The lights are on
Namco Bandai's Splatterhouse reboot packs in gallons of gore and adds more meat to the series' basic combat. The story has been fleshed out a bit, too. Our hero, Rick, is still dating a woman named Jennifer. She's a reporter now, and she's writing a story on the mysterious West Mansion. Rick and Jennifer have a hot date after the assignment, so Rick tags along. Monsters attack, Jennifer gets kidnapped and Rick is killed. A demon-possessed Mayan mask falls from the wall and lands in Rick's blood, reviving him. Now Rick has to kill a bunch of guys to fuel the mask's symbiotic bloodlust, so he can save his girl and get the heck out of the mansion,.
Splatterhouse is a 3D beat-em-up with an ultraviolent gimmick. Rick is bathed in blood as he pounds minions and larger creatures into pulp, and maintaining combos fills his bloodlust meter. Once it's maxed out, Rick can activate a special mode that makes him temporarily invulnerable and physically stronger. The revived Rick is a pretty tough dude already. He can rip the arms off of enemies and then use the limb to pummel the life out of other foes. Enemies can rip Rick's arms off, too, and tear huge chunks out of his body, Fortunately, he can regenerate his health (and ruined body) by leeching energy from nearby enemies.
There are plenty of nods to the old games, including familiar weapons like cleavers, and returning enemies like the chainsaw-limbed Biggie Man. Some of the levels even transform the 3D action into a side-scroller, with pits to hop over and crushing blocks to roll past. It's a nice old-school touch, and the section we played was just long enough to get the point across without wearing out its welcome.
The game chugged a bit at times during our demo, but that could be addressed before its fall release date. Overall, it played like a decent brawler, though the violence seemed like it was trying to hard to be shocking. The source material was tonally similar, but it was also a product of its slasher-film era. One of the puzzles, for example, requires Rick to anally impale three imps on spiked posts, which are then sent into a huge microwave chamber. Then the imps explode. That moment sums it up nicely.
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