and other machines to get through it.

May overlap with Clock Punk and Eternal Engine. May also be related to No OSHA Compliance if it involves workers riding around on the gears. See Ground by Gears for a lethal hazard of the area.


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    Films — Animation 
  • Near the end of Cars 2, the Lemons all trap Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holly Shiftwell inside Big Bentley as an attempt to kill them all while they succeed in their evil plans. They eventually escape, however. But they later find out that they actually had intended for Mater to escape.
  • In The Castle of Cagliostro, during the Climbing Climax when the Count and his men pursue Lupin and Clarisse up the castle's clock tower. It leads to a fight amongst the clock-tower's gears which may be one of the most iconic in cinematic history.
  • The Great Mouse Detective has its climax in Big Ben.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Back to the Future, Doc strings the cable from the clock tower to power the DeLorean at 1.21 gigawatts. Unfortunately, the storm brought down a tree limb, making the cable too short. When he tugged on it, the end at the clock face became unhooked. He climbs through the clock's gears to get to the door on the face so Marty can feed him the cable to re-hook it.
  • A frequent motif in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

  • The Toymaker's Apprentice: While still in Nuremberg, Christian takes Stefan inside the clockmaker's guild and to a secret underground area full of massive gears and pendulums. He explains that the area is the Master Clock Of Nuremberg, which keeps the city running on time by the Brotherhood Of Prometheus.
  • In Witches Abroad, Nanny Ogg and the dwarf romeo Casanunda sabotage the clock tower to prevent "Cinderella" hearing the chimes of midnight. There is also the cat Greebo's memory of chasing a mouse into a working windmill and realizing he is in a place of danger where one paw put in the wrong place will drag him to doom among all the turning gears and grinding wheels.

