Horror movies are celebrated by anyone who likes horror movies I guess, I’m not the big fan of horror movies (though I can sit through the Child’s Play movies, Leprechaun and unfortunately Alien Resurrection), the conventions for horror movies would be blood, gore, scary demonic beings, possibly Hell, most of those conventions. So what happens when Japan, home to horror movies so disturbing you end up suffering from insomnia, makes a game celebrating those conventions? You get Splatterhouse (スプラッターハウス Supurattāhausu), developed and published by Namco and was first released in 1988, yep the same company who developed Pac-Man…well that was a big step.
Rick Taylor, a parapsychology student who is trapped inside West Mansion. After his resurrection by the Terror Mask, Rick makes his way through the mansion, fighting off hordes of creatures in an attempt to save his girlfriend Jennifer…word being ‘attempt’.
Splatterhouse is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, you mostly fight all sorts of monsters and demonic creatures and it’s very gruesome, especially the arcade version. You have various amounts of weapons depending on what level you’re in, for instance, you start with a 2×4, smacking monsters onto a wall as they splat on collision with the wall, then soon a meat cleaver, slicing the monsters as their top half flies away leaving their legs to drop down, in a later level you get a shotgun, all these weapons are satisfying to use, problem is every level has different weapons, you can’t use a previous weapons before, in fact before you go to a next part of a level you drop the weapon.
Now the elephant in the room is the game world…thank goodness I played this game on October, this is one of the most morbid, horrific, goriest game world I’ve ever seen, especially the arcade version, it’s bloody, gory and some content is…questionable, but this fits perfectly for a scary experience for October, it might not as scary, but some content can be gruesome, in fact, I find it more gruesome than Doom, yep, Splatterhouse, released 5 years before Doom in my opinion holds up as a gruesome game.
The music fit the game with its horror like themes, but they do sound too 80’s horror like to hold up today but I do love the chilling rendition of the first stage. The difficulty curve is mediocre at best. It’s easy at first but it does quickly get difficult, but it takes practice and it only takes 30 minutes at best to beat the game, it’s always the shortest games at the time that are the hardest. My most hated stage is stage 6 where you have to punch floating foetuses and punch a womb to a bloody pulp (questioning the game’s views on abortion, the horror…I think). Another annoyance is the slide kick which is helpful but it’s difficult to perform. Also the controls can be stiff and delayed but not as bad as other games.
Overall, if you’re looking for a game that’s more morbid than any modern horror game I can think of at the moment, this is a great Halloween game to play; it just makes sense to play it at this time.
You can get it for the Arcade, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, FM Towns, PC and Virtual Console.