Retro-Review: Splatterhouse (Wii VC)

Overview:

Official description:

Rick and Jennifer, both parapsychology students at the local university, are visiting West Mansion, site of the research lab where the famed Dr. West conducted some of his most gruesome experiments. A sudden storm forces them to find shelter inside the mansion. Once inside, they are attacked by monsters! Jennifer is kidnapped and Rick is knocked unconscious! Hours later, Rick awakes to find himself covered in blood with the Terror Mask stuck to his face. His only hope is to depend on the ancient powers of the mask to give him the strength and courage to find Jennifer. Now Rick’s fight has begun! Splatter your way through 7 stages of side-scrolling horror action. Armed with cleavers and shotguns, Rick must fight his way through the monsters of West Mansion and defeat the bosses at the end of every stage. The creepy music, gruesome monsters, flying blood, gory action, and shocking events leading up to the finale will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Review:

I picked the game up a while back due to my hunger to play games for platforms I never owned and because I wanted to see exactly what made this game so controversial when it first came out. Needless to say, Splatterhouse is fairly gross and I can definitely see why it may have caused the spit to hit the fan way back in 1988. But by today’s standards, with games like Manhunt and GTA running amok, this game looks like My Poniez Adventurez. For realz.

Gameplay:
Splatterhouse is a basic side scrolling beat-em-up that takes place in a haunted mansion. You hold the Wiimote on it’s side and move with the D-pad, jump with ‘2’ and attack with ‘1’. The controller setup is fine but the controls feel really stiff and clunky and take some getting used to. There are a myriad of weapons in the game at your disposal, including meat cleavers, 2x4s, ball bats and wrenches. Like I said, every attack is handled with the ‘1’ button alone. No combos or anything to deepen the experience.

Graphics and Sound:
Nothing special here on either front. The graphics are definitely gross, and while they aren’t too shabby looking they surely don’t impress. When you splat sea monsters onto the wall all you can see is gross. That’s it. You can’t tell it used to be a sea monster. It looks like you ate 6 lbs. of spinach and vomited onto tile floor.

As for sound you’ve got simple midi files that get the job done and mostly uninspiring ‘Friday the Thirteenth’ ripoff music. Though this totally changes in the later levels of the game as the music becomes very catchy and memorable. I’m humming a song in my head right now.

Lasting Appeal:
The fastest I’ve ever been able to beat Splatterhouse is about 45 minutes and the longest it took was around an hour and a half or so. The game will frustrate you beyond belief at first, but once you get used to the stiff controls you’ll find the challenge isn’t really as hard as you’d originally thought. Don’t get too dumped on this game when you get 3 game overs in your first 15 minutes. Go have a cigarette and a sandwich and come back. Repeat until you get the hang of it. Once that’s done you’ll be done with the game in a short time.

Final Words:

Splatterhouse set the way for controversy in gaming and operated solely on shock over substance. A B-movie story and Grindhouse graphics style are what truly set this game apart from the crowd, but when it comes to content you’ll be left wanting more.

Pros

  • B-movie story
  • Grindhouse visual style

Cons

  • Style over substance
  • Stiff controls
  • Boring soundtrack until halfway through

Score:

Overall: 6.5/10 (Doable)
Gameplay:
6.5/10 (Stiff movement, basic beat ’em up combat)
Graphics: 7.0/10 (Gross but undetailed)
Sound: 6.5/10 (Scratchy effects, music doesn’t catch up until halfway through)
Lasting Appeal: 6.0/10 (Can be beaten in about 45 minutes, should never take more than two hours)

2 thoughts on “Retro-Review: Splatterhouse (Wii VC)


  1. I have this game for the Turbografx. While I think it’s a fun, solid game definitely worth owning, I never understood why it was so hugely popular then or now.

    But then again, the TG-16 version which is also showcased on the Wii VC, is the heavily censored version as opposed to the arcade one so perhaps the love comes through association much like Mortal Kombat on the SNES.

Leave a Reply