The return of the Splatterhouse series to consoles means that one thing is for sure: blood and gore will be plentiful. We visited with Namco Bandai at E3 2010 to finally get our hands on some flesh-tearing, limb-ripping, skull-crushing action.
Previous Coverage: We've seen the game before and written up some detailed impressions, and the game was also featured on our live E3 stage show, as you can see below.
What's New: Our hands-on time with the game gave us a chance to get a feel for the pace of combat and to ascertain whether or not Rick's moves were as fun to pull off as they looked. The answer to the latter question is yes, killing demons was just as fun as it looked in our preview demo. Rick's punch combos proved to be a good way to dispatch weaker enemies and keep bigger baddies at bay, though grabbing the weak ones and flailing them against the ground was also satisfying. The heavy punch packed some good damage, and combining the punches with Rick's sprint ability was a great way to get out of (or into) trouble and do some extra damage. The real blood started to flow when we used Rick's mask abilities. These had great effects like temporarily turning his arms into giant scythes or causing a spiky protrusion to erupt from the ground. And then there was the gory finisher that ended our boss encounter. After much pummeling of the mutated fiend, Rick twisted viciously and ripped its head messily off of its body. Delightful.
The section we played also had some interesting pacing changes. It began in a hallway and then proceeded into a series of three open rooms. We had to stay in a specific room to avoid getting fried by microwave beams, which added an extra challenge to the combat. Then came the aforementioned boss fight, followed by a two-dimensional platforming section in which we had to guide Rick along a moving conveyor belt, avoiding spiky obstacles and crushing pillars the whole way.
What Has Changed: The blood effects looked rich and more complete than the last time we saw the game. This effect, along with the still-awesome damage modeling that kicks in when Rick gets wounded, increased the feeling that Splatterhouse is staying true to its super-gory roots.
Final Word: While it remains to be seen how the combat will hold up over longer periods of gameplay, what we engaged in was diverse, gory, and a lot of fun. They are certainly making sure to keep the "splatter" in Splatterhouse, and that's a good thing.