Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Bottle Rocket
by: Andrew "Cubninja" Gaskill
Splatterhouse was my guilty pleasure of 2010. I love this game. Even though it has many flaws, I really enjoyed almost everything about it. It is bloody, brutal, and crass. There is foul language, viscera, decapitations, dismemberments, and plenty of nudity. This is an homage to 80’s slasher flicks.
When word came that Namco Bandai had dumped developer Bottle Rocket because of ‘performance issues,’ I thought the game would be shelved. Namco finished the game in-house, and yes, it feels rough and unpolished. It’s also gory as hell, and one makes up for the other.
The story opens with our protagonist, Rick Taylor, lying in a pool of his own blood and guts. His girlfriend, Jennifer, has been taken by the evil Dr. West. As Rick lays there dying the Terror Mask beckons, promising life and the safe return of Jennifer. Rick puts on the mask, and then it’s splatterin’ time.
The game looks good, not great. The graphics have a a quasi-cel-shaded look at times. Enemies are repetitive and easily dispatched. My favorite technique is ripping off a creature’s arm and then beating them with it. Repeat this until you come across a machete, 2x4, lead pipe, etc., then use that until it breaks, then rip off another arm. Once an enemy has been weakened you can perform a splatter kill, which ratchets the gore up to eleven. I should note that the enemies don’t resemble people in the slightest, so you can mutilate them without any feelings of discomfort.
Rick and the Terror Mask progress through different areas that have been affected by the Corrupted, an evil force trying to break into our world. As Rick takes damage it shows on his body, ribs become exposed, limbs are lost, but never fear, he can regenerate. An upgradeable combo system as seen in God of War 3 (and dozens of other beat ‘em ups) unlocks more brutal moves. The few boss fights offer a change of pace. There is also an arena mode available where you must battle through waves of enemies. Complete these arenas for collectibles.
Ah yes, the game also has collectibles, but these are not silly coins or trinkets. It seems that Jennifer has left a trail of breadcrumbs for Rick to follow, in the form of torn up photos. Once again Splatterhouse embraces its slasher film roots as these ‘collectibles’ are photos of Jennifer in varying stages of undress. Collect all the pieces from one level, and BAM! Booby pic. Sophomoric, yes, but Rick was going to go through the level anyways, so you might as well pick up the nudie pic.
The sound is-well, gooey. Creatures scream and splatter and the voice acting is above par. The banter between Rick and the Terror Mask is amusing enough. The soundtrack is full of death metal including Five Finger Death Punch, Lamb of God, Mastodon, and Goat Whore. Man, are these band names, or my ex-girlfriends?
As an added bonus the original Splatterhouse, Splatterhouse 2 and Splatterhouse 3 are unlockable. This is a must buy for any old school fan. I’d just buy it at a slightly cheaper price than the $60 dollars. I mentioned God of War 3 earlier. Splatterhouse is a cartoon version of GoW3, with the violence and nudity turned up and everything else dumbed down. Personally, I’d give Splatterhouse a Gold Billy. Objectively, I just can’t do it.