Being a massive Splatterhouse fanboy and having once run a fairly successful Splatterhouse fan site when I was a lot younger than I am now I felt it my duty to write a frank and honest review of the reboot/latest incarnation of the granddaddy of blood and guts, and I do promise to be impartial to do the old boy some justice. So what's the score? Does it live up to the gory glory days (as some, including me, saw them) when it was officially the first bad boy on the block? Well hopefully this list of pros and cons (topped off with a cherry of a conclusion) will help fans old and new to make up their minds whether this is killer or filler in the world of this seminal horror game series. Hope it helps!
- In this modern day of grand desensitised violence Splatterhouse is truly allowed to let rip, and by rip I mean faces, limbs and lungs straight from its enemies quivering bodies, gone are the days of the original Splatterhouse's green blood and gradually diminishing claret consumption this is how it was meant to be and how it is.
- The mask is both menacing, funny, brilliantly voiced and true to its most awesome incarnation (from part 3). Watching it drink blood then cackle in delight and spur Rick ever onwards is a blast.
- The lighting is really dramatic and looks like it was dragged straight from the set of your favourite O.T.T. horror flick. Good stuff.
- Ambient affects such as the house cracking and corrupting as you mooch through it is a joy to behold. Couple this with various nasty looking set pieces and slamming doors and the horror vibe is turned up to 10.
- The story is true to the original with a few adages that work well.
- Splatter kills take the place of just picking up a weapon and seeing bodies smash against walls and such like (although this is in play too but now bodies actually hit the screen!) and work well as being both fun, satisfying and suitably visceral. Also they really hit home what a brute Rick is with the mask on.
- This is a small one but when you first kick the game on the opening sequence is wicked.
- The full on metal soundtrack is right up my street but for those who don't dig it (even though it fits with the carnage really well) it is not over used and only really kicks off in moments of proper carnage. The rest of the soundtrack ranges from creepy incidental tunes to full on orchestral spookiness with hints of the original soundtracks peeping in every so often.
- The nods to horror films of the glory days are still in play and range from Re-Animator (although this is rightly taken in a more Lovecraftian direction), Child's Play and, most prevalent of all, Evil Dead 2. A horror fans moist daydream.
- A lot of people may find this a bit silly, sexist, or off putting even but finding naked pictures of Jennifer scattered about the place (which she has apparently left as a bread trail for you to follow her by) sort of fits. Jen was always pushed as being a sexy horror film dame in distress in the original games so it only following that train of thought in my opinion. Plus gratuity is sort of the game's whole bag - and it's a bag that some may dig and others may just shake their head at but I don't know what them there head shakers would be doing buying it anyway!
- The entire game taps the veins of the original series by taking you back to the days when watching heads pop was just pure awesome. Sure it's childish but many massive games a have built themselves on the basis of blood = good (Mortal Kombat being one that springs instantly to mind) but as with all these games it just makes the whole affair pure unadulterated fun. A total blast.
- Speaking of blood: the blood physics, splatters and noises are impressive in their execution - next to Madworld on the Wii I haven't seen such attention to detail in the red sauce department.
- The original three games are provided as extras making this the ultimate Splatterpack! Plus instead of the "alright" turbographx port of the original you get the full on arcade experience! It is a pure joy to play them through surround sound and on a big HD screen...although nothing with beat playing the original down the arcade back in the day.
- The game is a very respectable length.
- Side scrolling platformer style parts are a joy. I am unsure as to why a lot of the so called "professional" reviewers have harped on about these being a nightmare as they brought the old game flooding right back and I really enjoyed them - courses of horses I suppose.
- This is a beat `em up through and through, the only brass knobs stuck on this beast are purely aesthetic - other than that it's punch, kick, execute, hack, smash then power up to extend the possibilities of all the above. I think a lot of reviewers where expecting this to go all God of War but thankfully it's stuck to its guns and stayed close to its root. Of course this means that anyone except scrolling beater fans, gorehounds, horror phreaks and of course fans of the originals will be put off (hence some of the mediocre review scores) which is a shame as it really kicks the chance for another addition to the series in the pants somewhat, although a few people see the game for the gem it is such as the guardian online - and me - which is nice.
- The weapons are great and all the major face smashing groups are represented. Shotgun, hatchet, metal pipe, spiked 2x4, chainsaw - you name it it's probably here....no whisks though.
- Most of the levels are creepy and cool as heck! Running around the house never felt so menacing or looked more awesome.
- Ricks smashed in, real-time, wound effects are brilliant and watching an arms grow back (veins, muscle, bones and all) is proper cool - plus you can pick up your old arm and beat the nasties that took it from you with it!
THE NOT SO GREAT:
- As mentioned above; people who aren't fans of the genre, the genres the game represents and the original series may find little to like, or perhaps you'll become a new fan, it is great after all, but who knows. Anyway everyone else should dig it to bits.
- The games locals often go away from the house and its grounds and it doesn't feel right but it's not long till you're in a gore churning sewer or some such smashing skulls which makes you feel back at home, as it where. Still it's a little jarring for fans of the originals
- Not everyone will be able to find their inner child/teenager and enjoy the bloodbath, and for those people I feel a bit sorry as it left me as happy as a little kipper despite its obvious gruelling themes.
- People may have wanted the turbografx version included as an extra with its weird maroon mask and so on but the arcade version is where it's at really so tough toenails.
- The swearing is excessive - knocking on House of the Dead Overkill territory - It's funny and effective when it works but other times it just feels a bit tired.
- A bit of a fanboy thing here but Rick is a bit pathetic looking and I always imagined him more as an everyman than a bit of a wimp but he got Jen somehow so he's obviously got something....large shoes perhaps...
- Another fanboy gripe I suppose but I preferred the old ripped up boiler suite look than the urban yoof trainers and wallet chain affair but things have to move on I suppose.
In my humble opinion Splatterhouse hits its mark with ultraviolent accuracy and being a total geek for the series this is no small thing for it to achieve for me. I'm not saying it's for everyone and no game is really - they can only target so many demographics and it's obvious which of those Splatterhouse is going for, however with all this in mind I still say give it a go you may be surprised. But for the rest of us who enjoy a good old bit of half minded violence with a real kick then this will blow you away. It's a beat `em up with classic gameplay written all over it and modern tweaks piled on top, and that, in my eyes, is definitely no bad thing. Nudity, violence, swearing: it's not big, it's not clever but man it sure can be a giggle! Welcome back to the Splatterhouse!