by Ryan Phillip Hardesty
previewed on PS3
A Trip through the Twisted (cntd)
Even more sophisticated are the moves afforded to you by ‘Necro,’ a green energy substance left after an enemy dies, which is automatically absorbed by the Terror Mask. With this energy you’ll be able to pull off outlandish moves such as shooting out spikes from your body, sending forth blast waves and even raising your own army of the dead to assist you in the carnage. With enough Necro you’ll also be to perform Splatter Kills, which are essentially finishing moves with spectacular gore. If any of that wasn’t enough, Rick will pick up weapons along the way like 2x4s, chainsaws, shotguns, and cleavers. A monster’s body part isn’t out of the equation either, as you’ll be able to tear off an enemy’s head and hurl it at another attacker. Lastly, there is a talent tree available where you’ll unlock specialized moves as you progress (though Namco-Bandai has stayed rather hushed about the specifics). So, suffice to say, your methods of madness are plentiful.
The areas in which you’ll pull of these feats of gore have been multiplied, making sure you’re never kicking ass in the same place. From the massive mansion itself to the catacombs underneath, to a wicked carnival in a swamp to a haunting shantytown rife with demons on the prowl, the environments have become characters as much as the monsters themselves. The enemies roaming these levels are warped creatures of all sizes, from dreadlocked, nimble demons to humongous beasts who whip the lowlier ones into shape from afar. The bosses themselves will be aplenty and all are incredibly varied, something Tom Savini and Stan Winston would be proud of. You’ll take on a reptilian beast with a giant mouth for a head, a towering phenomenon made entirely out of furniture and even favorites from the original series like Biggy Man and Mirror Rick.
Accompanying you in your path of revenge will be the musical stylings of today’s metal bands, such as Gwar, Lamb of God, Cannibal Corpse and Mastodon and In Flames. The entire soundtrack won’t be a mesh of headpounding, though, as the original series’ use of ambient, creepy tunes will be updated and added alongside the thrash of guitars, striking an interesting balance of subtlety and oh-my-god-my-ears-have-exploded.
Summoning the Spirits of Old
Through all the gallons of red stuff, it’s easy to see that the developers have not forgotten the nostalgia of the series. At various points the camera will transition from 3-d platformer to 2-d sidescroller, harkening back to Splatterhouse’s roots. Easter eggs and other surprises will be scattered around the levels that reference the original games, backing up Namco-Bandai’s stated goal of keeping the spirit of the Splatterhouse trilogy intact.
All this remembrance for what made those games memorable is a reassuring sign. If the developers can somehow harness and keep that brutal, bloodied atmosphere of creepiness while also maintaining a newfound sense of furious and unforgiving action, the folks at Namco-Bandai might just resurrect a corpse long thought dead.