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Publisher: Namco
Developer: Namco
Release Date: 3/18/1993 (U.S.)/3/19/1993 (Japan)
System: Sega Mega Drive/Genesis (Japan/U.S.)
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3

Alternate title: Splatterhouse Part 3 (Japan)



Connecticut, U.S.A.

Wall Street doesn't seem so brutal after what you've been through. Better to face legions of feral commodities traders than blood-thirsty zombies. To get away from the noise and danger of the city you buy a nice mansion in a sleepy Connecticut town. Life is good and comfortable. The dreams of the terror mask are gone. The whole experience fades into a blurry memory... an occasional nightmare. You have a son. You have a future.

The Abyss

It doesn't understand time. It doesn't feel fear... it hungers for power. Before science, before fire, it was. Primal fury... waiting for a chance... waiting for a tool... waiting.

Mexico City

Energy, the temples flowed with energy. Then there was nothing. Dry dust and dreams of past glory. Then the sun. Strange men and a new land filled with energy. In their dreams they sense you. You are drawn to one... Rick. You don't question. It is your destiny. You tap your powers for Rick. The carnage, the marvelous gore. Now back to the dust and dreams.

Once again, you feel the energy stirring and you dream. Dream to Rick...

"Rick, it's time to play again..."
"Time to fulfill our destiny..."
"Dream with me Rick... we'll have fun..."
"We'll have power..."
"We'll have total control..."


Normally the familiar creaks and rattles of your house settling are comforting; tonight, they seem ominous. You pace, not wanting to sleep, not wanting to dream. It's back. The mask... taunting you... and tonight a winter storm is pounding outside. The perfect setting for a B horror movie. Only you know it can happen.

You go outside. Thunder rolls across the hills to the north spiking the air with ozone. Trees whipped into a frenzy from the relentless wind. It's here, you can feel it. Tonight is the night.


When I had first heard about Splatterhouse 3, I was ecstatic. Here was yet another sequel to one of my favorite games, just one year after the release of part 2. In fact (and some may see this as stupid on my part), I traded in my Game Gear and the few games I had for it just to get the cash for Splatterhouse 3. Yes, I traded away an entire game system for this game. It worked out better for me, I think. I never played the Game Gear anyway, and this I play often.

Splatterhouse 3 is set several years after Splatterhouse 2. Rick and Jennifer have married, and now have a son, David. However, Jennifer and David are both kidnapped by the Evil One, who needs a psychic child to unlock the power of the Dark Stone. David has psychic abilities, as it turns out, and the only reason Jennifer is taken this time is to keep Rick busy while the Evil One tries to use David's abilities to unleash the Dark Stone's power. You have to go through the entire mansion to save Jennifer and David, then you have to find the Evil One and defeat him. The Mask is your constant companion on your quest. For the first time, the Mask actually talks to Rick throughout the game. The fact that the Mask is sentient also plays in the ending as well, but I won't spoil it for those of you that haven't seen it.

I'll admit I was surprised when I first popped it into my Genesis: first by the graphics, then by the change in gameplay. The graphics were dramatically improved over the first two, especially in the cinema department. I'll admit, my jaw dropped the first time I saw the opening. The digitized pictures in this were some of the best I'd ever seen on the Genesis, and were quite disturbing in spots, to say the least. The in-game graphics were also improved tenfold over the first two, as you can tell by the screenshots.

The gameplay changes were what surprised me the most. Splatterhouse 3 took a quite different approach. Whereas the first two games were strictly sidescrolling action, this one feels more like a quest. You now have a huge mansion to explore. The game is still divided into levels, but each one is one floor of the mansion, and quite large. To complicate things, you have a time limit to complete each stage. If you don't finish the stage by the time time runs out, you don't die, but either Jennifer or David might, depending on what stage you're on. Since the floors of the mansion are so big, and certain doors might A) only open one way or B) transport you to another part of that floor, you can get lost pretty easily. Luckily you can press start in an empty room to pull up a map of the current floor.

The other big change in the gameplay was that it plays like a Double Dragon/Streets Of Rage/Final Fight beat-em-up instead of playing like the original two games. Besides your basic punch, you have a variety of moves and weapons you can pick up to use against the various monsters. You can do a spinning roundhouse kick, headbutt and jump kick.

Another new addition to the game is the POW meter. You pick up small blue spheres, called Eldritch Orbs, that fill up that meter. When it's full, and you press the A button, Rick's body expands and becomes even more muscular. The Mask also looks like it's become fused to Rick's body. You can do even more special moves: body slams, chokeholds, and the best one, where pieces of Rick's body literally EXPLODE out of him, take out everything standing nearby, and then go back into his body.

There are several weapons lying around that you can pick up. However, if you drop the weapon that you have (which will happen if you're knocked down by an enemy attack), a spirit will fly out and carry your weapon away to the Spirit Room, which is hidden somewhere in the level. These spirits will take your weapon when you drop it, no matter where you are, unless you pick it up first. This can be especially annoying if you're fighting a boss and this happens.

There are multiple endings to be had, depending on whether or not you save Jennifer and David. To get the best ending, it's best to take the shortest route through a stage. The sooner you reach the boss, the better your chances of defeating them before the time runs out.

Splatterhouse 3 is different enough from the first two games to warrant a serious look. Personally I prefer the setup of the first two, but there's enough that I like about 3 that keeps me coming back. If you're collecting Genesis games, and want one of the best ones out there, this is absolutely one to consider. And if you love Splatterhouse, it's a no brainer - buy it.

Read the Lost in Translation article to find out more about the original Japanese storyline.

To answer what seems to be the most asked question about Splatterhouse 3, here's how to do Mutated Rick's power move (U.S. version only): When facing an enemy, push the D-pad away from it, towards it, then away from it again and press the attack button. This must be done in about one second or it will not work. The same also goes for normal Rick's spin kick. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO DO THIS MOVE - that's how it's described in the instruction manual for the game... plus I've tried various other button and D-pad  combinations. That is the only one that works.

Credit for the following goes to Tim Meder Jr.

Super Chokeslam for Mutated Rick: While grappling a monster as Mutated Rick, press Up, Down, Up (or the other way around) and jump. Rick will jump out of the screen with the monster and return slamming the beast's head on the ground. You can take more damage out by doing two lifting chokeholds by pressing B and then doing the Super chokeslam.

Alternate songs in the Options Menu: Go into the options menu and highlight music. Select a track you want to listen to by pressing A. Then press A,B,and C all at once and you can hear an alternate version of that same song. The only problems that I get with this cheat is that it doesn't change the music during gameplay, and it doesn't seem to work on tracks 1 and 5.

From l_mcgregoruk[at]btinternet[dot]com:

The USA version of SH3 is the only one where left right left attack is how to do the special (also the only one where Namco uses the Namco logo rather than the Namcot logo, although it still uses Namco text in some versions). In the Japanese versions and all the translated cracked versions the special moves are performed using the attack and jump buttons at the same time. Another thing is only the USA version has a spin kick, every other version has more of a Roundhouse kick. Also the USA version is the only one where the Mask talks to you after you start the game (about the map screen).

So there it is - if you have the US version, the move I have listed above is the only one that works, and in the import versions, as well as the cracked and translated ROMs, the other method will work.

Evidence of a debug mode in Splatterhouse 3

From Jonny of Streets of Rage Online fame: Info on the Debug mode

From Patrick Haber: There is NO European version of the game.

* indicates material taken directly from the U.S. instruction manual