Giant scissors once again search for Prey in Night Cry

Game developer Nude Marker recently announced that the title of their Project Scissors’ game; Night Cry. Horror film director Takashi Shimizu joined the project to direct a live action teaser trailer for the game. Here’s the first glimpse of what to expect from Night Cry:

Night Cry is a horror action adventure game set to be released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Clock Tower series. In their heyday, I was a devote fan of horror games, and the Clock Tower games were what really established the genre in the medium. The first Clock Tower game was released on the Super Famicom in Japan, but it never saw an official release in the U.S. Instead, fans across the Pacific had their first taste of horror from a giant pair of scissors in the sequel, Clock Tower 2 (known in the U.S. as simply Clock Tower).

I remember around 1998 grabbing Clock Tower in the bargain bin at a KB Toys shop for ten bucks. I was looking to fill in time for the next Resident Evil game, and figured the cover showing an angry looking dude with a bloody pair of giant scissors would suffice. If you’re unfamiliar with the series and only just watched the trailer posted above, just know that the actual game is just as crude. These days, horror games want to be polished and for players to be immersed into the Hollywood cinematic side of panic. Personally, I think a game showing more rust than polish is what sells it in the horror genre; the gritty side. To get an idea of what I mean, watch Jim Sterling’s Jimquisition video on why this is not only good but essential for horror games: “Horror is ugly, it’s alienating. It’s ultimately bad looking.” Will Night Cry be “bad looking” in terms of horror? I hope so! I’m concerned, though, if the vast public will just think it’s bad because the game will be on smartphones and PS Vita…

I’m glad the Clock Tower creator, Hifumi Kono, is back and brought an arsenal of established horror talents along with him. Takashi Shimizu (dir. Ju-on, The Grudge) is not only directing the live action teasers, but is also part of the story collaboration as creative producer. Masahiro Ito (best known as part of Silent Hill’s Team Silent) is on board for creature and prop designer. Project Scissors’ Twitter account just recently shared a design of one of the monster designs illustrated by Ito:

By now you may be wondering, “What’s with all these names? Why not Clock Tower 5: The Next Generation?” Fair question! That may be because Capcom has the rights to the Clock Tower IP. When developer and publisher Human Corporation went bankrupt, Capcom seemed to salvage the Clock Tower name from them and went on to co-develop Clock Tower 3. You may remember Clock Tower 3 from the bargain bins at all the game shops in 2003. It wasn’t a bad game, necessarily, but it was a far cry from its horror roots (although, it did have a pretty gruesome scene of a 12-year-old girl getting slammed across the face with a sledgehammer). There is one more game, and I haven’t played it myself, but some have said that Haunting Ground was a spiritual sequel of sorts to Clock Tower 3. As to what happened to that IP, it looks like a few people are keeping tabs on it, but Capcom has responded with a very clear “no” to any activity involving Haunting Ground (I feel bad for the dude that updated the wiki post just last month). So, that’s the end of that. There goes two franchises that join the constantly expanding IP graveyard at Capcom. No surprises there, but it still sucks.

‘Ey, I’m Danny. How ya doin’?
The giant scissors once again search for prey… And the search continues!

Until Project Scissors happened, Clock Tower had just been dangling in weird oblivion. There was a Clock Tower film planned, and I remember occasional updates on it happenings for years. You can read the wiki page on it, but the gist of it; for some reason in 2008 someone wanted to make a film based on Clock Tower 3, then later on there were promo posters that alluded to Scissorman, perhaps even ScissorMEN! Delay after delay, it seemed the film would finally hit production when it was announced that David R. Ellis (Snakes on a Plane) would direct the film. Sadly, he died before anything materialized. It’s funny that the film had a better chance of being made than an actual new Clock Tower game. It’s curious, though, they waited years to start making a film when the games seemed all but a distant memory for fans. Who knows, perhaps a game would have soon followed if the film had been released. Not that either sound promising, but I’m sure there’s someone at a film studio that still sees potential in the film project.

At least few fans took it upon themselves to make their own Clock Tower films. There’s also this fan-made film with a cool plot reminiscent of Clock Tower, albeit very cheesy. Although, in a roundabout way, Clock Tower was sort of made into a film (well, live action footage used for a game is still film, right?). In Clock Tower 3, the CG cut-scenes were directed by Kinji Fukasaku. You’ve seen his work if you saw the film that had an island of middle school students shooting and stabbing each other called Battle Royale. When Clock Tower 3 was first announced I remembered seeing clips of the motion-capture footage directed by Kinji that was used for the game. It was …odd. On one hand, the characters weren’t stiff walking bots that looked liked they stepped out of Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing video. On the other hand, though, the motions Kinji went for were way, WAY exaggerated. Have a look for yourself:

If you thought the film side was long winded, there was (is?) an indie game that game designer Chris Darril set out to create that was said to be a fan remake of the original Clock Tower. It was called Remothered, and fans first got wind of it around 2007, but there wasn’t much to show for it until 2009. Unlike the film project, Remothered did materialize to a fair extent, from sketches and artwork to even videos of would-be “gameplay”:

Much like the film project, however, this game has yet to be released. On top of that, it appears to have strayed away from a Clock Tower fan project and is now more of its own original creation inspired from the series. For one, as described on the Facebook fan page, instead of taking place in 1995 like the original Clock Tower, Remothered is now set in 1978 with its own set of characters and location. So, that sweet demonstration of Mary Barrows attacking Jennifer? Gone! Finito! Just thank your lucky stars that Hifumi Kano was passionate enough to give Clock Tower a fresh start that fans have long awaited for.

Don’t cry Jennifer…

Aside from Project Scissors, there seems to be a growing interest in the original Clock Tower games. Last Halloween, YouTube entertainer JonTron played Clock Tower: First Fear. It’s actually a great look into the series for the uninitiated– And pretty funny,in JonTron fashion!

Matt and Pat (Two Best Friends) on the TheSw1tcher channel also played First Fear on Halloween (really, what is it with these YouTubers not knowing how to run by double clinking until they’re well into the game?).

Seeing sudden interest in the original game gives me hope that many others will check out Night Cry, or at the very least check out the Clock Tower games themselves. Trying to get the original games on their respected consoles (PS1, PS2) may be easier said than done, and the asking price on the third seller market may be a bit much. If you have the budget to get one game I’d say grab Clock Tower on PS1. It’s at least as scary as First Fear and it’s more coherent than Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within (Clock Tower: Ghost Head in Japan). Plus, Clock Tower II is more odd than scary. That isn’t to say it has some interesting ideas and cool designs (Bates is one cool, cold bastard), but they felt the need to add in zombies and when it was localized in English everything suddenly takes place in California (Being a Californian native I can probably guess which areas they might have thought it was plausible to see Japanese styled/influenced homes and areas– and I can say it is! But c’mon. No one travels by trains here.). Also, you get moments like this in game:

Clock Tower 3 can probably still be found in PS2 bargain bins or really cheap on third party markets. Fortunately, First Fear can be easily found for Super Famicom emulators with a side serving of an English patch, but get this– Last October, Mario at Punk Rock Hacker got the PC version of First Fear, disassembled the software, reverse engineered it, then patched in the English translation. Not only that, some fans even added their own patches that added more translations and improved the formatting. Check out to see how it’s done and be sure to check the links in the comments section in this post on Clock Tower on PC. If that sounds a little too much work and you want to jump into the game right away, just seek out the emulator, then keep your ears open for the sound of rusty shears in the distance from Night Cry.

As bonus, listen to Clock Tower II’s menu theme and now compare that with Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rain. You’re welcome!

See you later, alligator!