by Ryan Phillip Hardesty
previewed on PS3
A Gruesome Start
1989 was a bloody year. The gaming world had seen little in the way of true violence, until Japanese developer Namco (now Namco-Bandai) decided to smash that placidness with a 2x4 and show gamers how gory a game could become. Namco gave us people Splatterhouse.
The first game to receive a parental advisory warning, Splatterhouse went on to gross out people with its gore and ick-factor on the TurboGrafx-16 and then with 2 more sequels on the Sega Genesis. Inspiration was drawn heavily from Western 80s slasher flicks, finally bringing a kind of horror to the console only moviegoers had been familiar with. For some reason, after the two sequels had come out, after the bones had been snapped and the sinew ripped, after all the controversy had died down, the Splatterhouse series disappeared. Now, however, the game has been brought back, courtesy of its original developer, with the blood and gore being raised to the next level.
Paved in Blood
The story for the remake has been kept largely intact. Written by comic scribe Gordon Rennie (Necronauts, Judge Dredd), the story has been emphasized as much as a brawler story can be, especially compared to the paper-thin plot of the original games. You play as college student Rick who accompanies his reporter girlfriend Jennifer for an interview at the West mansion, owned by necrobiologist Dr. West. Once there, West’s twisted minions, the ‘Corrupted,’ attack and leave Rick for dead, kidnapping Jennifer and taking her into the bowels of the mansion. During the scuffle a statue shatters and the infamous Terror Mask is revealed to Rick. Urged on by mysterious whispers, Rick dons the Mask, transforming into an unholy beast designed purely for brutality. There is only one path for Rick to follow. With his newfound powers he sets off in search of his lost love with all sorts of decrepit creatures standing in the way.
The whispers and temptations of the Terror Mask will follow you throughout the game, a struggle Rick will endure as he smashes foes while also trying to maintain his humanity in order to rescue his love. Rennie and the game designers have taken a heap of inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft, the creeptastic writer of intricate horror yarns from the early 20th century. This added factor will, assumingly, help stoke a scarefest on the cerebral level as well as the physical.
A Trip through the Twisted
Rick’s single-mindedness is what fuels the entire game. With revenge surging through his mind and the body of a demonic weightlifter, the new Rick is born for limb-tearing and bone-smashing, the opportunities for which will come in waves. You’ll no longer be moving down one hallway, punching at enemies that come single file like the games of old. The combat designed for the remake revolves around destroying utterly everything you can in the most disgusting of ways, with the space around you as your playground, pulling off five-string combos in a ballet of blood. You’ll smash heads, tear off arms and break backs, annihilating anything in the area with your brute strength.