HIDDEN DETAILS:Thanks to everyone on the forum who has spent time debating this, forum regular serjio for the screenshots and to Christopher Seltzer for bringing it to our attention originally.
Everyone that's played through Splatterhouse has seen the orb of power, otherwise known as the "Mask Spirit". If you've played through Splatterhouse 2 and 3, you've seen it there too, performing different functions. But what is it exactly? To date, I've put nothing up about it. Indeed, I'd overlooked it completely, until I received an email from Christopher Seltzer:
"To Rob of West Mansion:
"I noticed something recently that doesn't appear to be on either the TG-16 ports info section OR the trivia section. I haven't been able to confirm this with the Arcade release, but I wouldn't be surprised if this showed up in there too. Maybe someone with an OS capable of running the MAME version can confirm this for you.
"In both the US and Japanese releases of Splatterhouse, if you look closely at Rick toward the end of the final stage, you'll notice that a white orb of energy actually flies from the mask and then settles into the ground on the exact spot of the grave where the final boss emerges. This leads me to think that the spirit you see after defeating the final boss is in fact the evil contained in the mask, and not the spirit of Dr. West as has been previously speculated. This would kind of explain the reason why we see the mask shatter after Rick defeats the last boss, as well as give an early hint to the mask's true intentions as revealed near the end of Splatterhouse 3.
"I played through both ports twice just to make sure I was seeing this right. I have no idea how to send screencaps, hopefully someone else out there can back me up on this."
So what is it? Is it just a manifestation of the power of the Mask in all three cases? What exactly does it bring to life at the end of Splatterhouse? I threw out the topic for discussion on the forum, and got some very interesting theories as to just what happens. Among them were the following, broken down into different categories:
-Either a a physical manifestation of the Mask's power, or its evil being transferred to another source - or both.
-a pissed off evil monster incarnation of Dr. West.
-a pissed off evil monster that is trapping the spirit of Dr. West under the grave, and until you beat the guardian monster, Dr. West's spirit could not escape.
-a pissed off incarnation of the mask itself, which you fight and defeat, then the spirit of Dr. West escapes.
-the mutated remains of Dr. West.
-I personally like to think that the evil one has some kinda connection to the mask... perhaps it feeds on the masks power until it is finally strong enough, and then rises up?
While you're thinking about it, here's something to look at: the screenshots of all of the Mask Spirit sequences.
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