Slaying My Backlog: Splatterhouse (2010)

Slaying My Backlog: Splatterhouse (2010)
Credit: Bandai Namco Games

Splatterhouse – er, the remake.

I once picked it up ultra-cheap during one of Amazon's year-end sales, along with Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, and I never really finished it at the time. The general consensus at the time was that, well, it wasn't pretty. I didn't expect it to be. I expected it to be nothing more than decent or playable. To tell the truth, I was really only interested in the grisly, gory kills, and the fact that you could beat enemies to death with their own severed limbs. Right up my alley.

Since I recently picked up the TurboGrafx version, I decided to go back and try out the reboot  again. Thus, I've been playing off and on now, up to the fourth mission, or "phase," and I've got several gripes. I'm pretty certain the only reason I'm forging on is to see what exactly is going to happen to Rick's girlfriend Jennifer, and to unlock even more bizarre, bloody finishing moves and splatter kills. It feels like that's all that's left at this point.

Here's what irritating me so far as I run through the game:

– Recycled puzzles. You're going to do the same thing, over and over, for most of the entire game. At least, that's my impression so far. Sometimes you'll need to feed a Guardian some monsters to progress (grabbing and throwing them, with awkward aim), toss enemies on grinders or spikes, pull levers, or clear an area to progress. It removes any challenge the game might have had as far as navigational puzzles go, and turns it into a real slog…especially when you're back for the fifth time because you missed a button in a quick-time event.

– Cheap deaths. There's a ton of 'em. Yes, a lot of them are likely user error. But there's no excuse for vague tutorial messages ("AGGHH!! WHAT DO I DO?! HOW DO I SHOT WEB?!"), poor collision detection, and sloppy jumping. There are next to zero visual cues in some pieces of the game, where you're clearly thrown to the sharks and need to use plain ol' guesswork to figure out where to go. That'd be fine and dandy and even appreciated in most games, but when everything looks the same, you're trapped in a seemingly blank area, and time is running out…you might want a clue as to where to try next. Oh, and when the Mask gives you cues as to when to make a break for it or jump? He's not always right.

– Being forced to replay entire sections over again when you die. This is pretty self-explanatory, and really, it wouldn't be such a big deal if complete sections didn't equate to killing thirty enemies per area, advancing, killing more enemies, etc. It grates on the nerves. Just let me start where I left off! Or make the loading screens less painful. Because at this point, I don't think I'll be playing any more tonight.

I think that about wraps it up for now. My laundry list of complaints may grow or shrink as I progress. I'm going to press on, because I do genuinely love Rick, the Mask's one-liners, the kills, and even the story, which I'm hoping doesn't end badly. I might be sticking to the classic Splatterhouse, which is included, for right now though, until I am ready to get back into the grind.

This is a series that really did deserve better, though.

About Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over
a decade for publications like G4, Popular Science, Playboy, Empire,
Complex, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, GameSpot, Variety,
Rolling Stone, Yahoo, and more. She's also appeared as a speaker at
video game conventions like PAX East and has coordinated social media
for companies like CNET.