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Video Game / Clock Tower 2

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"The giant scissors once again search for prey."

Helen Maxwell: Here it is, the Barrows Mansion. We have to go there and look around or we'll never solve the mystery of Scissorman.
Stan Gotts: You've got to be joking! Its [sic] way too dangerous!
Helen Maxwell: As long as he's alive, we're not safe anywhere, Gotts.

Clock Tower 2 otherwise localized as simply Clock Tower is the sequel to the SNES title Clock Tower (1995) released for the PlayStation in 1997 while utilizing the point and click format from the previous entry.

One year after her experience at the Clock Tower mansion, Jennifer Simpson starts a new life in Norway after being adopted by Helen Maxwell. However, Jennifer is still plagued by the memories of what had transpired and being questioned by Samuel Barton makes her wonders if the nightmare she viewed is gone for good.

That is until people are suddenly discovered horrifically slashed to death with eyewitnesses claiming a man with giant scissors is the culprit, has ScissorMan truly return? Or is there a certain truth behind the Barrows family?

This game has examples of:

  • Agent Scully:
    • Professor Barton. During the prologue, he seems to believe Scissorman to be nothing more than a nutcase with a unique taste in murder weapons. Ironically, in Helen's route, he realizes the truth too late since he becomes the Fake Scissorman.
    • Inspector Gotts, erm, excuse me, "Assistant" Inspector. Like Barton, he too just believes in Scissorman being a mere human murderer. It takes getting attacked at Rick's house during Scenario 2 in Helen's route and finding his gun doesn't work on him to change his mind.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The Japanese cover for the game looked like this, whereas the cover for the rest of the regions was this.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The game features unlockable outfits for certain characters to use:
    • Jennifer: Her outfit in the first scenario is replaced with a pink waitress outfit, while her outfit in the third scenario is replaced by a sailor fuku outfit.
    • Helen: In the first scenario (and second scenario if you have her go to the library) her pink blazer is grey, while in the third her turquoise blazer is orange.
    • Nolan: His blue jacket becomes brown during the second scenario.
    • Gotts: His brown suit becomes a dark outfit with white Japanese symbols on the back in the second scenario. The combination of characters used, 寿丹御津津, has no intrinsic meaning, but when the individual characters are sounded out in Japanese, they produce "sutan gottsu," an approximation of the Japanese rendition of Gotts' name.
    • Barton: His blue suit becomes brown during the prologue scenario.
    • Scissorman: His blue outfit becomes black.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Actually mentioned in the manual, but if the player is killed while at 0 stamina, they can continue from the same room they died in with their stamina raised by a point. This allows the player to use the panic button to fend off Scissorman and escape, preventing them from becoming trapped with no way out.
  • Anyone Can Die:
    • The game features a counter for how many people survive the game out of ten. The most you can achieve is seven. Because Edward is Scissorman, Kay is always murdered, and either Harris or Prof. Barton is the decoy Scissorman. In the last scenario, if the player takes too long to find the survivors, they'll come across their bodies.
    • This even applies to the lead characters Helen and Jennifer as well, as is typical of this series, though it mostly depends on the endings. Only Ending A has them survive and achieve a happy ending. Jennifer dies in Endings B-D, and is likely killed following Ending E. Helen dies in Endings B and C, Ending D concludes ambiguously with the mystery incomplete and an uncertain fate, and her Ending E is a continuation of Jennifer's where Jennifer is killed with scissors to the back of the head while Scissorman is hiding behind the door for Helen.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Less shown in the games, but the novelization shows Edward in this light as most scenes of him go in depth over his beautiful, angelic boy appearance. It's part of the ruse that he's actually one of the demon children and the second Scissorman, even using his unearthly beauty to seduce and corrupt other people. In fact, this actually explains part of Jennifer's Ending C, where Kay's pedophilic feelings for Edward leads to her being seduced by him into murdering Jennifer. This point was left out of the localization of the games.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • A single item in Scenario 1: an oil can for Jennifer, a flashlight for Helen. They're absolutely required in order to get the A endings, but won't be used any time before the final scenario.
    • Arguably, the Devil Statue serves as this for both this game and the former. In the first game, it MAY be the key leading to Dan's cradle in the underground caverns, or it may not be found at all, yet it still was recovered from the mansion and is a major deciding factor for how Scenario 2 will play out during the Prologue. Wherever you find it, it still won't show its use until the end of the game, where it is part of opening the door necessary to exorcise Scissorman from the world.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Beth all the way. While everyone else is focused on either trying to solve the mystery or staying alive, Beth babbles about more meaningless topics. In fact, the only reason she chooses to go along to the castle is "because it sounds like fun". Whether this is a fatal mistake for her or not depends on your choices in Scenario 3.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Getting Ending A with all characters surviving unlocks the Secrets menu. In it, there's an option to can look at concept art of the in-game locations and characters.