Saturday, March 15, 2008

Day 13: Splatterhouse 2

If you read comic books in 1990 (or found some comic books from 1990 years later in the 25 cent bin of a dealer desperate to get rid of them), you saw the double-page ads for the original Splatterhouse. It and Bonk's Adventure were the only Turbografx-16 games to receive any substantial marketing. To this day those games are probably recognized by more people than the system that played them.

Unbeknownst to all but the most hard-core gamers (including myself until very recently), two Splatterhouse sequels were released for the Sega Genesis.

Splatterhouse 2 sticks closely to the model established by the first game. Rick learns that his girlfriend Jennifer did not die as it appeared in the first game, dons the Terror Mask and returns to the burned ruins of the West Mansion to punch a lot of squishy zombie things.

Along with his fists, Rick has an arsenal of found weapons at his disposal. The shotgun returns, but now Rick has access to chainsaws, potassium bombs and a large bone, all of which add to the carnage.

There are a lot more gooey details in the sequel than the original. Monsters burst open rather than simply crumble into a puddle of slime. The trade-off is the music, which is no where near as creepy and atmospheric as in the first game. And Rick's echoey "Ow" has been replaced with a simple grunt.

Splatterhouse's appeal as never the original gameplay. It's solid and challenging, but hardly unique. It's the addition of copious amounts of gore and wonderfully rendered creatures that make the franchise stand out.

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