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Publisher: Namco (Japan)/NEC (US)
Developer: Namco
Year: 1990
Systems: NEC PC Engine/Turbografx-16/TurboDuo (Japan, U.S.);
Nintendo Wii [Virtual Console] (Europe, U.S.);
PC Engine Mini/Turbografx-16 Mini/Coregrafx Mini


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 blood.

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:


Arcade Shot


Arcade Shot 2


TG-16 Shot


TG-16 Shot 2

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 game.

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+.


From Sean:

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).

From D

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 face.

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.

From happypeepeehead:

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 easier kill.

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