Clock Tower is a survival horror point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Human Entertainment for the Super Famicom in 1995. It is the first installment in the Clock Tower series. The story follows orphan Jennifer Simpson soon after she is adopted by the Barrows family along with other orphaned girls. Shortly after arriving at the Barrows family manor, one of the other children is killed by a stalker called Scissorman. Jennifer must then explore the Barrows Mansion to find a way to escape while evading Scissorman, leading to one of the game's multiple endings. Clock Tower utilizes a point and click interface with the player controlling a cursor to direct Jennifer's actions.
Much of Clock Tower's plot and artistic style are inspired by the works of Italian horror film director Dario Argento, most notably Phenomena (1985). Director Hifumi Kono loved horror films like this and wanted the game to feel like one. Many of the game's character graphics were digitized from photos of real people. Jennifer's movements were constructed from a woman in Human's planning division acting out the scenes. Her design was inspired by Jennifer Connelly's character in Phenomena.
The game sold well upon release. An updated version, titled Clock Tower: The First Fear, was ported to the PlayStation, WonderSwan, and Windows. Many years later, it was re-released again on the PlayStation Network, as well as the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console. The game has never been officially released outside Japan, although fan translations exist. In retrospective reviews, Clock Tower has been praised for its haunting atmosphere and is considered a predecessor to other horror video games and the survival horror genre, but the puzzles and exploration drew criticism for being tedious.
The story follows Jennifer Simpson, an orphan from the fictional Granite Orphanage in Romsdalen, Norway. She and other orphaned children named Laura, Anne, and Lotte are adopted in September 1995 by a wealthy recluse named Simon Barrows, who lives in a mansion known as the "Clock Tower", named after its predominant feature. After arriving at the mansion, Mary, the woman who brought the children to the mansion, leaves to find Mr. Barrows. When she takes an unusually long time, Jennifer offers to investigate. Upon leaving the room, she hears a scream coming from the main foyer. Jennifer returns to find the lights off and the girls missing. After finding either Laura or Anne killed, she finds herself being stalked by a murderous little boy with deformed features, wielding a huge pair of scissors, named Bobby Barrows, also known as the Scissorman in the game.
While exploring the mansion, Jennifer searches for Mary's true intentions. Depending on choices made by the player, Jennifer will either discover Simon Barrows trapped in a jail cell inside the courtyard, or her father's corpse in a hidden room. If the former happens, Jennifer will need to give him a piece of ham as food. If the latter happens, Jennifer will find his death letter that tells of his account concerning Mary Barrows and her twins, Bobby and Dan. It says that he was trapped there for three days, until his death on November 10, 1986. Jennifer then visits a small, occult-looking church. If the player has collected all the necessary items and clues, then she gains access to the catacombs of the mansion - using either the Devil Idol or the Sceptor, but the former is canonical as it appears in the sequel. Jennifer sees a cloaked figure walking ahead of her; this is Mary. She follows it, wearing a disguise to fool the guard dog using Mary's perfume, and a black cloak found in the mansion. If Lotte did not need to rescue Jennifer from the jail cell, she can be found dying at an altar, and tells Jennifer about the switches in the clock tower. Otherwise, she rescues Jennifer from the jail cell, but is shot by a threatening Mary.
Jennifer enters a room where she discovers Dan Barrows, a giant, gluttonous purple creature. Dan awakens from his slumber and chases Jennifer to a steep cliff. She successfully climbs over, knocking down a can of kerosene which splashes onto a nearby candle. This triggers an explosion that immolates Dan, while Jennifer rides an elevator out of the catacombs. She ends up defeating Bobby in the clock tower, and Mary as well in (or around, depending on prior actions) the clock tower. If Anne (or Laura) has not died yet, then this survivor reunites with Jennifer at the clock tower but is soon thrown down the tower by Mary. These actions would lead to one of Endings A, B, or C - any of these could be canonical according to the events of the next game. Because of the game's open-ended nature, the player can also discover other endings.