Reviewed in 2015 by Tibe

GORE LOVERS, WELCOME!

by Tibe

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If you were born in the seventies or eighties, movies like Friday the 13th, Haloween or Texas Chainsaw Massacre had to leave indelible traces in your subconscious. In any case, this blessed period for cinema was probably the highlight of the gore, horror, terror, anxiety, willies films, in short, you know what I mean. Like SNK surfing on the wave of Rambo and other Delta Force (Chuck) with its Ikari Warriors and Prisoners of War, Namco launches into gore platform in 1988 with the first Splatterhouse. We can't really say that the vein has been exploited before, so say that this game is the ancestor of Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Forbidden Siren and others, is probably not too far from reality.

If you like gore, Splatterhouse will overwhelm you.
If you like gore, Splatterhouse will overwhelm you.

The app was made for the Namco System 1, an 8-bit hardware widely used by the editor between 1987 and 1990 (Dragon Spirit, Galaga 88 'Alice in Wonderland...) and capable of pretty remarkable achievements. Of course, one can not help but draw a parallel with the CPS (16bit) and the famous Ghouls'n'Ghost of Capcom, released the same year and well, Splatterhouse musn't be ashamed of the comparison, as we will see in this test. Listen, what a sick pitch: Rick is a parapsychology student (it starts well). He decides to go for a walk with his fiancée at night in the forest (great idea!). A storm breaks, and both take refuge in an abandoned mansion (make it happen!). And then starts the drama: Jennifer disappears and Rick gets killed. The unfortunate will be resurrected and then be possessed by the "terror mask", a cursed artefact which will, however, allow him to go in search of his beloved. And frankly, that's not a more ridiculous scenario than these of most horror movies!

With this Boss, you'd better have the right stuff.
With this Boss, you'd better have the right stuff.

The controls of the game are simple: A to hit, B to jump. It's possible to crouch, perform a tackle, but also pick up various weapons, just to add a little to the gore atmosphere: butcher knife, stick, baseball bat, harpoon, shotgun and so on! At the beginning, player have four hearts: each blow you take remove one, and believe me, many creatures in the mansion want you drop dead. Ghouls, undead, ghosts, elementals... but also some particularly creepy curiosities, particularly carnivorious leeches, haunted chair, table and knives, man with chainsaws... and even your dearest sweetheart! The anxiety is rooted in both the visual and the psychological, not only because the mansion is particularly murky and unhealthy, but there's always a crap to surprise you, or some unhealthy thing which we weren't expecting in a video game .... but we love it!

The harpoon is used only once, but it's pretty efficient.
The harpoon is used only once, but it's pretty efficient.

If the graphics fulfill their mission, the soundtrack it exceeded all expectations: not only the music is brilliantly crazy, but the sound effects are bloody well chosen to have you pissing in your pants. The animation is one of the greatest ever seen in a game of this era, everything is fluid and the amount of detail is stunning. Namco regales us with a high-fly realization, perfectly adequate to Splatterhouse. The life is not huge, but it's not easy to overcome the six stages (with checkpoints system), and the challenge is taking at will. Much like Ghouls'n'Ghosts or R-Type, it's about to memorize passages to anticipate at best, but also to develop strategies to overcome the different Bosses, some will make you suffer. Splatterhouse is really a bomb to discover urgently for younger players, and a timeless classic to play again for the more experienced ones!


GRAPHICS

84%

We've seen more delicate drawings, but Splatterhouse's graphics are pretty well made, with a lot of variety and a top glaucous atmosphere.
ANIMATION 92%
Impressive for a 1988' game: there are many steps of animation, the moves are all fluid and there's plenty of details.
SOUND 90%
The oppressive and disgusting atmosphere owes much to the soundtrack, worthy of an horror movie from the eighties!
REPLAY VALUE 79%
There's only six stages which are not very long, but the difficulty is well proportioned and there's even several different path in the advanced levels.
GAMEPLAY 87%
If it looks plain and simple at first, Splatterhouse requires dexterity and cleverness if you want to get far. Simple principles for a timeless gameplay, here's a good recipe.

NEOGEOKULT

RATE

86%
Namco's title is one of the most memorable platform/action games of its era, packing a very special environment and a very good realization.

SAME ON NEO GEO?

Too bad the Neo Geo never had its own Splatterhouse! Except for Magician Lord - which is still far from similar to Namco's title - there's nothing like it, even in a different genre.

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