|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
It's been over twenty years since the original Splatterhouse was released to an unsuspecting and easily offended gaming public. It was the first of its kind: a bloody mess of a game that caused people to wince in disgust, and ultimately led to the first-ever parental advisory warning for a video game. This side-scrolling beat 'em up instantly became a favorite at arcades, but was banned and eventually toned-down to appeal to the home console market. Now it's the year 2010, and violence in video games has taken the world by storm! These days the sight of blood and gore is mere child's play, and this widely heralded story can now be told with a more gruesome frame of mind.
Rick Taylor's adventure with the Terror Mask was never detailed in the original series. It consisted of the stereotypical boy-saves-girl plotline, a maniacal archenemy in Dr. West, and the means to defeat him with the Terror Mask. With an original plot penned by Gordon Rennie (Necronauts / Judge Dredd), the story focuses more on showing Dr. West's true devious intentions. Throughout the game you can uncover random bits of his journal, which are recorded on old gramophones scattered within West Mansion. It's nice to have more backstory within the Splatterhouse universe, but after all is said and done, it still takes a lonely back seat to the gameplay.
Every fan of the franchise knows the main draw here is the gore, and the developers certainly spared no expense in creating it. You can hack off heads on a whim or rip off an opponent's arm and beat them with it; and the blood flows like a sloppy episode of Nickelodeon's Double Dare. In fact, spilling blood is one of your main objectives when it comes to unlocking combat abilities in the game's upgrade system.
The brawler aspect of Splatterhouse is still firmly in tact, and now boasts more depth with attack combos at your disposal. The combat is minimal at the start, but as you progress and collect more blood from fallen enemies, you can purchase upgrades to give Rick more killing efficiency. Attacks range from your basic fast, heavy, and grapple assaults, but can get even more destructive when you unleash a Splatterkill maneuver. This tactic can be unleashed when you grab hold of an enemy who will begin to glow red when weakened. Once you get your hands on a helpless victim, a quick-time event will occur, prompting a button press and appropriate aiming of the analog sticks to tear off a foe's appendage. This method can get tiresome if overused on the same enemy type, as it's the same animation each time. On the other hand, it is also a great way to break up potentially monotonous combat scenarios.
The Terror Mask will grant you a boost when you launch yourself into Berserker mode. This ability becomes available once you have collected enough Necro Energy from defeating enemies. This mode shows off a black & white, comic-book-style attacking frenzy; granting invincibility for a short period of time. Not only will you become incredibly powerful, but you will also replenish any lost health once it becomes triggered. This is useful when dealing with the intense boss battles you'll face throughout the campaign.
If there's one thing the Splatterhouse fanatics will remember, it's the difficult and noteworthy boss fights that were cherished throughout the original trilogy. Unfortunately the same can't really be said about this adaptation of the game. You'll encounter some familiar bosses, but the battles leave a lot to be desired. There's no real strategy to the combat other than a repetitive dodge and attack procedure, and they ultimately end with a quick-time event similar to the Splatterkill scenarios. Frankly, it's a bit of a let down considering it's the same setup as the original games, but this time in a three-dimensional context. The formula was certainly passable back then, but these days it's just perceived as thoughtless gameplay. There were many other attempts to show the old fans some love, but for some reason they missed the mark in those areas as well.
Platformer elements were a small part of the original games, and they were included again in a few side-scrolling throwback sections. At first glance, these segments of the game seem awesome. However, they will later reveal themselves as some of the most irritating moments in the game.The jumping controls will have you banging your head against the wall in sheer frustration. Normally I don't mind difficult sections like these when controls are solid. Unfortunately they didn't make any tuning adjustments between these varying portions of the game, and it was a huge mistake on the part of the developers. Thankfully these side-scrolling areas aren't very long.