    Live Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Each level in Balan Wonderworld has some gears visible in the scenery, but Chapter 6 is a full clock tower level.
  • Banjo-Kazooie has an area in Rusty Bucket Bay that involves a switch puzzle to control rotating gears. Falling off results in death by boiling oil.
  • Batman (Sunsoft) game on NES has one of these as its final level. Players had to walljump between moving gears in order to ascend the bell tower of the Gotham City cathedral.
  • The final level of Clock Tower 3 is a climb up the titular Clock Tower, including the gears.
  • Castlevania: Clock Tower levels have been a staple of the series, since the original. Some of the most notable ones being the level in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse where you meet Grant and "Stage A" from Super Castlevania IV.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 has a clock tower as part of Fat Cat's Amusement Park, where one of the three keys to Fat Cat's control room is hidden. The boss of this stage is an ostrich who rides a gear like a unicycle.
  • The level "The Shrunk Machine" in Duke Nukem Forever sees the Duke crawl through a electricity generator while shrunken to minuscule size.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the Clockwork City, built and resided in by the Dunmeri (Dark Elven Physical God, Sotha Sil. It is a city combining Steampunk and Magitek technology, with plenty of giant moving gears, cogs, and domes. It is visited in both Morrowind's Tribunal expansion as well as The Elder Scrolls Online's eponymous Clockwork City expansion, the latter of which reveals the city to be, in fact, a giant computer to which Sotha Sil himself is cybernetically linked.
  • The stage of Billy Kane in Fatal Fury 2/Special, where a power-hit can send your opponent into the background gears for a little extra damage, and in The King of Fighters XIII.
  • Ultimecia's castle in Final Fantasy VIII, especially its Dissidia Final Fantasy iteration.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age has the monster-infested Great Gabomba Statue, where you need to climb on or manipulate several gears (by switching the way they turn or stopping them) to progress.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]: Riku's battle against Young Xehanort in a dimension consisting of a giant gray clock with assorted gears all over it and off in the distance. As the battle progresses, it edges further into Amazing Technicolor Battlefield as several hourglasses shatter and release their colorful sands into the air.
  • MapleStory:
    • There is a dome-shaped clock tower underneath Ludibrium filled with corrupted monsters as well as monsters from another dimension.
    • MapleStory Gobal's continent: Masteria includes a clock tower named Bigger Ben, which was even built on top of ruins called MesoGears.
    • You fight the boss of Lachelein starting and ending on a clock tower.
  • In Master of Darkness, Act 3 of Round 3 takes place in a clock tower. You see spinning gears in the background and travel across pendulums, and at the end of the stage, you fight Count Massen atop clock hands.
  • Mega Man:
    • Metal Man's stage in Mega Man 2.
    • Time Man's stage in Mega Man Powered Up is this, in an actual Clock Tower.
    • The entirety of Dr. Wily's Gear Fortress from Mega Man 11. Inspired by his Double Gear system, Wily went a little overboard with the gear motif featured throughout the fortress. It's to the point that a number of the gears are likely there for decorative purposes only. For example, while gears can be seen spinning in the background for most of the Robot Masters' rooms in Stage 3, the gears in the rooms of Blast Man and Tundra Man are destroyed and frozen in place respectively.
  • The climax of Mystery Case Files: Broken Hour takes place in an old Clock Tower that strongly invokes this trope.
  • In Ninja Gaiden II, near the end of Chapter 8, Ryu must climb a Clock Tower to reach the Greater Fiend Zedonius.
  • Ōkami has the Wawku Shrine, a temple built around a giant clock that combines this trope with Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
  • The second half of Act 6: Curtain 2 in Puppeteer (2013) takes place in a clock tower.
  • In Ragnarok Online, there is a dungeon which is actually called and is a Clock Tower, which features such gears as a motif in the entire dungeon.
  • In Ronald in the Magical World for the Game Gear, the third world is a clock factory.
  • Rugrats has a Game Boy Advance game subtitled Rugrats Castle Capers and in it is a level where you climb inside a giant grandfather clock.
  • In Sands of Destruction, Lacertus Rex hangs out in a clockwork mansion. You have to literally cross a giant clock to get to Lacertus Rex himself.
  • Shovel Knight features a level quite literally called The Clockwork Tower, which is full of gears and cogs, all of which are being used to try and kill you, with the exception of the level's item, the ridable Mobile Gear
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64: Tick Tock Clock, which can be tweaked based on the time that a player jumps through the wall. The level returns as a racecourse in Mario Kart DS and again in Mario Kart 8.
    • Super Mario 3D Land: There's a clock themed level in World 7, remixed via Hard Mode Filler later in a Special World. The first level of Special 4 is inside this setting as well, but no clocks or machinery is present as there has to be space for the large platform to transport Mario through the level.
    • Super Mario 3D World: Cookie Cogworks combines this with Level Ate, as the cogs are made from giant sandwich cookies.
    • Mario Party 6:
      • One of the mini-games is "Cog Jog", where two players have to travel across spinning gears to get to the goal within the time limit. Falling off sends the player back to start, and the Thwomp in the middle changes the direction of the gears.
      • Clockwork Castle, the sixth and final board of the game mixes this with Big Fancy Castle. By Day, Donkey Kong walks around the board, and by Night, Bowser walks around it. The goal is to chase Donkey Kong down so you can collect stars from him, but avoid Bowser, lest he take your stars away. One of the gimmicks of the board is that you can find a switch that changes the gameplay from Day to Night or vice-versa.
    • Mario Party DS: The minigame All Geared Up takes place inside the internal structure of a wall clock. The players have to climb it by jumping across the cogs and moving platforms. Whoever reaches the topmost platform first wins.
    • The Old Clockworks from Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is an old and ruined clock factory with No OSHA Compliance. The Clock Tower entrance is blocked since the hands of the clock barring the passage are missing, and Luigi has to get through the factory's dangerous gears and clocks to retrieve them.
  • Tales of Vesperia has Ghasfrast: the Tower of Gears as one of its dungeons. The party must use the sorceror's ring to restore power to the non-moving gears in order to reach the top of the tower, where Barbros awaits.
  • Wandersong: Act 4's Spirit World takes the factory theme of the chapter and runs with it, with elevators, gears, buzzsaws, and crushing spikes all serving as obstacles.
  • The Watchmaker (2018) is set in a giant clock tower that's full of massive gears, giant dolls, and various other devices.


    Western Animation 
  • One episode of The Batman has Batman fighting Catwoman and Ragdoll in the gears of a giant clocktower.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series had Batman fighting the Clock King like this, in a clock tower.
  • In the Captain N: The Game Master episode "Once Upon a Time Machine", Captain N travels through time to different locations in a game world based on the Puss N' Boots NES game. This trope occurs partway through the episode when one of the time warp portals deposits him and his companions inside Big Ben and they have to run through its mechanisms and jump through holes in the bigger gears to get out of the building.
  • The Disney animated short The Clock Cleaners, with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Goofy, has them doing this job (interior and exterior cleaning) at a clock tower. Hilarity ensues inevitably.note 
  • A variant is used in the Inspector Gadget episode "The Coo-Coo Clock Caper," where the insane Clock Maker (a M.A.D. Agent working for Dr. Claw) has Gadget fastened to the gears of inside the clock tower on top of his family. Too bad that the Clock Maker didn't count on the rigged watch he gave Gadget causing his gadgets to malfunction in the wrong place at the wrong time, resulting in the destruction of the factory and the Clock Maker's arrest.
  • The climax of "The Dog and Piggy Show" in Jackie Chan Adventures features Jackie, Jade, Uncle, and Hak Foo climbing the gears in a clocktower to get the Pig Talisman.
  • In the Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo episode "Night Ghoul of Wonderworld," taking place in a replica of 19th Century London, Shaggy and Scooby and Scrappy try to escape said Ghoul inside the clockworks of a working replica of Big Ben.


Video Example(s):


Super Mario 64

Course 14 is Tick Tock Clock, a giant clock in which Mario platforms on gears, pendulums, and clock hands.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ClockworksArea

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