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Splatterhouse 2

Genre: Action Developer: Namco Publisher: Namco Players: 1 Released: 1992

The original Splatterhouse is my favorite Turbo Grafx-16 game (alongside Side Arms). I didn’t have a Turbo when it was released, so I had to get my fix over at a friend’s house. Imagine my delight when the sequel was announced for the Genesis!

You may have thought that Jennifer was safe after Rick rescued her from the West Mansion in part one, but we know girlfriends are never safe in video games. The time has come to don the mask once more and save her.

Splatterhouse 2 is eight levels of gory fun that has you beating back all kinds of nasty creatures in your quest to save Jennifer. Released at a time when it seemed every Genesis game had eight meg power, Namco went out of its way to make the sequel bigger and better than anything seen in the original. Choose from normal (four hearts), hard (three hearts), or game master (2 hearts!). I haven’t finished the game on hard or game master, so I don’t know if the ending changes by doing so.

The visuals are a real treat, with dark and earth-tone colors dominating each stage. It’s rare to see an early Genesis game pull off dark colors without going all purple (Batman Returns and Chakan come to mind). While the level of detail is about the same as in the first game, the sprites seem bigger, and there are some cool effects in some stages (seems like a common trait in the games I’ve reviewed lately). Stage two’s ghostly faces in the backgrounds still look good, and although the blood dripping down the screen in stage three must have been awesome in 1992, it’s lost some of it’s “umph.” Parallax is well done and some levels combine them nicely with foreground effects (like the fog in stage four).

Death animations are gory without being excessive. Remember, this title came out back when blood wasn’t the main reason for playing a game. The weapon kills are especially nice. There’s nothing like whacking a baddie with a 2×4, bone, or one of the other nine (yes, nine) weapons lying around and watching him splat against a wall. Shotguns are still the law of the land though.

I didn’t like the fact the Rick didn’t get new clothes (he still looks like a possessed intern) and that he didn’t learn any new moves since his first outing. He lumbers along just as slow as he did before, with no new attacks in his tiny arsenal. First time Splatterhouse players will be able to get right into the swing of things but fans of the original may find the lack of game play variety a bit disappointing.

The music is on par with the first game in terms of quality and style. This game doesn’t really push the Genesis’ sound chip, but what’s there is fitting and sounds nice. The groans and moans are clear and aren’t overused.

Only two buttons are needed here, one for attack and one for jumping. Like I said, there isn’t much variety. You punch, duck and kick, or jump and kick. You can pull off a neat slide attack by jumping and kicking just as you hit the ground. This causes you to skid across the screen for a bit, hitting everything in your path. Unfortunately, you can’t get out once you initiate it, so you might find yourself finishing up the slide right on top of an enemy. Rick obviously didn’t go to the Mario School of Platforming , as he takes damage from jumping on attackers (their skin hurts my corns!). Having only four hearts can make some of the bosses seem harder than they really are and Rick’s slowness doesn’t help either. The developers tried to compensate for this by giving each boss a relatively simple pattern that takes away some of the pain once you learn it.

Some stages have different routes, much like in the first game, so falling down a hole doesn’t necessarily mean death. Instead, you might find yourself in a dungeon filled with evil eyes that peer at you from a doorway, and then jump out at you as you pass. None of the routes are really longer than any other, but this adds to the game’s replay value in a big way. There is a bit of slowdown in a few areas but it’s nothing that hampers the game play. You won’t be trying to avoid it by taking other routes, as it’s gone once you eliminate an enemy or two.

Being the Splatterhouse fan that I am, I can honestly say that I love this sequel. I actually prefer part two to the third game, as it’s more in the style of the original. My only gripe is that they changed the mask to look more like a skull than a hockey mask. No more pretending to be Jason here.

Don’t let the lack of new attacks turn you away. There’s plenty of fun to be had with this game and I’m sure you’ll go back to it may times. Its cool graphics and spooky feel aren’t common on the Genesis and warrant a purchase. Just be prepared to pay a bit for it. Splatterhouse 2 is the rarest of the three and can fetch up to $30 on eBay.

SCORE: 8 out of 10

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4 Comments

  1. Aramil says:

    Some sick bosses, a splatter-movie style along with true horror elements
    ahead of its time i think…and a good game.

  2. Silicon_Knight says:

    One of the best soundtracks on the Genesis, I would even say that some of the tunes (like the BGM of the bosses in stage 4, or stage 7) are as memorable as those heard in the Castlevania games. One of the best intro themes ever, almost cinematic. The game itself is nice, but can get a bit frustrating because, like the first game, it’s one of those games where you have to memorize every single trap and boss pattern. If you rely on reflexes with a main sprite as sluggish as Rick – game over.

  3. odnarb1986 says:

    I love coming back to this game in the series because it was one of the first ‘gory’ games I played as a kid. I’m still surprised I got away with this since I was younger than the rating allowed. It’s good for smashing a few butt-ugly monsters to relieve stress, so I recommend it. And yes, the music will haunt you one way or the other.

  4. Cobra says:

    I really loved playing this game back when I was a kid (no rating system for games back then). It really stood out. Personally I prefer 3 though for its multiple story paths and freakily realistic cutscenes. Both games are great though and both do a great job telling the tragic tale of Rick.

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