Clock Tower 3 is a third-person, survival horror adventure game developed by Sunsoft, published by Capcom, and directed by Kinji Fukasaku (director of Tora! Tora! Tora! and the first Battle Royale film). Players take control a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl, Alyssa Hamilton. Alyssa investigates the mysterious history of her ancestry and must overcome several deranged serial killers that pursue her. The gameplay primarily consists of running from an unstoppable enemy that can only be stunned while solving item-based puzzles within the environment. She is only able to kill the evil killers in a boss battle once she has appeased the ghost of the killers' victims. The game is linear with a story that is told through in-engine cutscenes and pre-rendered CG cutscenes that both feature spoken dialogue. The game also has numerous text documents, some with voice-overs, that flesh out the story.
Clock Tower 3 diverges from the series' predecessors in many ways. Clock Tower and Clock Tower 2 were both point-and-click adventure games whereas Clock Tower 3 features direct control of its protagonist. Clock Tower 3 focuses solely on a new protagonist, Alyssa Hamilton, and does not feature the multiple playable characters or multiple endings of the other two games. In terms of gameplay, Clock Tower 3 is more closely related to Capcom's later title, Haunting Ground. None of the previous games' characters make an appearance in Clock Tower 3, except for some borrowed and slightly modified names, and its story is unique for the series.
Alyssa Hamilton is able to travel through time and different locales thanks to the abilities of her family bloodline. When she travels to a different place she often encounters the ghosts of the victims of a serial killer. While investigating each murder, she is pursued in real-time by a single deranged serial killer. These enemies can not be permanently killed until the chapter's final boss battle, but may be stunned with the use of Alyssa's only on-hand weapon, a vial of Holy Water that can be refilled at certain points throughout each chapter.
Instead of a typical health meter or status found in other survival horror games, Clock Tower 3 features a Panic Meter. As Alyssa is pursued by murderous stalkers such as Sledghammer or Chopper, they will often swing their weapons at her, although they usually must stop in order to do this. However, these near-misses cause the Panic Meter to fill up. When the meter is full, Alyssa enters panic mode. During this time, she stumbles around carelessly (players can still partially control her walking movement). She is likely to freeze in her tracks as well. The only thing players can do at that time is wait, or use lavender water to get her to move again. Alyssa also cannot use holy water while panicking.
To alleviate panic, players can:
- Attempt to run away.
- Use a lavender water to clear Alyssa's panic meter (it will take a few seconds to work)
- Use an invisibility ring to try and fool the attacker, and calm down.
- Find a hiding spot or an evade point.
Hiding Spots and Safe Points
While Alyssa is running away from an enemy she may come upon a hiding spot. A swirling sigil that appears when Alyssa is being chased designates these spots. If Alyssa can manage to reach one of these locations before an enemy can get his hands on her, then she hides until the stalker passes. Being in a hiding spot does not mean that Alyssa is safe, however. While the killer is snooping around the immediate area of the hiding spot, Alyssa's Panic Meter will increase. If the Panic Meter fills up, then Alyssa will scream and attempt to flee, alerting the stalker to her presence.
Safe Points will be marked by the same swirling sigil as Hiding Spots and appear at different times throughout Alyssa's story. When she approaches the spot, Alyssa takes action against the stalker in an in-engine cutscene. For example, Alyssa might swing a fiery hot poker, throw a chair, or even set the stalker on fire with nearby spilled oil. These events temporarily 'down' the stalker, allowing Alyssa to investigate the immediate area for further clues safely. When she moves on to through a new doorway, however, stalkers have been known to recover quickly and continue their pursuit.
Whenever Alyssa comes across a ghost, it will have a body near it. These ghosts are still here because they are missing a Sentimental Item. Sentimental Items can vary from Teddy Bears to Engagement rings, and whenever you return the item to the spirit, it will be healed and leave the area, leaving behind an item or important piece of information. In addition to these peripheral ghosts, each of the stalkers that chases Alyssa has a ghostly victim that is central to Alyssa's story. Alyssa must solve many puzzles in order to obtain the victim's sentimental item. Once she has gained this item she will have gained temporary strength that will allow her to confront the stalker once and for all.
