|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Namco Bandai Games|
|Pub: Namco Bandai Games|
|Release: November 23rd, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p||Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Nudity, Sexual Themes and Strong Language|
by James Trujillo
As one of the first truly great horror games of its day, Splatterhouse is finally getting the updated remake fans have been craving. Originally an arcade release in Japan in November of 1988, it struck a chord with audiences both good and bad. The game was acclaimed and berated by critics for its excessive amount of violence and satanic imagery.
Once it hit American shores a year later, it was quickly banned from arcades across the country. However, due to its overwhelming success in the Japanese market, developer Namco (now Namco Bandai) created a toned down port of the game to be released on the TurboGrafx-16 console with the first ever parental advisory disclaimer to be printed on a game box. Needless to say, it almost instantly became a cult-classic.
This new 2010 revamp of the franchise promises gore like never before and will remain close to home with a retelling of its classic story, with a few new twists of course. Putting you once again in the shoes of college student Rick Taylor, you will be tasked with trying to rescue your girlfriend, Jennifer, who has gone missing after an unfortunate visit to the legendary West Mansion. She is taken away by creatures known only as the Corrupted,, and Rick is left on the verge of death. Before he meets his grisly end, he finds the powerful Terror Mask beside him as his only hope for redemption. Once he becomes bound with the mask, he is transformed into a hulking, rage-filled beast bent on destruction and revenge.
Visually, the game looks great. Everything shown off during the demo we saw confirmed there would indeed be copious amounts of bloodshed. Not to mention a sharp, cel-shaded art style to give it a visceral comic book feel. It helps considering the story is being penned by none other than Gordon Rennie, author of the critically acclaimed Necronauts series and numerous Judge Dredd storylines. There was also a moment where the main character unleashed a brutal power surge that morphed the screen into a black, white, and red scenario like something out of the neo-noir epic Sin City. The development team calls this the Berserker Mode, which is largely a part of their Splatterkill System.
This system lets you unload some cool, yet efficient, killing methods during combat. Its all based around the principle that the more blood you collect from your downed enemies, the more power you have to fill your Brutal Gauge. Its essentially your health and combo meter rolled into one, and once your gauge is completely filled, you can unleash some devastating attacks while in your Berserk phase. There is also a bit of strategy to consider, however, before recklessly delving into a blood-filled rampage.
Since it is also directly connected to your health in the game, they advise players to think before you kill. Rick takes damage in real-time so any limbs that may get lopped off in the process will slowly drain his health until he dies. Thats why it may be wise to consider repurposing his collected blood energy into regenerating lost appendages on occasion. It seems like a smart move on the part of the developer to keep the balance of combat right where it should be.
In case you werent paying attention, yes, there is plenty of dismemberment in Splatterhouse. Seeing as how melee combat is a huge focus of the game, fallen limbs from yourself and others can be used as weapons to make the mayhem even more gruesome. It was certainly entertaining to watch a one-armed Rick slowly getting woozy while taking swipes at enemies with his own arm. Thats the kind of humor theyre referencing when they mentioned their influence from Peter Jackson and his early work in the splatstick horror genre.
They didnt show off any major boss battles in the demo, which have been a major staple in the franchise, but they did say fans wouldnt be disappointed with their re-imagining of these iconic characters. Namco Bandai Games have been taking the development of the game seriously and made sure to reference the originals to stay focused on what the fans really wanted. They even included all three pioneering games as unlockable components to give fans old and new a complete Splatterhouse experience.
It definitely seems admirers will have plenty to look forward to with this new rendition of the game. The presentation is great. The violence is present and accounted for. Theyve even thrown in some side-scrolling levels and platforming elements to keep the nostalgia factor high. However, for people who have never played a Splatterhouse game before, you may want to proceed with caution. The release window of Fall 2010 is just around the corner and they havent really shown off much that may typically garner excitement from a new crowd. So until we can get an actual playthrough of the game ourselves, its looking like it has wait-and-see written all over it.
CCC Freelance Writer