Title: Splatterhouse
Rom Player: MAME
Reviewer: ItalianStereotype

Synopsis: It seems today that arcades are becoming quite rare here in America. No more than five years ago anybody could probably find at least a handful in almost any city. Now you would be lucky to find the same handful in any given state. Back in the day, in the golden age of the quarter-munching arcade, there was a little game that SHOULD have revolutionized the entire industry. That game was Splatterhouse.

This, the arcade version, is by far the rarest incarnation of Splatterhouse available. It is also surprisingly better than its console compatriot. Hell, it was so MUCH better that it ended up being banned from most arcades for its macabre content and satanic references, something seen only to a lesser extent on the consoles. Perhaps before I begin actually reviewing it would be best to go over some of the differences between the arcade and console versions.

The most noticeable difference between the two versions is definitely the plot. In the arcade version when Jennifer is kidnapped, Rick is actually killed and his body is possessed by the spirit of the mask. In fact, at the beginning of the arcades sequel, Jennifer is seen mourning over Rick's grave. For some reason, the console versions didn't approve of this and had Rick merely knocked unconscious in the beginning. Of course, this made Splatterhouse 2 and 3 more feasible, but it simply isn't the same. The only other noteworthy differences are the lack of certain images, some gore, and sounds from the console. The level four boss, a blatantly satanic reversed cross, was removed, much of the bloody animation was toned down, and a lot of the more painful screams and moans were taken out. NOW ON TO THE REVIEW!

Game Play-Exactly the same as it always is. Nothing special. Punch, kick, bash shit with various weapons, try not to die (which is almost impossible to do). The weapons do make the monster smashing a bit more fun though, here is your potential arsenal: cleaver, 2x4, shotgun, rock, wrench, and spear. Bashing good fun for everyone.

Graphics- This is, of course, where Splatterhouse shines. Blood, gore, depravity, death, destruction, cancer, and pain everywhere. From the background effects to the monsters and bosses, the graphics don't let up for one revolting, sanguine second. One of the things I was greatly impressed with in this game were the enemy designs. Each monster is impeccably designed and appropriately disgusting. My favorite is the 3rd level boss, Biggy (Bag) Man, an impious beast with no skin, chainsaws for hands, and a burlap bag hiding his face. Another thing worthy of notice is some of the background effects in this game. For instance, in levels one and two Rick must walk under torn apart zombies chained to the back walls. What’s cool about this is that the zombies will lean over and vomit on our hero causing him damage.

Music-Most of the music is pretty average, but sometimes it can really get you worked up. Not that this matters as you will be too busy trying to keep your ass alive to notice more than the grunts of your dying victims.

Originality-Splatterhouse has to be one of the most original games EVER. The basic premise of the story is a bit banal, but it manages to stay fresh and interesting. What truly makes this game, however, is the ground that it breaks. This was the Mortal Kombat of its era in terms of violence and blood, making it one of the more original and memorable games.

Best Cheats: Select Rank B for 6 hearts.

Game Play: 7
Graphics: 10
Music/Sound: 9
Originality: 7
Overall Rating: 8


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