Splatterhouse 2 (Genesis) review
"Splatterhouse was a fantastic gore-fest, packed with rotting body parts, blood stained hallways and gruesome monsters intent on ripping your guts out. It spawned a mass of controversy on its release and was ripped from arcades shortly after. This bloodbath was also ported to the Turbo-grafx 16, a great port that had a few things edited because of a Satanic reference, an upside down crucifix. It was an original platformer and was one of the first games that dared to go down paths that many games ..."
Splatterhouse was a fantastic gore-fest, packed with rotting body parts, blood stained hallways and gruesome monsters intent on ripping your guts out. It spawned a mass of controversy on its release and was ripped from arcades shortly after. This bloodbath was also ported to the Turbo-grafx 16, a great port that had a few things edited because of a Satanic reference, an upside down crucifix. It was an original platformer and was one of the first games that dared to go down paths that many games had only taken a few steps down. Namco probably wanted to avoid controversy with the sequels so they turned down the violence level and in the case of Splatterhouse 2, the fun factor.
In the original, the main hero Rick donned the Hell Mask to give his body super human strength and endurance. His mission was to rescue his girlfriend Jennifer, who had been kidnapped by demon and his hoard of creatures. After a long and unmerciful struggle, Rick used the Hell Mask to destroy the leader of the demons and got the love of his life back. But, three months later, Jennifer was once again in the clutches of the demon. After ignoring the calls of the mask for years, Rick had no choice but to wear the mask, rescue Jennifer andÖ
Go back to the house!!
Unfortunately, itís not the blast that it was before. The first thing that you notice is that the Jason Voorhees style of mask has been replaced by a skull mask, which looks awful. Rick looks stockier than before and when he walks he looks like he has got a bad case of rickets. I guess Rick has contempt for sunlight; heís paying for that now. The controls are pathetic as well; theyíre very unresponsive and Rickís rickets have affected his ability to jump. Occasionally, youíll find yourself falling down holes or landing on spikes or jumping a bit. Crouching suffers a lot as well; when a projectile is shot towards you and you try to dodge it, sometimes youíll do it a bit too late. Oh dear!
Rick has a few attacks; he can use his colossal fists to smash zombieís heads in and he can perform a low kick. He can also do a jump kick and punch in the air, he also has one killer move which does the double amount of damage than any other move: the sliding kick. The rusty controls prevent you from performing it though and you can sit on your ass all day trying to do it and the chances are thatíll youíll pull it off once. Itís not worth the bother and all it does is really get you frustrated, just stick with kicks and punches to reduce the stress factor.
The next header on our shit list is the pathetic excuses for enemies. The first basic monsters are zombies, with one hit their heads shatter and blood spurts everywhere. Itís amusing at first but doing the same thing over and over again gets boring, even at the end of level one youíll be gagging for something new. Screaming Mimiís, monsters that jump around like crazy, will be a problem. Not only do they scream loudly, which is very annoying they also jump around a lot. Since youíre so slow and theyíre jumping around like kids with A.D.D, itíll take ages to actually kill them. Certain creatures cannot be killed or they can only be killed with certain weapons, itís a shame that you can never find the stuff that you need when you really need it.
Bosses are a minor improvement; they look great and are very gruesome. The first beast is a huge fat monster that barfs up acidic residue. After four punches, the monsterís belly rips open and his stomach acids pour out on the floor. Bosses tend to only take six hits but they have specific (and awkward) weak points, which you must expose. The enormous face, which meets you at the end of stage two, has huge weak points which are his bulging blue eyeballs, a few jumps over his projectiles and a good few hits send him packing. These guys arenít too hard bosses when you look at them but Splatterhouseís pathetic controls increase the difficulty by miles. Another creature is the lake octopus, which chases you on one level and then makes an unwelcome return as a boss. You have to throw a stake at its eye when it opens and avoid the stakes he chucks at you.
The final encounter puts you against a huge hunk of guts and body parts, it floats around and chucks heads at you. These heads come flying at you at speeds unfathomable to Rickís bulk and theyíll batter you to bits. Eventually, heíll crumble into a slop of crap; heíll turn into a go!@#$! bat and fly around like a moron. If you hit him a few times, if youíre lucky, youíll be rewarded with the disappointing end sequence.
Looking at the screen, the visuals are little grainy and the majority of sprites ranging from Rick himself, to an array of palette swapped monsters are reasonably poor. Gone are the dismembered beasts lying in cages and their replacements are extremely plain and dreary backgrounds with no animation on them. The enemies are also relatively basic as well, the red lumps which look like zombies plod around aimlessly, the screaming Mimiís tend to stay on the same frame but move up and down, occasionally extending an arm to attack. The basic animation on the poorly detailed sprites does nothing to boost the dreary gameplay. Splatterhouse 2ís only redeeming factor is the crushing of heads as your fist smashes into them or, even better the utter pasting of a zombie as his body soars into the wall and his blood smears on the bricks. Yummy!
The horror themed tunes will do their best to send shivers down your spine but theyíll only drive fear into the meek and the wimpy. The opening music isnít too bad but the tunes just get poorer and poorer. They do try to bring out the fear in you but it turns out to be awful, the poor Genesis quality really drags the music by the neck. It sounds very dreary but it sounds like itís really trying its best to be spooky. Imagine a car trying to start with a bad engine; it would sound okay if it had better hardware.
Splatterhouse 2 wasnít what I had hoped for; it did a poor job in cloning the qualities of the original. The control layout is so bad that itís almost laughable, the levels are full of the same old stuff, Rick is so plodding and his enemies are very agile, putting these two together equals instant death and game over. You do have passwords to continue your progress but wrestling with rusty controls and slugging it out with one hit monsters isnít exactly something that youíd want to go back to. Take my advice, ignore the Hell Mask and:
Donít go back to the house.
Community review by goldenvortex (March 13, 2005)
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