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Splatterhouse

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Description official description

The Splatterhouse franchise rises from the dead in this new high-definition revamp! The new Splatterhouse is not a sequel, but rather a re-telling of the original story following poor battered hero Rick as he dons the Terror Mask and works his way through hordes of demons, monsters, and other beasties to save his girlfriend, Jennifer, from the mysterious and evil Dr. Henry West.

Like the previous classic entries in the series, Splatterhouse is a beat-em-up style action game in a horror setting. And like previous entries in the series, Rick is transformed into a hulking beast of a man when he puts on the Terror Mask. In the classic games, Rick's primary attack was to punch enemies with some kicking involved, and occasionally picking up crude weapons, such as a 2x4 piece of wood. Like the previous entries, players work their way through horror-themed environments inside a creepy mansion with boss battles at the end of each stage.

All of these features remain in the HD revamp, but there are several levels of depth added. Two buttons are used for punching, another for grappling, and there are "modifier" buttons which add sprint options and mix up the "standard" attacks. Over two dozen combos and special attacks are available for players to unlock and master adding new levels of variety and depth to the beat-em-up formula. Rick can still pick up various weapons and items, and even turns parts of his body into a weapon once the abilities are unlocked. Rick also has several finishing moves at his disposal, which can be activated when beaten enemy characters feature a red halo around their body.

Through the gameplay, players spill and collect gallons of blood and splatter from enemy characters, and this blood works as currency to purchase upgrades to weapons, attack combos, more health, and the like.

Rick will show several levels of damage to his body as he is attacked and hurt featuring anything from exposed ribs to a missing arm. While limbs regenerate over time, health must be siphoned from enemies. With health recharging occurring largely whenever the player wants it, Rick takes damage fairly easily forcing players to carefully monitor and maintain their health during the mayhem of the gameplay.

Splatterhouse features collectibles such as pieces of sexy pictures of Jennifer and logbook notes in the form of gramophones strewn throughout the stages. These can be viewed in the Collectibles section of the main menu.

Besides the regular Story mode, there is a Survival mode which expands with more stages as players progress through the Story mode. Survival mode simply puts players in a stage with the challenge being, perhaps obviously, survival. Like Story mode, there are pictures that can be collected through the Survival mode.

Splatterhouse also features another bonus--which is the original trilogy, once they have been unlocked through regular gameplay.

Splatterhouse is a one-player game and also allows for custom soundtracks. Beyond original music, the standard game features over a dozen Heavy Metal songs which are typically played during action-heavy sequences. Some bands featured include Cavalera Conspiracy, High on Fire, The Accused, and Five Finger Death Punch.

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

504 People (437 developers, 67 thanks) · View all

Voice Actors
Voice Direction
Executive Producer
Senior Producer
Associate Producers
Development Manager
Senior Technical Director
Engineering Leads
CTG Leads
Engineers
CTG Engineers
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 62% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 23 ratings with 2 reviews)

Old school heavy metal bloodshed!

The Good
Splatterhouse is a game I discovered just a few years ago while watching an episode of the Happy Video Game Nerd. A great YouTube channel if you are looking for some old school hidden gems. I eventually found the game second hand and did not think twice about buying it. I have played the game once again for this Halloween season and while that time of the year is already well behind us, I decided to write this review to keep the Halloween spirit alive for just a bit longer!

Splatterhouse is a remake of the original 1988 arcade beat 'em up. That game was basically a Double Dragon clone with an emphasis on horror and gore. It received two sequels on the Sega Mega Drive and the series has gained a strong cult following ever since.

In the game, you play as Rick Taylor, a nerdy, regular joe who, despite his shyness and unattractive look, managed to hook up with the hottest girl in town! Sounds pretty familiar. All that changes when he and his girl Jenny get invited to the house of Dr. Henry West for a lecture. But instead of a boring archaeological presentation, their visit to West quickly becomes a living nightmare when Jenny gets kidnapped and Rick himself gets attacked and almost killed by West's "pets." Seconds before Rick decides to buy the farm, he hears voices seemingly coming from a hideous mask, telling him to wear it. Rick obliges, gets healed and transformed into a huge, Hulk like beast. Rick and the Terror Mask then set out to rescue Jenny and rip West and his minions a new one.

