12/7/2010 - 11:30 A.M. EST (latest update today) - You can now find a complete updated official review listing here, all in order from best to worst.
And now for a double dose of bad news. First, anyone that's been reading the posts on the forum have seen the following, but it needs to be reposted here for those that don't visit it. Do any of you recall reading that Namco Bandai laid off 90 people last month? It happened, and nearly the entire Splatterhouse team was let go, including Dan Tovar and Dave Wilkins. Yeah, the two guys who came to be the faces of Splatterhouse are both gone, along with damn near everyone else that worked on it. Dave's not in bad shape, since he was basically just hired on for Splatterhouse as far as I can tell - to my knowledge, he has his comic gigs for Marvel plus a bunch of other stuff he's working on, so he's got plenty of work - but Dan was a Namco employee and is now having to search for a job. Any of you that have tried to find work in these economic conditions know what kind of a pain that is.
All this restructuring adjusts the possibility of a Splatterhouse sequel drastically. Downward. Dan seems somewhat optimistic about the possibility of Namco Bandai reuniting the team for a sequel if the game sells well, but if it doesn't sell well, you can forget that. And the negative reviews from the "Big Four," along with people saying "I'll wait until the price goes down to buy it," aren't helping one bit. I've had another thought about that: since game development has moved back to Japan, that could very well mean that either the Japanese branch picks it up or no one does, even if the game sells enough to warrant a sequel. And since the game appears to be generating no buzz at all in Japan right now, things are looking less bright as time goes on.
The bottom line here is that we're most likely not going to see a sequel unless sales pick up (you hear that? Go support it and buy a copy if you want a sequel!). Of course, we won't know for sure how well it's sold until sales totals start filtering out of Namco Bandai. Will it crack the predicted hundred thousand copy mark or not?
Second and last, there's not going to be another update here until sometime in 2011. Now that Splatterhouse is out, information coming out of Namco Bandai has slowed to a crawl, limited to the occasional new video being posted on the Splatterhouse YouTube channel. Given that, I feel it's time for a well deserved vacation from West Mansion. I've been here updating pretty consistently since the EGM announcement back in April 2008, and it's time for me to take a break for a little bit.
You will, of course, still be able to catch me over on the forum, and I will still answer emails sent to the submissions address. But no new updates, not for a while.
See you all next year!
12/3/2010 - 7:54 P.M. EST (latest update today) - To add to the list of reviews I posted yesterday, Kotaku has weighed in and joined the lineup of mainstream gaming sites to trash the game. I have to admit, I expected poor reviews from the "Big Four" - Kotaku, IGN, Gamespot and Joystiq - because Splatterhouse just doesn't seem to be the kind of game the people that write for these sites actually like (for example, anyone remember IGN's infamous God Hand review?). I also find it hard to believe that the Kotaku reviewer is actually playing the retail version, the way they go on about it. Out of all the times I've played it, I have never - and I mean never - seen bugs and crashes and shit the likes of which they're talking about.
On the flip side of the coin, if you check out the reader reviews on IGN (360/PS3) and GameFAQs (360/PS3), an awful lot of people are saying they enjoyed the game and are giving it some very high marks. These aren't so-called journalists sitting in offices getting paid to write reviews, these are gamers like you and me - gamers that went out and spent their hard-earned money to buy Splatterhouse, rather than charging it off on a corporate account and tossing it in the trash when they were done. Add their reviews to the list of reviews from sites that gave it average to above average ratings, several of which I linked to in yesterday's update. Taking all those reviews into account, it certainly looks like Splatterhouse isn't as bad as the mainstream review sites are making it out to be. Unfortunately, as I discussed with a co-worker of mine earlier today, those four sites are what the majority of gamers use as their primary resource today, and these negative reviews are sure to impact sales. After all, if IGN gave it a 4 and said it sucks - and the other three gave it similar scores - no need to be an informed consumer and check the multitude of reviews on other sites and reader reviews for more opinions, right?
So I say to all of you that haven't played the game, but have read the reviews from the "Big Four" and have already made up your mind that Splatterhouse sucks because of the scores it's been given: the only way you're going to truly know if you're going to like it or not is to go out and try it yourself, whether you rent it, buy it or whatever. Just give it a fair shot and don't be so dependent on others telling you what you're supposed to think of it.
12/2/2010 - 11:40 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Got a lot for you today, so let's get started. First, I've finally posted my review of Splatterhouse, so go check that out. Many thanks to Dan Tovar and Tim Ng at Namco Bandai for the review copy and press packet. Speaking of which, the entire press packet - which consisted of a press release and full color, 23 page booklet - has been scanned and added to the Additional Info page, along with scans of the front and back of the Brady Games strategy guide. The booklet itself is destined to become a collector's item, I think. In it you'll find bios of the characters, an overview of the game, exclusive interviews with Dan Tovar and Dave Wilkins and more.
Speaking of which, I'd like to share of couple of things with you. First, from that interview with Dan, something I wasn't expecting. And here's something I was expecting, direct from the manual and in-game credits:
So, Splatterhouse has been out for a little over a week now. So far, the critical reception has been mixed. Here's the list so far:
Strange Kids Club review - 4 out of 5 Terror Masks
It seems to be following the trend set by the original games back in the day. Reader reviews, on the other hand, are much higher, as you can see by visiting IGN and GameFAQs. Again, that seems to me like it's following the same trend the originals did: found mediocre by the critics, loved by the players.
And honestly, what's wrong with that?
11/23/2010 - 4:00 A.M. EST (latest update today) - After two and a half years of waiting, Splatterhouse is finally here.
Go get it.
