Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 7

Like it or not, gore has driven this industry for years. Would kids have wanted "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" if you didn't run around killing people with chainsaws? Would "Mortal Kombat" be a household name if you couldn't rip out enemies beating hearts? And would "Splatterhouse" be considered a classic if it didn't drip green goo? Close call.

Rick, a parapsychology major along with his girlfriend Jennifer, decides to take a trip to Dr. West's now abandoned mansion. He used to be the worlds leading expert on the topic. It has been said he created things inside that no human should ever lay eyes on and Rick is about be stuck doing just that. Jennifer is kidnapped as they make their way down the path to the eerie house, leaving him no choice to fight his way through with the added power from the "Terror Mask."

"Splatterhouse" is simplistic, easy, and repetitive. The difference between this and any other average beat-em-up is that this one does it in style. There is a variety of ways to take down a wide array of beasties from 2x4's, shotguns, rocks, wrenches, spears, machetes, all the way down to his bare fists and feet, you'll rarely kill an enemy the same way twice. Each time you'll also be treated to a spectacular display of bodily fluids, easily the games big selling point.

There are seven stages to walk through, some of which have secret areas (though you don't always want to find them). It's not particularly scary anymore, but you will jump the first time into the hall of mirrors. With the exception of the bosses, most of the enemies only take one hit to go down. It doesn't really make much sense (Rick must be insanely powerful, more so than a shotgun) and it does detract from the fun factor making this one seem like nothing more than an upgrade to "Kung Fu."

Speaking of bosses, this game has some of the best. Stage two puts players in a room controlled by some sort of supernatural forces. You'll fend off chairs, candles, tables, a painting, and knives. Most of the stage ending fights aren't over when you think they are either. It's frustrating at first, but once you know what's coming, you'll laugh when you realize you actually fell for it earlier.

Translated from the arcade, "Splatterhouse" has lost very little in the move. Sprites here are huge and take up quite a bit of real estate. Animation is generally poor (one frame does most of the work), but with such a diverse way of dispatching enemies, this is almost acceptable. Almost. Creature designs are excellent and a few, like the crawling heads that start appearing in level 4, are freaky.

Every stage is filled with creepy music, perfectly setting up stage and the pace. The bosses get a great theme, making each encounter the special gaming moment it should be. Sound effects depict the bodies splattering against the walls in sickening fashion. There's very little to complain about here.

Ok, so the gameplay mechanics are archaic by today's standards, but "Splatterhouse" is still a good time. It's nowhere near as offensive as it once was and the Genesis only sequels (especially three) outshine it in every area. But for whatever reason, no matter how much you tell yourself it's not that great of a game, this is one you constantly go back too. That's not just nostalgia talking.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2004 08:47 AM