Oct 19 2011
Halloween Game Feature Wk3: Splatterhouse (Arcade)

We're over half-way through the month, and I'm back with another great horror game! This week we're going to be looking at Splatterhouse, released as an Arcade game by Namco, than ported to the Turbografx-16 as well as being an unlockable game for the new Splatterhouse on 360 and PS3. It's also seen a release on iOS platforms and cell phones. The series enjoyed two sequels on Segas 16 bit Genesis/Mega Drive, and a reboot on modern systems was released 2010.

But lets look at the original arcade title, my favorite of the series. Its rather light on story. The story has been greatly expanded over the years, but I am going to stick with the original story we saw in the arcade version, before the sequels retconned some things. You play as Rick, who, with your girlfriend Jennifer, has taken refuge in a large mansion from a huge storm outside. It turns into a house of horrors. Jennifer is kidnapped, and Rick is left for dead. A sentient mask bonds with Rick, giving him supernatural powers. At this point you must fight your way through Zombies, Boreworms, Demons, Ghosts, monsters, and a surprise or two before you can escape the terrors of the mansion and its grounds, and perhaps even hell itself.

The game is a basic sidescroller, with you punching and kicking your way through ghouls. You can pick up numerous weapons along the way, such as 2 by 4s, knives, a cleaver, spears, even a shotgun (watch your ammo)! If you take a hit, you lose your weapon, but sometimes can pick it back up. Unfortunately, you can't take the weapon with you after you beat a level. In addition to the normal baddies, there's also environmental hazards such as acid, spikes, and a mysterious fog that will instantly kill you if you move too slow, so keep on your toes!

The game was also surprisingly dark for the time. I won't give it away, but there's a huge plot twist around 3/4ths of the way through that is just simply great storytelling, especially since this game was so light on story in the first place. It was the first game to have a warning on the TG-16 platform, and similar warnings followed on the boxes of the Genesis/Mega Drive sequels.

Its also a strange game in the fact that when you first play it can be brutally hard due to the fairly stiff controls, but once you learn the game and the routes through it you can make your way through it rather easily, minus the Biggie Man boss, who is always a challenge. However, its a fun romp thats fun to revisit at least once a year. Arcade versions are very hard to find (I think it only saw a US release in limited quantities), but you can enjoy it on all the systems I mentioned earlier, or you can always load up MAME and run through it that way.

If you are interested in more information on the series, be sure to check out splatterhouse.kontek.net, which has all the information on the series one could ever ask for. Its a resource for anyone interested in Splatterhouse or who is looking for deep information on the series.

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