I do have to say that the story is much more fleshed out than you would expect from a game like this. As you progress to the game, you unlock chapters in the journal of Dr. West. Narrated by West himself, it gives a clear and disturbing view of the doctor's slow but definite descent into absolute madness. I am not going to spoil the story, but let me just say that Rick and West have much more in common than you might believe at first.

Gameplay-wise, Splatterhouse plays pretty much like a horror themed version of God of War or Devil May Cry. You go along a linear path, killing enemies and collecting currency (blood in this game's case) in order to buy upgrades or new moves. Splatterhouse's fighting system certainly works well. You have light and heavy attacks as well as grapples (again, very familiar). You can block, roll and you have a super meter that, when sufficiently filled up, transforms you into an even bigger monster with huge blades capable of cutting through enemies like a hot knife through butter. Wolverine would be jealous.

And it that was not yet God of War enough, you also have finishing moves. Beat down enemies hard enough and you can grab them for an awesomely bloody finish. Crushing heads, ripping off arms, you know the drill. My favorite finisher by far is ramming your fist through your enemy's ass and rip out his goddamn spine! Just press the right button at the right time and watch the blood flow.

As a throwback to the originals, some parts of the game are 2D side scrolling levels. These involve a lot more platform gameplay and little combat, but when you do get to fight, you often get a lead pipe or 2X4 to smear your enemies all over the wall or over your TV screen! In addition, the game frequently refers to events from the original games and they even included the series' signature Biggy Man boss. And if that was not enough tribute to the original series, you can unlock all three classic Splatterhouse games by just playing through the game. In all their original, 4:3, uncut glory!

But Splatterhouse's gameplay is not its biggest asset. Like Blood (the other game I reviewed for this Halloween season), Splatterhouse is B-movie style horror at its finest. The game's horror is so over the top that it leaves the domain of scary and becomes hilariously campy and cheesy. And the game is well aware of its silliness. The story is pretty lighthearted and it has a healthy dose of humor, particularly Jim Cummings as the voice of the Terror Mask is very entertaining (more on that in the next paragraph). Overall, the game's sole purpose is to entertain you with horror rather than to scare you with it.

Audio and music are great. The monsters sound pretty threatening and hearing flesh torn off from your enemies is highly satisfying. The game's soundtrack consists mostly of heavy metal styled music in addition to licensed tracks from bands like Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch and Lamb of God. Being a metal head, I obviously greatly enjoyed the music but even if you do not like metal very much, the music certainly feels adequate for the game's outrageous, ultra-violent atmosphere.

Voice acting is also pretty good. Particularly the chemistry between Rick and the Terror Mask is awesome. The Mask really stokes Rick into killing as many monsters as he can, he knows that Rick enjoys the gore and mayhem as much as he does and he doesn't hesitate to remind Rick of that. And for everything Rick does or encounters, the Terror Mask always has a suitable response ready. Rip an enemy's head off and the Mask laughs that "he is getting head." When Rick loses an arm for the first time and screams like a baby, the Mask replies that "for a dick, he is such a pussy." Yeah, you got it, this game is certainly not made for kids. No, this is a game made for adults with a healthy taste for blood, B-movie entertainment and boobs. Like me.

The Bad
The game has very long loading times, no matter if you just started a level or had to restart because you died, the loading times always remain atrociously long. There is some animation during the loading times, it is always a monster or two doing some moves, trying to scare you (which it doesn't). But really, such long loading times should be prohibited by law!

I also found the final boss and ending to be very lackluster. Basically, you do not fight the final boss, instead you just fight some minor enemies he sends at you while he watches from a distance. Eventually you do get to brutally finish him off but I really wished that it was a pure one-on-one, mano-a-mano fight, especially if you know what the final boss looks like. The ending is pretty much a cliffhanger, and I truly detest cliffhangers. I really wished that all games simply had a solid ending instead of just dragging the story on to another sequel (I am looking at you Assassin's Creed!).

