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Clock Tower – The Cogs and Bells of Survival Horror

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Horror is one of the most unique genres in gaming. It can take the form of an action game or something slower-paced like an adventure title. The early years of horror-themed gaming were all over the place. In the West, horror had manifested with games like Dark Seed, Doom, and Alone in the Dark. Japan had its own take on the occult, focusing on console gaming. Titles like Castlevania and Sweet Home laid a lot of the ground work for Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Clock Tower, released in 1995, is also one of these early establishing titles. Despite never leaving Japan, the game has a sizable cult following overseas.

In Clock Tower you play as Jennifer Simpson, an orphaned girl that’s adopted by an eccentric named Simon Barrows. Mary, Simon’s wife, escorts Jennifer, and few other adopted girls, to Barrows Mansion. Upon arrival, Mary leaves the girls in the foyer to go find her husband. Time passes and the girls begin to get concerned. Jennifer volunteers to go look for Mary. She hears a scream from the foyer not long after leaving, and returns to find the lights out and all her friends missing. Jennifer will have to uncover the secrets of the mansion and find her friends if she wishes to escape Barrows Mansion.

2016_10_13_14_3_12.mpg_snapshot_04.12_[2016.10.19_16.18.40]Clock Tower plays like any other point and click adventure at first glance. You walk around Barrows Mansion collecting items and using them to solve various puzzles. You have an action/walk button, a stop button, and a menu button; standard fair for a game like this. The shoulder buttons can make Jennifer run to the left or right indefinitely and speed things up. The cursor even changes when you hover over an intractable object, and helps solve the adventure game problem of “click everywhere and everything till something happens.”

Clock Tower has one other key feature that sets it apart from your typical adventure fair, and that is its panic system. You’ll find that Barrows Mansion is a pretty strange place after you start exploring it. Poltergeist possessed objects, murderous animals, and other occult happenings all have it out for our heroine. Jennifer’s portrait starts flashing when she encounters any of these things, and that’s your queue to start mashing the panic button. Each panic instance will build a bit of Jennifer’s fear, represented by the color behind her portrait. You can think of fear like a life meter, even though everything can kill Jennifer in 1 hit. The more panicked Jennifer becomes, the more you have to mash the panic button. Most fear-inducing situations are one-off things and scripted events, so you can try to plan around them or avoid them completely if you know their triggers. Clock Tower does have one random element, though; and his name is Scissorman.

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This child-like killer loves to hide in boxes and behind curtains; waiting for you to inspect them.

Jennifer will repeatedly bump into Scissorman while exploring the mansion. This pint-sized serial killer first shows up when Jennifer discovers the corpse of one of her friends, and he chases her till you find a hiding place and wait him out. Scissorman encounters are rather intense despite his ridiculous appearance. Scissorman encounters are where the fear status can get Jennifer killed. There’s a chance she’ll trip if she’s panicked while running, giving him time to catch up. There’s also a chance for Scissorman to instantly kill Jennifer while she’s panicked if he catches her, rather than giving her an opportunity to fight back. It sounds pretty stupid, but Clock Tower gives you the option to pick your game back up from right before any encounter that kills you. Hiding places are rare, so you really have to get creative and think on your feet. There are certain areas where Scissorman will spawn, but there’s also plenty of encounters that happen at random. The mansion is small, and these chase sequences add an interesting element of longevity to the game.

Clock Tower seems lackluster when only looking at it’s adventure elements. There’s only a few puzzles in the game, and you’re lucky if you encounter more than 3 in a single play through. The game has 9 different endings, but the events that divide them up are rather small. This game isn’t a cult hit for adventure game enthusiasts, though; but rather for horror game fans. Things like Scissorman and the games detailed still images evolved into horror game staples such as bosses that seem unbeatable and grotesque, graphic imagery. There are a few more subtle things to Clock Tower’s horror-themed design, though.

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There’s a good chance you won’t see every puzzle or encounter in a single play through, leaving you with a bunch of spare items as you approach the end.