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: The game has the characters bowing at each other like in Japan, despite taking place in Norway. That said, it makes sense for them to speak English in all versions.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Played with. Ending A is the only one where your counter for survivors actually matters, since the count is labeled "Unidentified" in all the others. While Ending A is essentially the Golden Ending for your character, how many people actually survives to share in that is another matter entirely. Saving everyone in Scenario 3 is a matter of timing, with most being a matter of either getting to their location quickly, or not going straight there too fast. However, Professor Barton in Jennifer's route and Harris in Helen's can almost always be saved unless the player almost purposefully wastes time to allow them to be killed. If anything, it's more like earning someone ELSE's bad ending by going out of your way for it.
  • Ephebophile: Both Nolan (26) and Harris (35) are in love with Jennifer, who is only 15. In Nolan's case, it's more like he's charmed by her, while Harris has an unhealthy infatuation.
  • Foil: Seems to be a major theme of this game, but many of the characters service as one to each other:
    • Nolan to Harris, regarding their feelings for Jennifer. Nolan is gentle with her and encouraging her to talk and open up while Harris is obsessed with her and kills others as the Fake Scissorman in her Scenario 3. Also, it should be noted that Jennifer seems to be the one pursuing the relationship with Nolan more than he's pursuing her, while Harris all but forces himself on her when he kidnaps her.
    • Barton to Nolan, regarding their treatment of Jennifer. Barton is rough and cares nothing for her welfare, thinking of her only as research data, while Nolan encourages her to talk to him and depend on him and is willing to put his life on the line for her.
    • Barton to Helen, regarding their position as criminal psychologists. Barton pursues his knowledge to the detriment of others, even becoming the Fake Scissorman in Helen's Scenario 3 when he becomes intrigued by the darkness. Helen refuses to let what she learns corrupt her and tries to use it to put a stop to Scissorman.
      • There's also their treatement of Jennifer: She's shows genuine concern for Jennifer's wellbeing, while Barton only sees Jennifer as research material.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The opening introduction shows Jennifer's escape from Dan Barrows before he is burned by the kerosene explosion. Later becomes relevant when he's revealed to be the villain.
    • If one of the characters come across ScissorMan's footprints, they comment the prints seemingly belong to a child.
    • Examining the file cabinet in the psychology research lab during Scenario 1 has the character comment on the last file being for "Dan Barrows". Guess who the murderer's true identity is...
    • The playable character for Scenarios 1-2 is placed on the loading screen. Edward isn't the played character for the library scenario despite being present there. At one point, Edward calls out for Helen, who ends up encountering Scissorman in the room she thought he was in.
    • In the house scenario, one of the possible encounters with Scissorman where he can be found laughing at some cartoons on TV starts to make sense later on.
    • A bit of a late example, but especially relevant if you're on the Ending D path. If you use the pistol to save Jennifer from Scissorman, you'll notice you actually hit him and discover that Scissorman is Professor Barton. However, if you played Gotts during Scenario 2, you should already know that guns don't work on Scissorman...
    • Only obvious if you've played the first game, only available outside of Japan with a translation patched ROM, but those who played the first game should easily realize Edward wasn't a character in the first game at all, despite being a supposed survivor of that same crisis...
    • The scissor replica on Barton's desk seems to be purely for this as it gets a rather dramatic closeup cinematic when examining it in the prologue. While the protagonist of Scenario 1 isn't required to enter the therapy room for any reason to escape the university, doing so reveals the replica missing, hinting that a member of the psychology department is involved in the mystery. Sure enough, Harris or Professor Barton is the Fake Scissorman, depending on the current character route.
  • Guide Dang It!: The endings. Ending E is the easiest to acquire (fail to get the Devil Statue in Scenario 2), but the remaining ones depend on a handful of conditions during Scenario 3 that must be met which aren't always obvious. Helen in particular seems to get hit hard with this one. Part of the reason is that in order for Helen to acquire the A and B endings, she has to have discovered the Door Spell, whose location is hinted at in the desk containing the hand which can kill you, which is already a Guide Dang It! in and of itself. And even THEN, you have to figure out where you can find replacement batteries for your flashlight in an ancient castle...
  • Guns Are Useless: One of the scenarios has you playing as Detective Gotts. He actually hits Scissorman with all his bullets, which only slows the killer down, then the actual level begins.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold:
    • Helen, without a doubt, if her relationship towards Jennifer is any indication.
    • Somewhat zig-zagged with Kay, though official art paints her a brunette, yet she appears blonde in-game. Most of the time she seems to be a caring guardian for Edward, and in Endings A and B of Jennifer's route, is actually begging Edward to stop because she truly believes him to be a good boy somewhere in his evil body, though this simply gets her killed. However, horribly averted in Jennifer's Ending C where Kay herself stabs Jennifer in the head while screaming "DIE!!" This point is actually a confusing one for American players, but supplementary material reveals Kay has pedophilic feelings for Edward, and his powers as Scissorman used that against her in order to sway her into killing Jennifer.
