Backlog Quest: Day 5 – Splatterhouse – Splattering bad all over my TV

Dear Journal,

Today I put on a mask and am pretty sure The Devil started harassing me.

Splatterhouse is a classic arcade game that Namco decided to reboot into a bloody free for all. Shot down by a perverted evil doctor, you know the type, trying to resurrect his dead wife by using your hot girlfriend and has a old mansion full of zombie monsters to stop you from saving her, you are forced to put on an ancient mask (called the Terror Mask) to save your life.  Only the Terror Mask turns out to be evil (who would have guessed), turns you into a bulking rage monster that looks like the forbidden love child of Jason Voorhees and The Incredible Hulk, and then it does something really evil; it makes you play through the rest of Splatterhouse.

The demon/monster/devil that is the Terror Mask is voiced by the incredibly talented Jim Cummings, who despite being best known for his portrayals of Winny the Pooh, Tigger and Pete from Mickey Mouse (oh, and the main palace guard from Aladin), and does a terrific job. This is really the game’s strongest selling point and the Terror Mask is voiced wonderfully and Mr. Cummings deserves a lot of credit for it (even if you can just sort of hear the voice of Pete/Pooh/Tigger in there). Beyond this, the game is pretty much a shit show with few redeeming qualities.

Most of the game is really nothing but a button mashing combat experience, and not a very good one.  Sophomoric at best, it relies mostly on gratuitous amounts of blood and constant sexual innuendos/depictions (seriously, you collect torn nude photos of the main characters girlfriend in the game) rather than story line to propel the game long.  The Terror Mask taunting you is pretty much the only thing that separates Splatterhouse from a lobotomy.

What’s more, the incredibly repetitive and occasionally glitchy game is also needlessly difficult at times as well (gauntlets of enemies without save points made even worse by the occasional series of significantly difficult moments that require a total repeat should you die on the last part).  The result is that the already repetitive and almost disturbingly boring game (disturbing in that you can find yourself bored with so much gore and sex), becomes even more repetitive and boring in having to replay certain parts over and over again; adding frustrating to the list of adjectives we can use to describe the gameplay.

Adding to that, Splatterhouse uses a sort of semi-cell shaded look to it that makes all the characters appear to not really be in the environment.  The result was likely implemented to make the characters stand out more, but it takes away a lot from the feel of the game when the monsters and the main character in this grimy, gore filled game all sort of have a shine to them. This style can work (Borderlands) but in Splatterhouse it just looks out of place.

Outside of Jim Cummings, the best part of Splatterhouse is when the game goes back to its roots and implements a 2.5D platformer experience.  Occasionally the game will switch into this mode and it is by and large the best part(s) of the game.  While it likely wouldn’t have worked for the entire game, these moments do offer a break from the otherwise “blah” experience that makes up the rest of Splatterhouse.

In short, amazing voice acting by Jim Cummings and a few fun moments fail to take Splatterhouse anywhere special or really memorable.  Twelve year old boys and die-hard fans of the series are likely to be the only ones who get more than a few kicks from this poor excuse of a reboot of a franchise many had simply forgotten about.  You can find it for pretty cheap now, which is really the only real excuse to buy it.  If you are looking for evil/demon inspired killing rampage though, you’d be much better off looking at The Darkness or The Darkness II.

Tomorrow I do a barrel roll with Starfox 64 3D for 3DS.

Final Rating: 4/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Xbox 360
Time to completion: Approximately 8-9 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 525/100
Price Bought at: $7.50
Current Price: $6.47 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: Don’t pay more than $10.
Why you should buy it: Jim Cummings’ performance or you’ve played every other “horror” game available.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Everything besides Jim Cummings.

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.