Splatterhouse review: Namco's retro beat 'em up has been given a fresh lick of paint
- Lots and lots of blood, using limbs as clubs is awesome, Splatter Kills
- It's a pretty stock standard beat 'em up, awkward camera control at times, requires button mashing that even your five-year-old sister can master
Splatterhouse is no master piece, but it'll give you a bloody good time, nonetheless. A guilty pleasure.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
- Katamari Squishable / Plush 7 - Katamari Damacy... 95.99
Comparing something to a B-grade horror movie can be a polite way of saying, "This blows!" But when the term is applied to Spatterhouse, it seems like a glowing endorsement.
In the late 1980s (back when video game arcades were still experiencing a surge in popularity), Splatterhouse was a gory, side-scrolling beat 'em up that -- well, let's be honest here -- really wasn't that impressive.
The soundtrack was average, the graphics were merely okay and the gameplay was very simplistic. The sound effect when decapitating an enemy resembled hitting a ball in Super Tennis, which didn't help much either.
The original Splatterhouse: not exactly a classic.
But Namco Bandai, the original makers of the game, thought it was worth giving the series a reboot. In a way, this makes more sense than remaking a classic: the potential for improvement is far greater.
In the original Splatterhouse, you played Rick; a university student whose girlfriend has been kidnapped by the maniacal and morbidly brilliant Dr West (we're guessing the developers had just seen Re-animator). Stuck at the doc's mansion and on the brink of death, Rick acquires the mysterious Terror Mask, which transforms him into something resembling Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees on steroids.
The mask has a mind of its own and compels Rick to ransack the mansion, kill the demonic creations of Dr West and find his girl, Jennifer.
Well, the plot in the new Splatterhouse hasn't really changed much. Of course, since side-scrollers are no longer in vogue (at least not on a large scale), the game has adopted a third-person beat 'em up approach instead.
Oh, that and they ramped up the gore notch by about one thousand.
Meet Rick. Despite bad press, he's not too bad.
Creatures that look like scientific afterbirth — some of which are Rick's former classmates — stand in your way of confronting Dr West and saving Jennifer. Luckily, Terror-Masked Rick is completely OP (AKA overpowered) and can plough his way though almost anything.
Once you beat down an enemy enough, it will glow red; your favourite colour in Splatterhouse. Because red means you can perform special kills activated by quick-time events for some spectacular — not to mention creative — ways of disposing of your foes.
Crunching skulls with bare hands, splitting jaws open and tearing off limbs has never been more satisfying. Just like the slow motion kill sequences in Fallout: New Vegas, it's hard to tire of the Splatterhouse Splatter Kills.
Speaking of limbs, severed arms are among the arsenal of weaponry Rick gets to use. When I say arms, I mean any arms from anybody. Yes, Rick can even use his own torn-off arm in a fight. When scientists finally discover how to regenerate limbs, the first thing I'm going to do is rip my arm off and beat up the nearest transit officer. It’s the logical thing to do.
Using limbs as clubs is the most badass concept in the game by far.
Splatterhouse is not recommended for small children. Well duh.
But it's not just gore for the sake of gore. Blood is the thing that binds the game together. The Terror Mask relies on it to function. Most of the time you are swimming in it or the screen is covered with it. In fact, it encourages you to make a mess out of your detractors in as squelchy a way as possible. (I'm actually not sure why Left 4 Dead 2 was slammed by the censors while Splatterhouse was let off scot-free.)
Once enough blood is collected, Rick can unlock new move combos and so on. Not that it really matters much. Splatterhouse, like Ninja Gaiden, is the epitome of button mashers.
The gameplay is reasonably simple (though obviously not as wafer-thin as the original). You have two primary attack buttons, along with a jump and grab move. There is an option to dodge, but I found I seldom used it intentionally. I made it through fine with just charging in and turning creatures into meat milkshake with my fists.
Curiously, the new Splatterhouse pays homage to its 2D predecessors with some forced-perspective/side-scrolling sections. I'm not really sure I'm a fan of this, considering it brings nothing new to the table apart from the upgraded graphics. Plus, the game actually includes unlockable ports of Splatterhouse 1, 2 and 3, so the whole 'tribute' concept feels a little redundant.
What is most appealing about Splatterhouse is it doesn't try to pass itself off as a horror game to be taken seriously (stand up Resident Evil). Instead, it is comfortably ensconced in B-grade cheese and it knows it. The crude dialogue, dodgy cut-scenes and illogical progress of the plot (seriously, you can't always miss Dr West just in the nick of time) is reminiscent of a low-budget horror movie.
But that's not to say the game itself is cheap. While it satirises the B-grade horror genre, the game is able to stand on its own. It probably won't win any awards for ingenuity but it’ll guarantee you a bloody good time.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Film Victoria backs women in gaming with new fellowships
- Nintendo kicks off 2016 with new Zelda release and new 3DS
- Expensive gaming desktops and laptops thrive in slumping PC market
- The PS4 is the fastest selling console in Sony’s history
- Assassin's Creed Syndicate PC review impressions: This gorgeous, mostly smooth game is no Unity
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCOracle Developer - 3 month contractSA
- FTApplication Support AnalystVIC
- CCJava DeveloperVIC
- FTChange LeadNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst, Enterprise Software SolutionNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCDigital ProducerNSW
- FTProject Manager | SharePoint, Office 365 SkillsVIC
- FTSenior C# .NET Developer (Focus WCF, MVC)VIC
- FTSoftware Developer - Ruby on RailsNSW
- CCContract Software Engineer (Crystal Report/JAVA) 160129/SE/vccAsia
- CCLync/Skype EngineerNSW
- CCSolution Design EngineerACT
- FTProject Manager | Defence projects | NV1/NV2 cleared | Canberra basedACT
- CCProject ManagerACT
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Java/Visual VB.net) 160115/AP/vhsAsia
- CCOracle Business AnalystSA
- CCSolution Architect - .NET TechnologiesNSW
- CCEnterprise Systems Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- FT.NET Tech LeadVIC
- CCImmediate iOS Developer RequiredNSW
- FTIT Technical LeadVIC
- CCETL DeveloperNSW
- FTJunior Project Manager | Permanent role in Canberra | NV1/2 clearedACT
- CCIT Solution DesignerNSW