    • Edward appears to be a sweet boy, if exceptionally timid due to PTSD from surviving the Clock Tower case himself. Viciously averted as it's all a ruse. Edward is the true Scissorman as he is actually Dan Barrows.
  • Immune to Bullets: Scissorman is shown to be immune to bullets, mostly due to the fact that he uses his scissors as a shield. Being shot does stagger him, but emptying a full mag from a police sidearm into him does no permanent damage.
    • Actually becomes a plot point in Helen's route, as using the Pistol on Scissorman in the church will see Helen actually hit and fatally wound him, revealing him to be Professor Barton. However, the above point should clue observant players in that they haven't quite solved the mystery and need to do a bit more exploring.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Little John From the Big Castle.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: Probably one of the scariest examples in video games since the game is normally played in an eerie silence with only your character's footsteps making any noise whatsoever in addition to the noise of whatever they're interacting with. Especially effective during the actual scenarios when you're not being actively pursued by Scissorman, but when you start hearing the music beginning...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gotts all the way. He comes off as a bit rough and fairly rude, but is ultimately, arguably, the secondary character of Helen's route, giving her a gun and saving her from dying in the Ending A route. It's shown much less in Jennifer's route, but he still seems to mean well.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: An odd variant where it mostly depends on who's route is taken, where only one of them is the fake Scissorman while the other, at worst, is only a regular Jerkass who's otherwise an innocent potential victim.
    • Professor Barton. He only sees Jennifer as research material, not a severely traumatized young girl who was nearly sliced to bits by a murderer and treats the entire case as study material. Go figure he becomes the fake Scissorman in Helen's route, though he does admit his obsession with the murder left himself open to the real one's influence. Jennifer's route does seem to have him as more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold by providing her with some helpful information that can be used to unlock either the A or B ending.
    • Harris. Infatuated with Jennifer despite being over twice her age and willingly becomes the fake Scissorman in her route and murders people because the true Scissorman promised he could have her. His attitude seems less like a jerk in Helen's route, though it is still present. If Helen finds him alive in the kitchen, he mentions how relaxing the place feels to him. After the expected "What the hell?" from Helen, Harris rather dryly comments that he's not worried cause Scissorman is after Helen rather than him. He then gives her a key and leaves her with an almost hostile "You better find a way to stop Scissorman soon" before exiting. The entire tone almost makes you wish you hadn't seen the little weasel. And using said key locks you into either the B or C ending, but he obviously wouldn't know that.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: In an unusual subversion of typical horror movie tropes, this is a case where choosing it actually SAVES a life. In Helen's Scenario 3, the entire group is split up after an attack from Scissorman, but Helen can slowly find people as she explores. When she finds Beth in the crumbled room on the first floor of the castle, Beth will insist on going with Helen in a refusal to be left by herself again. Walking out of the room means you're choosing to allow her to come with, and will immediately get her killed. You must speak with her a final time to have Helen insist she remain where she is while she continues to search for answers to killing Scissorman in order to keep her alive.
  • Light Switch Surprise: One of Scissorman's encounters at the library has him in an aquarium once the light switch is turned on.
  • Market-Based Title: It was released worlwide as "Clock Tower" since the first game was not released outside Japan.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Very HEAVILY debated in Scissorman's case in the first third to half the game, as Barton believes him to be some "odd screwball" and not a monster. Ultimately falls in the category of of "magic" when it's shown that Scissorman was a devil child, though those who played Clock Tower: The First Fear would already know this fact. Western audiences weren't aware of this fact, though it would likely be up to the player if this actually further increases the mystery or not.
    • Also falls into the category of Fridge Brilliance for those familiar with the first game, since the supernatural happenings around the Barrows Mansion were implied to be the psychic powers of Dan Barrows, who is revealed to have survived and is the real Scissorman in this game, which explains the sudden supernatural events that start occuring around Scenario 2.
  • Multiple Endings: There are five endings for both routes. Special mention should be made to this game for the fact that there's significantly less conditions to get each ending compared to both the first game and the next. Ten collectible hints were introduced into this game and while some are somewhat cryptic upon first glance, they can lead towards the better endings.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If the theory that Edward's memories of being Dan Barrows were wiped until Barton's treatment were sound, then Professor Barton was indirectly the cause of the series of murders during the game. This is even more impactful in Helen's storyline, where he's the fake Scissorman.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The game introduces the concept of permanent and temporary safe spots. What this means is that there's a few hiding places that can be reused repeatedly without Scissorman catching on while others can only safely be used once. Reusing temporary ones will result in you getting killed. It's only through trial-and-error that you figure out which is which, and there's less and less reusable safe hiding places the further you go in the game. Occasionally there's a hiding place that can't even be used once without getting killed. Good luck figuring out which ones those are. There are also certain items you can use to fend off Scissorman. Again, it's only through trial-and-error whether any of these will fend him off for a while, allow you to simply escape the room with him still giving chase, or outright fail.
