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Author Topic: Review of Splatterhouse (XBOX360)  (Read 7290 times)


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Review of Splatterhouse (XBOX360)
« on: February 07, 2011, 05:07:01 AM »

This review concerns a game that was rated M by the ESRB for the following reasons: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Themes

Right, so when I got back from the desert I was pretty psyched to pick up and start playing the re-dub of the old Splatterhouse game.  It had received some good reviews, and some pretty crappy ones too, but I've never trusted Eurogamer's opinion on anything, but when IGN and Gamespot both gave it poor review I was a bit concerned.   None the less I was undeterred.  The game kicks off with a bang.  not much for cut scenes, just enough to let you know what's going on at that moment.  You're dying, a demi-god/demon that you managed to wake up in this house of horrors as you were being thrown across the room with your intestines falling out offers to help you and BOOM, you put the mask on, and are transformed into, for lack of a better term, a juggernaut.

And if you're not interested in the brief introduction, then the entire time in the corner of your screen it says "press A to skip".  Brilliant, developers that aren't so narcissistic that they not only allow you to skip cut scenes, they tell you which button to push, thanks Namco, really I appreciate it.  After that it takes you straight to an infinite berserker mode, just to give you a taste of the action.  Slaughtering some of the weaker enemies in the game in troves.  All the while an awesome heavy metal soundtrack is pumping in the background.

Everything this game does it does to excess.  Blood, gore, etc.  A bit quirky, but the control scheme ultimately works out quite well.  It works you into the control aspects of the game at a pretty easy pace, but it'll still kill you very early on if you can't figure it out.  Pay attention to the text on the screen, trust me on this one.  Once you figure out that the left trigger is the "Mask" move set, and without it you're doing regular moves then it's all good.  It's not hard to remember either.  X is normal attacks, Y is heavy attacks, B is grab, and A is jump.  You tell me in what game for the Xbox ever, was A ever not jump.  Pretty standard.

As for the story, you're the hero, and the villain at the same time.  You are both Rick Taylor, Scrawny, lucky in love goth geek, and the Terror Mask, an ancient and enraged god who is driven mad with revenge and has an unquenchable lust for blood.  You both have the same objective, but different motives.  Stop Dr. West.  Rick Taylor wishes to rescue his girlfriend Jen, and the Terror Mask wants revenge on the corrupted who enslaved and tortured him for an eternity.

The boss fights can be quite difficult, and you've got to pay attention to how you take them down.  If you can't find the weak spot then odds are you're in for a tough battle.  Occasionally the mask will help you out in finding the weak point, but for most of them you're own your own.  There comes a point however, when you've purchased enough upgrades that getting a little extra breathing room, or putting some distance between you and that which is about to kill you is as easy as left trigger+Y.

Personally I hate spoilers, so I'm not going to come right out and give you the ending, but I'm expecting a Splatterhouse 2.  In fact I'm expecting a Splatterhouse 3 as well, as it looks like they plan on sticking to their original story, just tweaked and improved a bit.

There are also some hidden extras to collect.  First up, Dr. West's journal entries.  Pretty creepy, explains why you're fighting him, and exactly what he's done in great detail.  The second, and every pubescent's dream is the "sexy" photos of Jen.  Some of which are topless.  No it's not like the hot coffee scandal in GTA Vice City, there's no cheat code to enter, you just find the photo fragments in the game and some of them contain actual nudity.

To be honest I'm kind of surprised that this game did not score itself an Ao rating from the ESRB, as it stands it's only rated M.  For mature audiences only, for obvious reasons.  One look at the back of the box screams "Not For Kids!"  We're talkin' Hide your kids, hide your wife.

So overall, some pretty fun game play, easy to learn mechanics, a decent story, good officially licensed music, what's not to like?  Why have a few companies given it a rating at less than 50%?  Well, one of the number one complaints is the repetitive finishing moves.  Yeah, I'll give you that one, depending on the critter there's either one finishing move for it which is done every time, or there's two, and it selects from them at random.  Another common complaint is the "Platforming levels".  This isn't a sandbox style game that everybody knows and loves.  This is definitely built from the ground up with the words "Arcade" and "Quarters" in mind.

Another complaint received was the "Cheap Deaths".  I don't know about you, but the game only pulled what I'd call one cheap death on me in the entire campaign, and that was during a sequence of moves where you break the hold an enemy has on you and proceed to retaliate.  At which point you really can't move while you're smashing it's head into the dirt.  It was at that point that the portion of floor I was standing on collapsed and I fell to my death.  Yes it was a cheap shot, but it's crap like that that keeps it interesting.  To those giving that complaint, do you even remember old games like Contra?  Y'know the game where there would literally be moments where there were too many bullets to dodge and survival was literally impossible?  Yeah, the good old days, how about you stop whining and pop in another quarter eh?

Perhaps the dumbest complaint I've heard was "Long load times".  So it takes a while to come up, this is not a reason to reduce a game's rating.  You sacrificed immediate loading when you sacrificed the cartridge.  Albeit some games load up pretty quick, but when it loads an entire level in less than a minute, and has very few instances of loading throughout (And those it has don't really interrupt gameplay that much) then I feel I can resignate with that.  (Back in the day I could make lunch before Half Life 2 would load, but everybody was still giving it a 10/10, which don't get me wrong, it deserved).

The final, and most well grounded complaint was that it's buggy.  And yes, it can be at points.  Periodically audio cuts, but it's random so it might just be that a can of air needs to be taken to the inside of your Xbox.  Having not really done a stress test I can't say for sure, but I have myself noticed the problem in action, and I know that not all games I play suffer from it.

In the end It's worth playing, and has some replay value.  It all boils down to this, did I enjoy game play.  The answer is that yes I did.  A very satisfying and long overdue crunch was found in Splatterhouse.  And while there were several areas that could use improvement (Perhaps a little more effort in the graphical department, some more diversity in the killing, and a little more debugging before shipping it out the door), it's a pretty decent piece of work and I personally give it a 4 out of 5.
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