Splatterhouse was released in 2010 and is a reboot of the trilogy originally released in the 80’s on Sega’s family of systems (and all of them are lovingly included in this game too!).
In Splatterhouse you take on the role of Rick who, after being fatally wounded, is coerced to wear a demonic mask to save himself and his girlfriend, Jen, who has been abducted. The story is simple but effective and takes Rick to a variety of different environments on the hunt for his girlfriend. All the while talking to a sort of inner monologue of his mask (expertly voiced by Jim Cummings, Winnie the Pooh no less!).
Gameplay is classic hit everyone that moves and destroy as much as you can, this is in an effort to make the bloodiest mess imaginable as blood works as experience to trade for upgrade health and skills. The move set is basic, with a button for quick, light attacks and another for slightly slower and stronger attacks. A few other moves are added as you progress but there isn’t anything to ground breaking here. Along the way there are collectibles such as gramophone recordings and pieces of pictures of Jen, these pictures are often split into four and hidden throughout each phase. I enjoyed collecting each piece as it slowly revealed an often ‘intimate’ picture of Jen but occasionally it was a more sombre take. All this would be lost in this day and age and who really carries around their own nudes in a handbag!
The graphics are a mix of cell shaded and ordinary ‘realistic’ graphics. I often found this confusing as cutscenes were generally rendered with realism but gameplay had a more comic book look to it and I would have preferred more consistency in this area. The environments are varied, ranging from a creepy manor to an amusement park and so on and kept things fresh throughout. There were also stages of each phase that would force gameplay into sidescrolling which I found a nice change of pace and homage to the series’ roots. I did have a few framerate issues which weren’t game breaking but were noticeable and load times were quite lengthy, especially after deaths which became frustrating.
There are also other modes, such as survival arenas, where you have to survive waves of enemies to collect more photos of Jen and the aforementioned original trilogy.
There is a lot to enjoy in Splatterhouse. Whether it’s the mindless bloody fun of killing everything in sight, collecting sultry pictures, or the generally well written plot. I enjoyed my time with the game and look forward to returning to it. The inclusion of all three previous entries is a treat for nostalgia fans and for anyone who hasn’t played the game before to get acquainted with the series. However, framerate issues and long load times made some parts of the game a chore, despite not spoiling the overall experience.
+ Compelling story
+ Fun, bloody gameplay
+ ‘Dirty’ collectibles
– Framerate issues
– Long load times