Clock Tower, known in Japan as Clock Tower 2, is a survival horror point-and-click adventure game developed by Human Entertainment and released for the PlayStation in 1996. It is the second game in the Clock Tower series after the original Clock Tower, which was released exclusively in Japan for the Super Famicom one year prior. The story takes place in Norway and follows a variety of characters as they attempt to survive the return of Scissorman and uncover the mystery of his seemingly immortal state. The scenarios encountered and endings vary widely based upon the player's actions.
Director Hifumi Kono was not interested in developing a sequel to the original Clock Tower at first, but was swayed after seeing the technical possibilities of the next-generation consoles. Kono had difficulty in choosing the platform to develop on, but eventually settled for the PlayStation despite its uncertain future. Clock Tower was one of the first games developed by Human Entertainment to utilize a 3D graphics engine. The team felt challenged to create high-quality graphics after being impressed by the visuals of Resident Evil (1996), which was announced during development.
Clock Tower was commercially successful, selling close to half a million copies. Kono attributed some of this success to Resident Evil generating interest in horror games and the success of the PlayStation. Critical reviews of Clock Tower were mixed. The game's horror atmosphere and storyline were praised, although most other aspects were found to be mediocre. Most of the negative critique was directed towards the game's slow pace, which was compared unfavorably to other PlayStation games of the era, particularly the more action-oriented and fast-paced Resident Evil. These factors influenced some critics to recommend Clock Tower purely for point-and-click adventure fans.
After the events of the original Clock Tower, central protagonist Jennifer Simpson was adopted by Helen Maxwell, an assistant professor of criminal psychology in Oslo, Norway. She begins undergoing treatment at a university research building in order to learn more about the Scissorman murder case at Barrows Mansion and help her cope with her trauma. Over a year has passed, and now a series of brutal murders have made headline news. It appears that the Scissorman has returned. Having heard the details of Jennifer's original encounters with the Scissorman, Helen begins searching for information that could put an end to the seemingly immortal killer. The scenarios that follow, including the player characters and settings, are vastly different depending on player actions throughout the game.
The first chapter places the player in control of either Jennifer or Helen, escaping from Scissorman within the university research building. The second chapter will have the player retrieve the Demon Idol, a clue to the murder investigation. The scenario in which the idol is retrieved can change depending on choices made by the player earlier. Helen may search for it within the city library, or reporter Nolan Campbell or detective Stan Gotts will search for it in the home of a Barrows family butler. The final chapter occurs at Barrows Castle, putting the player in control of the same character they controlled in chapter one. Jennifer or Helen must use the Demon Idol to open a vortex in the castle basement and destroy Scissorman. Depending on the narrative followed and choices made along the way, 10 different endings can be seen.