    • Several points in the game will require you to either have a good memory or take notes (or have one heck of a case of dumb luck). One particular example is the Star Plate, which is used to determine the correct answer to the "dry path" puzzle. Failing to remember or make note of the Star Plate's pattern will likely result in your character dying a horrible death.
  • Novelization: There are two novels of the game, one from Jennifer's side and the other from Helen's.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: When the door appears during the final confrontation with Scissorman, a few organ notes play.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: In Helen's Ending B, Scissorman's hand rises amidst the wreckage to show that he survived. This doesn't happen in Jennifer's Ending B, for some reason, despite it having similar circumstances.
    • Which Scissorman this arm belongs to is debatable, however, as Edward/Dan is blown out into the void with Helen, which still sealed Scissorman away in Jennifer's Ending B. Most likely, as Helen's Ending B requires that the Fake Scissorman kills Jennifer and is ultimately not dealt with, the person rising from the rubble is probably Professor Barton.
  • No Ending: Helen Ending D is the only ending without a FMV cutscene it just ends with Helen, Jennifer, Gotts and presumably the characters that you’ve saved leaving the castle after incorrectly thinking that they’ve killed Scissorman.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The end result of Helen's Ending B, for some odd reason, though it could be the result of the door spell since the castle crumbles to bits in every ending when it's used. No matter how many people you save along the way, the castle crumbles and kills everyone...except Scissorman, if the arm rising from the rubble is any indication.
  • Run or Die: When you hear this music, you run for dear life until you find either a place to hide or a means to drive him away.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • The Fireplace Key given by Harris in Helen's Scenario 3, which the player is actually warned about using in Hint 7 found in the library during Scenario 2 of either path. Using it will lock the player into either the B or C endings as even if Helen is carrying the Pistol, an earthquake will cause her to drop it on the way and lose it forever.
    • While clicking on just about anything is often essential to finding vital clues and items to progress, quite a number of them are there solely as a hiding spot for Scissorman to jump out at you from.
    • Played with, with the "Door to Nowhere" in Scenario 3, which is basically a door that opens up to the outside, hanging over the cliffside. Accidentally going through the door will require you to sacrifice a point of strength to swing back inside...or else your character plummets to their death. However, this is one of the very few repeatable ways of fending off Scissorman in the castle.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: To enter the church, Helen has to shoot the huge padlock on its door with the pistol.
  • Spooky Silent Library: The Library, especially with the threat of Scissorman, who happens to be inside the building too.
    • Ironically, the Library is one of the few places to contain the BGM titled "Omen", though this version contains a ticking clock in the background in the main library, and the Collection Room has the aquarium bubbling. Not silent, but "Omen" is a particularly creepy tune, fitting in with the "Spooky" part.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: The False Scissorman will either be Harris or Barton on whoever route is taken.
  • Swarm of Rats: Going down the wrong hole in the lead ball puzzle results in Helen getting eaten by a bunch of rats that shows up.
  • Symbol Swearing: Nolan's use of "damn" is written as "#@%!"
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted; not only does Jennifer go into therapy after the events of the first game, her adoptive mother is an assistant to a therapist. Though said therapist is one of two possible "fake Scissormen." If Jennifer's route is chosen, however, it won't be him.
  • Travel Montage: When the characters are travelling from Norway to England, there's a red dotted line as they travel between countries, followed by another line on a far smaller scale as they get closer to the castle and decide to take a stop for the night.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: During the last scenario, a handful of the survivors simply depend on if you find them or not, while the others depend entirely on your timing. There's no reason the player can't simply waste time running around, and avoiding confirming a character's survival until it's too late for them...
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: ...Unfortunately, doing the aforementioned Video Game Cruelty Potential by purposefully getting people killed will usually result in another guaranteed Scissorman appearance
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Jennifer or Helen will vomit in a corner once they find a victim of ScissorMan who suffered a cruel death.
  • White Sheep: Quentin Barrows was the father of the very first Scissorman, whom he killed. He also created a spell which would exorcise any demon children born into the family, banishing them from this earth. This led to him being considered a traitor by his other family members, who were part of a demon-worshipping cult, and he was eventually assassinated by them.