11/18/2010 - 9:44 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Got a few more things for you: first and foremost, there is a review embargo for Splatterhouse in effect until the 23rd, so don't expect to see any reviews here - or anywhere else - until then at the earliest. This info was given to me direct from Namco Bandai, after I made some inquiries. This also means that my forthcoming review will be delayed.
The third and final part of the Splatterhouse retrospective I contributed to Strange Kids Club has been posted, so go check it out! There's also new screenshots and information on the iPhone Splatterhouse, courtesy of Sergio Ferrari, which can be seen here. Also, Marty Keating - who I swear is the Indiana Jones of Splatterhouse, given the way he consistently unearths these lost relics - has contributed a scan of a hard to find Game Informer Splatterhouse 3 review from '93, which can be seen here and on the Additional Info page for the game. Extra special thanks for the scan to the Rev. Jason Coleman - according to Marty, "without his help, I would have never been able to locate and gain a copy of said article." Also, the commercial for the Turbografx-16 Splatterhouse has surfaced on YouTube. Thanks to B-MovieKing on the forum for turning this up.
Last but not least for the Australian Splat-fans out there: a contest is being held by OXCGN and Namco Bandai Australia for a load of Splat-gear, including copies of the game. Go check it out, and good luck!
11/17/2010 - 12:28 A.M. EST (latest update today) - File this one under "out of left field":
Yes, that's Rick's favorite girl. In this month's Playboy. Full centerfold and bio.
Gotta give Namco Bandai credit, they certainly know how to advertise - although I have to admit, that's the one picture of Jennifer I'll never be able to post here, due to KonTek's terms of service - at least uncensored, anyway. *shrug*
In other news, Splatterhouse has reached retailers (thanks for the heads up, Marty), where it will sit in storage until this coming Tuesday. Man, it seems so hard to believe it's less than a week away, after all the delays that have plagued the game over the past two and a half years... my god, has it been that long since it was initially announced? It doesn't seem it. Sometimes it seems twice as long.
I plan to update with a review as soon as I can, and after that I think I'll take a vacation. Unless any more major news happens between now and this Tuesday, this'll probably be my last update until then.
11/12/2010 - 10:32 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Kotaku reported more information on the upcoming wireless phone release of Splatterhouse. Given that, I've given the wireless versions their own dedicated section here on WM. If I owned an iPhone, I'd be all over their version for the exclusive "Splatter Rush" mode, although I'd still want to check out the mobile version for the graphic changes, among them being the Terror Mask redesign and Evil Cross' second makeover - this time, instead of a floating blue demon face, it's become what looks like a flying tombstone with a giant eyeball on it. Check it out in the video posted in Kotaku's preview.
There have been a lot of new videos posted on the official Splatterhouse YouTube channel. Definitely check all of them out, especially the "Behind the Music" video. More are posted daily, so keep checking back there.
11/11/2010 - 9:47 P.M. EST (latest update today) - I've conducted a brand new Q&A with Dan Tovar, which you can read here. I've also updated and revised the Splatterhouse OST review now that I've been able to hear the studio version of Invisible Enemies' "Dead Eyes" and Wolfshirt's "Headlong Into Monsters," and part two of my Splatterhouse retrospective has been posted over at Strange Kids Club.
11/10/2010 - 8:18 P.M. EST (latest update today) - There's not much time left to go, but while you're waiting check out these new Splatterkill screenshots, as well as this video where Dan Tovar talks about and shows off some of the Splatterkills.
11/4/2010 - 11:17 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Got some surprise news today: Namco released another new batch of screens, but ones that aren't from the actual single player campaign. Read on:
For this batch, we're focusing on some of the Survival Arenas and Alternate Masks that are available for Splatterhouse. Survival arenas are unlockable 20 rounds of unending horror which enable players to take on ever increasing waves of grotesque monsters in a test of endurance and strength. Players start off with full health and an empty Necro Meter and must slay their way past each round, building their Necro Energy, purchasing Necro Moves, and relying on the Splatter Siphon healing ability. Alternate Masks give players opportunities to customize Rick's appearance as they obliterate a path through massive legions of nightmarish creatures.Interesting... very interesting. Here's the new screens & character render:
Character render: Beast
In other news, Mike "corpse monger" Wasion and I have teamed up for a short Splatterhouse anthology we've dubbed Splatterhouse: The Value of Flesh, exclusive to the West Mansion forum for the time being. Check it out here, and if you'd like to leave any comments about it, sign up and post them in this thread.
And speaking of collaborations, I've teamed up with Rondal of Strange Kids Club for the SKC Splatterhouse Retrospective, counting down the time until the new game is released. Part 1 has been posted, and parts 2 and 3 will be released next week and the week after, respectively. Because of my work on this retrospective, I've decided to go back and play the two Splatterhouse games that have the most meaning to me: the TG16 port and Wanpaku Graffiti.
I may have you a bit confused now. Why in the world would these two games mean the most to me when the arcade game and Splatterhouse 2 and 3 are around? Simply put, those two games were responsible for the two biggest milestones in my life that revolved around the series, up until now. Put simply, the TG16 port was where Splatterhouse and I began. I was introduced to Splatterhouse by way of the TG16 port, twenty years ago this year. Without it, things may have gone differently. I may not have cared so much when 2 or 3 made their debut, for example. I may have completely disregarded them, instead of anxiously awaiting each one's release. I may not have become the fan I needed to be to get West Mansion off the ground, years later.
