Splatterhouse is a classic horror-themed series. It’s highly influential and the first 3 games in the series were great fun. Seeing previews and reviews of this game, I wasn’t expecting it to be really good, but I still wanted to check it out because I appreciate the originals, so I rented it, and played through it, as well as a bit of the extra content.
Read on and see if I enjoyed my time with the game!
Developer: BottleRocket up to early 2009, Namco Bandai Games America afterwards
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games America
Date of Release: November 23rd 2010
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 (PS3 version reviewed)
Genre: Beat ‘em Up
Rated M for Mature (riding very close to an AO rating I’d think)
What is good about this game
It’s a classics collection
Easily the best part of the game. Every 2 chapters until chapter 6, you unlock one of the classics. The first Splatterhouse is the uncensored arcade version, and the other 2 were only on Genesis so we get unchanged Genesis versions of those. These version play really well. The games all control very well, I haven’t seen any graphical problems with the emulation, nor have I found any sound problems with the emulation. Other than the actual original versions, this is probably the best way to play the original Splatterhouse games. Don’t even bring up the piece of shit iPhone port of the first Splatterhouse, that thing is barely controllable.
Each of the 3 games are really good. The third game in the series is a departure from the style of the first 2, but it is a good Beat ‘em Up and a big part of the inspiration for this game, at least gameplay-wise. The only thing that kinda sucks here is the lack of Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti, the cartoonish Famicom spin-0ff, which would have been a great addition.
It’s actually not a bad beat’em up
Rather than being a God of War/Devil May Cry-style of action game, it has more in common with classic Beat ‘em Ups. If I’d compare Splatterhouse to anything recent, I’d say it’s quite similar to Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, just much better. And, as a Beat ‘em Up, it’s not bad at all. You have 2 types of attacks: Direct attacks, and Directional attacks. Directional attacks can be charged (this slows down time and enables you to aim at whichever enemy you want), direct attacks cannot. You can dash, and during said dash you can launch a variety of attacks. You can block and roll to evade. And you have “mask” attacks by pressing L1 and any of the attack buttons, which takes one segment of your Necro Meter but they’re more devestating. The only way you can heal yourself is by using the Splatter Siphon attack, which actually drains health from monsters (moreso if you mash the circle button). Speaking of the Necro Meter, if you have at least 3 segments full, you can go in Berserker mode, which fully heals you and makes you a whole lot stronger.Â Also, killing enemies give you blood, which can be used to buy upgrades for Rick, making certain attacks stronger, Â and enabling for new moves, overall adding a bit of variety to the fighting.
The fighting itself is fairly satisfying, if not a bit shallow due to the game being a Beat ‘em Up rather than an all-out action game ala DMC. The action is fast enough, attacks can be blocked and avoided, but, if you get hit, it’s hard to get out of the way of follow-up attacks, so you have to be really careful. If you’re surrounded by enemies and end up getting hit, you’re pretty much as good as dead. You can also pick up weapons, ranging from lead pipes, 2x4s (of course), baseball bats, your own arm if it ends up getting cut off (it regenerates, don’t worry), a shotgun, enemy arms and enemy heads. If your arm gets cut off, you basically become useless. You get very slow attacks, you can’t dodge and it takes a little while to regenerate. You can get it back by using any of the mask moves, but, if you don’t have a segment of the necro meter full, you have to run away for a short while with no means to defend yourself.
The game is quite repetitive, as it’s mostly just “Get in room with monster, kill a bunch of them/places them on spikes, go to next room to do the same thing”. But that’s sort of the nature of Beat ‘em Ups, and here you do gain more moves and powers as you progress through the game, so it doesn’t really get stale. And it’s not long enough to get stale anyways (yes, short length, for this type of game, is a good thing), clocking it at around 6-7 hours.
A reboot of an old game wouldn’t be complete without segments that play like the old games… right? Well, Splatterhouse delivers, with side-scrolling segments that are very reminiscent of the first 2 games. Other reviewers have actually bashed the side-scrolling segments for fairly stupid reasons like “you have to be precise with the platforming” and such. Yeah, a side-scrolling game with platforming aspects that requires you to be precise? CRAZY CONCEPT… Really though, these parts are simple fun. Nowhere near as hard as the original 2 games, but very interesting nonetheless.
