Imagine you're a frightened, fragile teenage girl who's been kidnapped by supernatural forces you don't understand and thrown into the past to confront dead serial killers. So far you've evaded, faced down and destroyed a lumbering man-hulk with an executioner's hood and a sledgehammer, a maniac in a gasmask who hunted you with a hose full of acid and a shirtless Marilyn Manson lookalike with a hatchet.
Above: Oh, for… really? Really, these two? Ugh, Christ
Now think: what's the scariest thing that could top off that experience? Whatever it is, it sure as hell isn't this:
So Clock Tower 3's idea of horrific killers is a brother-and-sister team of acrobatic ninja-harlequins with no pants? Maybe pancake makeup and high-pitched voices trigger some deep, primal fear in the Japanese psyche, but we couldn't quite bring ourselves to be afraid of these two Dynasty Warriors rejects, no matter how hard we tried. It didn’t even matter that we were playing as a skittish, easily murdered girl; somehow, we felt so innately superior to these clowns that it was impossible for our brains to register them as anything more than a temporary irritation.
Considering that these preening clods are followed up by a giant, foppish musketeer of a final boss, Clock Tower 3 stands out more than any other game not just for having shot its scare wad too early, but also for having no idea
how to clean up afterward.
But its sins are still minor compared to what comes next.
The original Resident Evil might not have been the first survival-horror game, but it's the one that set the mold for all the others to follow. Telling the story of a group of special agents trapped in a house full of zombies, its schlocky scares and obtuse puzzles were made up for by an overbearing sense that something could jump out and eat you at any second - mostly because it often did.
Above: Pretty damn scary
Above: Not even a little scary
But Resident Evil is infamous for another reason: its hilariously bad voice acting and script. If you've ever heard the lines, "You, the master of unlocking," or "STOP IT! Don't open! That door!" or even "You were almost a Jill sandwich," then you've tasted the true horror of Resident Evil.
The game might have been a trailblazer, but every time one of its characters started to say something, we wanted to shove them straight down a zombie’s throat. Still, we all developed a sort of grudging, ironic love for those awful performances, and when the slick GameCube remake shoved them aside in favor of voice actors that were paid with money
instead of sandwiches, a little part of us died - only to reawaken later and attempt to eat the rest of us.
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