After Alyssa has gained the victim's sentimental item she will go into an open area and commence a boss battle with the stalker that has been chasing her throughout the level. The goal is to evade the stalker's attacks until Alyssa can gain some distance and charge up her bow and arrow attack. An attack charged to its fullest will tether the stalker to the ground and allow Alyssa to pepper them with more attacks. She also has green and red special arrows at her disposal.
The only weapon Alyssa is armed with is holy water, which can temporarily stun those pursuing her. It can also remove blue sigils on doors and activate holy portals. The only way to refill your Holy Water vial is to find a Lion's Fountain, or a special vase.
Rooder Bow and Arrow
Once the Sentimental Item belonging to the chapter's main ghost is found, Alyssa gains the power to face the Killer in a boss battle, using a divine bow and arrow. A fully charged attack will tether the stalker to the ground with a golden chain of light.
Green repellent arrows do damage and knock your enemy back, giving Alyssa some time to gain ground and charge a golden arrow.
These arrows are equivalent to the charged up golden arrows and have the same effect. They bind the enemy with one golden chain.
While away at boarding school, Alyssa Hamilton receives a letter from her mother saying that Alyssa should go into hiding until well past her fifteenth birthday. This confusing and seemingly dire message forces Alyssa to return home despite her mother's warning. However, her mother anticipated her daughter's return to the family mansion and left her other notes to explain the situation better. Alyssa arrives home to find it is surprisingly empty, her mother nowhere to be seen. There is, however, a mysterious 'Dark Gentleman' whom Alyssa believes to be a lodger. He makes some cryptic remarks before disappearing and this is when Alyssa makes her first strange voyage through time.
Alyssa is transported to London under attack presumably during a German bombing raid in World War II. As she makes her way through the streets, she encounters a few of the ghosts of the recently killed. Inside a tailor shop Alyssa witnesses a ghostly memory of the murder of a young girl named May Norton by a gargantuan hammer-wielding killer known as Sledgehammer. Alyssa manages to evade him enough to learn that May Norton's father went off to war and that she gave him a pocket watch as a special memento. When opened, the trinket plays Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu, which reminds May of her mother. May promised to her father that she would practice the song while he was away at war and would play it at the opera house for her recital. When the father was off at war he was killed by an artillery shell and his body was snagged on a coil of barbwire. Alyssa discovers that if she can bring the pocket watch that she found to May's ghost at the opera house she may be able to bring the spirit some peace. With the pocket watch in hand, Alyssa defeats Sledgehammer using her bow and arrow. Alyssa gives the pocket watch to May on the stage in the concert hall and tells her to keep practicing her song. The spirit of May's father makes an appearance and takes May into her arms. The father and daughter thank Alyssa for her help and they ascend some glowing white stairs and disappear. Alyssa immediately faints and when she awakens she is lying on her bed within her mother's house. She questions whether it were all just a dream.
There is a banging on the window that startles Alyssa. She pulls back the curtains to see Dennis, a childhood schoolmate of hers. Dennis has not seen Alyssa since primary school (3 years ago) and he seems to have at least a very cordial relationship with Alyssa. He makes some suggestive remarks about her bodily development that Alyssa seems to ignore. However, she coyly remarks to Dennis that he has grown up also. There seems to be some past flirting between the two. Dennis had previously received a key from Alyssa's mother who had driven away in a car shortly before Alyssa arrived at the family lodging house. Alyssa uses the key to her grandfather's study and finds some of his notes that explain some of her family's mysterious heritage. Her family is of a lineage of “Rooders”, young women that up until the age of twenty are destined to do battle with murderers possessed by beings known as “Subordinates”. A Rooder's power peaks at the age of fifteen (Alyssa's age) and dwindles until she becomes twenty. Most Rooders go on to have children to continue the family line and Alyssa's grandfather definitely encouraged her mother to have another child (even going so far as to name Alyssa).
