Bev Chen
08 Dec, 2010

SplatterHouse Review

360 Review | Could this be the goriest game of the year?
There was a time where side-scrolling beat ‘em up games reigned supreme, with their simple mechanics, memorable characters and often challenging gameplay being the main factors of their popularity. Amongst the most popular of these games are arguably Splatterhouse, Double Dragon and Final Fight, with the latter receiving an ill-received 3D sequel in 2006. So with all that said, how does the latest beat ‘em up reboot, Splatterhouse, compare not only to modern video game remakes, but to action games in general?

The story of Splatterhouse is a horror-tinged version of the ‘save the damsel in distress’ plot. Players take the role of Rick, an average, nerdy-looking guy who accompanies his girlfriend Jennifer to Dr. West’s mansion. He is attacked and left for dead as Dr. West kidnaps Jennifer, but manages to knock over a sarcophagus to reveal a mask. Making a deal with the mask, Rick sets out on his quest to rescue Jennifer, travelling through space and time to do so. While it sounds like a laughably basic plot, the game presents it rather well through the use of flashbacks in between chapters, and does a commendable job of developing its characters. The Terror Mask is an especially interesting character, and is given what are arguably some of the best lines in the game, which are delivered by commendable voice acting.

Painting the mansion walls red.

Painting the mansion walls red.
As you would expect, all the grotesque imagery from the original titles is back and updated for the game’s 3D presentation. The numerous locations that Rick slaughters his way through are inhabited by all manner of otherworldly creatures, from short, spiked monsters (perfect for picking up and smashing around a little) to a huge beast that has decided to turn the Statue of Liberty into its home. The game does start recycling enemy character models as it progresses, but it’s a small price to pay for how well-designed they are. And, of course, there’s the gore. To say there are buckets of it is the understatement of the year. It’s not just Rick that dishes out the pain either; certain enemy attacks can chop Rick’s limbs off, although they do grow back after some time. Rick’s character model is frequently updated to display how much damage he has taken as well, so don’t be surprised if you see exposed ribs sticking out of his chest.

The gameplay, as in several beat ‘em up adventure games, is nothing groundbreaking; even so, Splatterhouse does what it does well. Essentially, you have buttons for light and heavy attacks, one for grabbing, one for rolling, one for tackling and one for activating your special abilities. Abilities can be used if you have at least one bar of your Necro Meter filled. It goes without saying that your Necro abilities are extremely useful; in fact, the first Necro ability received allows you to drain health from your enemies to feed yourself. As the Terror Mask itself would say: “Yummy”. It sounds like a cheap shot on paper but as you progress through the game, you will use it a fair bit in order to prevent yourself from having to sit through a long loading screen to restart at a checkpoint. Of course, like any recent action title worth its salt, players are able to unlock new combos, as well as upgrade their health and Necro Meter. Unsurprisingly, the currency for this is none other than the blood of enemies, which slowly fills the Blood Meter that periodically appears on the left side of the screen.

Body bags not included.

Body bags not included.
One of the most interesting things about Splatterhouse, however, are the segments that are made to resemble the 2D gameplay of the older titles in the series. The game transitions smoothly between 3D and 2D gameplay and is really quite forgiving when you make a mistake. Getting impaled by spikes won’t kill you outright as it did in the retro titles; besides, there are usually enemies around to drain health from, but they are never placed in such a manner that it interferes with any platforming elements.

If those 2D gameplay segments weren’t enough for you though, Splatterhouse also features the first three games as unlockables, adding more value and playtime to what would otherwise be a rather short and insubstantial game. Also notable amongst the various statistic-increasing achievements are, ahem, ‘intimate’ photos of Jennifer, which are enough to get any hot-blooded (get it?) young man riled up.

Use your head.

Use your head.
Splatterhouse’s graphics are fairly acceptable, but not without numerous glitches such as destructible objects appearing and disappearing for no reason. Unfortunately, these glitches extend to the audio aspect of the game as well, which is a shame because without them it might have been an outstanding aural treat, especially for fans of metal. In our playthrough, we encountered a problem where all audio muted and returned just as suddenly (giving certain household members the fright of their lives). As mentioned before, Splatterhouse also has some rather long load times, especially in regards to those while you are playing. For example, we ran into several instances of an issue where one door shut and the other took a long time to open, meaning we were stuck in an area with a huge break in the action.

But these problems obviously aren’t unique to the game, or even to the genre; they can be problems in any video game, regardless of the pedigree attached to it. It’s not a particularly outstanding game, but Splatterhouse does what it does decently enough to be considered a faithful transition from an old 2D series to a modern 3D reboot, right down to the last drop of blood.
The Score
Make no bones about it, Splatterhouse is a worthwhile successor to its retro counterparts and a worthy addition to the ever-expanding action genre. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related SplatterHouse Content

Splatterhouse E3 trailer
09 Jun, 2010 Eww, gross.
Splatterhouse soundtrack announced
08 Oct, 2010 Can you feel the beat('em up)?
Splatterhouse Gamescom trailer
18 Aug, 2010 Retro goodness.
3 years ago
Was reading reviews on this game, trying to decided whether it's worth the sale price at Zavvi.

Most of them have ripped it apart, largely due to the bugs. I'm surprised any game can score 7 with the bugs this one seems to have.
3 years ago
To be quite honest, I didn't run any bugs, apart from those I detail in the review. And even then, they're not really game-breaking.
3 years ago
I must have had to much fun to notice the bugs.The only problem I had were the loading times.

Sometimes it seems that our releases of games ar better than other releases of games.I remember reviews on the Punisher on PS2 mentiong all these bugs that I didn't encounter.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  15/09/2010 (PreLoaded)
  Namco Bandai Partners (Atari)
Year Made:

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