That brings me to Wanpaku Graffiti. I knew it existed prior to 2001, thanks to a brief mention of it in an Ultimate Game Club catalog's Famicom listing back in the early '90s. But they wanted $80 for it, and I just didn't have that kind of money back then. By the time I did, the UGC wasn't selling it anymore. I got my first glimpse of it in 2000, when a friend showed it to me on an emulator (at work, no less). There was no sound and he had to use the keyboard to play, and he didn't even make it through the first stage. But now that I'd seen it, I had to get it.
The next year, I did, thanks to an eBay auction that I managed to win at the last second. After almost not getting the game - there was a mixup in the mail, and I instead got some woman's Hello Kitty Famicom games she'd ordered for her daughters - I finally received it, fired it up and went through it. I thought it was extremely fun. I also felt that the world needed to know more about it. At the time, there was very little about the Splatterhouse trilogy online, but there was even less about Wanpaku. So I decided to finally put to use an idea for a website I'd been kicking around since about '99 or so, and built West Mansion v1 at Geocities. The rest, as they say, is history. And to think, if it hadn't been for Wanpaku Graffiti, we might not be here right now.
My third Splatterhouse milestone is rapidly approaching. And this one, I think, will be the most memorable of all.
11/2/2010 - 11:56 A.M. EST (latest update today) - Thanks to the French website Succes Full, the entire list of Xbox 360 achievements has been revealed! Check them out here, but be warned: there are spoilers aplenty. Read them at your own risk.
By the way, I am personally responsible for the title of the second achievement. *bows*
10/28/2010 - 9:05 P.M. EST (latest update today) - I do have news. Oh, I do indeed.
This makes it official. The game is finished. It's in the box, and nothing else can be done. From here on, any comments/hopes/etc. is all Monday morning quarterbacking. So if anyone doesn't like what they're seeing from this point, too bad.
Also check out this new B-roll footage (yes, it lacks blood, but that's the ESRB for you), this new IGN preview, this new GameTrailers preview, a new G4 preview and the latest episode of ScrewAttack's Out of the Box. Thanks to Undead Ghoul, B-MovieKing, Sgraff and LoneWolf on the forum for all of the new links.
A couple of tidbits pulled from the videos: topless pictures of Jennifer do exist in-game (check out the GameTrailers preview for proof), the original Splatterhouse is unlocked after finishing level 2, and the following Xbox 360 achievements: "5G - Jen Smells of Rot... of the Grave" and "5G - Flesh Re-animation!"
Also, check out these new screens and character renders:
One last thing, Splat-fans in the UK and Europe have a shot at winning this, the "666 Limited Edition" of Splatterhouse:
Head here to enter!
10/27/2010 - 8:51 A.M. EST (latest update today) - The official site has relaunched with a lot of new info, songs & samples from the OST streaming (including the one I couldn't turn up for my article, WolfShirt's "Headlong Into Monsters"), all the preorder bonuses listed (click the "BUY NOW" button to check those out), character profiles and more!
10/19/2010 - 9:58 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Got a lot to cover today, so let's get started. First off, there's a new update on the official site showcasing four exclusive screenshots. Go check them out! They also mention that the site will be relaunched (or re-relaunched, as it were) this month, and there will be a load of new content both there and elsewhere. I'm looking forward to that.
Secondly, I've added a bunch of new stuff to the Additional Info page of the Splatterhouse (2010) section: namely, shots of the shoebox and skateboard that Brick McBurly sent me, as well as an article on the game from the October 2010 issue of the Official Xbox Magazine, courtesy of Marty Keating. Marty was also kind of enough to donate new scans of the old NEC ads for the Turbografx-16 game, all of which can be seen on that Additional Info page.
And speaking of which, I received an email from a reader named Joe, who pointed out an interesting bit of trivia no one had noticed before. Turns out the copy of the original NEC print ads was influenced by one of the taglines of the 1972 Wes Craven film The Last House on the Left. Check it out here. Thanks to B-MovieKing on the forum for the Last House poster scan.
Finally, in an attempt to properly document the history of the new game, I've gathered all of the BottleRocket era concept art that I could find and added it to the Artwork section (along with another new Dave Wilkins piece, "Open wide and say OUCH!"). You can see it all listed under "BottleRocket era concept art," "Roger Robinson: BR era concepts," and "Chris Legaspi: BR era concepts." Thanks to deviantART member gtv55 for the initial link that got me started.
10/15/2010 - 8:26 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Three days of updates in a row. Wow, that hasn't happened in a while. Anyway, got some more new stuff for you: on the Artwork front, there's some new fanart from Taiya001, a new wallpaper from KaizerG1 and two new pieces of official artwork by Dave Wilkins. Find all of these in the Artwork section.
Marty Keating has sent me a few new classic magazine scans. Find these in the Additional Info sections of Splatterhouse (TG16) and Splatterhouse 3. I've also added the most recent eighteen screenshots for the new game to its Screenshots page.
That's all for now. Maybe I'll have more tomorrow.
10/14/2010 - 8:55 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Namco Bandai released ten new screenshots today. Enjoy!
10/13/2010 - 12:45 P.M. EST (latest update today) - AT&T has the mobile phone version of Splatterhouse available now; no word on the iPhone version yet. I've checked it out, thanks to Brenton (my co-worker, the one that gave me a ride to the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival back in April). I have two things to say about it, based on what I've seen:
1. It still looks odd to see the 2010 Terror Mask on the classic Rick.
Namco has also released a new walkthrough video (spoilers ahoy!). It showcases, among other things, the blood and gore that was lacking in the Gamescom videos (what did I tell you about Germany, huh?) and the new and improved framerate & lack of slowdown. Seeing that makes me feel justified now. I've been seeing all these complaints for months now: "Oh no! There's slowdown, framerate drop, etc. etc. ad nauseum!" based on some videos of the beta version of the game. I have been saying for months that Namco's been working on it, putting in a boatload of overtime to fix those issues before release. That video is the proof.
