I have no idea how my friend Jordan came to own this game, or why he felt I needed to play it, but he did, and then I played it. This game is Splatterhouse, remake of the 1988 classic game I never played when it was in arcades. Nor did I play Splatterhouse 2 and 3 because they were for the Sega and I never had one. But BottleRocket and Namco Bandai Games brought the remake of the classic to a system I actually owned, and I didn’t have to pay anything for it, so I gave it a shot.
In Splatterhouse, you play as Rick Taylor, a scrawny emo boy blessed by the Gods with a hot girlfriend Jennifer. Jennifer is invited to a creepy mansion to interview reclusive professor of necrobiology, Dr. Henry West. Unfortunately for them, Jennifer strongly resembles the dead wife of Dr. West, Lenore. So he kidnaps Jennifer and has one of his creatures mortally wound Rick. As Rick bleeds on the floor, a mask falls out of a sarcophagus that identifies itself as the Terror Mask. In exchange for Rick delivering lots and lots of blood to the Terror Mask, the mask agrees to help Rick save Jennifer. So Rick puts on the mask, spins around in a vortex, and becomes a guy in a zoot suit with a green face. No wait … I got confused for a second. Instead he turns really buff, like a pasty white Hulk. As you continue through the game, you kill things in brutal ways, learn that Dr. West intends to resurrect Lenore in Jennifer’s body, travel through time learning the backstory, and then you save Jennifer. OR DO YOU?! No, she’s possessed. But that’s the end of the game.
If I had to sum up this game in one sentence, I would say “Decent game, poorly executed”. The type of game is truly tested by time, but I don’t feel that makes it any less fun. A good old fashioned beat-’em-up game can always be entertaining. You truly don’t need your brain for this game as it’s nothing mold-breaking and it’s not even particularly difficult as you can, at almost any time, drain blood from your enemies and get your health back to good. Basically the gameplay need not go further than randomly pressing X and Y. When you desire to perform a SplatterKill on a creature, wait till they turn red, press B, and follow the timed button press events. These button press events were both good and bad. The way they made you move the controller made it feel more like you were actually controlling the character intricately because, if it was going to rip an enemies arms off, you would pull the analog sticks apart from each other to do it. If you were to crush the enemies head, push them together. Tear an enemies head off? Well just lift them both up. I liked these. What I didn’t like is that you could hardly make out what stick movements it was calling for on the screen and, by the time I did, I was probably already dead.
The gameplay is mostly mindless beat-’em-up with a little bit of ill conceived platformer. No real complaints about the beat-’em-up part. The platformer part was pretty poor, however. Rick does not jump that well, big hulking goon that he is, and it’s not that enjoyable to fall into spike traps and have to restart from checkpoint because the controls weren’t focused on that well in the production. There are platforming parts that involve jumping back and forth from highlighted hook to highlighted hook, and these parts work well, but are a little boring. One of the cool things this game does is it will occasionally revert to 2D side-scroller from it’s normal 3D game to pay homage to the old Splatterhouse style. These parts are kept fun by not being present too often.
The look is pretty solid. I wouldn’t say that the graphics are amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but they pull of the horror/slasher movie look pretty well. After a battle, blood is often caking the environment, as you would expect it to be after what you just did. The camera is one of the major failing points here. The camera seems to fight you with a greater degree of difficulty than most of the enemies, and that’s not good. Sometimes, if you get too close to a wall, the camera will flip around so the only thing you can see on the screen is your character and not the enemy that’s about to hit you. And when you need to go forward and you lose track of which side is the way you came and which side is the way you’re going, it can get annoying.
The biggest problems here involve loading. First of all, the load times are pretty ridiculous for a game that is probably near the middle of the pack graphically. For a system that can make Deus Ex and Gears of War 3 look like they do and still only take as long to load as this game, one that looks like this should pop right up. Hell, even the damned menus in this game have loading times. Normally I wouldn’t have that much problem with loading times as I can be pretty patient, but when I’m constantly dying in the same place because your platforming sucks and having to wait about a minute to try again, that will get frustrating. And the biggest problem with this game which will keep me from recommending it strongly in a paragraph is … the glitches. This game froze on me about 15 times. I looked online and it turns out it’s not just the copy of the game I got, it’s the game itself. And as this game has been out for almost a year, a patch should have been released by now fixing this. I assume they’ve no interest in spending more money on this game, and I recommend you do the same.
In summation, you don’t really need to play this game. The fact that it comes with the first 3 Splatterhouse games on it is a nice touch, but I don’t even know if I have interest in playing them. I’m not one for nostalgia. If you can rent this game or find it for around $10, it may be worth it for a bit of mindless ultra-violence. Otherwise, I give this game a “Don’t bother” out of 1064.
And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.