What some people might like or not like in Splatterhouse
I like the story. It’s not that deep and involving, but it’s still interesting. It’s a reboot of the original, so it starts with Jennifer and Rick going to West Mansion to meet with Doctor West about school. They get attacked by monsters, Rick is left to die, Jennifer gets kidnapped, and Rick dons the Terror Mask (voiced by the awesome Jim Cummings) to revive and become super huge and powerful. The rest of the game is spent chasing after Doctor West, through time portals and to different places. As you progress through the game, you learn about the game’s world and Henry West’s past (why he became a mad doctor and such), and a few really strong moments. I’ll say at the very least that it actually goes a lot deeper than the previous games in the series, and you actually get a good idea of Doctor West’s motivation.
One thing that made the original Splatterhouse so great is the ending, it wasn’t just a twist, it was downright fucked up, and probably one of the most disturbing game moments ever. Here, you also get a twist ending, but it’s not really creepy or disturbing, it’s just “oh, okay, that sets up for a sequel”. Not a great ending, but if it sets up to a good sequel I don’t mind.
The game is quite gory. I think people have overhyped the gore though, it’s not nearly as “bad” as we’ve been hearing both in previews and reviews. But there’s still some pretty violent stuff. Ripping people in half, ripping heads off, ripping out anuses… It’s not SUPER graphic, but it is fairly violent and there’s always blood flying everywhere. If you’re in for violent stuff, this is fine in that aspect. Not overly gory like so many people have been claiming, but it is amongst the more violent games this generation. I’ll say it’s about on par with its predecessors in regards, just a bit more since the graphics are technically better and more detailed.
I like the graphics. Now they’re not great, definitely not. The shadows are pretty bad, the lighting is really weird (and sometimes downright terrible), the hair looks really strange, some of the textures are low res… Yet I like how the game looks. I think part of that is due to the fact that it doesn’t go for grey-brown gritty “realism” and instead goes at it in a fairly wacky look. Or the fact that it looks very B-movie-ish. It’s actually really colorful and fun to look at, which really contrasts with all the violence going on. Â The look has a very subtle semi-cel-shaded look which actually looks really nice. Tons of things are clearly based on the previous games in the series (as well as all the great influences the series had before).
While I was okay with the graphics, the musical choice is a bit weird. Splatterhouse had fairly haunting and creepy music in previous games, though the tunes were also fast-paced and exciting. They were really good and really fit with the environments and story of the game. Here, you have really bad metal. Don’t get me wrong, I love metal, I listen to it all the time, but the metal here… wouldn’t be really good outside of the game. It’s a screamy type of metal that I really don’t like, and I feel that it doesn’t go well with the feel of the game. Heck, I think my problem here is that there’s lyrics in the songs, if it were just instrumental metal I’d have less of a problem with it. But there’s still a massive lack of haunting/creepy music here.
What sucks about the game
The loading times, holy shit. Loading before starting the game being 25-35 seconds long isn’t too bad, if it happens only when you start playing. Here, you have at least 25 seconds long loading every time you die, and every time you get to another level/part of a level. If you get to a part that repeatedly kills you, you’ll be waiting more than you’ll actually be playing. It’s annoying.
Other technical problems like the lighting in the graphics Â fucking up during splatterkills, or the final part of the game where I had to reduce the brightness because it was blindlingly white. And there’s glitches. Really weird glitches. 2 I got had me killed for no reason. One was at the end of a boss battle, where I got a game over screen during the cinematic, and another part had the camera moving to highlight certain things in the room, but it got stuck in one position and monsters started attacking me, killing me because I couldn’t do anything about it. There’s probably more, but I haven’t experienced it. Still, it’s really bad when a game has completely random glitches like that.
The previous Splatterhouse games, especially the first 2, had some scary and disturbing moments. This one? Well, there’s one jump scare. It comes out of nowhere, makes no sense, looks stupid and there’s nothing else like that random jump scare afterwards. And the metal music really downplays any kind of horror there might have been. There’s some mildly creepy scenery and stuff, but overall… kinda disappointing in that aspect.
