(Namco, 1990)

Imagine a game where a man in blue must fight for his life in an old mansion filled with zombies, hanging bodies, and other gruesome undead creatures with only shot guns, knives, and even his bare hands as weapons. Sound familiar!? No, the Game of the Month isn't Resident Evil or Alone in the Dark; it's Namco's Splatter House!

Splatter House earns the GOTM because it's the first real scary video game to be actually scary! Remember Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street on the NES and how badly they sucked thanks to the terrible game play and lack of any real horror? If anybody remembers those slasher movies than they remember all the violent content too. Those disturding movies were mostly about hot sexy teenagers getting brutally killed by a madman or something unholy. The heavily G-rated video games just could not compare. Splatter House for the Turbo Grafx-16 on the other hand has real red blood, decapitated dogs, flying gut worms ready to eat your flesh, huge bosses and more then enough to erase the bad memories of those weak NES games.

That isn't Jim Carrey in the Mask!

Splatter House lets you play the role of Rick, the man who looks a lot like Jason from Friday the 13th because of the red mask on his face. Although Rick looks a lot like a bad guy, make no mistake, he's the hero of the game and he has to rescue his girlfriend Jennifer from the evil
West Mansion (a.k.a. the Splatter House) of Dr. West and at the same time break the curse of the mysterious Terror Mask on his face.

This is going to be no easy feet as there are 7 levels filled with all kinds of sinister monsters, ghosts, and traps at every corner but there are also some cool weapons to give some added protection. Rick can pick up things like Rocks, 2 by 4's, Shot guns, Spears, Meat Cleavers, and more to help him out. The game also plays like a traditional arcade like 2D platformer so anybody should be able to play it without any trouble.

You want wacky bosses, how bout fighting a bunch of flying decapitated heads or a man with twin chain saws?

The game play and bottomline:  
The game's graphics are fairly decent with some nice effects like the hanging bodies spilling acid in level 2 to the giant end boss with the rotten flesh that has to be seen to believe. You'll see a lot of other cool things here like the second boss is actually an enclosed room that comes alive thanks to an evil spirit. The animation is a little stiff at times because the large size of some the characters and there is no parallax scrolling in the backgrounds either so you won't be blown away by the graphics especially if you play anything for the Playstation2. The music is not only very eerie and creepy, but it is also better than most Turbografx-16 games out there. Even most of the monsters have there own sound effects when they leap out at you or when you destroy them.

When Splatter House came out exclusively for the TurboGrafx-16, it gave that system a nice little edge for people looking for a more adult themed game. That was until the big sequel Splatter House 2, was released exclusively for the Sega Genesis (Namco was pretty angry at NEC at the time so they jumped ship). I knew then that my TurboGrafx-16 was truly finished when the sequel appeared on another game system. Although Splatter House 2 and 3 are also great games, the first one introduced me to the series and most importantly proved that horror video games don't have to blow big time. On the down side Splatter House is kind of short with 7 short levels plus the game kind of easy as well. Most video game experts should be able to finish it in a day or two but if you are sick and tired of the usual cute action games like Super Mario or Bonk's Adventure than maybe fighting a guy with chainsaws for hands in Splatter House is more up your alley. Don't expect a happy ending either, so play if you dare and Merry Christmas!?
Here is my 8 minute video review of Splatterhouse too!
Warning: there is some swearing in it:



overall rating: 85/100

Find Splatterhouse on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 8/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 6/10
replay: 5/10

(Ryan Genno) 2001


If you want to learn more about the Splatter House series than go here: