Adventure Horror is perhaps one of the most oft copied, poorest acted genres that the video game industry has ever given us. Resplendent with cheap thrills, heavily shadowed corridors, and voice acting so bad that it could peel paint for a living (and that's after it gave up its day job), I've always kept a wary eye out for games like this. As a fan of the classics, I enjoy the genre, but usually through gritted teeth.
Clocktower 3 isn't what I'd call an overly original concept, but the gameplay to be found here is different enough from the norm for my liking. Instead of relying on health, weaponry, and any number of other tired conventions, Clocktower 3 uses a small variety of items, a single real weapon, and a bottle of holy water capable of halting enemies and solving puzzles. Equipped with a 'panic meter' that increases depending on what frights you've encountered, you can't lose the game unless your character panics, and is then struck by an enemy. While different, and not quite something I'd normally endorse, it seems to be a good variation on the traditional horror adventure scheme, and works well.
I'm ambivalent about the storyline, given how much it drives games like these, and yet often seems to be their weakest point. In this case, it's not quite that bad, but there's a great deal of cliché, and material that doesn't seem like it translated well from the Japanese version of this title. However, the bosses in Clocktower 3 are all interesting, and rather than just slipping straight into a boss fight, you'll get a fair amount of interaction with them. Just letting the first boss stalk around trying to find you, crying out the name of your character, Alyssa, is quite suspenseful.
From a technical standpoint, there doesn't seem to be much work needed here. The game blends 3D and pre-rendered environment details quite well, but as always, lacks the truly dynamic nature that makes games likee come alive. There isn't quite as much shadow as I'd expect, especially with how frightening good use of darkness and light can be.
Finally, even at the later stages of the game, it seemed quite easy to progress, offering little challenge. For someone looking for a good time with a game from this genre, I'd say that Clocktower 3 is a decent choice, but not a truly strong one.