The splatterkills aren’t really interesting. There’s only like 6 of them (some repeat on different enemy types), so it gets really boring to just see the same splatterkills through the game. You can use them when an enemy is near death as a finishing blow. It really screws with the pace of the battles, it gets annoying. Oh, and the splatterkills are QTEs (AKA the laziest, lamest gameplay mechanic in modern gaming), so that’s not a good thing. But, while the splatterkills aren’t interesting, sadly enough they’re actually useful. You get more blood in the Necro meter when you kill that way, so you can get to Berserker mode faster or you get more uses for Mask moves, and more blood to buy upgrades. So you have this clearly bad and annoying mechanic, but it has a use so you feel like you need to do it from time to time to fill up your Necro meter and get more points for upgrades. It’s optional, but it’s so annoying.
The difficulty here isn’t bad, and I wasn’t sure if I should have put this in the “suck” section of the review or not. The gameplay is simple enough to be easy to pick up and play. But it’s also really damn easy. The Necro Meter fills up pretty fast, so you can almost always use the Splatter Siphon move to get health back, and you can power-up your moves to make things even easier. It’s really easy and never really tries to pose a challenge. That is until you get to a part near the end where whether or not you live is determined by LUCK. It’s a huge difficulty spike, pitting you against a bunch of really strong enemies one after another, where the first wave of enemies in that part can kill you in less than a second at full health (no, really, you get hit once and you’re 100% sure to die), with no checkpoints through that whole segment. And then the game goes back to being easy… WTF was that all about? I’m sort of fine with the game not putting up any challenge, but having completely random brick walls when the rest of the game is easy is just really stupid.
There is another difficulty level though, which makes things a bit harder in general, making the brick wall a bit more on level with the rest of the game, but still… wow.
Splatterhouse is a fairly competent reboot. The gameplay, while not perfect, is fairly good if you look at it as a Beat ‘em Up rather than an all-out action game like DMC. The story is interesting enough to care about, and simple enough so that it doesn’t take more importance than the gameplay. But the most important aspect here is that you have access to the 3 original Splatterhouse games (though sadly no Wanpaku Graffiti), which are great games.
It does have problems, like the terrible loading times, the QTEs, the lack of horror elements, the metal music which I didn’t appreciate (despite me being a big fan of metal), really bad glitches at parts, and the graphics aren’t as technically good as they should be (though they do have a nice style to them).
If you liked the classics, get this. Otherwise, I’d suggest to rent it first. I liked it, but most people probably won’t.
Pros and Cons
- It has the classic Splatterhouse games
- A fun Beat ‘em Up
- Simple but fun story
- Fairly good side-scrolling segments
- Nude pics of Jennifer…. hey, I had to mention them at least…
- There’s a bit of extra content with the nude pics to find, difficulty levels and survival arenas…. and of course the 3 classic games
- The splatterkills suck and are QTEs
- There areÂ QTEs other than the splatterkills
- No horror
- The metal music ruins the mood and isn’t really good
- Long loading
- It’s overwhelmingly easy, other than one brick wall near the end of the game… sort of inconsistent
The Save Factor
Let’s look at it this way. This game has the classic Splatterhouse games on it. Splatterhouse on TurboGrafx-16 costs around 25$ now, and that’s an inferior version to the one in this game. Splatterhouse 2 and 3 on the Genesis cost around 35$ each (sometimes more depending on where you look). So the classic games cost around 90$ altogether, usually more. You can spend 90$+ on the classic games (IF you have the consoles to play them on) plus shipping, or pay 60$ to get them all in addition to a fairly fun modern Beat ‘em Up on your PS3/360… Looking at it that way, it does seem very well priced.
If this didn’t include the original games, I’d say the Save Factor for this would be around 20$, but, with the classics here and very easy to unlock, around 50-60$ is a very good price… If you care about playing the classics at all. And, considering how this will probably not sell too much, it will probably go down in price fairly fast. So yeah, no Save Factor here.
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