I've also written up a soundtrack review. In it, I've linked to YouTube videos containing nearly all of the songs on the soundtrack, so you can get an idea of exactly what the music we'll all be crushing monster skulls by in November sounds like. If you want to share your thoughts on the soundtrack, feel free to post them on the forum.
10/7/2010 - 9:05 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Namco Bandai has released several new screenshots, the complete tracklisting to the official OST and the final cover art to both versions of SH '10 (which can be seen here: 360/PS3).
Splatterhouse (2010) OST tracklistingI've already heard ASG's "Dream Song," Cavalera Conspiracy's "Must Kill," Municipal Waste's "Rigorous Vengeance," and Mutant Supremacy's "Morbid Dismemberment," and they all sound good - in fact, because of the Splatterhouse OST I've really gotten into ASG. I highly recommend their 2008 album Win Us Over (from which "Dream Song" was taken) to any fans of rock and metal. I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the OST, preferably sooner than later.
10/4/2010 - 8:27 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Thanks to B-MovieKing on the forum for the heads-up on these new bits of info: first, a screenshot of the upcoming mobile & iPhone Splatterhouse has surfaced. It looks decent, although it's odd seeing the Terror Mask from the 2010 game on the classic Rick Taylor. More info on this as it becomes available.
Second, a new interview with Dan Tovar has surfaced on ripten, entitled "Why Splatterhouse 2D Will Not Be Paid DLC in the 2010 Remake" (and to Dave Oshry, many thanks for the link to West Mansion). Check out the following exchange:
DO: Now, while I think it’s awesome, how did you manage to include the original three games as unlockables when clearly you could have sold them as paid DLC on XBL and PSN? From a business standpoint, it doesn’t make sense and guys like Bobby Kotick definitely wouldn’t approve of this!Now that's just awesome. A thank you to us: how often do you see that kind of gesture made by a big game company, or anyone involved in the production of a high-profile game like Splatterhouse? I have to give major kudos to Dan for his efforts, as well as thanks from myself and on behalf of the fanbase for his comments. Go read the rest to see what else Dan has to say. I'll say this much: I think this interview has made Dan a hero to the fanbase. What do you think?
10/1/2010 - 11:06 P.M. EST (latest update today) - We're inching ever so much closer to the release date of Splatterhouse, which has now been confirmed by multiple sources as being 11/23/2010. This makes sense. If the game had been released on 10/26, like the original plan was, it would have made it out in time for Halloween but would have gone up against such formidable heavyweights as WWE: Raw vs. Smackdown 2011, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, Fable III and Rock Band 3, to name a few. Splatterhouse would easily have been lost in the shuffle. But to delay it a month and release it on a date when its biggest competition is Driver 5? Smart move. Plus it gives them a chance to do a bit of extra work on it, which can only be a good thing.
Even with the delay, Splatterhouse is still due for release less than two months from now, so I've added a countdown widget to the main page. I've also added some new stuff to the Additional Info section for the game: scans of the October @Gamer magazine article (thanks to Marty Keating), a flyer for the PAX party and a picture of the GameStop pre-order bonus, a six inch Terror Mask statue. I may have some more stuff to put up, but before I do, I need to find where I stashed it.
As far as pre-orders are concerned, not only is GameStop offering the Terror Mask statue, but Best Buy is offering a code that will let you unlock all three classic Splatterhouse games right from the start, rather than playing through the game to earn them. So far, those are the only two confirmed pre-order bonuses. We'll see if anything else comes up; if it does, you'll see the info posted in this thread on the forum first.
9/6/2010 - 12:04 A.M. EST (latest update today) - So, the Splatterhouse PAX party was held on Saturday night. Seeing as how it was in Seattle and I'm completely across the country, there was no way I could have made it. So I logged into the forum and Facebook today and am greeted by pics from the party. Here's a good one:
photo by Shannon Seattlegogo
Damn. What the hell kind of party did I miss here?! LOL
Check out some more pics from the event here.
8/22/2010 - 7:58 P.M. EST (latest update today) - I have deconstructed the new "Retro" trailer. Check it out here. On a side note, several people have noted the lack of blood in the three recent videos. Consider this: these videos were released for Gamescom, an event hosted in Cologne, Germany. Anyone familiar with Germany's history of having videogames censored (which more often than not affects the same games' releases in other countries) should not be surprised by this. Here's hoping that Splatterhouse will reach all of Europe uncensored. I say that if the Germans want it censored, don't sell it in Germany. It's happened way too many times before (anyone remember the Castlevania: The New Generation travesty, for example?), and the fans in other countries shouldn't have to deal with it just because the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien says that Germany has to.
8/18/2010 - 3:08 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Breaking news: Namco Bandai has released a new trailer (which can be seen here, courtesy of Grey Fox) - we have a Mirror Rick sighting! - and two new B-roll gameplay videos (which can be seen here and here, again courtesy of Fox). They have also released a brand new batch of screenshots, which have been posted in the Screenshots section of the Splatterhouse (2010) page.
Keep checking back for more info as it hits.
8/4/2010 - 3:35 P.M. EST (latest update today) - The update I've been promising for months is finally here. But before I get into that, I just want to say that you may be seeing more frequent updates to WM in the near future - that is, if I'm not distracted by a bunch of Famicom games like I have been lately... but that's neither here nor there. I recently began working days, and as a result, my energy level has skyrocketed. I haven't felt this good in ages. I guess I'm more of a morning person than I thought I was.
