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With Clockwork Knight, the first platform game for the Sega Saturn, Sega clearly shows what kind of power their new console can deliver, but fails partially when it comes to what excitement is all about.

Shortly after you insert the CD into the console, a ravishing graphical introduction will show you what happened in the toy of worlds. As the graphics of the game were rendered on Silicon Graphics stations, you can easily imagine how it can look and especially on such a console. This quality of animations was only possible on huge and expensive computer systems years ago and thanks to the continuing development of technology, it is now available for nearly anyone to have it at home!

To resume the story in a few words, Princess Chelsea was kidnapped by a stranger, and as you can guess, your role will be to rescue her. However, things are more complicated than it may first appear. Every night when the clock strikes midnight, the voice of Princess Chelsea unfolds a magical world where only toys come to life. Now that Princess Chelsea is gone, the toys will fall asleep if she does not return by dawn which means they will never awake again. Thus, during your quest, time will be a critical element you must take into count for the success of your journey.

The character you control is Pepperouchau, a master swordsman or should I say a master keyman as your weapon consists of a key. You have been chosen to free the Princess but before, you will have to go through all the rooms of the magical toyland. Eight different levels will take you from the kitchen to the attic with five nasty bosses ready to give you the lesson of your life!

Each time you are hit by a character or any hurting elements from the scene, you will lose one try and will die when you don't have anyone left. However, it is possible from the start menu option to select the number of tries from three by default to a maximum of six. But even with the six tries, you will feel as if it is not enough to succeed. That is why power-ups have been scattered all over the levels to help you when you need it the most. The first kind of power-ups you can encounter are the keys. Three of them are available: the gold, silver and bronze. Of course, like in the Olympic Games where athlets are running for a gold instead of a bronze, the keys offer different rewards depending on their value. The bronze key restores one try, while the silver and the gold keys restore all the hits with the advantage of the gold over the silver being the addition of an extra try. Then, there are two kinds of helmets: the Oneon and the Garluch. The first one adds one try and the second, very rare, gives you three tries. The last two other kinds of power-ups are the time bonuses and the Pa Zur spheres. As the name of the first one suggests to you, this bonus will add five seconds to the elapsing time. Finally, the Pa Zur spheres are very powerful power-ups that will prevent you from being attacked by enemies but not from falling down or being hurt by machinery.

The other way not to be hit is to anticipate the attack of your adversaries. To do so, you can attack first, avoid their strike by moving quickly, or even jump. There are three possible jumps in the game: the regular one, the paladin leap which is basically a long jump, and the spring jump which you can only perform when you find a spring. Among your other moves, you can look up and down, open boxes, place items, and push and pull objects.

The game uses three dimensional backgrounds and objects so that when you move horizontally or vertically, you have different views. Other elements throughout the game enhance this 3D effect like doll's houses that fall towards you when you pass in front of them. It is quite innovative indeed, but it is certainly not something I will miss in a platform game because personally, it didn't bring me an extra dose of fun.


For anyone who loves platform games, Clockwork Knight is something that you must play with because of the graphics, the excellent animations and the CD-quality sound. For the rest of the gamers, I strongly recommend you to give it a try before you buy it. And for connoisseurs, Clockwork Knight dosen't even come close to matching Gex on the 3DO!


Overall: ***1/2


In North America:

Sega of America Inc.,
255 Shoreline Drive,
2nd floor,
Redwood City, CA 94065

In Europe:

In UK:

Sega Europe Ltd.,
247 Cromwell Road,
London SW5 9GA

In Netherlands:

Sega Video Games Netherlands B.V.,
47, Huizermaatweg,
1273 Na Huizen.

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