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Splatterhouse Review

Splatterhouse Review

Publisher: Namco Bandai
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
UK Price (as reviewed): £34.99 inc. VAT
US Price (as reviewed): $57.99 exc. Tax

Splatterhouse wears its heart almost literally on its blood stained sleeve and it does so right from the first menu screen. As screaming metal music blares out through your speakers, huge splashes of blood and gibs vault onto the screen, leaving you with no doubt whatsoever as to what Splatterhouse big selling point is.

Splatterhouse is one of the laziest types of remakes there is. Released way back in the tail end of the 1980's, the original game was a side scrolling slash 'em up nature that wasn’t anything particularly new even then - similar to this 2010 version, it sold on the premise that it contained more gibs than you'd find round the back of the local butchers.

The remake changes little from that formula, with the biggest innovation being the move from 2D to a 3D play-space. Even the added dimension fails to brighten what we all know is a style of gameplay long since confined to the attic of the games industry. If gore is your unique selling point then you have no unique selling point.

*Splatterhouse Review Splatterhouse Review
As blunt as a kick in the...

The story begins in schlock horror style with the geeky protagonist, Rick, floundering in a pool of his own blood and pining for his kidnapped girlfriend. A brief bout of tedious narrative later, Rick suddenly transforms into a hulking, muscle-bound hero who sports the kind of obscene brawn seen only in 80's Schwarzenegger flicks. All this happens thanks to a magical mask.

Gameplay is the most basic, predictable 3D action fare. Progress almost solely consists of rapidly bashing the face buttons until your enemies reach the point of gruesome death. It's a constant stream of enter room, beat up offending nasties, walk out now magically unlocked door. At which point the whole process starts all over again.

There are some new platforming sections dotted in to spice things up, but the less said about these, the better. These are, thankfully, few and far between.

Splatterhouse's problem is that it's all so basic. Simple button mashing doesn't really cut the mustard in these days of Bayonetta and Vanquish, and even the addition of instant finishing moves cant save Splatterhouse. Once your enemy reaches a suitably poor standard of health they suddenly sport a red outline. At this point your constantly chattering mask urges you to rip them to shreds in order to unleash yet another burst of claret. A quick button prod then initiates a brief quick-time event (sigh) which depicts you ripping them to shreds.

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Obviously a real meeting of the minds is about to occur

One choice example has you pulling the analogue sticks in opposite directions to tear your opponents mouth apart in a shower of blood. As if that wasn’t enough, Rick then proceeds to force his arm down this gaping chasm where a head once appeared, and rips out all the innards stashed inside. Certainly gruesome, and also truly tedious once you watch the same animation for the umpteenth time.

If all this visceral action was solidly designed then it could be the base for a decent, if unspectacular, game. Instead, it suffers from some of the worst collision detection witnessed for at least a few console generations.

Even the massive boss fights are incredibly limited and dull. The first boss you come across, for example, is multiple stories high - but beating him requires nothing more than flailing at his feet. Gee, those big toes sure are scary!