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Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (NES) artwork

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (NES) review


"If you took Splatterhouse, removed the excessive gore, the array of disgusting monsters and the nice selection of pain spreading weaponry, you’d be left with something like Wanpaku Graffiti. Instead of following the usual plan, WG is a colourful and happy platformer which seems to parody many old horror flicks and the actual Splatterhouse series. It may sound a little bizarre but WP is actually a worthy addition to the series, surpassing Splatterhouse 2 in almost all aspects. "



If you took Splatterhouse, removed the excessive gore, the array of disgusting monsters and the nice selection of pain spreading weaponry, you’d be left with something like Wanpaku Graffiti. Instead of following the usual plan, WG is a colourful and happy platformer which seems to parody many old horror flicks and the actual Splatterhouse series. It may sound a little bizarre but WP is actually a worthy addition to the series, surpassing Splatterhouse 2 in almost all aspects.

Rick is dead. His girlfriend, Jennifer, kneels at his gravestone, crying her little heart out. Luckily for her, God decides to give good old Rick another chance in life and zaps his grave with a bolt of lightning. As Jennifer celebrates the resurrection of her boyfriend, another bolt smashes into a nearby grave. This bolt unleashes the evil Pumpkin King, who swoops down and flies off with Jennifer. Rick picks up his trusty axe friend and runs after the evil fruit. On his journey to its lair, Rick will have to battle some of the foulest beasts that walk the earth, including the wolf-man, the fly and Michael Jackson.

You run forward, jumping over obstacles like pits, spikes that erect from the ground and an array of goofy monsters that come at you. With one swing of your axe, the creatures will be sliced and you’ll be given one experience point. At the top of the screen, you’ll see a score out of twenty. Every time you make a killing, you will score a point and after you’ve sent twenty monsters to hell, your health bar will be given a boost. This system works throughout the entirety of the game so by the time you're on the last stage, you’ll have a mass of health to keep you going. If your health drops, you can replenish it with items like hamburgers and candy, hardly the right kind of food to keep you healthy. Promoting junk food and making the bad guy an evil fruit may not be the best way to teach kids about nutrition but I’m not complaining.

You’ll take Rick through seven fiendishly spooky environments such as a graveyard, a few haunted houses and a satanic church with an evil priest and people praying in the pews. Each of these worlds are packed with zombies, headless chickens, pumpkins that spit seeds and numerous other obstacles such as flying books and furniture. Nearly all of the foes take one chop of the axe to die so none of the creatures are terribly difficult. They’re even easier when Rick acquires the shotgun, which only happens on a few rare occasions, mind you. With this, you’ll be able to kill multiple enemies in one shot, but you only have ten shells to use. Luckily, this thing blows away everything on screen so you’ll plough through the levels with ease when you‘re packing this.

WP’s bosses may look comedic and soft but they can kick your ass easily enough. The majority of the creatures are fiends who are usually found in classic B-horror movies or in your worst nightmares. The first boss is a vampire; he rises up and starts doing the moonwalk to the Michael Jackson classic “Thriller.” He then sends an army of zombies after you, which end up having a date with your axe. Unfortunately, while you do not have to avoid his projectiles, you do have to chop up his entire entourage of zombies. Other bosses include a werewolf who leaps around firing out multiple projectiles and a girl that lies on a table and has a flurry of Alien face huggers leaping out of her chest (after you kill them all, the chick walks away as if nothing happened!). The last boss is the beastly fruit who spits out seeds and hovers around the place. You’ll have to be fast and accurate to carve the jack-o-lantern a new face.

A password system is in use here which isn’t exactly the most helpful feature. When you get quite far into the game, your health meter will be pretty big, thanks to the levelling up system. Unfortunately, when you input a password, your health meter starts from scratch, but using your continues doesn’t touch it. Finishing the game in one sitting is highly recommended so you’ll have to make your continues last the whole seven worlds. If you can't, you’ll have to start fighting the harder foes with barely any health. We also have two hidden levels for the masters to savour: you can take Rick to an ancient Egyptian pyramid or to Japan. Completing these levels will unlock the secret ending to the game.

Splatterhouse WG has some great visuals which are pretty high quality for the NES. Everything is reasonably big, which allows room for more detail on the characters. Rick has big eyes (which shrink a lot when he removes the mask) and his body is well detailed. The enemies and bosses are given a considerable amount of detail; it’s impressive for a 1988 NES game. The backdrops are pretty amazing as well. The first level has a tree with rustling leaves, a lake and numerous other tombstones. Considering the age factor, they look great.

WG’s tunes are also something special. The first level music is repeated quite a few times but it has a great beat to it. The Thriller tune is by far the best, it’s a brilliant parody of the song. The boss track is also something that is highly memorable and quite spooky, putting you in the right atmosphere for a great boss fight.

WG isn’t the best in the series and many fans might consider it more of a parody of the series than an actual sequel. It’s a funny experience which takes the piss out of many classic horror movie characters and also uses the cutesy style of gameplay to create an opposite of what normal Splatterhouse games try to show. The inclusion of the exp points and the extended life bar are innovative features for a platform game. With its mix of comedy and great action, Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti may be a change from the usual morbid story but it still has a fun factor that rivals the original.

Rating: 8/10

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Community review by goldenvortex (April 02, 2005)

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