I know I’ve played the original Splatterhouse at some point but never enough to form an opinion and from what I hear the original games were extremely violent for their time and fun. I’m going to guess this is a series with a cult following. Regardless, when I heard of the reboot back in 2010 I always planned on picking it up but bad reviews kept me away. Even when I was going to get it a few years ago some dude in the store even told me it sucked so I put it back. I’ve still been interested in playing it and I recently saw it cheap so I picked it up. I’m kind of glad I did.
Considering I know nothing of the original games I had no real clue as to what the story was about. You play as Rick Taylor, a young dude mortally wounded only to be saved by a mysterious mask calling out to him. Rick and his girlfriend Jennifer were attacked by experiments created by the psychotic Dr. Henry West. Rick was left for dead and Jennifer was abducted by the doctor. Once Rick puts on the mask, it turns him into a giant, muscular beast. Rick and Jennifer are pretty uninteresting but the mask (voiced by Jim Cummings) is hilarious and had me cracking up frequently. Throughout the entire game he guides Rick and comments on what’s going on even during combat. It’s actually a nice touch. Chasing doctor West and Jennifer, you will travel through portals taking you to other time periods and dimensions. The entire story was ridiculous and it seems that was intentional. Splatterhouse has a story mode containing three difficulty settings and a survival mode. DLC was released containing new masks and new survival arenas. Progressing through the story unlocks the original three Splatterhouse games and multiple survival arenas for it’s survival mode.
Splatterhouse is a hack and slash beat ’em up and a very violent one at that. From tearing enemies in half to punching into the ass of an enemy and pulling out it’s innards, there’s no shortage of gore. The amazing thing is, it never really gets old. The carnage was violent, brutal, and disgusting. I loved it. As I stated before the mask will comment on what’s going on during gameplay and he and Rick will frequently have good banter going on. As your kicking ass, the mask may yell “fuck him up” or other ridiculous obscenities. In fact, the voice work of Jim Cummings is one of the best aspects of the game. Frequently you will find weapons to shred your enemies to pieces and you can even use limbs and body parts to beat them to death. As you slaughter everything in your path you absorb blood which is used to upgrade abilities and learn new moves.
Not everything about Splatterhouse is that great. It’s a technical mess and the camera is complete shit. The audio will frequently cut out and the framerate is hardly steady. I played this on the XBOX 360 so I don’t know what’s different, if anything, about the PlayStation 3 version. When I put in the disk there was no patch to download which is disappointing since the game is overwhelmed with technical issues. Many times you will attack an enemy and nothing will happen only for the enemy to grab a hold of you like the animation was stuck loading or something. This would cause much aggravation but what got me the most frustrated was the load times which are just way too long. Even during gameplay you may not be sure where to go and that’s because the door won’t open because you’re still waiting for the game to load.
The game had pretty good pacing and the phases would become progressively more difficult. The ending was disappointing but I didn’t go into this game expecting much. Most of the game has you running to a room, slaughtering a bunch of enemies, then running to the next room. Splatterhouse mixes things up the with sidescrolling sequences but they don’t really add much to the experience. You will run into deadly traps and obstacles that can be easily avoided and many rooms will require specific requirements to progress but nothing complicated. For example you may have to impale enemies onto multiple spikes to get a door open, or you may have to rip out a giant eyeball blocking your path. There are boss fights and only a few stand out. This mainly due to the fact that other enemies you may have perceived as bosses early on will end up being common enemies later. These boss fights are not too challenging on the standard difficulty nor are they that exciting. Quick time events are peppered throughout the game which is another disappointment.
Splatterhouse is a violent, gory, humorous, and enjoyable ride held back by technical issues. It’s a shame that patches were never released and it’s also a disappointing to see that no sequels were developed since I feel Splatterhouse definitely had potential. I doubt we will ever see a sequel at this point. Maybe another reboot will happen down the road but if you like hack and slash or beat ’em up games I’d definitely recommend you check this game out if you can find it cheap.
Check out our playthrough below: