This time I am reviewing a remake of a late 80s classic arcade game which has been remade for this generation in all its bloody gory horror. The game in question is none other than Splatterhouse, developed by Bottlerocket and Namco Bandai Games, which has made it’s blood soaked way on to both the 360 and PS3. So will this much loved old school arcade game have the fear factor? Or is it just a video nasty?
Well, first off, Splatterhouse isnâ€™t really the deepest of games in terms of story. But for what there is, it isnâ€™t that bad. Itâ€™s really just standard horror movie fair. The story is penned by Gordon Rennie, who also worked on Necronauts and Judge Dredd. The game starts with Jennifer Willis and her boyfriend, the games hero Rick Taylor, heading towards Dr.Henry West’s house. Well, it’s actually more of a mansion, you know the type – on top of a hill, huge iron gates looking a bit worse for wear. Soon after the couple get to the Doctor’s house, all hell breaks loose with Rick being mortally wounded and Jennifer being kidnapped by the Doctor. As Rick scrabbles for his life he knocks over a Sarcophagus, revealing a mask.
Close to death, the mask calls out to Rick saying it will save him and help him get his girl back. Having no choice, Rick puts the mask on and from here the game starts. The mask has transformed him into a monster of a man, a bloodthirsty beast, and after coming to terms with whatâ€™s happened he quickly makes a deal with the mask. The killing soon follows from the mansion, to different dimensions and to secret labs. The main enemy in the game are the demons that Dr West has created and letâ€™s say theyâ€™re in for a bad day, as Rick isnâ€™t going to stop till he gets Jennifer back.
The gameplay on the whole is split into two styles. The first and main style is a God of War type hack and slash with you working your way through levels punching, kicking and unleashing hell on anything that moves. On top of Rick being a fighting machine, you also get to wield objects that you find in the game world like 2×4s, baseball bats, lead pipes and huge machetes. Each object has a different feel and you can do special moves with them, which leave the wall a lovely colour of crimson. As well as these, Rick also gets to have fun with a Shotgun, the only gun in the game, and it packs some punch as you can finish off most enemies the minute you look at them. The coolest weapon in the game by far is available when Rick loses an arm in a fight. He can pick up his severed limb and beat his enemies about with it. The mask also gives Rick a berserk mode which turns him into a tank and is unstoppable while in this mode. It doesnâ€™t last very long, but it is great fun to trash the place up.
The other style of gameplay in the game is very old school and is a 2D side on view, reminiscent of the previous games where you fight your way through hordes of enemies and as well as handling some tricky platforming moments.
The game features gore, and not just a normal amount. I mean,this game contains a truck load of the red stuff. To add to this, there a some QTE finishing moves to perform on the enemies, from choking them to death, to ripping their arms out and more bizarre ones, which will make you think that some of the development team have warped, slightly disturbed imaginations.
The game also has a upgrade system which lets you unlock new moves and abilities for Rick. Some of these new moves are key to the gameplay and others just let you have more fun while playing, like a move where you can grab a enemy, rip his arm off and wield it like a club, similar to the way you can with your own arm only without the pain.
The game aims for a comic book style and the graphics engine handles this well. The game also has some really nice little touches, like if Rick has taken a beating you can see he is missing lumps of flesh and even exposed bones at time. If there is any issues with the graphics side of things, itâ€™s that when there is a lot happening on the screen at once, it can make the game slow down. The general feel of the game is great but it could have used 1 or 2 extra coats of polish.
Josh Keaton voices Rick, but the real star of the show is the mask who is voiced by Jim Cummings, the voice of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, as well as the voice of other characters in a host of animated movies. Throughout the game Cummings delivers one liners thick and fast, which are real stand out moments and add a real layer of comedy to the doom and gloom backdrop. Adding to the aural banquet is the Metal inspired soundtrack, which features fully licensed tracks from bands like 5 Finger Death Punch and Lamb of God to name a few.
As if this were not enough, the game also lets you unlock the classic Splatterhouse 1, 2 and 3 by playing through the main game. This is a must have for fans, but also a great feature for those new to the series as you can go back and play where it all began, finding out what made it an arcade smash all those years ago.
From start to finish, Splatterhouse is bags of fun with itâ€™s over the top gore and comedy one liners. Once you add the survival modes, unlockable masks, and collectables to find, as well as plans for full DLC support, this one may just have what it takes to be on your gamercard for some time to come.
Paint the town RED