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The Only Thing Scary About Splatterhouse is Its Bad Gameplay - Splatterhouse Review
It’s expected for some of the titles in the Virtual Console to age rather poorly. Splatterhouse is one of those titles, and its overly simplistic, repetitive, and extremely boring gameplay hasn’t aged well at all, and it is highly recommended that gamers stay away completely from this lackluster TurboGrafx-16 game.
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The plot in Splatterhouse revolves around a couple named Rick and Jennifer. The two end up in a mansion known as the Splatterhouse and soon Jennifer goes missing. Rick dons the Terror Mask, which bears a close resemblance to a pink hockey mask and gives him great strength, and he sets out to find Jennifer.
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The biggest problem with Splatterhouse on the Virtual Console lies in the one element that is most essential to any title: the gameplay. Splatterhouse’s gameplay is so simplistic and so unrelentingly repetitive that it’s hard to recommend the game on any conceivable level. This version of the game is a port of the TurboGrafx-16 edition, which in turn was a port of the arcade version. While that game was lauded back in the late 80s due to its graphic content and horror movie themes, the TurboGrafx-16 version feels completely stripped down. You won’t get any of the blood from the arcade original, and the title’s gameplay is thin beyond belief.
You have an attack button and a jump button. You’ll use both of these a bit too extensively, and you’ll find that you’re pressing the same buttons over and over to the point of numbness. You’ll encounter an enemy, punch it, and progress. Most of the monsters are fairly weak, and a few punches are all it will take to bring down later foes. You’ll also pick up weapons such as 2x4s, wrenches, and even the occasional shotgun. Unfortunately, these do little to make the game any more fun.
Another issue with Splatterhouse is its slow pacing. Rick moves at an unbelievably slow speed, and you’ll wonder why the Terror Mask doesn’t grant him fast movement. You’ll move from right to left throughout the game, and that’s about the only direction you’ll go. This game is completely one-directional, and while there are a couple of branching paths here and there, you’ll find that the combination of slow pace and one-way level progression bring this game down even more.
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Graphics and Sound
Splatterhouse’s gameplay only paves the way for a handful of other flaws that all revolve around the simplicity which ultimately keeps this game from being any fun at all. The visuals are admittedly pretty good, with clear textures and some variety to be found. Backgrounds all feature a nice level of detail, and the monsters and bosses all look pretty good too.
The game’s sound, however, is a mix of cheesy horror tracks and goofy quasi-spooky themes. It’s hard to take the game’s horror movie approach seriously when you’ve got music like this, and you're likely to find yourself chuckling every so often at just how strange and comical the game's music sounds. It's just that bad.
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With only seven levels in the game, 600 Wii Points ($6) seems incredibly steep for this ho-hum beat ‘em up. The slow-paced movement, repetitious gameplay, overly straightforward level design, and terrible sound are just four reasons to stay away from this game. There’s really nothing here to bring you back for more, and what’s here is so lackluster that gamers who give the game a chance may find themselves frustrated that they made this purchase in the first place.
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Splatterhouse Overall Score
There’s not much to Splatterhouse. There’s some level of charm to be found in the game, given that it’s a very early horror game, and seeing pixilated guts flying around is entertaining at first. Unfortunately, everything that made this game so hot in the arcades back in 1989 is nowhere to be found in the TurboGrafx-16 version. Gamers, stay away from Splatterhouse. Those 600 Wii Points are better spent elsewhere.