The Bottom Line
Overall, I had a really good time playing Splatterhouse. I consider it a nice hidden gem from the previous generation of consoles. It is also nice to see a modern game that is not another FPS or psychological thriller or anything too serious or dramatic. Just simple entertainment. So show me some faith, trust me and buy this game should you find it on eBay or in any second hand game shelf.

PlayStation 3 · by Stijn Daneels (79) · 2014

Classic beat-em-up action.

The Good
At this point, I’m well aware that this game has received less than favorable reviews. With any luck, I can give a nice, clear point of view that makes some sense concerning this game. Because, quite frankly, I thought it was a blast. But to put this in perspective, I think I’ll compare it—best I can—with similar titles and show what did and didn’t work.

The first thing I loved about Splatterhouse when I fired it up and gave it a go was the brief, though well-made opening cinematic as the game started out, coupled with the detailed and impressive character animations during loading screens. Jumping in, I found that I had pretty much endless fun through the first stage and felt instantly that my money was well spent.

Splatterhouse has always been a beat-em-up style game, though, the first two—back on the TurboGrafx-16 and Genesis—are pretty rough beat-em-up formulas and lacking in some of the visual depth common with the genre, such as being able to move into the background to attack enemies coming at you from a variety of directions. They were built more on memorization of enemy locations and simply knowing when to punch and when to jump. This new revamp falls in-line with modern beat-em-up and hack-n-slash games such as the Conan game that launched early this generation, as well as the modern Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry, and God of War titles. Splatterhouse has something in common with pretty much all of these.

Like the Conan game and God of War, Splatterhouse features a combo and special move upgrade system that is purchased as the player moves through the game earning currency—here it’s blood. And like Conan, there is some sexy stuff to find and collect in each stage, here being pieces of sexy (sometimes with nudity) pictures of Rick’s girlfriend, Jennifer, rather than the mostly-nude women Conan rescued. And, like Conan and God of War there are quick-time events and ample bloodshed and gore.

Unlike Conan, however, the quick-time events aren’t hair-pulling trials in absurdity. In fact, the quick-time events in this game, I felt, were really very forgiving—often allowing what I would call, ample time for use. They’re also quick, and not the lengthy, headache-inducing sequences found in Conan (which is one of that game’s biggest failings). Rather than pressing Y, then X, then A, then Y, then B, then X, and failing at the end only to be forced to re-enact everything all over again to cause minor damage to a boss, quick-time events here are usually along the lines of “press B, hold ‘down’ on both analog sticks.” If you screw it up, you screw it up—there’s no overt punishment for failure like there is in Conan or God of War. Just start again. For once, I actually enjoyed the quick-time events. Usually these are queued to perform fatalities (Splatterkills) on enemies, or to finish off a boss character.

The beat-em-up action translates and plays exactly as I had hoped. Rick moves easily and has a lively animation about him. There are quick attacks, strong attacks, a grapple, a jump, a charge attack, and what is essentially a modifier button. So there’s some depth and variety to the gameplay. Usually, this boils down to nonsensical button-mashing in many games of these kinds with many of the moves being largely interchangeable on enemies. I know that playing through Ninja Gaiden II on the Xbox 360, I felt that the game was nothing but brainless button mashing with a heavy emphasis on whether or not luck was on my side. Like all games of this kind, that’s still true to a point. But enemies are varied enough to keep things interesting. Some require the charge attack, most don’t. Some will deflect charge attacks, requiring a little more tact (such as the using the dodge/roll move to get close). Some enemies can’t even be touched physically by Rick, requiring weapon attacks or using other enemies as weapons. Tapping two buttons over and over here will generally not work. Tapping the X button over and over again in Ninja Gaiden II made up 90% of the damn game. Every boss could be attacked with just mashing the Y button, except when I was forced to use the bow (which was something I only figured out when I broke down and used an online walkthrough). Here? Not so much.

