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Video Game / Clock Tower 3

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The fourth and last installment (as of now) in the Clock Tower series, which was co-developed by Capcom and Sunsoft, and released in 2002 for PlayStation 2.

You play as Alyssa Hamilton, who after receiving a foreboding letter from her mother, returns home to find her missing. Her investigations on the matter start sending her into different time periods, where she has to confront a variety of evil entities, and possibly her ultimate fate.

Unlike past games, Clock Tower 3 plays more like a classic Resident Evil game rather than a point-and-click adventure, and changes the series' tone from supernatural gothic horror to Cosmic Horror with fantasy elements.

The game was not developed by Human Entertainment due to its dissolution in the year 2000, instead it was developed by Sunsoft and published by Capcom.

This game has examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: You first confront the Scissor twins in one.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The unlockable outfits.
  • Artifact Title: The plot does not revolve around a clock tower in this installment, with only one magically appearing in the final battle.
  • Artistic License History
    • British man William Norton joins the army and goes to fight against the Germans in World War II in 1942 in the Champagne region of France. British troops had been evacuated from continental Europe in June 1940 and would not return to fight in France until 1944, after D-Day. Alyssa also stumbles into London during a German bombing raid in December 1942. Strategic bombing of England was for the most part halted in June 1941 to shift focus of the use of air force on the invasion of the Soviet Union. The dates simply don't match up.
    • The second killer, Corroder, is said to be John Haigh, a real serial killer from the 1940s. This does not match up with the stage taking place in 1962, when the real life killer died in 1949. Also, while the real John Haigh simply killed his victims normally (typically bludgeoning or shooting) and then used acid to dispose of the bodies (thinking that with no body, there was no evidence), and was tried and executed for his crimes, Corroder becomes a full-on comic-book villain who sprays acid on his victims or dunks them alive into vats of the stuff, and died himself by falling into a vat of acid.
    • The game can't even keep up with its own fictional history. A plot point introduced early on in the game is that Dick disappeared a few years prior, which is revealed over the course of the game to be his search for Lord Burroughs' castle, and a plot twist at the very end is the revelation that the Hamilton residence now stands where the castle once did. The problem is that this makes no sense whatsoever with what we're actually shown and told. For one, the area surrounding the residence in no way resembles the ominous canyon a flashback showed the castle to inhabit (not to mention said flashback showing the castle to still clearly be standing). There's no mention of what room of the residence Dick's possession by Lord Burroughs could have possibly happened in, either, or how a room so lavishly furnished, including a giant portrait of Lord Burroughs, could have escaped everyone's notice for so long. On top of that, the reason he's able to come back several hundred years later and mastermind this plot (since his story is that he didn't complete the Ritual of Engagement and become an Entity) is that, shortly before being crushed to death by the cogs of the castle's clock tower, he vowed to plague the land so long as that clock tower remained standing - which obviously doesn't work if the clock tower immediately gets demolished.
  • BFS: The final boss has a Final Fantasy-esque broadsword.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alyssa manages to defeat Lord Burroughs by fully awakening her Rooder powers. However, her mother was killed by her corrupted grandfather, and she's now one of the last Rooders alive.
  • Black Comedy: There's something very satisfying about throwing open an oven door and causing Scissorwoman to fall right into it face-first.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: More specifically, the Rooders have dangerous 15th birthdays.
  • Drop the Hammer: Sledgehammer wields a hammer that appears larger than your heroine.
  • Ephebophile: It's strongly implied that the Big Bad is motivated by a rather unwholesome, obsessive interest in the teenage main character. For extra creepy, he turns out to be the main character's grandfather.
  • Evil Gloating: Done by every villain. Sometimes for ten seconds, sometimes for five minutes.
  • Fake Difficulty: The game has this at times, with the panic mode being the biggest offender. Interestingly, the rest of the series doesn't have any major moments of this, besides enemies sometimes appearing without warning. The list includes:
    • Panic mode in general. Besides the expected, which entails being unable to control Alyssa as she runs from whichever pursuer she's currently menaced by, the meter itself speeds up far too fast, thanks in part to the numerous things that can cause it to go up in the first place, to the point where you're almost guaranteed to have control wrenched from you the moment any Subordinate hits you with a scripted Jump Scare. This also leads into...
    • ... Collectible items (sans arrows) becoming even more scarce than in the prior two games. But this isn't because of design. Rather, because of how often you can go into panic mode, and how often you'll be chased, the most useful items in the game, Lavender Water (which lowers your panic meter), and Holy Water (which stuns enemies for a good amount of time) are often used rapidly to the point where often you'll be using one seconds after finding it.
