Paint the walls RED!!!
Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Following a troublesome development over at BottleRocket Entertainment which lead to the studio’s closure back in late 2009, the Splatterhouse remake project was completed by Namco Bandai’s internal studio earlier this year.
Finally hitting store shelves two weeks ago, the over-the-top M-rated beat’em up based on the 1988 TurboGrafx-16 side-scrolling classic carried some promise; both for those die-hard Splatterhouse fans who’ve been following the remake saga since it’s announcement four years ago and the simple gamer looking for a cool game to play. Unfortunately, this reboot isn’t quite as amazing as one would have thought, including yours truly. Just like Tara Reid’s plastic surgeries, something went horribly wrong.
The story begins with high-school student Rick Taylor bathing on his own blood. His girlfriend Jen was stolen away by a demented Doctor (Dr. West) for some sort of spiritual sacrifice. Near-dead, Rick hears the voice of a demon speaking through an ancient living mask (who for some reason ended up near by him) offering his help to retrieve his lost girlfriend. How? By wearing the mask - which will transform him in a powerful hulking fiend - and unleash terror upon Dr. West and his minions...by spilling as much blood and guts as possible along the way.
Whether its by combo punching, swinging a weapon, impaling baddies onto the environment, pulling a brutal quick-time kill, unleashing “berserker” mode for ultimate carnage or a life-syphoning feat that will heal you in the process, Splatterhouse’s gameplay mechanics aren’t that far from what a game like God of War banks on to be successful: inflict as much pain to your enemies to survive. The only difference here is that its presented like a B-level horror movie powered by a tenth of Kratos’ development budget. Bad camera, inconsistent frame rates, clunky controls, awful platforming sections...not to name the occasional texture rips, bugs and glitches alongside the excruciating loading times when you die. I could go on, but its not all bad.
The conversations between Rick and the Mask are quite amusing and the heavy-metal soundtrack fits the action perfectly. Despite the ugly and unpolished graphic engine, the Gothic art design does manage to please the eyes in certain instances. Both the creatures and Rick are also well rendered and detailed. There’s even certain level sections presented in a side-scrolling view mimicking the original trilogy. Speaking of which, the three classic Splatterhouse games are offered as unlockables on the disk. And what to say about the gallons of blood constantly splashing on-screen? Did I mentioned the ability to rip enemy limbs or heads and use them as blunt weapons? That’s on top of the baseball bats, 2x4s, cleaver and other means of grotesque death that Rick has at his disposal. Unfortunately, whenever the game wants to show something awesome, a measure of disappointment follows right after and erases all the enjoyment, much like Mr Miyagi’s Wax-on/Wax-Off move.
Now I understand that there’s a market for games like Splatterhouse. I mean, killing demons in painful ways while collecting sexy pictures scattered across levels to the sounds of a heavy metal soundtrack...we’re talking about the same people who go to the movies every October to watch the latest SAW film. Namco had a clear idea to who this game would be marketed for and there’s nothing wrong with it. While the concept is far from being original and groundbreaking and - as with most games nowadays - requires one to put themselves in Attention Mode, games like these are always welcomed. Forget about choosing the right path or not or talking to a character in a certain way to unlock a conversation...just grab the controller and enjoy the ride.
Truth is, Splatterhouse delivers everything in such a underwhelming way that turning your brain off - even in the hypothetical sense - and trying to enjoy it could actually be one of the most challenging things you would ever face while playing a video game. The notion of a guilty pleasure doesn’t apply here. At all.
As a whole, this highly-anticipated remake is a disappointing, heart-breaking experience and I would be surprised to ever encounter someone that would actually put it in his Top 5. Granted, if games like Deadly Premonition and Saw II did actually manage to sell this year, I don’t see why this one wouldn’t, though not at $60. If you do plan to own it at one point, make sure you wait for the eventual price drop. Funnily enough, Namco was willing to reduce Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom’s initial price tag for fear no one would actually be interested, but has no problem charging full price for this one.
I want to make myself very clear: Splatterhouse isn’t an uber-terrible, unplayable game...but its damn close. Just be prepared to shed some tears of frustration - and sorrow for the fans who’ve been patiently waiting for it - while filling your swear jar.
+ Soundtrack fits the action
+ Interesting art design
+ Fun and bloody gameplay...
- Clunky controls
- Long loading times when you die
- Framerate drops, sub-par visuals
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Release Date : 2010/11/23
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Namco Bandai
Developer : Bottlerocket Entertainment
Category : Survival Horror
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10