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Old 01-30-2011, 02:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Splatterhouse

Intro

The year was 1988, back when arcades were bustling with games such as Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, and so on. However, one game emerged into the arcades that caused a lot of controversy. This game is called Splatterhouse. Inspired by horror films such as Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Evil Dead, this game hailed as one of the first horror-themed beat 'em up games. Except, this game lived up to the title. You played as a Jason Voorhees-like character named Rick Taylor, who took shelter from a major thunderstorm with his girlfriend Jennifer in a creepy mansion. Upon entering, the only thing he could see and hear is Jennifer screaming and being taken away. Rick is then attacked by something and is left for dead. He then awakens to find himself wearing a hockey mask that can give him the power to rescue Jennifer.

The original Splatterhouse's key theme was blood and carnage. The Jason-like Rick can punch and kick his way through armies of zombies and mutants so hard that there would be nothing left of them but a pool of blood. There was an assortment of weapons that Rick could use such as a meat cleaver, 2x4, shotgun, and an axe. Due to this violent content, the game was removed from many arcades, but it spawned a few home console versions, the most popular being the TurboGrafx 16 version. It also spawned two sequels on the Sega Genesis, the final being one of the first games to receive an MA-13 rating in North America.

Fast Forward to 2010, where finally, Namco finally decided to remake the original game. Due to the game market today with violent games such as God of War, Manhunt, and Grand Theft Auto, developers had to step it up a notch, or 10 notches for that matter. Now without further ado, on to the review!

Graphics

This is one of the biggest shining areas that this game has to offer. When I stated that Namco needed to step it up 10 notches, they sure did! This game is BLOODY. Almost every moment of this game has blood literally splattering all over the screen, on the floors, and on the walls. If you thought games such as God of War are bloody and violent, this game literally makes those other games look like Sesame Street. There's nothing gorier than tearing the jaws of a monster off, then proceeding to rip out their lungs. Also, the assortment of weapons causes even more blood and gore throughout, such a the chainsaw slicing right through the zombies. One more thing, as you take damage, you actually see Ricks body torn up (somewhat similar to the X-Men Origins: Wolverine game) and your arm can actually torn off by monsters, with blood squirting everywhere of course.

Sound

If not for the graphics, this is where the game truly shines. The voiceovers are done well. The mask is actually voiced by the famous Jim Cummings (yes, the very same Jim Cummings that voiced Darkwing Duck). He does the best out of the rest of the cast with his one-liners and witty remarks. The music is composed by Howard Drossin, famous for many Sega titles. Namco also included music from famous bands such as Lamb of God, Cavalera Conspiracy, Five Finger Death Punch, The Haunted, and so forth. Overall, if you like metal, the soundtrack is going to make this game better.

Gameplay and Replay Value

This gameplay is similar to the other games in this "New Wave of Beat 'Em Up" genre such as God of War, X-Men Origins, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. However, you will be using your bare fists instead of weapons such as blades most of the time. You have many combos to perform on monsters. This game has a Blood Points system that is also similar to the other games of the genre. Every kill adds points to the Blood total. These points can be used to upgrade moves, health, and Mask Powers. Speaking of Mask Power, you can either use it to perform special moves, transform into a monster that will remind people of The Suffering, or use the Splatter Siphon. The Splatter Siphon is this game's method for restoring health. When you use it, tentacles burst out of your stomach and suck out blood from any nearby enemies. Knowing when to use this technique requires strategy as it uses 1 bar of Mask Power. Now you are wondering how to restore Mask Power? Well, that's easy. Kill enemies, and try to perform a Splatter Kill whenever possible. Now you are asking me about Splatter Kills? Those are this game's form of QTEs. Whenever you beat your enemies to a pulp and they emit a red aura, you can grab them and perform simple QTE events that can harvest the most blood out of them. Overall, the gameplay is pretty simplistic if you have played any of the other games of the genre. Finally, how can this be a remake without homages to the classics? Some portions of levels actually emulate the classic sidescrolling stages of the first two games, complete with the obstacles, enemies, weapons, and music.

Next is the replay value. As you beat the game, you only get a certain percentage of the game completed. The game encourages you to play on the highest difficulty once you beat the game. As for collectibles, for every 5% of the game completed, you unlock a diary entry. Also, throughout the levels, there are pieces of pictures of Jennifer that would be home in a Playboy magazine. It gives you a little more to collect other than just rushing through the game. There are also survival arenas that are unlocked as you play through the game.

So now you are asking me why I gave a 5 for the replay value? Well, now I'll answer. As you play through, you unlock...ALL THREE ORIGINAL SPLATTERHOUSE GAMES!!!! The first one in all it's uncensored Arcade glory, and the other Genesis games. So if you haven't had the pleasure to experience the classics, now you can.

Challenge

I only docked a point off of the challenge because of some difficulty balance issues and a minor flaw. The game, for the most part, is perfect with difficulty, however, once you get to the last few stages, the difficulty jumps to tremendous levels. Not that this is a bad thing, but the game could have at least had a little more build up with the difficulty as you approach the final stages. As for the flaws, the only flaw that stood out for me was the load time. These load times are not that bad, but it sometimes takes a while when you keep dying and reloading the checkpoints. As I stated, it's only a minor flaw. There are other games out there that have FAR worse flaws than this game. Other people have complained about faulty hit detection, bad camera control, and repetitive gameplay. However, I didn't find any problem with the hit detection, have experienced much worse camera problems on even my favorite Dreamcast games, and had no problem with the "repetitive gameplay." This game is no more repetitive than the others of the genre, which received praise from the same critics that complained about it in this game. So don't let these complaints keep you from enjoying the game.

Final Verdict

This game is indeed worthy of the Splatterhouse name. It is an excellent remake that even surpasses the classics, and it also includes the classics within it. It is definitely worth dishing out $60.00 for four games.

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Old 01-30-2011, 02:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Splatterhouse

Nice review, this game certainly looks interesting.

Quote:
So now you are asking me why I gave a 5 for the replay value? Well, now I'll answer. As you play through, you unlock...ALL THREE ORIGINAL SPLATTERHOUSE GAMES!!!! The first one in all it's uncensored Arcade glory, and the other Genesis games. So if you haven't had the pleasure to experience the classics, now you can.
That alone is enough to warrant buying the game, in my opinion.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Splatterhouse

Very cool! I loved the original Splatterhouse games and it looks like I will love this one too.
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