Splatterhouse 3


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8.5

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Ah, Splatterhouse. Is there any video game in the world more famous for it's sheer gore factor coupled with it's horrific mix of enemies? Ok, ok, Resident Evil probably is more know today thanks to it's overwhelming popularity, but Splatterhouse is the game that did it first. The third installment in the famous franchise is a marked change for the series, changing it from a standard platformer to a Streets of Rage rip-off, but it's a good one.

Rick, our hockey masked Jason wannabe hero from the first 2 installments, is back. Again, he fights for the life of his now wife Jennifer who has been taken hostage by a mixture of gruesome creatures that have overrun her home. His son is also trapped in the house, and time is quickly fading.

So the story isn't exactly Shakespeare, but it's told well through the stark black and white digitized cinemas. Rick looks much better here than he previously has. The disgusting creatures look even worse now and their designs are unmatched, even in today's horror game filled world. Our hats go off to the design team who obviously spent a good deal of time designing these, uh, "things."

Of course, splattering these creatures is what it's all about and rest assured that the game earns it's rating. Exploding heads, chopped up bodies, stomachs fly, and green goop is everywhere. Adding to the mayhem are the beloved weapons. A few new additions (like the brick) and the old stand by's (2 x 4) are all there, plus additional death animations for the creatures when they die a horrible death from these classic weapons. The third game in the series is still true to the prequels in this area. Then again, it wouldn't be Splatterhouse without it.

Listening to these creatures being pounded into the ground sounds better than ever. You really can't have gore without some great splattering sounds to go along with them, and Splatterhouse 3 provides the goods. Punching these beats sends out a punishing, bass filled, satisfying crunch, unmatched by any other fighter. The music is a nice accompaniment to the action, but it never takes center stage like the sound effects.

Each level is now divided up into rooms which eventually lead to the bosses lair. The quickest path must be selected in order to save the two captives, but this route is never obvious. Some of the doors are warps, but these can be risky as time is limited. This time limit is extremely unforgiving, ruining any chance for adventure, at least if you want the best ending. If you could care less that a bore worm is slowly devouring Jennifer's organs, then feel free to take your time. This is the only way your punished for taking too long. Multiple endings (4 of 'em if your counting) also increase the replay value, a refreshing change from most of the other side-scrollers on the market.

The addition of the time limit isn't the only new nuance of the gameplay. By picking up power-ball thingies, Rick can transform into a shirt ripping, muscle bound creature that is about 5 times more powerful than the standard 1990 model Rick. A speed hit is taken when in this mode, making this a matter of choice, particularly during the boss battles. Their quick movements can make quick work of, uh, "beast Rick." There are also some secret levels buried within the games code. Performing the required tasks to get to these levels are not easy, again adding to the replay value.

All is not well in Namco land however. Compared to the first 2 games in the series (particularly the second), this game is EASY. Even on it's hardest level, this one will be a cakewalk for any Splatterhouse vet. This seems mostly due to the format change, and this may disappoint fans of the original games. Some of the enemies have some cheap tactics, including one creature who can slide into Rick from clear across the room. Granted, even with these tactics the game is still way too easy, but some more inexperienced gamers might have some trouble. (Note: If your that young and your that inexperienced, chances are you shouldn't be playing Splatterhouse!)

It's a rare feat that a trilogy of games can keep up such a high level of quality. Keeping on this track, we can only hope to see more of Rick and the gang in future. While the change in genre may disappoint a few gamers out there, most will see that it really didn't change the game all that much and be able to swallow it readily. With multiple endings, lots o' gooey stuff, decent story (with a great twist at the end), tons of new additions, and solid gameplay, you can't go wrong with Splatterhouse 3.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:32 PM