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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 : Splatterhouse

Arcade - 1988
TurboGrafx - 1990

Now, I will admit, I love squishy, sloppy, gore horror. I love drippy horrible monsters composed of the severed heads of former victims, and oozing. sloshing zombies with consistency of jellied intestines. So, when it comes to retro beat um ups, Splatterhouse is a personal favorite. The fact that the game also borrows heavily for the H.P. Lovecraft mythos only increases my love of this game. I have never been able to get my hands on the original arcade game, but I have played the TurboGrafx version, so my review will be based off this version. 

In Splatterhouse you play the role of Rick Taylor, a young student of parapsychology at the local Miskatonic University where he attends with his girlfriend Jennifer Willis, that during a powerful rainstorm, happens upon the laboratory of the mad scientist Doctor Henry West. After entering the Mansion, Rick and Jennifer are attacked by a horde of inhuman beasts that abduct Jennifer, and leave Rick to die from his massive injuries. As Ricks life begins to leave him, a strange Mask appears, telling Rick that with its power Rick could live and even save his girlfriend. Rick agrees to the Masks conditions, and puts it on; transforming his body into a mass of powerful muscle fueled by arcane powers. With the powers of the Terror Mask, Rick makes his way through the hell filled Mansion in search of his lost love.

Now, if you played the game you may not have known this, since like in many old games, it begins with you already with the mask, in the middle of a corpse shaft of madness. This is how I first experienced the game. No background, no story, just a huge man in a Jason mask, with fists made for corpse punching. The game literally begins with a still of the Mansion coupled with haunting chiptunes, then goes directly into game play. In the arcade version, you do actually see Rick and Jen run into said Masion, then screams, and finally Ricks near dead ass on the ground with the Terror Mask floating over him. 

Now, this game is a little different than many of the other beat um ups you may be used to. Spltterhouse is a game that is very reliant on pattern memorization. The monsters all have a set point they appear, and never randomly rush at you. Most of the bosses have a set pattern of attack that you must learn to beat them, except for the last 2; one using a random spawning attack and the other having a pattern that has some random elements to it. The game has a very high difficulty curve to begin with, but once that patterns are learned, the game becomes much easier to navigate. 

When it comes to combat,Rick has several means to attack. You can punch, low kick, jump kick, slide kick, and use several weapons you find along the way including a shotgun, 2X4 and wrench. The weapons are put in specific places in the game to give you a boost; 2x4s in the sewers before a wave of sludge monsters and shotguns right in front of everyones favorite boss, and the games most iconic character, The Biggy Man.

Now, I do have one big personal problem with the weapons system. Rick only keeps the weapon until he enters the next door. Before leaving a room Rick just drops the weapon and moves on. Now, lets talk for a moment. If you were in a Mansion full of zombies, slugs with human faces and bag headed chainsaw monsters, would you ever drop your weapon? COME ON RICK, HELP ME HELP YOU!!!!

So the game has some downsides like I said; high difficulty, it’s easy to get swarmed by enemies at some points and the controls are a bit limited and stiff. But, where Splatterhouse really shines is its gross, gory visuals. The game is just visually entertaining. The monsters are all bright colors and explode and melt into gooey messes when your giant ham fist makes contact with their bodies. The bosses are creepy, giant hearts and melting faces. The music is great, disjointed and creepy chiptunes echo the bloody hallways. The game feels like it takes place in the bowels the Masion….literally! The ways are covered in gore and organs. It’s one of those games that is both fun to watch and play. 

If you are a horror fan, beat um up fan, or even to a small extent H.P. Lovecraft fan, then you should definitely pick this game up. Go download a rom, or get it on virtual console.  It takes some getting used to, but Splatterhouse is a big bloody bucket of side scrolling, zombie punching fun. 


Seriously, the fuck is up with this cover??? 

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