cant say i could argue with the review. though i did find some enjoyment in this game plus three retro entries in the series all on one disc and at a price point of 7 to 20 dollars it's a pretty good deal
All the gore in the world can't disguise Splatterhouse's laundry list of clumsy mechanics.
- Some inspired artistic touches
- The story takes a few interesting turns
- You can use your own severed limbs as weapons.
- Awful platforming
- Side-scrolling sections are full of cheap deaths
- Jittery camera
- Inexcusably long load times
- All sorts of botched details, glitches, and other flaws.
There's a lot wrong with Splatterhouse. It's a bungling action game that relies heavily on the nostalgia from its predecessors while hiding its faults under the copious amounts of blood you spill kicking, punching, and chainsawing the fleshy demons that get in your way. This gory action game is an assault on the senses. Heavy metal bands such as Five Finger Death Punch scream in angst and anger; you reach into various monster orifices and pull out the viscera inside; and your constant companion spouts gleeful expletives, encouraging you to revel in the innards you spill. If you delight in such excess, you'll be glad that Splatterhouse delivers it by the bucketful. If you require more from your games than an explosion of grossness, however, there are few other reasons to swim in these rivers. Inadequate level design and abysmal visual cues turn side-scrolling and platforming levels into excruciating disasters. A twitchy camera and inconsistent collision detection make both combat and movement more awkward than they need to be. A poor game is a poor game, regardless of how long it marinates in its own clotted juices.
To be fair, however, Splatterhouse isn't all bad, and its brutality isn't its only noteworthy element. The story shares much in common with the original Splatterhouse arcade game, though it is more of a reimagining than a retelling. The saga begins already in progress, with you collapsed on the floor of an ostentatious mansion, leaking blood and within arm's reach of an ominous mask. You are Rick Taylor, a meek-looking student; the mask is a potty-mouthed demon that transforms you into a hulking beast with biceps larger than your own head. Together, you set out to rescue your girlfriend, Jennifer, who has been kidnapped by a sneering mad scientist intent on unleashing hordes of undead fiends from the depths of hell, or somewhere thereabouts. The lack of exposition makes for some initial confusion, but eventually you relive the events that drew you to this macabre mansion, thereby gaining some perspective. More importantly, connecting the dots leads to not just one, but two intriguing plot twists that make it worth paying attention to all the blood-and-thunder theatrics leading to them. You don't come to a game called Splatterhouse looking for narrative subtlety, yet this story is more than just a skeleton to hang flesh from: it's a revenge tale told with pulpy, self-important flair.
Separating you from Jennifer are killer clowns, spiked creatures, and lanky demons, all of them prepared to spurt blood onto the floor, walls, and your television screen. You move from one area to the next, killing them all, flipping a few switches, and listening to the ever-present voice in your ear urging you to celebrate your ghastly murdering spree as if it's a gourmet meal. The combat is button-mashy but serviceable, and as you collect blood by spilling gallons of it, you can purchase new moves and enhance existing ones. In time you might grab a spiked demon and swing it about, charge through a group of fire-breathing foes, or yank an enemy's limb from its torso and bludgeon others to death with it. In fact, your own limbs can also be torn off. Should you lose an arm, you can use it as an instrument of death while you wait for a new limb to grow in. There are other weapons to grab--cleavers, chainsaws, and the like--and while the weapon sound effects lack impact, it's fun to replace your fists with a more efficient means of murder.
The action isn't as fluid as the ruddy puddles you wade through. Animations are jumpy and collision detection is iffy; your target might take damage even though it doesn't look as though you made contact. Some moves, such as your dash, have a too-long recovery time, and the charged attack button can temporarily refuse to respond after such a move, even if the associated animation has finished. Animations aren't the only disappointing visual element, however, what with the erratic frame rate and low-resolution textures. Yet attention was clearly lavished on Splatterhouse's overall visual style. Gnarled vines twist across a gothic background, purple neon lights emit a soft glow in a carnival's tunnel of love, and a prone figure is a stark silhouette against a turbulent sky. Striking cel shading brings these environmental elements together and gives the overall grit some elegance. Those and other visual details--flames lapping at your feet, an elaborately carved mausoleum--are the highlight of your travels and a good counter for the below-par technical facets.