The Iconic Horror Game: Splatterhouse
In the vast collection of the Arcade Archives, some exciting additions have made their appearance in recent times. Along with the rare puzzle game, Tetris: The Absolute Grand Master 2, and the classic run ‘n’ gun title, Rolling Thunder 2, Hamster has now turned its attention to the Namco catalog to bring us the controversial horror game, Splatterhouse!
Originally released in Japanese arcades in 1988 and later making its way to the West the following year, Splatterhouse has successfully maintained its recognition and appeal over the decades. While the series consists of visually impressive yet somewhat average games, it draws inspiration from various hyper-violent horror franchises. In Splatterhouse, the protagonist Rick embarks on a perilous mission to rescue his girlfriend Jennifer from the unholy creatures residing within the mansion of Dr. Henry West.
Equipped with the enigmatic “Terror Mask” and an arsenal of makeshift weapons, Rick navigates through seven challenging stages that are occasionally hindered by his sluggish movement. As a horror game that goes beyond the usual ghouls and ghosts, Splatterhouse presents a grotesque array of enemies, including deformed fetuses, eerie water ghouls, possessed furniture, limbless demons, and repulsively twisted body horror monstrosities.
For a glimpse of all the gruesome and gory action, check out the trailer below, courtesy of Hamster itself.
Splatterhouse may not be a profound or flawless title, but its design is undeniably captivating. It shamelessly embraces horror and its own violent nature, almost as shamelessly as it borrows elements from other works. It even features a chainsaw-wielding monster donning a sack on its head, predating Leon S. Kennedy’s iconic look. Splatterhouse walks a fine line between repetitive easiness and challenging difficulty, and despite its flaws, it possesses a strangely compelling appeal in its clumsy fashion.
After its arcade debut, Splatterhouse received heavily censored home ports on the PC Engine and various Japanese computers. It also received two sequels on the Sega Mega Drive. A particularly enjoyable iteration is the whimsical Famicom version known as Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti, which is definitely worth exploring. In 2010, Splatterhouse made a comeback with a hack ‘n’ slash remake for the PS3 and Xbox 360. While the remake was critically criticized, fans of the series managed to find enjoyment in its janky nature, which oddly aligned with its predecessors.
As for the future of Splatterhouse, its fate remains uncertain. However, it would be a shame for the franchise to remain dormant and buried for too long.
Splatterhouse is now available for download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at approximately $8.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.