Now, Rick takes monumental amounts of damage. In a game like Ninja Gaiden II, where it wasn’t uncommon to watch a regular enemy combo ¾ of my life bar away, the bar was refilled automatically so long as I didn’t earn too much “permanent damage.” Here, players may choose at any time to refill their life bar. Let me explain: Rick has a Berserker mode that has bony spikes and blades protruding from his body. Use of this mode uses up one part of a segmented meter shown below the life bar, and this meter is filled up by killing, and Splatterkilling enemies. Occasionally, with the modifier button, other attacks can be used that use a single segment of the Berserker energy bar. One of the moves causes Rick to siphon blood and life from enemies in the room—damaging them and giving Rick life. Using this often requires strategy, and an attention to detail as Rick’s life bar can go from full to null pretty quickly.

Boss battles are generally pretty good and varied. Several monstrous characters are introduced in boss battles of sorts, then later show up crowding stages as regular enemies. Arguably the most impressive boss battle is the revival of the “Biggy Man” character from the original Splatterhouse. He’s the guy with the sack over his head, and chainsaw blades jutting out from his wrists. This battle is dark, varied, and gruesome—and a total blast. One of the enemies introduced as a boss is this dog-like creature which features… well, one hell of a finishing move. Let’s just say there’s some serious “probing” going on to finish that one.

Several segments of most of the stages are played in a 2-D side-scrolling plane, same as the first two games in the series way back in the day. These are the only sections of the game featuring any platforming. For the most part, it’s not too challenging, just requiring some careful timing and quick reflexes, jumping over pits or dodging rotating blades. Most enemies in these segments die with a single hit. These throwback segments also feature some great throwback music.

Sound effects are great, and the music and art direction are very fitting to the game’s overall style and theme. Lovecraftian designs and inspiration coat the bulk of the game, and it does manage to deliver a lot of unique visuals and style.

One of the best parts of this game comes from some very lively character dialog between Rick and the Terror Mask (voiced by the guy that did Disney’s Darkwing Duck). The conversations and voice acting are pretty solid and often, very funny and entertaining. The tutorial segments, and most of the story arc are told through these conversations.

Also, the original three Splatterhouse games are on here, emulated in their original form. While none of these three games are exactly perfect, it's cool that they're all on here. Be warned, though, the first two games are pretty brutal--not in a "splattery" sorta way--but they're rough in their concept, and not very forgiving in their difficulty. The only one I've ever finished is the first, but then, I put a lot more time into that one than the other two.

The Bad
There are two major issues with Splatterhouse. One of them is, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty inexcusable in this day and age. And that’s the loading times. While stages play pretty smoothly without ever stopping to load (a problem Team Ninja has with all their games), the initial loading times, and the loading times after deaths are simply atrocious. It doesn’t matter how cool the animation sequence is during the loading screen, eventually, it just goes on way too long. I’m talking up to a minute or more on some of these.

This can be especially frustrating during a few sequences where death occurs painfully easily. One area was literally right on a checkpoint requiring some bizarrely timed jump from one ledge to a building across a street—as a platform falls out from under the player. It took 5 seconds to screw up the jump and die, and a minute to reload the sequence so I could die in another 5 seconds. Why, just why couldn’t they have programmed this crap to have the sequence preloaded to the checkpoint? But no, instead, there’s a crap-ton of loading and waiting going on. This problem occurs a couple times over the course of the game—some relatively cheap deaths made all the worse by frustrating loading times.

One way this game fails where the original games succeeded is in enemy character design. While several look spectacular (Biggy Man for instance), and there are designs and elements in the game that are very creative, too many of the enemies are either bi-pedal “zombie” things or quadruped little monsters. Take a look online at some of the enemy character designs (if unfamiliar) in the original games. All of them featured bloated, creepy, monstrous beasts that were the kinds of designs only describable in words by H.P. Lovecraft himself. Nasty worms with feet standing upright, fleshy Jabba the Hutt-style roving human-ish blobs, worm-infested living internal organs, bodies twisted together, and all manner of unsightly horror weirdness. None of those more ghastly and creepy enemies show up here, and all-too-often, the game resorts to somewhat generic “man-zombie” designs. Given the franchise’s history for shocking graphical presentations, some of this stuff just feels uninventive or lame. Background designs and such have some redeeming value, and a mini-boss character that’s little more than a gigantic twitching eyeball aren’t bad, but the previous games showed so much more graphic and grotesque creativity.

