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Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: BottleRocket Entertainment
Release Date: Nov. 23, 2010 (US), Nov. 26, 2010 (EU)


PS3/X360 Preview - 'Splatterhouse'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on June 21, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Splatterhouse combines visceral, adrenaline-soaked combat with horror elements to deliver an original gaming experience that defies the boundaries of the traditional action category with over-the-top gore and shocking new gameplay mechanics.

Splatterhouse was a classic series of brawlers with an extreme horror theme for the arcade, TurboGrafx-16 and Sega Genesis. With its masked horror villain-looking hero facing against more horrific monsters, incredible amounts of blood, and easy classic play format, the series was a fair hit and notoriously inspired moral guardian rage. The series is finally getting a much-deserved reboot for modern-day consoles and styles, and the results are looking utterly awesome.

The basic premise is much the same. Splatterhouse takes place at the West Mansion, a rumored site of freakish experiments. Rick Taylor and his wife Jennifer go to investigate — they're parapsychology students, after all — and the girl's kidnapped and a freakish, cursed mask is plopped onto Rick's face. The Terror Mask turns him into a berserker, and he kicks the butts of the creatures inside.

Gameplay is now 3-D, of course, and Rick's arsenal has evolved to include magic powers using enemy "necrotic energies." Attacks are brutal, occasional action commands are randomized to keep a hint of challenge, and everything is solidly smooth. Enemies that were once kind of freaky reminders of classic horror monsters are now original and nightmarish creatures of an "arcane dimension," and the gore has been amped up more than ever before.

Rick's health is reflected on his body; skin and muscle are torn off brutally as he takes damage, and he can even lose limbs. The gore and blood spatters are physics-based and ludicrous beyond imagination, and there are plenty of opportunities to use the environment to add to the fun.

The graphics are the centerpiece, naturally. Aside from all the gore and creatures, everything else had plenty of polish, exuding a constant feel of modern-day, gritty horror, and every animation was wonderfully smooth. Sounds were muted in the preview room, so I can't judge there.

The gameplay is fairly simple, centering on special splatterkills that occur upon a near-perfect finishing of enemies. Weapons are present, including two-by-fours and enemy limbs.

One important touch finishes the game: All three uncensored originals are packed in. While this entry focuses on the story line of the first title, you can enjoy the complete original series as well, pretty much guaranteeing solid replay value.

Fans of the gore in MadWorld and God of War will not be disappointed with the reboot of the classic Splatterhouse series, and retro gamers should find a lot to love in the classic gorefests and strong-valued modernization.

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