Splatterhouse 2 (Genesis) review
"I donít like Splatterhouse 2. I was planning to mock its sloppy control and limited moveset. I was planning to attack its stricter-than-Altered Beast linearity. I was even planning to poke fun at the sanitized pastel ichor that bursts from every beast (a far cry from the originalís frightening decor). With the above palette of problems, I was planning to paint the most unflattering picture of Splatterhouse 2 that the internet has ever seen. "
I donít like Splatterhouse 2. I was planning to mock its sloppy control and limited moveset. I was planning to attack its stricter-than-Altered Beast linearity. I was even planning to poke fun at the sanitized pastel ichor that bursts from every beast (a far cry from the originalís frightening decor). With the above palette of problems, I was planning to paint the most unflattering picture of Splatterhouse 2 that the internet has ever seen.
Iíve had a change of heart. Iím not going to succumb to some perverse sense of Schadenfreude. Splatterhouse 2 does have its impressive moments . . . and Iím going to talk about them.
Capped on either end by imitation Mode 7 scaling, Splatterhouse 2ís introduction invites the eternally psycho soldier Rick Taylor back into the mansion on Hangedmanís Hill to rescue his girlfriend Jennifer Wills, who still lurks somewhere deep inside. To rescue Jennifer, Rick must again don the mysterious ďterror maskĒ, an homage to Friday the 13th that covers Rickís own face with that of a grimacing white skull. Although quite outlandish, the terror maskís infectiously creepy laughter and the ominous tapestry of corpses draped from dying trees create an atmosphere of spine-tingling delight.
The game begins.
Three long levels later, Splatterhouse 2 again makes a positive impression. After a dismal trek through a painfully dreary swamp, Rick bursts into a disturbingly quiet toolshed. With surprising flourish, fast-paced music plays while noose-bound mutant babies drop from the rafters. Chainsaw in hand, Rick succumbs to the terror maskís violent embrace and sets about messily halving these alien infants. As the bloodpuppets die, a splash of gore spurts against the screen. Another splash quickly follows, and then another. After the final body falls, quivering, to the floor, a crimson mask of blood drizzles down the height of the television screen.
Face right and press ďAĒ. Face left and press ďAĒ. Right again, then left. Watch blood cover the screen. No more blood; we now return to pastel ichor.
After four levels comprised of gray, green and brown, Rick eventually finds himself trapped in an eye-popping phantom world. One of the more evocative 16bit melodies drives the tortured hero forward as ghostly clouds sweep by, but an enormous shining phantom reminiscent of The Lawnmower Man pursues closely from behind. Visible only from the waist up, this ethereal behemothís pale blue skin shimmers due to a glorious liquid-translucency effect. The hunting phantom represents the pinnacle of Namcoís technical prowess, and the haunting melody represents Splatterhouse 2ís finest musical moment.
Escape by casually walking from left to right.
No enemies. No obstacles. During this entire gorgeous scene of audiovisual splendor, Rick walks from left . . . to right. Flash over substance is the philosophy behind Splatterhouse 2 but, no matter how itís dressed, a boring and linear game with sloppy controls will remain a boring and linear game with sloppy controls. By incorporating ladders, holes and gruesome traps, the original Splatterhouse felt like an adventure more than a stroll. This sorry sequel didnít bother with any of that. It tried to mask its own shallow soul with flowery attire, and at times it almost worked.
Almost doesnít cut it.
Community review by lilica (January 20, 2006)
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