by Jonathan Fortin
reviewed on PC
Narrative Cheese in Black and White
The game booted up with practiced bravado like a dead man rising from his own grave. The menu blasted onto the screen, a black, white, and red testament to the horror that would soon follow. I was staring at a man in a fedora, tattooed, with a trenchcoat that didn't fit the rest of his outfit. Soon he was spouting lines from a bad noir movie, the nonsensical story glazing over my eyes like a stiletto of death.
It was like playing Max Payne all over again. Only this time, there were zombies.
Funny as hell, Splatter's protagonist is also named Max. What's his last name? Who knows. For all we know, it might very well be Payne.
Anyway, Max Not-Payne is having a very bad day. See, there are zombies. Lots of zombies. And Max's best weapon against them is his cringe-worthy dialogue. It's poorly written, and poorly acted, and kind of hilarious as a result. Somehow, I have a feeling that's exactly what the developers intended.
What makes it especially entertaining is that Max is the only character to speak or dress in this absurd fashion. It's as though he thinks he's in a film noir world, and no other characters got the memo, but they don't question him because he has guns. From the way he kept posing with his fedora, I half expected him to start complaining about the friendzone.
And the band played on...
Splatter is a top-down shooter. You aim with your mouse, walk around with WASD, and spend most of your time blasting everything in sight. In a lot of ways, it is almost shockingly similar to the PSN hit Dead Nation. Both are top-down zombie shooters, both have optional cooperative play, and both have crudely-written stories told mostly through cutscenes before and after each level. They even have some of the same enemy types: the big zombie that takes a lot of hits, the zombie that spits projectiles - in this case fireballs - and the zombie that jumps on you. Fortunately, Splatter has a few other monsters to call its own, like cyborgs and giant enemy worms.
Splatter lets you blow up pretty much anything you see. A big part of the fun is that you can just walk into a room and lay waste to everything. It's like Michael Bay: The Game: windows will explode, beds will explode, tables will explode, toilets will explode, cars will explode. if you can see it, it can probably explode. Best of all, the zombies explode in chunks. Just shooting at them with perfectly normal bullets will cause them to fall to pieces in a way that looks amusing, ridiculous, and extremely satisfying. Soon, the ground is covered in chunks of wood, broken glass, and piles of lifeless meat.
There are also some fun vehicular set pieces, such as a moment where you control a turret on the back of a truck, or a great scene where you mow down enemy mobs in a tractor. The tractor scene is actually so much fun that it's disappointing when Max leaves it behind because it has “outlived its usefulness.” Bad call, Max.
Everything explodes; writing and acting are so bad they're funny
Cliché weapons and monsters; writing and acting are so bad they're funny