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Claw, by Monolith Productions, is a classic-type platform video game that features a two-dimensional platform world featuring a main character at its focus and enemies roaming around. There are traps, secret areas and treasure.
The story is similar to many pirate films, games and other sources: a famous cat pirate, Captain Nathaniel Joseph Claw was imprisoned by the Cocker-Spaniards (a dog species, a pun on Cocker Spaniel). In the prison he finds a note and a map hidden in the wall, signed as Edward Tobin, in which he learns about the Amulet of Nine Lives - a mystical artifact that grants its wearer near-immortality. Breaking out of his cell, Claw sets out to collect all 9 gems of the amulet and retrieve it for himself. The game begins with Claw outside his cell. During his journey, before descending into the caverns, he meets his old crew (presumed dead after the attack on his ship). Claw finds that they were given three gems by Tobin, two of which were taken by Red Tail, a tiger who eventually becomes Claw's arch enemy. After defeating Omar who holds the last gem, Claw places the gems on a pedestal. They rearrange themselves and the ghost of a princess comes and gives him the amulet after summarizing his adventure. The final scene shows him leaving on his ship with the amulet, his crew, and Omar with him.
The adventure takes place as the player passes through various locations. There are 14 levels in the game, each in a different area: In each level, Claw encounters two sets of main enemies who are always different kinds of dogs with the exception of the eleventh and twelfth levels where the main enemies are mercats, and the last level where they are tigers. In addition there are a number of sub enemies spread through many levels like mice, seagulls, lizards and fish which do not cause much harm, but cause a lot of trouble. In addition, Claw has to battle bosses every second level (with the exception of the thirteenth level). The bosses are also dogs with the exception of the fourth level, where the boss is a cat, the twelfth level where the boss is a giant frog and the last level where the boss is a tiger. There are also numerous traps scattered around the levels.
- Level 1 - La Roca: The jail where Claw was imprisoned. Contains Pink Robed Guards wielding sabres, Blue Robed Guards wielding guns, Mice which throw explosives and spiked areas.
- Level 2 - The Battlements: The walls of the prison. Contains tar pits, cannons, the same guards at the prison, who are now tougher and more powerful and Cannon Wielding Mice. The first boss, Le Rauxe, the Prison Warden is at the level's end in a state like room with his portrait. He wields a sword, wears splendid purple robes and has the first gem. He can be vanquished by the sword.
- Level 3 - The Footpath: A path through mountains and woods. Also includes underground mines, filled with traps. This area contains Robber Thieves clad in green blankets shooting arrows, Cutthroats clad in red and white blazons wielding small cut knives and the same Mice as in the prison.
- Level 4 - Dark Woods: A forest, containing swamps and spike traps. The same Robber Thieves and Cutthroats in Footpath guard the important areas. Mice are also present. However in this forest the Robber Thieves are clad in brown blankets and the Cutthroats are clad in brown and white blazons. The second boss (with the second gem) is here - Katherine, the Forest Outlaw clad in white robes with a red shawl. She is found in a secluded spot in the woods which is surrounded on all sides by trees. She wields a thick, black rope for attack and can jump long distances. She can also be only attacked with a knife and punches
- Level 5 - The Township: An urban level with churches, houses and long, wooden bridges which wear off when walked on. Treasure can also be found in some of the statues. There are White Guard Dogs wearing black police uniforms and wielding long bladeswords, Brown Guard Dogs who are much taller also wearing black police uniforms who are exceptionally skilled in sword defence, Seagulls with sharp beaks and spiked rock traps.
- Level 6 - El Puerto del Lobos: A large town on the coast consisting mostly of milk booths, terraces, open sewers, state buildings and residential blocks. Most of the level is underground, in the city sewers. Contains open sewer pits, the same Guard Dogs in Township who are now more powerful and carry anti sword and shield devices, sewer platforms, Mice and more vicious Seagulls. The third boss (and gem) Wolvington who is the Town Magistrate and Mayor will be encountered at the end of the level at the Magistrate Headquarters. He is clad in a stately red, white and yellow royal robe and utilizes magic techniques and missiles at a distance and good, curved punches when nearby. Only a sword or punching will do for this boss.
- Level 7 - The Docks: A nocturnal level at the docks of El Puerto del Lobos and the coast. This area is filled with Pirates loyal to the great pirate master Red Tail who are clad in bright red clothes set in a thick, deep yellow body. They wield medium sized swords. Also present are Bear Sailors clad in purple and white striped shirts who try to throttle and strangle any enemy who crosses their path, the dreaded Seagulls who are now found doubly as often compared to earlier, White Crabs, Grey Bomber Crabs who explode at first touch and the sea which also serves as a trap.