The main thing Clock Tower does is mess with player when giving them feedback. The game’s intention is to make sure you get lost, and it uses several techniques to do so. The Clock Tower soundtrack is rather small. When exploring Barrows Mansion, the only thing you can hear clearly is Jennifer’s footsteps. The near constant “white noise” makes it difficult to tell what kind of situation you’re in. The game conditions you to jump at the slightest disturbance, be it in or outside of the game. There’s a specific track that plays for when Scissorman jumps you, but it too can be a false positive in certain situations. This disorientation breaks over into the visuals as well. The hallways in the mansion look similar to one another, and if you’re not paying attention to what is where it’s easy to get lost. There’s no map screen in this game, and rooms in the mansion get jumbled around every time you start a new game. It keeps things disorienting, even for someone that’s cleared the game before. It also keeps the game somewhat fresh and engaging when trying to unlock multiple endings.

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Clock Tower is an interesting and weird game, but it’s worth playing for any psychological or survival horror fan. The game lacks an official release outside of Japan, but there are a couple of fan-translations floating around online. Simple, quirky, and all kinds of creepy, Clock Tower is a hidden gem in the SNES import library.

Taylor is a writer from Atlanta, GA. His passion for games extends across genres and generations. When not playing or writing about games, he's probably reading science fiction.

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Watch the Trailer for ‘The Mandalorian’ the First Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Series

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Thanks to the arrival of the D23 Expo, Disney has revealed the first trailer for its long-awaited Star Wars original series, The Mandalorian.

Created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows Pedro Pascal as a mysterious, gun-slinging Mandalorian bounty hunter who navigates the seedier side of the Star Wars universe.

Along with Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian stars Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, and Taika Waititi. The first season of episodes will be directed by filmmakers like Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow.

the mandalorian trailer

Here’s the official description of The Mandalorian:

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

The Mandalorian begins streaming on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

Check out The Mandalorian trailer below.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Soundtrack Gets a Vinyl Release

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While we don’t publish music news or music reviews here at Goomba Stomp, we are huge fans of vinyl and since we cover film, we figured this announcement would interest some of our readers.

Back in 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out topped our list of the best films of 2017 and while the year isn’t yet over, there’s a good chance his follow-up Us, will land somewhere on our best of the year list as well. There are many reasons why we love Peele’s ambitious sophomore film including for the suspense, cinematography, performances, and direction, but one thing that doesn’t get enough praise is the soundtrack by Michael Abels. And if you like us, love the original score, you’re going to love this bit of news.

After giving his Get Out soundtrack a vinyl release last year, Jordan Peele is now doing the same for the soundtrack to Us.

WaxWork Records announced the news earlier today and if you’re planning on buying a copy, you don’t have to wait since it is now available to purchase through the label’s website.

The soundtrack, which received a digital release earlier this year, features composer Michael Abels’ score, in addition to songs from Janelle Monáe, Minnie Ripperton and the “Tethered Mix” of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” that appeared in the film’s first trailer. The album artwork was created by illustrator Edward Kinsella and features an interactive die-cut mirror board back cover, a heavyweight art print and an exclusive essay from UCLA Professor, scholar, and activist Shana L. Redmond Ph.D.

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Trailer for the Twisted Dark Comedy thriller ‘Villains’

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Alter has released the first poster and the official trailer for Villains, the upcoming dark comedy thriller which stars Bill Skarsgård (IT) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) as a couple who rob a gas station and scores enough cash to start a new life in Florida. Unfortunately for them, their getaway plans turn upside down and the young couple end up stumbling on much more than they bargained for.

Villains hits theaters on September 20th and was written and directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. In addition to Skarsgard and Monroe, the movie also stars Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick. It’s co-produced by Bron Studios, Star Thrower Entertainment, Creative Wealth Media Finance, and The Realm Films. You can watch the trailer for Villains below.

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Beanie Babies: The Collectables with Heart

Toys We Love Spotlight

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For our Toys We Love Spotlight, I’m looking at one of my personal favourites: Beanie Babies. I had collected so many of these growing up, and households worldwide in the 90s and early 2000s were sure to have at least one Beanie Baby in their possession (was it even the 90s if they didn’t?). These plushie companions were cute, cuddly, and collectable, so it’s not a surprise that the Beanie Babies craze swept the globe, forcing parents and toy collectors everywhere to dig into their wallets.


Beanie Babies had a few aspects to them that made them stand out from your average plushie. Firstly, they did not have as much stuffing as most soft toys. Whilst some thought that this made them look cheap, it also made them light, posable, and gave them a realistic feel and look. The bear Beanie Babies were particularly good to pose, and this set them apart from run-of-the-mill teddy bears. Another element that made Beanie Babies more unique was their special tag. Each toy had a tag attached which had the toy’s name, date of birth, and a quotation etched inside. The former was something that could have been a risky choice, as although it wasn’t completely taking away the child’s choice of name — there was nothing stopping them from just calling their Beanie whatever they wanted — a pre-selected name can be difficult to sell, as kids can often take great pride and pleasure in naming their toys.

