In short: Great farking game which loads of throw backs to classic 80s horror and the original splatter series.
And here's the long of it:
I wanted to get the current gen remake of Splatterhouse when it first released, sadly though at the time my console had died and I wasn't in a position to replace it and because Spaltterhouse wasn't coming to PC I was forced to cry myself to sleep and block the game as best I could.
When I got my PS3 at the end of last year I did look into getting Splatterhouse but sadly the site I order from didn't have it available. I tried to look else where for it but because the game apparently wasn't a critic favorite a lot of places simply didn't have it.
Thankfully a friend of mine was in Aus last month and he was able to find a good as new used copy. It cost a fair bit for a second hand game, but I was more than willing to fork up the cash. (Actually I still have to pay him back for it.)
While waiting for the game I read a lot of shitty reviews for it, listing a lot of technical flaws here and there and just a lack of polish as claimed by some. What caught my attention though was the user response for the game, with lots and lots of gamers saying that despite the flaws Splatterhouse was great fun for what it is.
And what it is is the bloodiest beat em up I've ever played.
But let me just say that a lot of what the "Game Critics" say about Splatterhouse holds true. First off it's not the most polished game, but if I were to pick exact bits of it that fail, it's kind of hard because whatever it lacks through its flaws are quickly over shadowed by all the cool shit it gets right.
The first thing that pops are the videos for this game, they look awesome and are probably what ate most of the games budget.
Splatterhouse plays just like the classic horror movies it pays countless homage to. It's basically an interactive B-Grade horror movie, and when I say "B-grade" I don't mean the crap movies we're subjected to these days - I'm talking Evil Dead, night of the Demons, CHUD, Re-animator and the other great horror movies I grew up loving from high days of VHS horror. Aside from the side references to these classic movies there's actually a sort of 'cameo' for Ash from Evil Dead.
The story is taken directly from the original series and built upon very nicely. The soon to be hero Rick is exploring an old creepy mansion with his girl friend when they are attacked by strange creatures. When Rick comes to his very badly wounded and is bleeding out - that's when he hears the Terror Mask calling out to him. The Story was given a make over by Gordon Rennie who has worked on such titles ass Judge Dredd, Killzone,and Necronauts.
When he slips the mask on suddenly Rick is transformed into a hulking brute, and is now the host to an entity that was trapped in the mask.
All this is the back drop to the true meat and bones of Splatterhouse and that's the mad combat. Aside from the horror throw backs in the game, the combat to me is what really makes this beast shine. The combat is brutal, bloody and to some extent customizable to suit your play style. As you kill stuff you collect blood, and this is used to buy new moves or enhance current ones.
I wouldn't say it's mindless, but as I was playing I did at times simply zone out and just started tripping on the mad flow of the fighting. What really hits the nail home is the addition of what is called a Splatter kill, this is gruesome finisher triggered by a quick time event triggered after the baddie is beaten to an inch of their life.
The level design though not amazing - does a very good job of setting the mood. wait let me kill that because there is one level called "The meat house" which I did think was amazing - and it was actually kind of creepy too.
There are also these awesome 2D areas in the game which re-create the classic levels from the old games. These were actually hated by a lot of critics - but I friggin love em.
I love the throw backs though to the older games. With classic bosses and baddies all re-done in stunning graphics.
the graphics for Splatterhouse are a weird mix bag. There are times
when the game looks absolutely awesome and some times it doesn't look
bad but messy. One of my favorite things though is watching Rick take damage, cause you get to see things like his ribs broken and sticking out of his side, or just huge chunks of flesh torn off and then it all grows back as Rick gets his health back. it's really a nice touch.
Aside from the combat and slight platforming, there are also collectables scattered across the levels that unlock such things as challenge arenas, journal entries and even naughty nude pics of Jennifer. (What's a B-grade horror movie with out boobies?)
There was always an element of Lovecraft in the older games, and that too has been given more focus in this remake. Plus Doctor West, the guy who takes your GF, is given more life this time around, as the mad doctor who is out to please the elder gods. Plus the Original terror mask was meant to be based on Aztec designs and there are some hints that the new mask is of Aztec origin too.
Like there are Video Nasties - Splatterhouse is a Video Game Nasty.
Splatterhouse on the Sega Gen and NEO GEO before that was never a critic favorite when it came out.
It wasn't Super Mario or Sonic or even Legend of Kage. But it did have a
huge fan base because unlike its bright and cheery counter parts,
Splatterhouse was all about the horror and gore. Technically it's
probably the first ever action horror game ever.
Splatterhouse remake is a joy to play as a fan of the series as you can
really tell that the crew behind the game had great respect for the
original game and all the things that inspired it. You can tell they
tried to fully realize all the things the older games tried to put out.
There's a bit in the game where you come face to face with classic boss, this mean bad ass with chainsaw arms, and you hear the mask say: "Lets show them why they call it Splatterhouse!"
This is Splatterhouse in all its classic glory, up dated for current Gen. It's a love letter to horror fans and is very honest about what it's trying to be. Old school beat-em-up action at it's best.
Check out this very awesome (and what i though very fair) review over at Destructoid.