Saturday, 1 November 2014

Splatterhouse - NEC PC Engine - 1990

Splatterhouse is a 2D side scrolling beat ‘em up published for NEC’s PC Engine and TurboGrafx-16 consoles.  It was converted from Namco’s 1988 arcade machine.  I have opted for the PC Engine release as the North American version has been toned down slightly including the look of the main sprite.  Gameplay is otherwise identical.
The hockey mask is better suited to this game than the red one in the US version.

The story is set when Rick and Jennifer, two parapsychology students, enter the mansion of mad Dr West to take refuge from a storm.  The mansion is known locally as Splatterhouse due to rumours of gruesome experiments being performed by West.  As they enter, the door slams shut behind them, Jennifer vanishes and Rick is rendered unconscious.  Rick later awakens in a dungeon wearing a possessed mask that bestows superhuman strength and sets off in search of the missing Jennifer.

Gameplay is ‘by the numbers’ side scrolling beat ‘em up with Rick able to jump, punch and kick his way through the seven levels of the mansion.  Weapons such as meat cleavers and spanners can be used to help dispatch the multitude of undead, possessed and/or just plain unpleasant nasties that stand in your way.
Getting attacked by possessed furniture

You start the game with three lives but can take several hits determined by the number of hearts remaining in the life meter.  Losing a life means you restart the current level from the beginning.  If you lose all your lives there is an option to continue.
WTF?  Ewww

Although Splatterhouse courted some controversy on release, it is pretty tame by today’s standards.  The game still plays well with tight, responsive and simple controls.  The graphics are good and the sound is fine, if not memorable.  It’s also not a difficult game so doesn't become frustrating and you always believe you can do better on the next go. Besides which, stoving in the head of a zombie with a length of 4x2 never gets old.
You're not even safe from your own reflection.

Example gameplay.....

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