Splatterhouse

Splatterhouse_arcadeflyer

Where and when did you first play this game?

Splatterhouse was released in 1989 for the Turbografx-16 as a Turbochip game.  Splatterhouse was a port of an arcade game created by Namco in 1988.  The game was a huge success and was brought over to the gaming consoles pretty quickly.  The first game was released on the TG-16 and the second and third games were releasing other gaming consoles like the Genesis and Super Nintendo.

How many times have you played this game? Have you replayed the game since you first played it?

I played the game on the TG-16 in 1989 when I first got the game, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever completed it.  The problem I ran into was that I didn’t learn the moves and the timing of the monsters well enough to know where to stand, when to duck or jump, or when to strike well enough to master the game.  This type of game is really clock work in the timing with monsters so if you learn the pattern, you can ultimately master the game and win in the end.  I’ve been playing the game on the Wii Virtual Console and I’ve been find it very fun, but also by today’s standards a little bit stiff.

What is it about this game that you loved?

This game was a step forward to the modern gaming genre of beat ’em ups in the tradition of side scrolling games, but with a monster and horror based theme.  You play as Rick, a huge muscular parapsychology student (really?) who takes his girlfriend to a mansion where weird and unexplained happenings are going on.  And in the process somehow your girlfriend gets kidnapped and you find the “terror mask” which gives you super strength and kick ass jumping skills?

It’s not Shakespeare or something, but the game is pretty graphic for 1989 considering.  By today’s standards, it’s baby food, but in 1989 people were literally shitting their pants thinking the game was too graphic in nature for kids, and maybe they were right.  Kids like me, I don’t think it left me with any permanent scarring, but it was a fun game.  Your weapons in the console version were 2x4s, wrenches, spears and a golden meat clever which you only get for one level.  The 2×4 was particular fun at the time, but apparently in the arcade version (which I’ve never had a chance to play) it was a meat clever and you literally cut the monsters in half.  As it was in the console version, you literally knock the monsters against the wall and they sorta “splatter” against the walls.

What is the best (or worst) moment in this game? Or what about this game made it memorable?

Two things really have stuck around to me about this game.

394015-splatterhouse-turbografx-16-screenshot-the-girlfriend-rises

Oh, you’re going to get nailed tonight!

The first: so Rick is on a mission to save his girlfriend from the mansion and you are racing against the clock to get to her in time.  When you finally reach her, you find a group of monsters gathered around her.  They see you and leave, but your main squeeze gets up and says “help me” right before she transforms into this horrible monster.  She suddenly is a grotesque monster with hugely long nails, a giant eye ball and not one shred of clothing.  After you knock her around a little bit, she transforms back to her little dainty self and whispers “help me” only to start the process all over again.  You finally defeat her and she dies.

I remember this so well because of the voice acting, but also the fact that you don’t save the girl in the end.  She dies and you end up destroying the house and getting away, but it was one of the first times that I remember it not really having a happy ending.  I know a horror genre video game with super cool scary graphics and it doesn’t end well for the hero.  Odd, right?

The second thing I remember was instead of having little traditional cartoon or Valentines hearts representing your health, the game actually used little human hearts with aortas and everything.  It was really a stroke of genius for the game designer to use a real heart instead of the soft cartoon versions.

Is there a special story about this game? Maybe an event in your life or some thing memorable you associate with this game?

I do remember some outcry about the graphical nature of the game, but I was really just interested in having the game to play it.  Games like Splatterhouse which came from the arcade were getting more and more graphic, more realistic and more violent.  I know it wasn’t just a good game, but a great game to exploit the horror genre of movies by putting a mask on the main character which looks like a Jason mask, a guy with chainsaw for arms, and a girlfriend who will literally kill you if she has the chance.  It’s really just being true to life right?

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