Thursday, December 16, 2010

Splatterhouse on Xbox 360 Impression

Will the nostalgia go splatt or does Splatterhouse stand on its own merits

Remakes always work on shows like Extreme Home Makeover but for video games it’s hit and miss. Ninja Gaiden and Prince of Persia; great. Bionic Commando; not so much. The latest classic game to get the next-gen makeover is Splatterhouse and it falls in a lower middle-ground for the above titles. The overall vibe, the atmosphere feels very 80’s in its scares and horrific tale but how does this affect the game? Does it live up to the Splatterhouse gamers know, love and remember? Let’s take a look.

Gameplay – Sliced open and left for dead, young and dumb in love Rick makes a deal with the Terror Mask to gain life, power needed to save his girlfriend Jennifer from Dr. Henry West. Now a powered up brute of a man, Rick must traverse the mansion and more to save Jennifer killing all manners of baddies along the way and collecting blood. Rick can power up his abilities, using blood as his currency, and he can also collect items such as torn nude pics of Jennifer. The action is brutal and bloody, worthy of the name Splatterhouse. The controls feel a bit slippery and the camera can use some work but this is a title that requires little thinking while running around and killing and killing some more.

Graphics – While there are moments, loading screens really, where the graphics shine this is overall not an impressive looking title. Splatterhouse is solid but the next-gen bar is at a level that it’s overall average. Looks sharp with a great amount of detail but it feels so average in the graphics department. Monsters and baddies alike now have to compete with those seen in titles like Resident Evil and Dead Space so even the gross factor is a bit lost.

Sound – The Terror Mask is a trip to listen too but Rick is a whiny little nobody who gets annoying. Really, how did he get a girl as smoking as Jennifer? There are times of splattering bliss where metal music mixes in with mass carnage but this gets lost in the so-so voice acting and mostly generic background music.

Design – This is the Splatterhouse of old made new but not much more. The settings are expected and the updates to know and new baddies work well. Lots of running and killing with strategy needed on boss fights. The camera was a pain at times but overall gets the job done but the feeling of sliding; skating as Rick runs, goes up and down stairs was a bit odd.

Miscellaneous – Love the campy, 80’s horror movie feel. The setting, characters and powers are so old-school it’s refreshing. No grand mysteries that change the face of gaming, just a boy and his mask trying to save his girl from an eternal doctor. Getting to unlock the original Splatterhouse titles is a sweet bonus, now if only they could be downloaded to the core console.

Overall is a great rental, a guilty pleasure of a game that pays tribute to the games of old but does not set itself apart in a crowded horror gaming landscape deep in the sick and twisted. Fans of the original need to pick this puppy up if only for the unlocking of the original games while new fans should check it out as a fun diversion before the mega busy holiday season hits … in like 2 weeks.

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