Review by dm_boozefreek
"A gorefest or a gimpfest"
Splatterhouse hmmm let me think! Let me take you back to 88' when I first encountered this game in an arcade in the middle of nowhere. I'd heard of it but it sounded so good I never believed it's existence, but low and behold it was there. I'd heard the rumours of hacking zombies in half with a meat cleaver, or splatting them up against the wall with a plank of wood. This is very appealing stuff to a 9 year old hahaha! It also made one of the people who'd been telling me about it (my older cousin), quite pleased that he'd finally been proved right. Anyway I put my first coin in it and away I went. I made it to the end of the 2nd level with 1 coin but no further. A year or so later I found it in another arcade where I used to frequent at a younger age and that's where I started really playing...........................
From what I could tell when I was younger there wasn't really much of a story, a bloke in a one piece jumpsuit and his bird run into a house. There's a scream things go black, then you have to INSERT COIN to find out what happens after that. Anyway from what I gather it's something to do with a loony doctor called Dr West? Something to do with his experiments, and something to do with paranormal activity. I only know the main character is called Rick, and the girl he's saving is called Jennifer. That however is only from playing this games sequels.
Basically since the machine itself gives no real story, and supposedly the story cobbled with the PC Engine version was pretty weak anyway.
Story 1/10: and only because of the bog-standard cut scene at the start otherwise a big fat ZERO would've been in order.
At the time I was overwhelmed by how much horrible stuff there was going on at once, the mongs in the cages in the background twitching away as you walked past them. The chained up zombies on the walls which puked toxic slime in front of you. The random lumps of meat lying around, all very heady to a gore obsessed youngster who had dreamt of a game like this. Now the sprites themselves aren't really that impressive, but when I was 9 years old they were. Nowadays I play this every now and then just to bring back fond memories of bashing a zombie up against a wall with a lump of wood.
I find with this game and the 2 moderately unimpressive sequels that Rick the main character always walks a bit lopsided, also the way he walks is like he's skating along rather than walking. I didn't see any ice on the floor so what's the deal with that. Plus Rick could have done with a few more frames of animation for his moves. The walking is fine and even now when I play it I still think his walking is quite fluid but his punch and kick are a mere 2 frame jerk, this however doesn't really affect the gameplay. After all how many frames does a punch need to cave a zombies skull in. Overall by todays standards people would slate this game as being crap, but since I've liked it for about 18 years I'm judging it chronologically from a retro point of view.
One slight problem I did have at first was the mask, it was like hmm It's Jason Vorhees. But as the series rambles on it does get less like a hockey mask.
Graphics 7/10: I still think some of the more modern so-called gore games could have benefited from this games in your face attitude to this type of thing. I'm sure the arcades I was playing it in owned it illegally cos' I'm sure it got a ban in England. Which leaves me thinking I was playing a Jap machine board.
I liked the cheesy horror themed tunes. Some of them were adrenaline forcer's some of them were dark and creepy but IMO they all fitted the levels/sections they were assigned to. The sound effects although not brilliant were passable, although I do think the noise Rick makes when he gets hit was a bit crap to be honest.
Sound 7/10: Well suited and atmospheric at the time, still appropriate now.
This game in my opinion is as playable as ever, but trying to give a non-biased view on it I'd say it was pretty clumsy by todays standards. I'd say it was still very playable, and it's a good game to revisit chronologically for the whole gore game scene. The only downside is it's one of those games with a ridiculous difficulty curve, and anyone who's played it from start to finish will know what I mean. Basically the first 2 levels can be done on 1 credit easily (providing you can beat the second boss in 1 go), but from the end of level 3 it is seriously unbalanced. There's certain sections of some levels which you can be forced to take by a monster grabbing you, or choose to take later on in the game. Doesn't really matter though either way you end up in the same place. Either way some of them can be stupidly difficult and make you want to headbutt the screen through, and if you lose all your lives well you can continue..........from the start of the level. Which in my opinion may have been seen as a form of prolonging the gameplay, but it gets bloody annoying stuffing money into a machine only to be killed over and over again in the same place then not actually being able to continue from where you died. But at the end of the day and one of it's destructive factors is that Splatterhouse is basically one big pattern, and you can learn it with a handful of coins. If you don't get bored you can finish it. Add to this the whopping 4 available moves all of which have 2 frames and it doesn't really sound like a winner, however this game isn't as bad as some of the turkeys out there. I actually like it still.
Gameplay 6/10: It's good, but not that good.
Obviously this game has some as I keep coming back to it, and I'll admit I love it. I can see however if you play this game now having never played it before you'll be like WTF is he on about. having liked this game since the start I'm gonna give it an impartial score
Replay Value 5/10
I would've made it more in-depth but I think I've covered it with the above paragraphs, I like this game even though I secretly know it's pretty turd.
Overall 7/10: Keep swingin' that cleaver.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/06
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