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Haunting Ground

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Haunting Ground - PlayStation 2 (2005)

Japanese Cover

American Cover

Clock Tower 3 technically spelled the end of the franchise, but it did continue on, spiritually, at least. With new direction, under the guidance of Noboru Sugimura of the Resident Evil and Onimusha fame, Capcom developed Haunting Ground. It stars a new protagonist, who endures a gauntlet of traps and brand new Stalkers in a similar manner to Clock Tower 3. It gained a cult following for how it further explored (and abused) some of the most morbid sexual innuendos in gaming horror history since Phantasmagoria.

After being knocked out from a car accident, young Fiona Belli wakes up and finds herself trapped inside of a cage inside of what seems to be a butcher's slaughterhouse. For some reason, her cage was carelessly left unlocked. Quickly escaping the dangerous place, she soon finds herself trapped within what seems to be a very ancient castle. Wandering around, she starts to uncover the mystery behind her kidnapping and an unlikely ally - a German shepherd named Hewie, who defends her from the crazy residents of this cursed place.

It isn't long before she runs into a colorful cast of villains, each with their own twisted reasons to hunt down Fiona, including the mentally challenged Debilitas, the homunculus Daniela, and hooded human Riccardo. Constantly on the lookout for her, she's forced to run, hide and eventually drive them to their demise in order to escape their malevolent intentions of killing her, raping her or get her "Azoth" (an alchemic "essence" hidden in her womb for creating artificial life) in order to inherit eternity.

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

The main aspect that makes this a spiritual sequel to Clock Tower 3 is the gameplay. Haunting Ground still plays and feels like its older cousin, complete with clunky character handling and useless combat mechanics. Alchemy-based weapons and kicks from Fiona will do no less than hold back the Stalkers for a short while. In order to get rid of them, you'll need to hide until they walk away or permanently kill them in the process. The most interesting part of this is Hewie. He can be commanded to do things that range from hiding, standing guard and attacking. Whether he obeys or not, it's up to you to scold him or praise him. This creates a small bond between you and him that affects further events, such as him not helping you through certain parts of the game, or wholeheartedly attacking you.

The "Panic Mode" is back, but this time around there's a twist - the screen will fade to a subtle gray/sepia color, along with an eye-straining saturation that will cloud your vision and have you double-guessing where you're running. Like before, this mechanic has become annoying rather than interesting. Having already built a solid foundation in graphics with Clock Tower 3, Haunting Ground boasts several improvements and even more details than ever. The backgrounds are well rendered (with barely any loading between rooms) and music as a whole fits perfectly every situation.

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

The characters are also well modeled with only the Debilitas prancing around the uncanny valley. Also, from the trailers to the very cut-scenes of this game, there's a character that is a walking eye candy from head to toe (literally): Fiona Belli herself. Capcom was really all over making this girl a living sex machine - she even starts off naked. Not only she was carefully conceived to be insanely attractive, but all the male characters are after her in more perverted ways than one, and the developers even considered that her clothes should be torn apart little by little upon taking damage, which was dropped pretty early on for obvious reasons.

Instead of having her clothes scratched off, you can unlock different costumes for her to wear. Whenever in-game Fiona is dressed differently, that particular costume is unlocked for later. Conventionally, getting any of the games' different endings also comes with a different wardrobe as a reward (and playing the game in Hard difficulty will also change the costumes of every Stalker). Hewie will also get different appearances that give him slightly different gameplay elements, such as being more disobedient German Shepherd with a more powerful attack, or the invincible Stuffed Toy costume. Fiona herself will get a couple weapons with her Leather (whip) and Cowgirl (gun) instead of her usually clunky kick.

Unfortunately, Haunting Ground, like other Capcom games back then, was an experiment of sorts. Reusing gameplay elements from the previous game and not selling it under the same name was an easy way of cashing in on a new franchise. But instead, the franchise got canned completely, resulting in a somewhat worthy adventure but a sour end to what was once the mother of all horror games.

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  • Kazuhiro Tsuchiya

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Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)


Additional Screenshots


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Drama Discs

Clock Tower / Clock Tower 2 / Ghost Head (1996-2001)

Radio dramas were still popular in Japan in the 90s, and most popular anime and video game series had their own series. Clock Tower spawned several seasons, played over the air and later released on CD format. Each season covered in a matter of "chapters" with a couple twists that gave the listeners the power of choice. At the end of each night, listeners could call in and vote for certain decisions, which dramatically altered the outcome of the story. These dramas were successful enough to spawn yet another disc based on Ghost Head alone. All of them were run by TBS Radio's show "The Game Drama Night of Koyasu & Hikami" for about five years. These dramas were played on Sundays just before midnight and were voiced by so-called "famous" film critics from Japan (like Kazuko Komoro and Nagaharu Yodogawa, who also doubled as a narrator on these).

A Clock Tower movie was also proposed, but has been in development hell since 2008. One of the actresses once attached to play Jennifer, Brittany Snow, confirmed the presence of Scissorman. At one point, director David R. Ellis (of Snakes on a Plane fame) was attached, but passed away two years later.

Spiritual Successors

There have been a number of fan driven homages to Clock Tower over the years. One, Remothered, has been in development since 2010. Developed by Chris Darril, it runs on a custom point and click engine, making it feel like a 90s era adventure game. Early demos were promising, as it had completely original gameplay, pretty graphics, voice acting and even more gore. However, Darril was unable to accomplish this by himself, so the project was bought by Atrematica Entertainment, an Italian studio known to release an insane amount of shovelware. It seemed to have changed completely, and the status of the project is essentially in limbo.

Another project, Wretcher, was developed by Alan V. Drake to simulate an atmospheric, spiritual spinoff of Clock Tower. He has actually released a demo, which shows the game to be based heavily off the SFC original. It has an enhanced menu, excellent sound effects, random occurrences in some backgrounds, and even multiple ways to killing you when being careless. It is also still in development.

In late September 2014, Clock Tower's original director Hifumi Kono triumphantly announced the return of the beloved horror franchise in the form of a spiritual sequel whose pilot project was named "Project Scissors" (later subtitled "NightCry"). The surprise revival came like music to the crowd's ears and gave the gaming sites and gamers alike vibrant hopes for the long dead genre to be rightfully rebirthed the way it should.

The game is still in development (uncertain of release date unless properly funded) so the details are still hazy. So far, we seem to control another girl simply named Monica, a blonde girl clad in a blue-green dress, whose story is yet to unfold as she drifts aboard the ship named Oceanus. While riding in the middle of the ocean, the luxury cruise slowly starts turning into an expensively floating morgue when the newly named "Scissorswalker" (an apparently more supernatural being now) starts making a bloody abattoir out of ship's population. So far, gameplay videos show us that the game goes back and stays true to its roots, being a point and click adventure like the SFC game.

A Kickstarter campaign helped fund the game in February 2015. Big names such as Ju-On: The Grudge's writer/directory Takashi Shimizu, Silent Hill's creature designer Masahiro Ito and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's composer Michiru Yamane are just some of the core members of the remarkable team making this dream (or nightmare) come true.


Drama CD Back Cover

Remothered (Windows)

Wretcher (Windows)


Related Articles


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Clock Tower
Clock Tower II

Page 2:
Clock Tower: Ghost Head
Clock Tower 3

Page 3:
Haunting Ground

Discuss on the Forums!

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