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Retro Review : Splatterhouse (iphone/ipad edition)

Namco - 1988 (arcade) 1990 (turbografx) 2011 (ipad/iphone) 

So as you may know, I’ve already done a review of Splatterhouse on the Turbografx-16 , but it was recently released on the Ipad and Iphone, and instead of being the console port, it’s a port of the original arcade version, so I figured I’d give it an update. It also has a few added gameplay options, and the usual ranking and achievements, that are so popular with the kids these days, that you can unlock while playing, as well as a Rush Mode.
(since I played it on the Ipad, I’ll mainly be referring to that version)


Like I said before, the version on the Ipad is a port of the arcade, so it has a few differences from the Turbografx version. First off, Rick is sporting the old hockey style mask, instead of the red terror mask design in the English version on the T-16 (he also wears the hockey mask in the Japanese PC-Engine version). Also, all the censorship from the T-16 port has been left out, so the Evil Cross has returned as a boss, the crucifixes are still seen in the Church, as well as the alter, and the tombstone that Hell Chaos emerges out of is a wooden cross once more. 
 The game itself is still rather similar to the T-16 port, with some enemies being added in different areas. The crows have returned, and the baby faced slug creatures actually attack you again. The arcade port also offers more detailed graphics, and added animations, like when Jennifer transforms into her beast state.
The Ipad version also has an added Rush Mode. In Rush Mode, you must survive 120 seconds against a hoard of zombies, dogs, bats, birds, and other Splatterhouse baddies. Every once in a while, the game will drop a rock, or 2x4 to assist you, and once you earn a certain amount of points, a picture of the Terror Mask appears. When you tap it, lightening shoots across the top and bottom screens, wiping out all enemies on screen at the time. You can play on either easy, medium or hard mode, with the types of enemies and weapons changing with each difficulty. The Arcade mode also has 3 difficulties, and you can buy added features like unlimited shotgun ammo and easy slide attack. And, if you think you’re good enough, you can challenge the game as Maskless Rick, a mode where you only have one heart point, which means one hit, and you’re dead.


Now, other then the usual stiff moving and fighting, the game can be tricky to play due to the touch controls. The buttons are sometimes unresponsive, and in a game that requires quick reflexes and pattern memory, having a button not function can make it hell to play (like I said, I played the Ipad version, so it may be easier to play on the iphone).


Now, as you may know, I absolutely love Splatterhouse, and have been a fan of the series forever, so I really enjoyed getting to play the arcade styled version. Like I said in my previous review, it’s a tricky game, takes getting used to, not for everyone, etc. etc. etc., but, if you’re a fan of the series like me, of just a fan of horror games and/or beat-um-ups, I definitely recommend it. If you can get over the touch controls, it’s a big bloody barrel of fun, and it’s available for only $2.99.
Hey, it’s cheaper than dumping a pocket full of quarters into the machine, and you can play it on the toilet. It’s a win win. So, go the the Namco app store, and pick it up today.

The Biggy Man awaits!


Retro Review : The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

SETA - 1989 -  Famicom/NES 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a standard action platformer, and extremely bizarre interpretation of Tom Sawyer, that strongly resembles Super Mario Bros. In the game, Tom has fallen asleep, and the game itself is Tom’s dream. In it, Becky has been captured by Injun Joe, and Tom must embark on a quest through the games 6 levels to rescue her. You can either play single or multiplayer, the multiplayer being turn based again like in SMB, where you take turns playing as Tom and Huck. 


From the first level, it’s obvious that the makers of the game tried very hard to replicate Super Mario Bros and other popular games of the time. The main characters even resemble Mario and Luigi; Tom being dressed in a red shirt with blue suspenders, and Huck, dressed in a green shirt with white suspenders, and the game even begins with you having to jump over barrels, much like in Donkey Kong. For most the levels, you must either jump over or defeat oncoming enemies such as pirates and assorted wild life. You can attack by throwing an endless supply of rocks you have hidden in your pockets. The rocks travel in an arch, which means that once an enemy is close by, you will no longer be able to hit them, and must jump over them. Some enemies will drop a slingshot icon, which allows you to attack by firing a shot in a straight line across the screen. It is slightly more powerful then the normal attack, but only lasts a limited time. Enemies will also drop one of three other icons. A “T” icon, which will award you with an extra life if you gather 20, a Skull icon, which erases 10 of your “T” icons, and a Heart icon, that acts like the Star in Mario, granting limited invincibility. 

Remember that time Tom Sawyer fought that giant octopus?

 The game is broken up into 6 levels, 5 of which are standard platform setups, and one, the 2nd level, being an overhead game where you must pilot a raft down the Mississippi river. The other levels consist of a haunted mansion, a cloud world (with a brief flying section), and a forest that has a brief section where you jump along giant mushrooms (another obvious Super Mario reference)

The game suffers from some very stiff controls at times, with jumping being one of the main annoyances. Once you jump, you can’t move forward or back, which makes for some rather stiff platforming. This becomes a bit of a problem later in the game, when you are jumping over pits that leave you little room for error, the worst of which being just before your fight with the final boss.  Also, in the raft section, you can move in the air when you jump, but your raft doesn’t move along with you, making it easy to accidentally fall into the water. 

Remember that time Tom Sawyer fought Grape Ape?

My last real problem with the game, more of a personal complaint, is how easy most of the bosses are.  Many of them are defeated with only a few shots, and some barely even attack you at all. In fact, the final boss fight with Injun Joe is almost impossible to lose at, with him only attacking once every few seconds, and only attacking by firing a single arrow at the ground. 


While it desperately tries to  be like one of the big boys, it just ends up feeling very dull. I actually enjoyed the cute graphics, and the music isn’t…..too awful…. But the game feels very speedily put together. It often feels either too easy, or annoyingly hard, and never really comes off as an enjoyable game to me. I ended up wanting to beat it out of spite more then anything else. When it comes down to it, it’s just an okay platformer, and with so many better ones on the NES, there just doesn’t feel like a reason to choose this one. 

But, when it comes to other games for the NES based on Tom Sawyer….it could be much worse….


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