Way back in 1995 (Europe) one of the major console players at the time released its much anticipated next-generation console, called the Sega Saturn. The world was excited, Sega were the kings coming off the back of the very successful Megadrive/Genesis. The Saturn came with a bit of a fanfare, it’s eventual failure & downfall is another story. This post is about the Saturn’s launch title….Clockwork Knight.
Clockwork Knight is a side-scrolling platform game with similarities to 3D models of Killer Instinct. One major difference is that the levels & bosses were 3D. It was different to what had come before but you could easily see the development from the likes of Donkey Kong Country.
The story follows a toy soldier by the name of ‘Pepper’ (full name: Sir Tongara de Pepperouchau III) who is in love with the Clockwork Princess. He is a bit of a joke to the other toys who wake every night at midnight by the sound of the Princess’s voice.
One night she is captured by evil forces, the toys are turned evil so Pepper & his love rival Ginger (also a clockwork knight albeit more suave) set out to rescue her.
Peppers main mode of attack is his key, he can jab it to stun enemies or twist around to take enemies out in one. The key will also open passages to allow further progress with the aim being to finish a level within a time limit. Lose all your lives? Start the level again. There are no checkpoints & the levels are quite big so expect some frustration. Every 3 levels you will also have to face off against bosses who require a bit more thought in how to take them down.
The game has 13 levels including the bosses & good players will get through it in a short amount of time.
Looking back on the game now it’s hard to be impressed, it hasn’t aged very well but in 1995 Clockwork Knight signified the future of gaming. We were going fully 3D, platform games that played like Sonic or Mario would be a thing of the past. Clockwork Knight was an impressive feat as a debut game, it was fun to play & looked really good. The story was simple but classic & while it was unforgiving in its lack of checkpoints the game was easy enough should the player take their time.
A sequel was released the same year (Europe).
It’s interesting to look at Clockwork Knight now knowing what we do about the Saturn. Does it show the difficulties developers said they had dealing with the Saturn? Or is it exactly what you would expect from a debut game of a system moving into new territory?