Splatterhouse review

With a name like Splatterhouse, and a masked hero wielding a big knife you should not be able to go wrong. Sadly something went wrong long ago, all the way back in 1988. Splatterhouse reminds me so much about a film project I had with two friends at around that time as well. We dressed up cool, and managed to make the odd bleeding effect and horror scream. But what both my childhood horror movie attempts and Splatterhouse share is at that they are both flat, and quite frankly boring to experience.

img_1816Splatterhouse is a 2-d beat ‘em up letting you control masked hero Rick. Enemies of all types enter from the left, right and above. You have an attack button, a jump button, and the choice of a special attack button. The special attack lets you perform a jump/kick/slide move that is more or less impossible to perform with a combination of moves. The virtual keypad lets you control Rick fairly well, but the problem isn’t really because of the adaption to the touch screen. Rather the action is quite boring, and Rick is a stiff character to move around.

The game is all about walking through horror scenery fighting murky enemies. As long as you fight slow moving enemies the game is fairly easy, but as soon as you have to start timing small flying enemies Rick feels like syrup. Much like having a NFL center doing ice dancing there is a discrepancy between what the game demands, and what Rick can perform. You can learn the exact patterns of objects, and enemies and just repeat that pattern. I don’t think that is a fun way of playing a beat ‘em up game.

The graphics are quite poor, and generally murky and washed out. Enemies are varied, and some of them are quite cool. You get versions of just about any horror inspired creature prior to 1988, and it is a bit like a stroll down memory lane. The screen size can be adjusted to a smaller central image. This makes things small, but on the other hand you get to see incoming baddies from both sides better.

img_1745I like the sound and music in Splatterhouse, but that is certainly not enough to make me want to recommend it. The slow tedious gameplay of the arcade mode is even worse when playing the newly introduced splatter rush mode. Having a survival mode without any ability to actually pull off some quick agile moves feels like a waste of my time. Hit left, hit right, hit left, hit right repeat 50 times…death.

I am disappointed in Splatterhouse for the iPhone. It is an interesting concept, but it needs to be updated for 2010. If Namco wants to keep Rick around for iOS they have to place him in a game that works. And we know what works, so I would not be completely surprised if Splatterhouse 2011 is a dual stick shooter.

Final Rating


Splatterhouse $2.99
Version: 1.0.0
Seller: Namco Networks America

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  • japonlindo

    Splatterhouse iOS version was developed by Namco Networks America, not Bandai-Namco games.
    Likewise, Gunstar Heroes iOS version was developed by Sega America, not Japanese headquarter.
    These American companies apparently don’t know how to fine-tune controls.
    It’s so sad to see Japanese legacy titles are ruined with bad controls.