First, I want to send a tremendous thanks to Marty Keating, who's put up with my constant delays to date. He has sent me a literal metric ton of new stuff, nearly all of which I've added to the site today. There are magazine articles going all the way back to 1990 through this year, which can be found in the respective Additional Info sections for Splatterhouse (TG16), Splatterhouse 2, Splatterhouse 3 and Splatterhouse '10 - and brand new pictures of both the extremely hard to find 1990 NEC Splatterhouse shirt and the shirt given away at the San Diego ComicCon last month, which can be found in the Miscellaneous section along with pictures of the shirts given away at the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival and E3. I've also added pictures of the E3 display and the 7-foot tall Rick statue to the Additional Info page for Splatterhouse '10.
An interesting item surfaced with the SDCC shirt, which I mentioned in the last update: a note from Dr. West (which I have a scan of here, again thanks to Marty). What I didn't know then was that the note gives a URL to a new section of the official Splatterhouse site, complete with a humorous warning about the shirt. There you can post pictures of yourself in the shirt, should you be lucky enough to have one (and Marty's in there, #4). They're also promising an exclusive video, to be unveiled sometime in the next week or so. If you have a Twitter account, follow the official Splatterhouse Twitter to be informed when it goes live.
There's also new fanart from Simone Pirina - and not just fanart, but wallpaper and an action figure based on the new Rick he created using Revoltech figures. Pavlov Yuri and Sommo Ansem have contributed new fanart as well. These can all be found in the Artwork section, along with a hi-res of both the SDCC poster and Jennifer's new redesign, both by Dave Wilkins. Also, DooM, the vocalist/guitarist/bassist of the band Grave Earth, wrote to tell me of a song they recorded called "This House Remains Insane," which is based on Splatterhouse. Check it out here, and if you like it, check out the rest of their material here.
So with that, I think I'm going to take a break for a while, get some dinner or something. Have fun!
7/30/2010 - 7:22 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Been a while, but I'm back with some new stuff. First, if you haven't seen it yet, check out the awesome new poster by Dave Wilkins that debuted at this year's San Diego ComicCon. For those of you lucky enough to be there, you may have gotten to get one of these posters and have it signed by Dave. There were some other nifty giveaways at the SDCC, not the least of which was this new tshirt. Talk about reaching back into Splatterhouse history: the warning on the shirt was taken straight from the Turbografx-16 box cover. That's just awesome, and is another sign that Namco does indeed "get it." The shirt also included this note:
“This T-Shirt has been designed and laboratory tested to the finest scientific standards.
It's our belief that the blood, sweat and effort that we put forth in our designs truly make the shirts come alive.
We hope you agree!
A few other things have popped up recently too: this supposed prototype Xbox 360 faceplate that showed up on eBay a little while ago. The seller claimed to have gotten it at E3. There's been no confirmation from Namco if this is real or fake, though. Fangoria issue #295 is out now as well. I have scans of the article, which I intend to post soon. I also have a few older articles on the original games and brand new pictures of the original Turbografx-16 promo shirt to put up soon, courtesy of Marty Keating.
That's all for now. Stay tuned for more soon, hopefully.
6/16/2010 - 2:18 A.M. EST (latest update today) - We've got E3 footage, courtesy of GameTrailers! Check out this thread on The Third Moon, which will be updated as more videos become available. Also, the "Make a Wish" trailer is now available for download on Xbox Live.
6/13/2010 - 3:52 A.M. EST (latest update today) - Most of you should know about this by now: there's a new trailer out for E3, and it can be viewed here on IGN. They also gave a pretty good review of what they played as well. Hopefully this signals the continuation of an uphill trend started by Destructoid's most recent preview. God knows after all the negative press the game had gotten over the past year or so, what with the whole BottleRocket debacle and all, some positive buzz is nice to see.
Me, I loved the trailer. It's nice to see the new take on the story being revealed at long last, and some truly awesome stuff was seen in it. Much like with "Blood Thrash," though, all we got were glimpses. This, of course, is where I come in again. I've taken the trailer and deconstructed it, and the final result can be seen here. Enjoy!
On a non-Splatterhouse related note, my friend Sam of The Light Sword Cypher Mainframe recently posted news (and a video) of a new game by the creator of Strider, Isuke, entitled Necromachina (aka Moon Diver). This is now my second most wanted game this year. As Sam put it: "This looks like Strider with Strider 2's graphics and Run Saber's co-op. In short, FUCKING AWESOME." And now that I own an Xbox 360 (gamertag: therealdire51), which I bought just so I could play Splatterhouse, I can also experience what looks to be the second spiritual successor to one of my all-time favorite games. I can't wait!
6/7/2010 - 10:20 P.M. EST (latest update today) - I've added some new links to the Games page. These are links for Splatterhouse fangames that I haven't covered here on WM in any detail yet. The links will take you back to the host sites for each game, so go to them at your own risk. The games include: Living Hell (a lot of people have been emailing me about this one, apparently thinking I don't know about it because I haven't mentioned it here yet - I'm aware of it, I just keep forgetting to post about it), Splatterfaith, Stringanime's Splatterhouse, Splatterhouse 4 and the Splatterhouse: Deception of the Mask OpenBOR trilogy.
To everyone that has emailed me over the past few months about Living Hell or Splatterfaith or whatever else: thank you for your emails. However, while I appreciate your efforts to make sure West Mansion continues to have the latest information, always check the forum first before sending an email. Chances are that the subject has already been brought up over there and I am aware of it; nine times out of ten all of the latest Splatterhouse news is posted there and heavily discussed long before it's posted to West Mansion.
