Review: Splatterhouse

2010/12/06 20:50:09 +00:00 | Jonathan James

Recently, we reviewed another horror game on Daily Dead and I told our readers that the game works by scaring with sounds and atmosphere, and that gore and action fans should look elsewhere. After playing through Splatterhouse this weekend, I can safely say that if you are looking for blood and gore in excess, Splatterhouse is the game for you.

Developer: Namco Bandai

Platform: Xbox 360

Developed by Namco, Splatterhouse is a remake or reboot of the classic arcade and console series that started back in 1988. This game follows the same basic plotline from the classic games and brings the characters and world to a type of gameplay a bit more familiar to the current generation of console gamers.

You play as Rick, a college student who is transformed by the Terror Mask into a Jason Voorhees-like monster. Your goal throughout the game will be to make it through West Mansion, killing thousands of creatures on your way, to rescue Jennifer from Dr. Henry West who has kidnapped her.

The gameplay will be instantly familiar to those who have played God of War, Force Unleashed, or any of the other recent beat-em-up button mashers. This is a third person point of view game, where you will kill monsters in every level to unlock new abilities and improve your character’s health, power, and attack moves. If you haven’t liked any of these kinds of games in the past, this probably won’t change your mind, but if you are a fan of these types of games, Splatterhouse does a good job of keeping your interest.

I really enjoyed the variety of creatures and bosses you encounter in each level. The developers did a good job of keeping the game fresh by adding new monsters and challenges to each level. The level designs also vary from chapter to chapter, so there is always something new to look at. I also really enjoyed the dialogue that your character has with the mask. In so many of these games, you’re just running around with very little dialogue during or between fights. In Splatterhouse, you and the mask discuss story-related items and I found that it really kept my interest.

As a throwback to the classic Splatterhouse, the developers have incorporated side scrolling sections to most chapters that are reminiscent of the original games. I thought they were very well done, fun to play through, and added much needed variety to this type of game.

The game also has a “Splatter Kill” system, which allows you to perform an extra-gory cinematic killing move on an individual creature. There are variety of moves and you will receive an in-game benefit for performing them, so this feature is both useful and entertaining at the same time.

For the classic Splatterhouse fans, playing through the game will unlock the original Splatterhouse, Splatterhouse 2, and Splatterhouse 3 which can be played right from the CD. This is a really nice addition and even if you haven’t played the original games before, you’ll appreciate them if you like classic console games.

While I enjoyed much of this game, there are multiple areas that could have used some work, including the game’s loading times. I’m not usually one to gripe about waiting for a level to load, but in this case not only do you have a long load time every time you return to play, but every time you die, which can be quite often depending on the fight. In some cases, my load times were longer than my boss fight. The other big issue I had with the game was the camera, which is fine in some, but really problematic in others. Sometimes you’ll be fighting  close to a corner and the camera will change angles, preventing you from seeing. In other cases, you have a tough time turning the camera around a corner while you are moving.

Even with gameplay that is similar to other games and the issues I mentioned above, I think Namco has done a pretty good job with Splatterhouse for their first try and I hope they put some serious effort into a sequel. If they work on polishing off what lacked in the first game, and bring more variety into the gameplay, world interaction, and fighting, I think they’ll have a great game that will appeal to all types of gamers.

For now, Splatterhouse is a fun game that will kill a weekend, and Splatterhouse fanatics will really appreciate all the extras including plenty of achievements to collect, weapons and missions to unlock, and classic games to play. If you are a casual gamer, though, this probably won't be enough to hold your interest and may prove too difficult to finish. For avid gamers who are not horror fans, you’ve played games like this before, so I don’t think this offers enough to keep your interest given the amount of games with this type of gameplay.

For our horror fans, you’ll like Splatterhouse as long as you enjoy the fun of gore in horror movies. If you’re someone that loves Evil Dead 2, you’ll have fun running through these levels killing everything in sight and covering the screen in blood.  There is plenty of blood and gore, enough variety to keep you interested, and with direct or indirect references to Evil Dead 2, Friday the 13th, and The Wicker Man, among others, horror fans will see Splatterhouse as a blood-filled homage to the genre they love.

3.5/5 Stars