It was a great success, however, and worked as a nice finishing touch for the Beanie Babies, adding a dash of personality and flair (something much needed in the often critically over-saturated soft toy market), as well as making each Beanie Baby feel like their own creature with their own little stories. Adding to that was the wide variety of animals that were available, such as Tiny the Chihuahua, Pegasus the Unicorn or Swampy the Alligator. This means that the desires of each individual child or enthusiastic collector could be catered to (I myself favoured the dogs and bears).

The puppies were my Beanie Baby of choice. They were all such good boys and girls.

The Beanie Babies also had their own way of tackling difficult issues in society, showing them to kids through the guise of a soft toy. I’ll give you an example through my own experience: I had a Beanie Baby that (as odd as it may sound) gave me more of an understanding of the horrors of September 11th. Weird, right? Allow me to explain. I was only just nine years old on that now-historical day when the twin towers in New York were attacked and so many innocent people lost their lives. I had come home from school (it was afternoon time here in the UK when it happened), and I remember my mum watching it on television in complete shock. She had watched the whole thing whilst I’d been at school.

I didn’t really understand what was happening to be honest. Even when I was watching the repeats of the plane crashing into the side of the tower, I was somewhat oblivious the gravity of the situation (though as a nine year old child, I suppose I could be forgiven for that). The news continued to report the tragedy for a long time, and my school held assemblies to discuss the matter. I knew people had died, and that made me very sad, but I remember thinking that people died all the time, so why was this one incident reported on so much? About a month or so after, TY released three Beanie Babies as a tribute to those lost during 9/11. One of these was a Dalmatian Beanie Baby called Rescue, and I wanted him the moment I saw him, not really knowing the true nature of his purpose. My mum obliged happily, knowing what he represented. I remember taking my little Dalmatian with the red collar and American flag on his leg home and reading his tag. It read:

To honor our heroes
who lost their lives in the
national catastrophe that
took place on September 11, 2001.
We mourn for them and express our
deepest sympathy to their families.
God Bless America

Rescue the Dalmatian was joined by America the Bear and Courage the German Shepherd. The Beanies were a set of three released to honor those who perished in the tragedy of 9/11.

I found Rescue in my room recently, and the memories flooded back to me upon reading it again. I remember looking into all the acts of heroism and bravery after reading Rescue’s tag, and that’s when the situation really hit home to me. I looked into the stories of firefighters and first responders and those who had died, as well as all the search-and-rescue dogs attempting to save people among the chaos. As a child, it can be hard to see past your immediate opinion and truly consider the sheer weight of a situation, but with Rescue’s help, I was able to see just how this event was indeed very different to anything I had ever seen before, and how serious it was. It was the first time I felt like I was thinking like a grown up. I looked at the world differently from then on — obviously as I got older, but also from my ability to think harder and search deeper. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have even bothered if it wasn’t for Rescue reminding me of exactly how much was lost on that day.

Rescue, perhaps the goodest and bravest boy of them all.

Beanie babies will forever be ingrained in culture. They are still bought, sold and collected even now and will remain a timeless staple of most of our childhoods. They certainly are for me. Especially you Rescue, the bravest firefighting Dalmatian the world has ever known.

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‘Shenmue III’ Gamescom Trailer Details a Day in the Life of Ryo

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The original Shenmue games pioneered the open world genre, in part through their inclusion of many different minigames and side activities. The Kickstarter-funded Shenmue III looks to continue that legacy, as developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver have debuted a new trailer at Gamescom 2019 entitled “A Day in Shenmue.”

The developers provided the following description of the trailer via their latest Kickstarter update: “Exploring the town, playing minigames and battling! We hope it feels just how a Shenmue day should!” Sure enough, the footage showcases the series protagonist Ryo participating in a number of minigames, such as a boxing game and a pachinko machine. The end of the trailer also includes a good look at the series’ signature kung fu combat.

Beyond the new trailer, the Kickstarter update also noted that Yu Suzuki, the famed creator of Shenmue, will be present at Gamescom for autograph signings.

After numerous delays, Shenmue III will finally launch on November 19, 2019 for PS4 and PC via the Epic Games Store.

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Freelance Film Writers

Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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