6/5/2010 - 12:06 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Just a quick update: get a look at the full-size version of Dave Wilkins' cover art for Fangoria #295. As usual, Dave knocked it out of the park. Also, Dan Tovar has been interviewed by G4 about the new game. Unfortunately, G4 dropped the ball when it came to showing gameplay footage: the majority of it is old junk from the BottleRocket era instead of the latest footage. Congratulations G4, you're previewing a game that doesn't exist and are misleading a lot of people in the process. Way to go.
6/1/2010 - 3:50 A.M. EST (latest update today) - I've gone through the "Blood Thrash" trailer and screencapped quite a few images from it. I've taken the most interesting ones, mostly showing details that just whiz by when watching the trailer, and created a new feature article out of them, Deconstructing "Blood Thrash."
Also, on a non-Splatterhouse note, Rush just released their first new music in three years: the digital download-single "Caravan"/"BU2B." I'm listening to them now, and I have to say - if the rest of the upcoming album (Clockwork Angels, spring 2011) is this good, then the day it's released will truly be an awesome day for rock.
5/29/2010 - 3:35 A.M. EST (latest update today) - I hope everyone enjoyed my review of the demo. It was a great experience, and I again want to thank Dan Tovar and everyone else at Namco Bandai for making that happen.
Got ten new screenshots for you (the ones at the very top), featuring the first look at Rick's revamped regeneration ability and the first appearance of the new meat cleaver, which in actuality is a carcass splitter (as seen here) - in fact, the in-game one may actually be based on the one seen in that pic. I intend to find out if that's the case.
At this point, it seems pretty clear that the Splatterhouse promotional train has officially left the station. New interviews are popping up almost daily, ads are starting to show up in major magazines (confirmed so far: the current issue of Revolver - the Golden Gods issue - is running an ad showing "a painted scene featuring raging zombies, along with what looks like Cthulhu hovering above the mansion on one side, and Rick taking aim with a double-barrel shotgun while throttling a helpless beast on the other." Scans anyone?), and Fangoria will be doing a whole blowout on Splatterhouse in issue #295. It's actually the first videogame to be given the full cover treatment in Fangoria's history. This will be an issue well worth checking out.
Check out the latest interviews: "Blood Equals Power" at Gametrailers and "Everything is Juicy and Wet in Splatterhouse" at Kotaku. Also, check out the cover of Fangoria (click for fullsize):
5/18/2010 - 3:10 P.M. EST (latest update today) - What you've all been waiting for is here. Enjoy!
On Saturday, April 24, at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival XII in Worcester, Massachusetts, I was given an exclusive sneak preview of the new Splatterhouse by the game's producer, Dan Tovar of Namco Bandai Games America.
Before I launch into my review of the demo I played, let me give you a little background: I traveled to the festival that morning from Southeastern Connecticut with a friend from work, Brenton. The doors opened at noon, we made it inside to the ticket counter and got our VIP bracelets. Then we headed inside to find Dan. However, no one seemed to know where he was - or where the VIP room with the demo was set up - so we started hunting for him.
About an hour later, we finally found him handing out stuff near the staircase to the merchandise level. I introduced myself and Brenton, and we headed outside to start talking business, because it was impossible to hear in there.
Dan's a pretty cool guy to hang out with. We talked Splatterhouse past and future and touched base on a lot of things. Given the somewhat negative reaction I've seen to the new trailer (the one released on 4/16, referred to hereafter as the "new" trailer), I made it a point to ask him what the deal was with it. According to him, they were unable to release a trailer that really showcases the amount of carnage in the game, which is why they went the route they took. It also helped that they owned the rights to "Sento nel Core" and could use it without a problem, and they didn't have to wait to get clearance from the bands they've signed to use any of their music.
There was someone else with Dan, someone taking pictures. He had both a digital camera and a videocamera. Very interesting. He snapped a pic of Dan and I, and as it turns out, he also designed the new logo for the game and has done the ads starting to show up in mags like Spin. His name is Jake, from the company Rocking Creative, and he too was a very cool guy to hang out with.
Dan told me that they were sharing the upstairs VIP room with Metal Blade Records and we had to wait for them to clear out before we went up. So we talked some more, and I thanked him for everything he's done so far, like being so willing to work with the fan community on this, and giving me unprecedented access to promotional materials. As I said to him, I don't think a fansite webmaster has ever received this kind of treatment before.
Finally, it was time. So Dan, Brenton, Jake and I all headed up to the VIP room. We went up several flights of stairs, opened a door and were greeted by a life-size poster. Already this was looking sweet. They also had the Dave Wilkins Splatterhouse Part 2 redesign poster hanging up.
And there it was, in a corner of the room. The reason I had come. There was an Xbox 360 hooked up to an HD TV, and on the screen was a suitably rotten and decaying Deadman (aka zombie), growling and writhing.
The demo was on.
So we all sat down. It's when I saw Jake setting up his video camera that it hit me: they were going to film this.
Dan started it up. The demo itself was very much a work in progress, and as such there were a few minor pre-alpha bugs that hadn't been ironed out yet. But that didn't matter. The first stage he walked us through was the catacombs beneath West Mansion, as shown in many of the recently released screenshots. There were Deadmen and "lizard monsters" infesting the stage. We got to see the chainsaw, 2x4 and a couple of Splatterkills in action. Blood was flying everywhere, and continued to do so throughout the rest of the demo. For those concerned about the character models after seeing the new trailer, nothing looked plasticky.
