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Splatterhouse (Arcade) artwork

Splatterhouse (Arcade) review

"I didn't think I'd be smacking rotting zombies to death with their own limbs or smashing corpses hung from nooses like macabre piñatas wide open with axes. When a disturbing individual with a cloth bag tied over its head assaulted me with twin chainsaws where its hands should have be, it gave me quite a start. This was an arcade cabinet set next door the The Simpson's brawler; kids were watching!"

I remember the rain. Technology wasn't advanced enough for it to fall in sleek sheets back then, but it still descended around Rick in droves. Barefoot and crazy, Rick's determined features hidden behind a bone-white mask, he strode meaningfully towards the ominous house his kidnapped girlfriend was held in. Lightning crackled in the background, shadows lengthened dramatically and all other manner of clichés took place. Then, a few levels later, Rick’s pounding his fist into the soft, rotting flesh of the lumbering undead.

Splatterhouse is in the process of being remade for next-gen computers, but it will be the original arcade version that'll stick in my mind the most. Fact is, despite the dread-filled title, I didn't see any of it coming; I didn't think I'd be smacking rotting zombies to death with their own limbs or smashing corpses hung from nooses like macabre piñatas wide open with axes. When a disturbing individual with a cloth bag tied over its head assaulted me with twin chainsaws where its hands should be, it gave me quite a start. This was an arcade cabinet housed next door the The Simpson's brawler; kids were watching!

With alarming interest. As I belted blood-sucking worms that chewed their way out of twitching piles of bodies in a commendable attempt to eat Rick's face.

Every ghoul, spectre and monster Splatterhouse throws your way is easily dispatched with Rick’s cultured hay-makers or by the slew of weapons he can heave around the scene. Smash a lumbering bag of guts with a baseball bat, and watch it stick to the wall in the background, sliding down the surface, leaving a trail of oozing liquids as it does. Assault floating heads with a well-timed smack, and watch them fly off into the distance. But even with all these horrors out to devour your soul, it's the unresponsive controls that often pose your biggest threat. That they're as stiff as some of the less animated corpses you’ll stumble across is damning; imagine being swarmed from either side by hordes of hungry hoodlum horrors while Rick responds to the danger like he’s an ancient grandmother rather than a harbinger of abomination slaughtering.

I expect this to be something the newer title fixes, but, in doing so, I’m forced to worry over what else will fall by the wayside in BottleRocket Entertainment’s revamp of Namco’s aged bloodfest. The expected jump to 3D will mean the interaction with the 2D backgrounds will fall to the wayside, and that's to be expected, but will it mean the end of the dark humour? Will they ignore the page they 'borrowed' from Evil Dead 2‘s playbook, having a heaving pool of dismembered hands flip you off when you draw near? Will they revel in this generation’s pure processing power and chronicle a fable of pure gore, forgeting that Splatterhouse was, first and foremost, a cartoon-themed romp through slaughterfields of gushing intestines and broken limbs? Will they abandon multiple paths that can lead you through cellars of mutilated body-parts and flesh-peppered bone or warped hallways flooded with the lingering scent of decay?

Maybe. Probably, even. We gamers are cynical of these remakes with good reason; we’ve seen the ball dropped countless times. So, if my pessimistic presumptions bear fruit, that’s fine. I don’t need to go too far to rediscover the game that started it all. Splatterhouse isn’t as relevant as it was back in 1998, but it’s lost none of its unique, gore-stained charm.

Don the mask, grab the shotgun, take off your shoes and remember the rain. It’ll help wash that blood right off.

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (June 14, 2008)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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If you enjoyed this Splatterhouse review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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Masters posted June 16, 2008:

This is good stuff Emp. "Smash a lumbering bag of guts with a baseball bat..." That line conjures real imagery; I love it. Was the first line a shot at me, incidentally? Seems so. :T
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EmP posted June 16, 2008:

Thanks, Masters. I was trying to keep mixing up the phrases so there was some concern that some would fall flat. I'm glad that one popped out at you.

And no, it wasn't a shot. Call it a homage.
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wolfqueen001 posted June 16, 2008:

Damn. This was a good review. Love that kind of descriptive experience, especially when it's so vividly portrayed as you make it. I'd heard of this game before, but I didn't know they'd made it so gory and violent. Sounds totally awesome. And gross. Haha. I'm starting to wish I weren't as young as I am. Didn't have much experience with the whole arcade scene. Did when I was younger, but not enough to remember anything like this.