    • The Subordinates, especially compared to Scissorman in the older games. Chasers warping around the game area is nothing new in Clock Tower, to the point where it even has reason in story. However, encounters were spaced out so as to build tension and let the player explore. In this game, however, the Subordinates warp constantly (not counting scripted jumpscares), to the point where you could leave an area with an Subordinate by heading into a new one, only for the exact entity to enter that new area from a door on the opposite side of the room. Essentially, this meant that you were being chased by Subordinates almost constantly, replacing genuine tension with frustration. Add in the two above points, and you can observe why people tend to see this game in a negative light. Chopper in particular is the worst offender, as often he tends to spawn in any area you're in (barring those the game won't allow him to enter) a good 10 seconds after you enter it, and on top of that has a ranged attack that can be launched when he's off-screen.
    • The camera is known to either situate itself at strange angles or zoom in too much, to the point where sometimes the hardest thing in the game is navigating while being chased.
    • The boss battle mechanics are all particularly awkward, as they involve having to stay in a stationary position to launch arrows that lock Subordinates in place while doing damage despite their chasing you. The good part? The system is easy to use once you get used to it, making the boss fights trivial after some trial and error. The bad news? You still have to learn it, and even when you do, the game throws you a Wake-Up Call Boss in the second battle with Chopper. How? By making you shoot his axes back at him to stun him. In midair. While they curve at you. While you have to remain stationary to hit them. Sure, the Scissortwins are a trivial boss fight afterwards, but the Final Boss on the other hand makes Chopper look like an absolute joke.
    • Interestingly, while they're overall a much easier fight than Chopper, Scissorwoman herself has an almost perfect instance of this trope used to artificially inflate the difficulty of fighting her: unlike every other boss in the game, you don't automatically lock on to her when charging an arrow. You have to aim them yourself and hope she runs in front of you once you're charged up. She can and will, of course, but still.
  • Fetch Quest: The game has enough of these with such frequency, designed with such clear malevolence towards the player, as to render the game almost unplayably aggravating.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Scissorman ends up being impaled by the giant pendulum trap he almost used on Dennis earlier.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Played straight except for a single fetch quest, where only one of three emblems can be picked up at any one time, making what could have been a two minute diversion into an eight minute reason to play a different game.
  • I'll Kill You!: Scissorwoman screams as much at you.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Corroder has a sulfuric acid-firing... device (a showerhead?).
  • Invisible Bowstring: Alyssa uses a bow without a string. Justified in that she is shooting energy arrows from an Energy Bow that sprouts from a vial of holy water.
  • Keet: Dennis. In his first scene, he climbs through Alyssa's window and rolls around on her bed, for starters.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor May Norton has her skull bashed in by Sledgehammer. He and the other subordinates are also all trying to kill Alyssa.
  • Large Ham: Pretty much everyone is this to a degree, but a special mention must go to the Scissor Twins (see below) and Lord Burroughs, who looks like he ought to be selling spiced rum rather than sending killers after you.
  • Laughing Mad: The Scissor twins make The Joker look like a man in a coma. And they never. Ever. Stop.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Dick Hamilton/the Dark Gentleman/Lord Burroughs.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The main villain, the Dark Gentleman, turns out to be main character Alyssa's grandfather.
  • New Game Plus: "Clear Mode", which makes the game harder and allows the player to wear alternative clothes.
  • Parental Incest: Attempted by the aptly-named Dick Hamilton, who was so obsessed with his daughter that he ignored his wife, brutally murdered his son-in-law, and then had his daughter brutally murdered as well by his sociopath subordinate when she tried to protect her daughter (his granddaughter) from him, with the implication that she was also raped (either by him or his subordinate or both of them). As mentioned, he later transfers his carnal obsession to his granddaughter, the heroine Alyssa, who's the very image of her mother. She manages to defeat him though.
  • Pendulum of Death: To urge Alyssa to go forward, the Scissor Twins hold her friend Dennis under one. At one point, the pendulum stops swinging and drops straight on him. Good thing it's just a dummy.
  • "Psycho" Strings: Heard in Panic Mode music.
  • Sanity Meter: The panic meter, which goes up every time something (like a ghost or one of the Subordinates) surprises Alyssa. If it fills up all the way, she panics.
  • Serial Killer: The villainous characters encountered save for the ultimate villain consist mostly of these.
  • Shear Menace: The Scissor twins have two blades that they hold together to emulate scissors.
  • Stairway to Heaven: May and her father ascend one after being put to rest.
  • Time Travel: The individual stages all take Alyssa back to around the time when the current Subordinate menacing her first became a Subordinate, such as the opening stage taking her back to December of 1942.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of Entities.
  • Twisted Christmas: Little May Norton, a piano prodigy, is brutally murdered by Sledgehammer, who smashes her skull with his respective weapon on the night of Christmas Eve 1942.
  • Villainous Harlequin: The Scissor twins. Maybe a pair of Monster Clowns if you happen to think they're scarier than most do.
  • Villainous Incest:
    • Dick Hamilton wants this with both his daughter Nancy and granddaughter Alyssa (who looks like her mother).
    • The Scissor twins to each other.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: As the clock strikes twelve, it signifies that Alyssa Hamilton is fifteen and will be ritually sacrificed so her grandfather will become a powerful Entity.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The first thing the Sledgehammer does onscreen? Smashing a poor little girl with his humongous weapon and gloating about it.