Splatterhouse or a complete mess, this retro classic remake probably should have stayed in the 80’s. Let’s face it people, placing a cool graphical mask over remedial gameplay mechanics is not going to get you very far nowadays, especially for $60 (highway robbery). While I am a fan of BottleRocket Entertainment, developers of Afro Samurai the video game, their latest efforts on Splatterhouse all too often feels like a rush job loaded with gallons of blood, corney adult-humor and gameplay that might just put you to sleep.
Almost identical to it’s 80’s arcade classic, Splatterhouse places you in the role of lead character Rick who wakes up in a pool of blood wondering where his girlfriend Jane has been taken. Needing much assistance Rick is immediately confronted by “The Mask” and promised redemption by placing the mask on. The mask transforms skinny Ricky into a hulking brute whose only aim is to reclaim his kidnapped girlfriend from Dr. West.
While Splatterhouse starts out interesting enough, the gameplay all too quickly reveals it’s ugly head of hack and slash 101 basics blast to the past mechanics that sometimes seems almost difficult to enjoy. Throughout our time with Splatterhouse, enemy encounters almost never vary. Run into a room roll, hit, roll, roll, hit, hit, oh I’ll just do this until the next door opens (very creative). During enemy encounters which the game is filled with, Splatterhouse is certainly not without imaginative grab maneuvers. Upon enemies glowing red Rick can grab his enemies and perform blood-filled body dismembering moves by you choosing the correct arrow direction of the toggle sticks. Did I mention that no blood was sparred in the making of this title? I’ve probably never seen so much blood spilled in a video game and that’s not a bad thing, however, whether you are ripping the enemy’s arms, head or torso apart, these cut-scene grab maneuvers are just begging for variety.
Players are also able to utilize torn enemy body parts as weapons along with their own limbs which are sometimes ripped off from vicious encounters. As you progress through the game you’ll also notice a blood filled jar hub which continues to fill with the blood of your enemies as you reap havoc. This blood can be used as a form of currency to upgrade the gameplay experience. Despite there being a ton of upgradable options to change up the pace a bit, this band-aid effort to salvage a generic save the princess from the evil plot, unimaginative level designs and chore gameplay experience has a way of spoiling the ride.
For the gamer looking for a few laughs at crude adult humor Splatterhouse might tickle your funny bone. F bombs, taunting and sometimes insulting gestures from your inner voice (The mask) accompanied by the games heavy metal musical overtones while rough around the edges does add some creative energy to help the presentation but don’t think of this as any kind of saving grace.
If you played one level in Splatterhouse you’ve played them all. Splatterhouse tries hard to grab the player with it’s over the top style yet it fails miserably. There is no doubt, Splatterhouse needed more time in the concept department. Sometime despite our best intentions we should know when we have not put forth our best efforts. This might have been a better experience offered across PSN or Xbox Live Arcade at a much lower price point. Now back to more Dead Nation.