- Level 8 - Shipyards: A level that contains ships and platforms. The same Bear Sailors, Red Tail Pirates, Seagulls and pitfalls inhabit the area. However, in this level, the Mice are back and this time they operate canons. The difference is that the Red Tail Pirates are clad in a more dull shade of red clothes set in a pale, yellow body. The Bear Sailors are now clad in red and white striped shirts. The fourth boss - Gabriel, the Top Aide, Right Hand and Second In Command of Red Tail who holds another gem, will be encountered at a ship atop a platform in the end. He is clad in a stately red robe and is more interested in beautifying himself. He keeps a cannon at the bottom platform (where Claw is standing) and will throw bombs or fire the cannon at regular intervals. At his command, many Red Tail Pirates will also attack Claw. The way to defeat him is to turn the cannon in his direction by knifing the cannon direction machine repeatedly. Gabriel will pit his own downfall when he repeatedly fires the cannon onto himself.
- Level 9 - Pirates' Cove: The pirates' lair. Filled with traps, shooting cannons and arrows, Peg Leg Pirates clad in dull set of red and white clothes wielding pistols, Crazy Hook Pirates clad in blue shirts wielding trap hooks and Seagulls.
- Level 10 - The Cliffs: Cliffs, caverns, chasms, shooting arrows which are now found almost everywhere and same Peg Leg Pirates and Crazy Hook Pirates appear in this level. The difference is that the Peg Leg Pirates are now clad in a dull set of grey and white clothes and the Crazy Hook Pirates are now clad in grey clothes. The fifth boss - Marrow, the Pirate Master who is in fact an old friend of Claw and sworn enemy of Pirate Master Red Tail holds the fifth gem. He is encountered in a room separated in the middle with a trap. He is clad in bright, emerald robes wielding a very long sword and a massive pistol and holding his pet parrot which is more vicious than the Seagulls. Hitting the parrot three times opens a bridge over the trap which can be crossed over so the sword can be used on Marrow. He then crosses over to the other side with the help of his parrot. The process is then repeated three more time to bring about the Pirate Master's end.
- Level 11 - The Caverns: Caverns filled with crystals and minerals. Many traps appear and there are areas with the moving platforms. The sea bed also serves as a trap. The enemies in the Caverns are Male Mercats with a green tail wielding long, deadly spears that fire missiles that cause serious damage, Female Sirens also with a green tail whose main weapon is their stun, which immobilizes Claw for a few seconds, making him an easy target for the Mercats and Fish which haunt the base of the riverbed. Mercats and Sirens almost always occur together throughout the level.
- Level 12 - Undersea Caves: A set of caves underwater. Filled with the same Mercats and Sirens, except with blue tails, more vicious traps, Fish and powerful earthquakes throughout the level due to the anger of the sixth boss - Aquatis. Aquatis, the Giant Frog King and Lord of the Undersea Caves holds the sixth gem. Aquatis wears nothing on his huge bare, green body except a magnificent crown, studded with jewels on his head. He can be encountered at the very bottom of the seabed where a narrow stretch of sea separates him from the platform where Claw is standing. There is a hole behind where he is standing. The platform is full of Tentacle Like Weeds which are to be knifed down. Then dynamite is to be thrown in the hole(behind Aquatis) making a tooth fall on his head. Aquatis then becomes agitated and his anger again brings up the Tentacles which are again knifed down and the process is repeated to vanquish Aquatis who holds the sixth gem.
- Level 13 - Tiger Island: An island filled with Red Tail Pirates and Bear Sailors once again. The Red Tail Pirates again wear dull red clothes as in the Shipyard, but this time they are very tough and block sword attacks easily. The Bear Sailors again in the same red and white shirts now try to throttle with impunity. In addition there are Disappearing Lizards who blend with the surrounding and are hard to find. They are extremely irksome and cause a lot of injury to Claw. In addition there are more traps, difficult paths through steep waterfalls, many rivers and lakes and spiked areas. The seventh boss, Pirate Master Red Tail, who has the seventh and eighth gems and the most vicious and sworn enemy of Claw is encountered at the very end of the beach. He is also clad in dull red pirate clothes like his men. He is very powerful and uses good, curved punches and also keeps raining spiked leaves on Claw. His challenge has to be met with knifing him whenever possible and to keep moving around and dodging him.
