We first issued a preview of this game way back in January of 2009, back when it was expected to launch in June, and before anyone had really gotten a good look at some gameplay footage. However, as you can see, we now have a great debut trailer plus a host of new information that sheds a lot more light on this action gore-fest. Firstly, in case you weren’t really playing video games at the time, “Splatterhouse” is not a new name; it was a bloody arcade hit back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s (if you wanted to play it at home, you needed a TurboGrafx-16), so technically, Namco’s effort is a remake of sorts. It features the same main character and basic storyline: some freaky scientist kidnaps this dude’s girlfriend and in order to get her back, that dude – who goes by the name of Rick – dons an enchanted hockey mask and goes to save his chick. The mask is actually a personality all its own, telling Rick to brutally smash the demons that get in his way.
As you might suspect, there was a whole lot of hackin’ and slashin’ going on in the original Splatterhouse, so you can expect a ton of that…and probably a great deal more. You can turn various tools lying about your environment into sadistic weapons, and of course, there will be more than a few; things like baseball bats, chainsaws, and two-by-fours with a big ol’ nail at the end can be utilized with crushing effectiveness. But maybe you’ll get tired of the standard weapons and decide to improvise; maybe you’ll simply rip off the arm of an enemy and use that as a weapon against the swarming hordes. And when you’re done with your slaughter, the ground will be absolutely drenched in blood, and the stuff will even splatter onto the screen when Rick performs a particularly devastating attack. In other words, if you’re a bit squeamish and you don’t like the idea of endless amounts of death and gore, this game should be kept at a great distance. If, on the other hand, you love your horror movies and nasty games, there might be no better title. Just look at the name.
Hell, even the damage Rick sustains will result in horrid injuries; flesh will be ripped clean off the bone, muscles will be seriously stabbed, cut and scarred, and we’ll see it all happen in real-time. The good news is that Rick will be able to heal himself over time (likely a side-effect of that mask), so if you can steer clear of the myriad of swinging blades long enough, you’ll get back to normal. We’re most interested in the diverse attacks available to Rick and the monstrous bosses that we’ve seen in some available footage. The trailer here also shows off some intriguing possibilities: notice how he can literally jump onto large enemies, run up their arms, and just hammer away at the gruesome victim. What types of chains and combos might we be able to expect? Some of them are based entirely on his freakish physical strength while others are dictated by the weapon he carries…
Perhaps the biggest crowd-pleasing aspect of the game is the “Splatter Kill.” When an enemy has been hurt enough, Rick has the opportunity to execute one of these finishing moves; the background fades, the camera zooms in, and the “hero” proceeds to inflict devilish pain on the victim. This may include smashing his head, tearing the entire body in half, or ripping off limbs with vicious brutality. We’re not entirely sure how difficult these will be to pull off; if the entire thing is automated or if we participate somehow, perhaps via context sensitive button presses like we find in God of War. But either way, there’s almost no limit to the amount of “splattering” that will happen when playing Splatterhouse, which is slated to release later this year. The game has suffered through a few delays and even traded core development teams, which sort of concerns us…but at the same time, this is a can’t-miss premise for a game, isn’t it? At the very least, the atmosphere and style ought to be totally over-the-top.
Oh, and one last thing: Namco will be including all three original Splatterhouse games with this production. You’ll have to unlock them, but they’ll be there. Sweeeeet.
5/27/2010 Ben Dutka