Let's be completely honest with each other. No one could care less if this game existed or not. That's too bad because, at its center, it's a pretty nifty game. Unfortunately, it belongs to one of the hardest genres to succeed in: the "Survival Horror" genre (what a dumb name).
What threatens this game's success even more is the fact that, unlike certain "other" horror games, this game is not a fast-paced zombie blastfest (which isn't a bad thing). What Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within (Why did they change it from Clock Tower II: Ghost Face?) does is slow down the pace of your token adventure game to an almost dramatic meander. In an industry that relies itself upon the gratuitous use of instant gratification, a game that dares to take its time will go unrecognized.
In CT II: TSW, you take control of Alyssa Hale, a young schoolgirl who has just returned to her foster parents. For once in her life, things seem to be looking up... until she enters the house wherein she finds several HORRIBLY MUTILATED BODIES SUBMERGED IN URINE! AAAAAHHHH!!!!! I know what you're saying to yourself, "Been there, done that." However, what if I was to tell you that the protagonist was butt-nekkid during the whole game?!? Well, she's not, but she does have multiple personalities! Now, how's that for a twist? Plus, for most of the game, you're being chased by this strange clown-mime-doll-girl-thing with a butcher knife or a cleaver-wielding maniac in a devil mask. While the game moves quite slowly, the horrific overtones that CT II: TSW offers flow very well.
The control is derived from the infamous point-and-click graphic adventure genre (Alone in the Dark, 7th Guest, etc.), but before you burst a vein, you gotta know that it actually works pretty well. For those unfamiliar with the schematics: instead of using the control stick to move the actual character, you use it to move around a small cursor with which you click on various objects or areas in a room to either move towards or examine them. It might turn off more than one uniformed gamer, but the lucky souls who read this review will know how well it works out in the end. The cursor is also used in attack situations by selecting a weapon and then clicking violently on your assailant. Kinda wacky, but it works.
The sound in this game is indicative of other similar games. The sound effects and music convey a very dark, ambient mood quite vividly. The voice acting on the other hand... sucks worse than Kevin Costner from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Of course, does anyone remember there ever being good voices in a "Survival Horror" (what a dumb name) game?
The in game graphics are not exactly what you'd call "eye candy." The character models, textures, and environments are rendered simply, but with a few nice camera swoops and lighting effects everything looks fine.
The multi-personality elements of the gameplay are one some of the biggest selling points of the game. At times, you'll have to shift between the two characters at different intervals to accomplish certain tasks. For example: there are certain doors that only Alyssa can go through and some that only Roland (Alyssa's evil alter ego who is represented by a neon-purple flame surrounding her body) can go through. Only Roland can use guns and knives in the face of danger, but only Alyssa can talk to people without freaking them the f*** out.
It just kinda blows that no one is ever going to know that this game exists. Just like pretty girls acknowledged me in middle school. Oh, well there's always high school... or something.
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