- Level 14 - The Temple: A temple filled with lava, fire traps, machines pouring out tonnes of flames, moving platforms and more Disappearing Lizards. The inhabitants of the temple, Tiger Monks serve as the enemies. The monks are real tigers(so far the main enemies were dogs with the exception of the eleventh and twelfth levels were they were mercats, in addition to sub enemies like mice, seagulls, lizards, fishes and crabs)and they are clad in either gold or silver robes. They are the toughest enemies in the game with high accuracy and movement in their fist attacks. The last boss is here - the High Priest and Head Of The Tigers Omar, who uses powerful magic and guards the last gem, and the amulet. He is encountered at the very heart of the temple with fire on all sides. It starts at platform at the center with many levels up, below, left and right. Omar goes to the bottom level (accessed by flight of stairs) where there are two platforms on either side separated by a lava pit. Omar is protected by a fire ball, so Claw should move to the left level, dodge flames, make many jumps and get the ice sword. This has to be used on Omar. Then Omar gets an ice shield protection around him. The right galley is to be accessed to get a fire sword to tackle Omar. The process is repeated until Omar collapses. But he recovers and moves to the top level where there are again two platforms separated by just an empty plunge to the bottom level. Omar keeps throwing magic globes which cause a hell lot of damage. Moving around quickly and dodging the globes while knifing him possible is the way to vanquish Omar........and beat the game.
Weapons and items
The game has 4 weapons:
Claw's fist / kick / sword
Basic hack-and-slash. As resources for special abilities and ranged attacks are limited, melee is the most commonly utilized form of combat in the game. Claw's sword has longer range, but his kicks and punches are faster and cannot be blocked as easily. Each attack does equal damage, except for the crouch-attack, which is weaker. Besides defending himself, Claw can use his sword to break open containers, boxes, and other vessels.
Several "powerups" exist for Claw's sword. Their availability can vary, but usually take effort to acquire. All power-ups grant both a ranged attack and incredible power, but only for an allotted time (typically about thirty seconds). There are three types: Frost, Fire, and Lightning; the first freezes enemies on contact, the latter two both burn enemies (one with heat and one with electricity). The Elemental Swords typically have no effect on bosses, though there is one special case where they are needed. There are other powerups that may help Claw through the game: Invulnerability - a glowing book. Usually lasts 30 seconds and makes every hazard go through you. Invisibility - a white helmet. Everything hits you - but only if you're clumsy. Has no effect on seagulls. Catnip - a strong attack, a good jump, a good speed. It has got a secret connected with it somewhere in a level.
|Pistol||Basic ranged weapon with limited ammo. Can be replenshed by small packs of +5 ammo called shot and large packs of +10 ammo called shot bag.|
|Magic claw||Magic missile, very powerful. Can be replenshed by magic glows of +5 and magic starglows with different shape for +10.|
|Dynamite||High damage, difficult to target certain areas. A stick of dynamite can give +5 ammo.|
It is worth noting that the Captain is able to pick up and throw a large number of materials.
Gunpowder kegs can be lifted and thrown as an alternative to a risky melee or ranged combat. They can also be detonated by the pistol or dynamite bundles. In this case they should get rid of any enemies nearby. Caution must be exercised, though. If thrown kegs land short or are dropped (which can happen if Claw takes damage while he walks with the kegs), they can cause serious damage to Claw.
Several enemies can be lifted and thrown into abysmal "death" pools, pit traps, or even into each other. The former two can be costly, as treasure or other valuable goodies can be eliminated along with the enemies.
As with most things, there are exceptions. This notably includes small enemies such as the Rats, Chameleons, and Birds. With others, such as Sirens and Mercats, it is unwise to fight using this method at all. Some enemies are simply difficult to catch and lift, which makes this method even less wise.
If the player uses the SuperThrow cheat, Claw can throw the enemies so far that they disappear when they hit the ground(or in the air, if they don't land for an amount of time), leaving the treasure on it.
Treasure is scattered through all levels, consisting of coins, gold bars, and other jewelry. Points are awarded for collecting these items. The item of treasure and the points are as follows:
- Coins - 100 points - most common kind of treasure
- Gold Bar - 500 points - often found in boxes and crates
- Ring - 1500 points
- Chalice - 2500 points
- Cross - 5000 points
- Scepter - 7500 points - often found in pairs
- Gecko - 10000 points
- Crown - 15000 points - usually found in secret places
- Skull - 25000 points - very rare to find
Custom levels are additional levels for Claw. They can be created with a free editor named WapWorld. It can be downloaded from Claw's official page. It's not a simple program, and it takes a certain time to learn its logics and editing operations. It can also be helpful in checking an unusual situation in a level and analyzing the solutions: a wall might be hiding a ladder which you can't see, but the editor can. All custom levels are WapWor documents; to allow Claw to "see" them, you must put them into the "Custom" folder. These levels can be very short or very long, very easy or very challenging, there are about two hundred of decent custom levels on the web. Custom levels can be used for network game, although some of them are apparently useless for this type of game, for example, a series of boss fights that has nothing but training with the bosses. The cheats are very numerous. Some of them will prevent you from saving the game. Some of them, the least important ones, don't. Even more, there are cheats for v.1.0, and different for v.1.2. They aren't compatible. The game has five worthy sources of help: this article, Joe Robb's Guide telling how to make the game work with Windows XP, the forums, Rich Kleinhenz's walkthroughs on each level and a big Claw Design Bible.