Splatterhouse Review (PS3/360)

January 30, 2011

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Splatterhouse is a beat’em up video game developed by Namco Bandai Games for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. It is essentially a remake of the original Splatterhouse series from the days of the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx 16 during the late 80’s.

Story: 3/5

The story revolves around Protagonist Rick Taylor gaining possession of the Terror Mask, an object that transforms Rick into a hulking beast thirsty for blood and revenge. Jennifer Willis, Rick’s girlfriend and soon to be fiancé, is headed to Dr. Henry West’s mansion to interview him on necrobiology, but things turn for the worse when Dr. Henry West and his minions brutally injure Rick and kidnap Jennifer.  Left for dead, Rick comes into contact with a mysterious mask that calls out to him. Once joined, Rick is transformed and the two of them go on their quest to save Jennifer. As the game progresses, you will see flashbacks to how Rick and Jennifer arrive to the mansion, and the reasons why Dr. West kidnaps Rick’s girlfriend. The story might not be the strongest aspect of the game, but considering it had very little to go on from the originals, the writer did a decent job of fleshing out some of the characters. You feel for Rick’s anguish and Dr. West’s insanity, while being entertained by the conversations between Rick and the Terror Mask along the way. The story takes a drastic turn during its final seconds, making you wonder what will happen next if Splatterhouse 2 were ever made.

Gameplay: 3/5

Smash, kill, open door to next area, repeat. That’s the basic gameplay element to Splatterhouse. Yet what do you expect from a remake of the old classics that follows the same formula. If you were a fan of the original Splatterhouse series like I was, then you will be happy with some of its designs. The game does a good job of revisiting old locations and bosses from the older 16 bit games, and even provides some 2D levels inspired by the originals. These brought a bit of nostalgia to my eye. Rick is able to grab weapons to smash or cut his enemies with, and even transform himself further to an even larger killing machine that enhances his power (similar to Splatterhouse 3). Also, the more damage Rick receives, the more you will notice chunks of skin missing from his body.  Eventually, his arm gets ripped off and Rick can use his arm to battle monsters.  It’s an interesting method, but it slows down your attacks and after a few seconds, Rick grows his arm back.  You can even upgrade Rick to add newer combat moves and specials by using the necrometer (gained by collecting the blood of dead enemies). Rick was even able to use the necrometer to heal himself as long as he was able to drain the blood of surrounding enemies. However, the combat seemed sluggish, and at times didn’t register. Even the quick time events felt unresponsive, which led to unnecessary deaths.  While it was fun to slaughter enemies, the combat felt limited even after the upgrades, and the enemies were recycled numerous times, often having you fight the same waves of enemies over and over. In terms of extras, you are able to collect audio recordings that explain more of Dr. West’s story, as well as photos of Jennifer (many of which are nude, making this game NOT for younger audiences). Yet the best addition is the ability to replay the old Splatterhouse games in all their glory!

Graphics: 3/5

The graphics were average based on what you see on the market today, but at times seemed even less so. In-game character models seemed, again, unfinished, and there was nothing that was overly impressive. Lighting effects were minimal and most of the backgrounds were decent. As expected, there was an ample amount of blood, blood, and more blood to shower the screen.

Sound: 3/5

The music behind the game matched the material extremely well, and even provided remixed tunes from the old 16 bit games to the 2D side scrolling sections. While the sound effects were used effectively, making things sound grotesque every chance they could, there were moments that the effect came earlier or later than it was intended, and times, completely missing from the animations. Especially during some later quick time events when Rick would dismember a creature, yet there was no sound to accompany it, making it sound eerily silent.

Overall: 12/20 = 6/10

Splatterhouse isn’t bad, but also not great. An average beat’em up that will entertain you and make you remember the series of old, but nothing more.

PROS:

+Nostalgia of original series

+Inclusion of original Splatterhouse 1, 2, and 3

CONS:

-Poor sound quality

-Repetitive enemies

-Basic story

-Tedious gameplay

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