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Publisher: Namco (Japan)/NEC (US)
Systems: NEC PC Engine/Turbografx-16/TurboDuo (Japan, U.S.);
Nintendo Wii [Virtual Console] (Europe, U.S.)
THE STORY *
A Boom of Thunder... Darkness...
a Scream... and then!
The place was called the West Mansion.
But, to all who knew its legend, it was known simply as
"Splatterhouse." It was once the home of the
famed parapsychologist, Dr. West. There was a research
lab in the house where Dr. West conducted some of his
most gruesome experiments. It was even said that it was
in this house that he created the most hideous creatures
that ever walked the face of the Earth. But no one knew
for sure. Dr. West has not been seen or heard from in
many years, and no one who has ever gone into the mansion
has lived to tell the tale.
Rick and his girlfriend, Jennifer, were
parapsychology majors at the local university. They were
both very interested in the works of Dr. West as he was
the most famed parapsychologist in the world. One day,
they decided to visit the abandoned West Mansion as part
of a project they were working on in school. As they
walked toward the house, it started to rain. They entered.
All went dark. Lightning cracked through the sky. There
was a frantic scuffle. Then, a scream. And suddenly
Jennifer was gone. Rick's unconscious body was covered in
Hours later, Rick awoke to a fantastic
horror - he was alone and drenched with blood. But, the
most terrifying thing of all was that a hideous mask
covered his face. He had read tales of this "Terror
Mask" in Dr. West's writings - it was said to have
ancient spiritual powers. As his only hope, Rick must
depend on this mask to give him the strength and courage
to find Jennifer. Now, Rick's fight has begun!
SH Turbo vs SH Arcade
This was the first Splatterhouse that I'd
ever played. An old friend of mine had come to visit us
back in 1990, and had brought his brand new Turbografx-16
system with him. He had five games - Keith Courage in
Alpha Zones, Victory Run, Bonk's Adventure, Ninja Spirit
and Splatterhouse. Of course, Splatterhouse was the game
that made the biggest impression on me.
I won't go into the specifics of the game
here, since it's a port of the arcade game and gameplay-wise,
it's basically the same. If you want to know more about
the actual game, just drop by the arcade
section. What I do want to cover here are the differences
between the two games.
The first and most noticable difference
is that Rick is wearing a red mask in the
Turbografx version. In the arcade (and PC Engine) game,
the mask is white and resembles a goalie's mask. This one
is solid red, with black eyeholes and two curving
horizontal black stripes. Rick wears what resembles a white variation of
this mask in the Mega Drive version of Splatterhouse 2.
Graphically, the arcade game had a lot
more detail and animation. The backgrounds and
foregrounds were a lot more detailed in the arcade game -
understandably, as the Turbo couldn't quite match the
graphic abilities of Namco's arcade hardware. This side-by-side
comparison should give you a pretty good idea:
A lot of the creatures had
several frames of animation removed from the Turbo game -
in fact, whole animation sequences were removed in some
parts, like in the Mirror Rick death sequence - he
collapses a into puddle of goop with a mask sticking out
of it in the arcade game. In the Turbo game, he falls
down and flickers, then vanishes. The gore was toned down
quite a bit in the Turbo game as well - for instance, in
the arcade game, the first weapon you find is a cleaver,
and you chop the approaching zombie's heads off. A
fountain of slime gushes out of their neck as they
collapse. In comparison, the first weapon you find in the
Turbo game is a two-by-four, which you use to smack the
zombies into the wall. Their guts splatter when they hit,
but they don't spread as much as they do in the arcade
The sound effects were also toned down.
For example, in the arcade game, when the Sludge Monsters
rise out of the sewers, they moan - and when you hit
them, they moan painfully. Those sounds were cut from the
Turbo game. In addition to the loss of several sound
effects, almost the entire opening sequence of the arcade
game has been cut. It's not much - just Rick and Jennifer
running for West Mansion in the rain - but it's still
gone. Even the shot of the mansion that you do get in the
Turbo game has lost a key sound from the arcade game -
Jennifer's scream as she's taken from Rick.
Of course, one of the biggest changes to
the Turbo game was the removal of the level four boss
from the arcade, the floating upside-down cross. It's
been replaced with a floating blue monster head called
"Evil Sleep", and the heads that it creates are
called "The Nightmares". "Evil Sleep and
The Nightmares"... cute. This is also the only place
in the Turbo game that you get a cleaver - the Golden
Cleaver. I don't know why it's there, or why it's gold,
but regardless, that's where it is.
If you're used to the arcade game, then
of course you'll notice these changes. Don't get me
wrong, though - the Turbografx-16 Splatterhouse is still
great, and is a very good port of a great arcade game. If
you can't get your hands on the arcade game, this is
the next best thing.
The Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Splatterhouse costs 600 Wii points to purchase across the board (which equals six dollars U.S.). The U.S. release has been rated T, and the Euro release rated 12+.
While the stage 4 boss (called "Evil
Cross" in the PC Engine manual) is censored in the
Turbo version, the original Japanese PC Engine version
leaves it intact. By the way, have you ever seen the PC
Engine version's manual? It's quite nice when compared to
the bland black-and-white Turbo manual. First off, it's
in full-color and has illustrations throughout (although
they are not very well drawn). Also it mentions that
Rick's full name is Rick Taylor (it has the character
names in English) and that his girlfriend's name in
Jennifer Wills (I don't know if this is a bad
Romanization of the name Willis or not).
Differences between the endings of the
Turbo and Arcade games:
I played though the TG16 version of
Splatterhouse this morning to find the differences in the
ending, and aside from the arcade version being much
easier, there were very few differences.
1. Instead of white balls of energy, the
final boss spits out a constant stream into the ground as
it slowly diminishes in size.
2. Instead of the mask just exploding,
you see Rick in from of the burning house (the background
did make it into the game) and the mask breaks off of his
3. Instead of just showing "The End"
after the credits, the screen moves down to show the
broken peices of the mask which come back together. The
mask cackles for a bit, then "The End" appears
at the lower right corner.
4. I have read several places that Rick
dies at the end of the arcade version, but I have seen no
proof of this.
A strategy for dealing with the level 3
boss of Splatterhouse (arcade and Turbo):
Instead of using the shot guns through
out the level, just duck and kick everything. For the
hanging corpses, they recieve the stones. Once you find
the second shot gun, you're already close enough to the
boss that you don't have to worry about other enemies.
You pick up the right edge of the new shotgun and drop
the old one. You dropped the old one slightly in front of
the new one. You can repeat this process until you have
the second shot gun in easy grabbing distance for you as
you fight the boss. Double the fire power, and much
* indicates material taken directly from the U.S. instruction manual