The game is a little on the short side, which may be a bummer for a lot of people.


The Bottom Line
Well, there’s my take. Now, clearly, Splatterhouse is not going to appeal to everyone. I like B-horror movies, underground splatter cinema, and quite a few things that exist on the edges of society. This is where Splatterhouse belongs. It’s like a B-game that revels in it’s very un-mainstream nature. Kinda like Friday the 13th films (where this series once took ample inspiration), or personal favorite, Evil Dead 2. It has a lot in common with other modern beat-em-up/hack-n-slash titles, and for what it’s worth, I think this game is a lot more fun than Ninja Gaiden II, which I found to be largely frustrating and painfully clichéd. And I think Splatterhouse is a lot better than the Conan game which suffered from some of the worst quicktime events imaginable, and some of the crappiest and most illogical (broke the rules of the game, essentially) boss battles in recent history.

But Splatterhouse is not for everyone. If you take your narratives too seriously… or prefer vastly more ridiculous anime themes, this likely won’t appeal to you. The game, like many these days, revels in violence and bloody gore, and if that’s a turn-off for you, then again, skip this one.

Now, the short length? The campaign mode will run about 8-10 hours or so, and beyond that are a series of Survival modes. But, despite the somewhat short length and negatives I listed, I found this game to be, overall, extremely fun and entertaining. The beat-em-up action was exactly what I was hoping for, and the action was awesome and varied. It’s rare for me these days to play through a game more than once (I have too many games, and so many are just too damn long), but with Splatterhouse I did just that. Partly due to it’s general shortness, but mostly because it really is so much fun to play. As it stands, it’s my best game where Achievements are concerned having earned 46 out of 50 (no, I’ve never gotten 100% of Achievements in any game—I just don’t have the time for the dedication anymore). Unlike Ninja Gaiden II or Devil May Cry 4, the Achievements here don’t border on absurd daring to be impossible. Ninja Gaiden II features several for playing through the game using only a single weapon the whole time—which is just asinine considering how useless some of them are—but also a testament to the mindless button-mash nature of the game in that the weapons are largely interchangeable.

Frankly, I like shorter games. I grew up in a day and age where a game could be finished in 20 minutes (like the original Contra), and was still considered worth $50. We live in an era where we drop $25 for a DVD or Blu-Ray for 84 minutes of Hollywood dreck. So $60 for ten or so hours of entertainment is easy for me to stomach. Still, I could see this selling at a $50 price point, and that being a more reasonable deal. But like I said, I don’t have ample time for gaming these days. I have lots of games across lots of systems, so being able to cruise through a game fairly quickly, and being able to round up a good number of Achievements in that time equates to some good value to me. And again, I think the game is a lot of fun. Plus, don't forget that the original three games are still in here--they just don't have any Achievements of their own (which is a shame).

Like any B-movie horror shlock, it’s somewhat imperfect, and nowhere near trying to showcase itself as some AAA high-profile release. But like many of those schlocky B-horror flicks, Splatterhouse is visceral, unique fun while it lasts. If you like ample action and beat-em-up gaming, and don’t mind the gore (if you don’t love it), then you really can’t go wrong here. Again, I think it’s more fun than Ninja Gaiden II and Conan, less absurd than Devil May Cry 4, and generally very entertaining. Note: It’s not as good as God of War.

Xbox 360 · by ResidentHazard (3554) · 2011

Trivia

Pre-order bonus

Pre-orders for Splatterhouse from GameStop in the U.S. featured a collectible six inch statue of the Terror Mask from the game. Unlike usual pre-order bonuses, which tend to be given away with the game when it's purchased, Namco required customers to go online and enter a code from their purchase in order to receive the mask.

Related Games

Splatterhouse 3
Released 1993 on Genesis
Splatterhouse 2
Released 1992 on Genesis, 2008 on Wii
Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti
Released 1989 on NES

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 49251

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Game added by ResidentHazard.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Starbuck the Third.

Game added November 25th, 2010. Last modified September 12th, 2023.