Clockwork Knight is a platform game exclusive to the Sega Saturn that mixes pre-rendered 2D graphics (like those in Donkey Kong Country) and 3D graphics (polygonal shapes), with the concept of children’s toys coming to life, and it is a pleasant and playable enough experience as platform games go. It was developed and published by Sega and first released in 1994.
The game is a fairly simple side-scrolling platformer with you controlling “Pepperouchau“, the titular Clockwork Knight, and he can walk, run, jump, and hit things with his held key. He can also hit things over and over again, very quickly, with this key, which is useful in certain situations. Each level is a different room in the house, filled with puzzles and traps, and Pepperouchau must make his way through them alive in order to rescue whoever it is he’s supposed to be rescuing (I forget – but it doesn’t really matter…)
After the second level there’s a boss fight, then a box-spinning roulette-type game where you can earn extra lives by placing bets. Then you continue platforming again. Rinse and repeat. Actually, that’s not fair… There are actually some good ideas and interesting sections in this game which show that Clockwork Knight‘s developers really knew what they were doing. The train level in Kevin’s Room is ingenious; the boss fights are very good; the camera zooming in and out at certain points I thought worked really well, and there’s a solidity and charm to this game that makes it worthwhile to play even now.
Clockwork Knight is a decent enough game. It’s a bit under-developed maybe. The mix of graphical styles is interesting, and the production values are high. The gameplay is challenging and worthwhile enough, though. A sequel, Clockwork Knight 2, followed in 1995.