Alyssa next does battle with the Corroder and eventually is engaged by the Chopper (Woodcutter) before the story delves deeper. While being pursued by the Woodcutter through an unknown cemetery, Alyssa encounters the ghosts of Rooders that were slain by Chopper. After she frees them he transports her to a time in the past at her family home. In this memory she witnesses the murder of her father at the hands of her grandfather, Dick. Her father is pushed over a balcony and falls on an axe blade in the courtyard below. These events are very horrific to Alyssa who has always loved her grandfather but does not understand his motives. After Alyssa defeats Chopper
she speaks with the ghosts of the Rooders that tell her not to allow the Ritual of Engagement to be carried out. If a person takes the heart of a Rooder and performs a certain ritualistic act they will be bound to an Entity and be made immortal. The Dark Gentleman with his top hat and cane appear and Alyssa becomes aware that he is the one that wants to commit the Ritual of Engagement.
Alyssa and Dennis are reunited on some mysterious street near a hospital. A woman yells for Dennis out of a second story window. Dennis knows it is his sister; his sister has returned from her medical expedition in Africa. He runs headlong into the hospital. The woman actually his not his sister but a female Subordinate known as Scissor Woman and there is also her twin Scissor Man (not the same Scissor Man from the previous Clock Tower games). The Scissor Twins kidnap Dennis and Alyssa is forced to rescue him. She fights her way through the hospital and uses her Rooder abilities to warp to a mysterious castle. She sees her grandfather approaching the castle and he is muttering some strange chant. Alyssa finds some of her grandfather's notes and realizes that her grandfather is the Dark Gentleman and that he wants to commit the Ritual of Engagement so that he can be united with his beloved granddaughter forever.
The Scissor Twins in life served a man known as Lord Burroughs who attempted to perform the Ritual of Engagement but was slain before he was able. Grandfather Dick spent three years searching for the Castle of Lord Burroughs and he discovered that he was of the same ancestry as the Lord. Alyssa's grandfather believes it is his destiny to finish the ritual that Lord Burroughs was unable to complete. Alyssa defeats the Scissor Twins who were holding Dennis hostage under a pendulum scythe (like Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum). She has defeated all of the Subordinates and then is summoned to the top of the Castle/Clock Tower.
Her grandfather really seems to be an amalgamation of Lord Burroughs, the Entity, and the Darkman. This persona takes Alyssa hostage at the tower's summit and is going to begin the ritual because Alyssa will be nearing the age of fifteen at any moment. But Dennis manages to give Alyssa the trinket that was her mother's and she is freed and gains control of her bow once more. She fights Lord Burroughs to the death and manages to escape the Clock Tower with Dennis. The two youngsters are reunited and Alyssa's last thoughts are, "We did it, mum."
Cinema Viewer and Art Gallery
After beating the game, a Cinema Theater option becomes available from the title screen. This extra allows for viewing of all of the game's cutscenes. A concept art gallery is accessible from the Cinema Theater by pressing R1.
Upon loading clear data to start a new game, Alyssa will have a key to the wardrobe in her bedroom in her inventory. Accessing the wardrobe will grant the player access to a selection of alternate costumes. In the American version, the available costumes include a blue cowgirl outfit, a set of roman armor, a clubbing outfit, and her toga from the end of the game in addition to her standard school uniform.
In the Japanese version, alternate costumes include blue and white Japanese sailor school uniforms, and a Mrs. Claus costume.
Finish the game to unlock Clear Mode. This mode is a more difficult version of the game where enemies have more powerful weapons and Alyssa's panic goes to full when surprised. Additionally, some of the stalkers have new weapons or abilities. For instance, Sledgehammer will use a mace, rather than his standard sledgehammer.