Just wondering, though, do you still find time to find and play these again? If not, it's pretty damn amazing how you can write so well just from memory.

Also, check your HG mail.
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EmP posted June 17, 2008:

In the case of the two arcade games, it's from memory. This way of reviewing has its obvious cons but it's also great for succient reviews as only the most memorable (and, thus, important) aspects get mentioned. Good or bad, it's the bist that have survived the test of time that get written about while the unimportant bits I often feel obliged to mention get left out.

But thanks for the kind words; I'm rather happy with this and have been meaning to pump out a Splatterhouse review for some time.

If you can run a NES and Genny emu, you can run MAME and emu arcade stuff.
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emmy5 posted July 22, 2009:

Dear whom who may concern,

Me'd like to add some data to the database to post my work. Mr. honestgamer said that me can do this here.

Game name:
1. Rockman X7 for Windows
2. Megaman 3 for DOS

Is it accpetable? or need more detail? If it needs more detail, me will add it next time me am online.

Excuse me.
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emmy5 posted July 22, 2009:

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emmy5 posted July 22, 2009:

What me see is my messages all were auto-placed into other place...
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AbbysMom posted November 13, 2009:

I would like to see the game Little Cook added to the database. I wanted to post a review of it because my daughter is really enjoying it, but it is not on your database. It seems to be selling pretty well so I think it's worthy. Let me know if you decide to put it up because I would really like to add a review. Thanks so much!


On a side note, this post was in the wrong thread. Are you sure you're not part of the Aqility development team? If so that's fine, but there are better ways to contact us about covering games. If you really did find this game enjoyable and would like to review it, please remember that we have a thread on the forums specifically to request that games be added to the database. I hope that you'll read several of the reviews already listed on-site and put forth your best effort when contributing a review of your own, as we aren't in the habit of posting reviews unless they meet rather high standards. And naturally, we wouldn't knowingly post a review of a game that was written by one of its developers.
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warlock911 posted December 08, 2009:

Im not sure if this is the right place to put this, but I was interested in seeing if a MMOG called Pirate Galaxy could be added to the reviews list. It is a game similar to the old Freelancer but without the trading part. Ive been playing it since January and as they add new systems, the graphics and style have had much improvement. The basic game is that Earth was taken over by another race, mankind scattered to the corners of the universe, now they are gathering for one final assault to take back their homeworld. Check it out sometime, if I can post a review of it, let me know.
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wolfqueen001 posted December 08, 2009:

Oh, for the love of peace...

If you want to add a game to the database, go here:

Add a game to the database

Thank you.
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Nightfire posted July 12, 2017:

I marathoned this game with a friend of mine a few years back. It was just me, him, a dark room and Splatterhouse all night, taking turns with the controller whenever Rick died (which was often). We were determined not to stop until we had beaten it. It took us most of the night, but we did it, and it was a hell of a lot of fun.

I will admit that the game gets kinda dumb and sloppy in the latter stages, though this was not entirely unexpected, as arcade games were usually front-loaded with the strongest content at the start anyway (as people usually ran out of quarters before getting to the end stages anyway).

I had played the Turbographix version before that, and I was shocked at how graphic the arcade version was by comparison. It's a one-of-a-kind game, for sure. Objectively, I don't know if I could give it as high a rating as 8/10 because of its awful controls, but it sure is an interesting and anomalous piece of gaming history.

I didn't know they had made a remake. I will have to investigate this.
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EmP posted July 14, 2017:

Man, this one goes back a bit. I think Leroux did a thing where he failed to turn up for a tourney and broke Master's heart he challenged the site to submit arcade game reviews and for every review someone subbed within a week or so, he would write his own. He was then buried in reviews and had to tap out. That was almost ten years ago. Christ....

Splatterhouse was a big part of my arcade experience; it was next to the Operation Wolf machine that practically raised me and became my go-to when insolent other people were playing Wolf wrong. There was a mini arcade inside the local sports center, and I used to lie to my parents and tell them my football training finished an hour later than it did so I could could play gory horror-fighters and shoot communists. I was 10.

The remake was okay. Nothing fantastic

Thanks for reading.

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