Dan demonstrated some of the different ways to open doors, showcasing one of Rick's special moves for one of them, a shoulder thrust. A couple of other doors, living doors, were handled very brutally. At one point he entered a room that contained a very big tribute to a certain boss fight from Splatterhouse 2. In this room he demonstrated a couple of Rick's super moves, including the return of the special move from Splatterhouse 3 as glimpsed at the end of the new trailer.
Then he reached a point where the demo crashed and he had to reset. When it came time to start going through it again, he handed the controller off to me and it was on. I laid into those Deadmen with gusto... and a roaring chainsaw. Then I started pounding them with both my fists and the 2x4.
What impressed me the most, besides the amount of carnage I was seeing, was the tightness of the controls. It seems to me that in the wave of concern over how the game looks, very few have remembered to ask how it plays. Lay your fears to rest there, because Rick responded perfectly to every command I made. It took me a few tries to get used to pulling off a Splatterkill simply because I had to learn how to do one, but once I had the hang of it I was surprised how easy it became.
The other stage I saw was a 2D stage, as mentioned in the October '09 issue of Play Magazine. Even though it's a bit more platform-y than the earlier games (more than just spike traps here, believe me), it still screamed Splatmosphere and it had plenty of nods to the original trilogy in it. The lead pipe made its first appearance here, as did flying creatures similar to the bats from Splatterhouse.
As far as the audio was concerned, due to the fact it was being filmed, the volume was kept fairly low. It was even worse when the bands were playing downstairs and we had to raise our voices just to be heard on tape. So sadly, the audio portion of the game was mostly lost on me. I did, however, hear a little bit of a Rick/Mask conversation, but not enough to get a real feel for the voice work. At one point during the 2D stage Dan did point out part of the score, which was '80s horror/synth inspired, and he turned up the volume so we could hear it for a moment. What little I heard of that sounded good.
Finally we were done, and I was asked to do an introduction for the video, which should be shown on the official Splatterhouse YouTube channel. I introduced myself, plugged West Mansion and did my best to describe what I had just seen. I haven't seen this video yet, because it has yet to be edited and released as of this writing, but I hope they got my good side (not sure if I really have one, but oh well) and that I didn't come off like too much of a gibbering fanboy. Afterwards, Dan took the opportunity to give both Brenton and myself armloads of swag: shirts, posters, stickers and the like.
At that point, we finally parted ways. Brenton and I went to check out some of the bands playing. We saw Holy Grail, Cattle Decapitation and Skeletonwitch (who I really liked) before we left. An aside: Brenton went in not knowing what Splatterhouse was (aside from what I'd told him), but walked out a fan after seeing the demo. Splatterhouse has moved up right to the top of his "must buy" list.
I wholeheartedly approve of what I saw that day. To sum it up, we have Splatmosphere, the gameplay is there, and the controls are easy to figure out; intuitive, even. And oh man, does the blood fly. There are still many months left to go until the game is released, but based on what I saw I have every reason to believe that Dan and his team will deliver a title worthy of the Splatterhouse name.
This fall, prepare yourselves.
5/17/2010 - 9:35 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Not feeling too well tonight, but I had to come in and post these pics, taken from the official Splatterhouse flickr page:
That's me up there in the first pic, hanging out backstage in the VIP room at the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival. The second pic, from left to right: myself, Brenton (the co-worker of mine that was awesome enough to take me up there) and Dan Tovar, the producer of Splatterhouse.
The review is still forthcoming...
5/12/2010 - 3:12 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Got some new fanart from Brent Cochran, plus I've added a couple of new pieces of Japanese fanart. Also, Albert Sautter has sent in a new hidden detail from Splatterhouse 3, in this case about one of the paintings on the first floor. While getting a screenshot of the map for that room, I stumbled across another strange hidden detail on the first floor. Go here to check them both out.
5/10/2010 - 11:13 A.M. EST (latest update today) - For those of you that haven't been keeping up with the official site, the new, 100% gameplay oriented trailer "Blood Thrash" has been posted. Go check it out!
In other news, I've added two new pieces of artwork by Dark_V-Alis to the Artwork section and a new batch of swag pics to the Additional Info section of the Splatterhouse 2010 page. There's also a flash game I've been meaning to link to for a while, but am now just getting around to doing so: Splatterfaith. It's a parody of the original game with a surprisingly good soundtrack. Thanks to everyone that's been emailing me for the past several months about it.
Just a reminder: even though time may pass between updates here, all of the latest, up to the minute Splatterhouse news can be found over on the forum. So if you don't seen something new posted here, or have news that you'd like to report, head over there and take a look around.
One last thing: my report on my New England Metal and Hardcore Festival experience is still forthcoming, so keep an eye out here. Once I have the okay from Namco Bandai's PR department, I'll be posting it. Until then, please be patient.
4/24/2010 - 11:32 P.M. EST (latest update today) -
Unfortunately, I can't go into all the details about the demo just yet, but soon I will. In the meantime, check out these stickers: Rick and the Mask. Extra special thanks to Brenton for the ride up and back, and to Dan Tovar for setting all this up.
Keep checking back here for my impressions as soon as I'm able to post them.
(1:35 A.M. update): I managed to get a ride, so expect a full report from the show later on tonight. Just so you know, I plan to be as thorough as possible.
I've also added several new banners to the main page and the "Link to WM" section. Check them out! Thanks to forum member Vlygar, Stephen Stone and Lee Tatlock for them.
4/21/2010 - 10:00 P.M. EST (latest update today) - This is for anyone going to the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival XII in Worcester, MA. this Saturday: I have an offer to make to anyone willing to swing by Southeastern CT. and pick me up, then drop me off after it's over: I'll kick in gas money and you'll be given a VIP pass for the show. This means, among other things, you'll be able to check out the as-not-yet-released-to-the-public demo for the new game.
