When NEC released the Turbo Grafx-16 in North America it was instantly the underdog in gamer’s eyes. This was the first outing for NEC in this territory and for all intents and purposes, no real name brand games were available or on the horizon for this new console. NEC had a tough road to walk but they tried. Splatterhouse was a title that made most gamers notice the system for the first time due to the graphical violence conveyed onscreen.
Splatterhouse takes some horror movie standard items such as a ski mask, machete, chainsaw etc. and mixes in a 2D side scrolling action adventure. Playing as Rick Taylor who is trying to save his girlfriend, and fellow college student, Jennifer Willis. The storm forced the couple to take refuge in West Mansion but things went downhill from there as Rick wakes up in the dungeon and Jennifer is gone, no sign of her. Talk about a bad situation getting worse. To top it off, West Mansion is nicknamed “Splatterhouse” due to rumors of wild, disgusting, experiments that people believe took place there by Dr. West- deranged, and conveniently missing, parapsychologist.
When I saw Splatterhouse at the local Electronics Boutique I was amazed that that was released domestically. I was coming off of years and years of NES playing where this game simply would not have made it past the Nintendo censoring. Playing Splatterhouse for the first time was pretty awesome, even though there were severe limitations in the engine, I was able to overlook them for the gore (puking background bodies of puss was just too cool at the time). Splatterhouse was different and fun, right up my teenage gamer’s alley at the time. Sadly, more interesting games like Splatterhouse didn’t follow suit across the ocean.
There are some censoring moments to be aware of, though I have yet to feel cheated for them being removed. The mask is not white in the US version (probably due to concerns with New Line Cinema/Paramount Pictures and the Jason Vorhees character). Also several religious visual items are removed and/or replaced in the console version versus the arcade game.
Splatterhouse has made the rounds digitally. It is available on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console and iTunes for iPhone/iPad. If you want a physical copy you will have to hit Ebay or Game Gavel. There was a remake in 2010 that is largely unrelated to the Turbo Grafx-16/Arcade version (though the arcade game is an Easter Egg). Splatterhouse spawned two sequels on the Sega Genesis, the second game being similar to the TG-16/arcade version while the third game is more like Final Fight/Streets of Rage.
Who remembers this classic?