Time is short. I have to confirm that I will be there by tomorrow at the latest, so if anyone is serious about going, let me know immediately via email.
4/17/2010 - 2:10 A.M. EST (latest update today) - The new trailer is here! It's certainly very artsy, and makes nice use of the "Sento nel Core" song from We Love Katamari. The few gameplay teases at the end certainly look intriguing - is that the return of Rick's "chest bursting" super move from Splatterhouse 3 I saw? - and it's nice to see the return of the classic Namco logo. Here's hoping the next trailer will show more gameplay.
Also, the official site has select songs streaming from the Splatterhouse OST by Howard Drosin. Check them out, especially track 3.
Still trying to get to the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival... if I find a way to go and am able to try the demo, I'll definitely be talking about it here. Unless I have to sign an NDA, of course.
4/16/2010 - 2:50 A.M. EST (latest update today) - The official site for the new game is back up, and as it turns out, Splatterhouse will be sponsoring the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival XII on April 23 & 24 in Worcester MA. I'm off that Saturday, but have no way to make it (that damnable lack of transportation strikes hard here). I only live an hour away, in Connecticut.
So, any West Mansion readers in Connecticut heading to the Festival want to swing by my neck of the woods and pick me up? I'd be glad to kick in gas money, of course. :D
4/10/2010 - 3:10 A.M. EST (latest update today) -
See that? That's from the April 2010 issue of PlayStation Magazine (available now). Yes, it has been officially confirmed that the new Splatterhouse game will have the arcade original and 2 & 3 as unlockables - not DLC, not exclusive preorder bonuses, but genuine play-the-game-meet-the-criteria unlockables. Check out the rest of the article here and here for new screens and info. Since this is as close as we're going to get to Splatterhouses, I'm declaring that the petition (remember the link on the main page? Go check it out now) has served its purpose and there's no longer a need to sign it. Thanks to everyone that signed over the years.
ATTENTION: As of April 2010, PlayStation Magazine has confirmed that the new Splatterhouse game will have the arcade original and 2 & 3 as unlockables - not DLC, not exclusive preorder bonuses, but genuine play-the-game-meet-the-criteria unlockables. Check out the article here. This is as close as we're going to get to Splatterhouses, so with that I'm declaring that this petition has served its purpose. Thanks to all that signed over the years - Rob
4/7/2010 - 4:58 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Enjoy the new main page banner by Emmet "Frozenverdugo" Kiernan! Also check out the new Splatterhouse Facebook page.
3/27/2010 - 3:40 A.M. EST (latest update today) - Whoa, two updates in a row. This may very well become a more common occurrence in the near future. Anyway, I'm just updating right now with a bit of info I added to the Miscellaneous page: pics of an ultra-rare NEC promo item from 1990. These two cardboard masks (Terror Mask and Hell Chaos) were sent to me late last year by Sean Kelly. Even though I swore at first that I'd never seen them before, I seem to recall seeing them back in '90, in the hands of my younger brother. Anyway, to anyone keeping up with the forum, this is old news (I posted about this over there but forgot to mention them here until now), but for everyone else, enjoy your look at this Holy Grail of Splatterhouse collectibles.
3/26/2010 - 3:10 A.M. EST (latest update today) - Good news, everyone! There are brand new screenshots out, and you can expect more new stuff to be appearing soon.
In other Splat-news, check out the new Splatterhouse Twitter page. To quote from it, "To those that will follow us, we promise to make the experience worthwhile. Once we get to 666 followers the giveways and real fun begins." So those of you on Twitter, start following them, and we'll start to get into the meat of things soon... figuratively speaking.
3/10/2010 - 9:08 P.M. EST (latest update today) - Thanks to PrimeOp, I now have a link to the video of the 1993 Violence In Video Games Senate Hearing. I have transcribed the part about Splatterhouse 3 and posted it, along with the link to the video (and corresponding times) in the Trivia section.
1/18/2010 - 12:45 A.M. EST (latest update today) - Happy New Year, all. Sorry about the lack of updates, but I'll be honest with you guys: I'm sick. I don't mean that I have a cold or anything like that, but rather a serious medical condition - serious enough that I've been out on medical leave from my job since November. But I am getting better. I can't promise that the frequency of updates will increase, but rest assurred that I am still here and that I plan to pick up where I left off, even if it means putting stuff up a little bit at a time.
Of course, we all know that 2010 is the year we've been waiting for since May of 2008, when EGM first broke the news about the upcoming Splatterhouse reboot. I am still in contact with Namco Bandai, so expect all news as it reaches me. Last I heard, Splatterhouse is still on track for a Q3 release this year. However, in recent news apparently some pirate jackass is selling a beta copy of the game for $675. Namco Bandai has yet to make a statement to the press regarding this, so we can't be certain as to which beta this is, the BottleRocket or Namco version, at the moment. However, I'd be willing to bet that it's a beta of the BottleRocket version that was somehow "overlooked" by someone at BottleRocket when Namco Bandai went to their HQ to reclaim all of their Splatterhouse stuff last year.
It's one thing when prototypes turn up years after the fact, but this kind of dickery is just asking for trouble. Personally, I hope Namco Bandai nails this bastard's hide to the wall. Whoever he is, he's facing five years in jail and a fine of $250,000. It's pretty obvious what he's going to need that $675 for: bail money.
That's about it right now. Read more on this as it develops over on the forum, and expect more updates here - even if they are infrequent - as the year goes on.